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Reigate Liberal Democrats

Lib Dems say "Take young care leavers out of Council Tax in Surrey"

March 13, 2018 2:23 PM
Originally published by Surrey County Council Lib Dems

Will & Chris, Care Leavers campaignLiberal Democrat county councillors have called for care leavers in Surrey to be exempted from paying council tax until they are 25. The campaign was initiated by highly respected charity The Children's Society and will be discussed at County Hall on March 20th.

Cllr Will Forster, who brought forward the motion to be discussed, said today:

"I successfully campaigned for this policy to be adopted by Woking Borough Council, and now I am proposing that Surrey County Council takes all young care leavers in Surrey out of council tax altogether.

"The reasoning behind this is simple - care leavers have some of the worst life chances in the country. 20% of young homeless people have previously been in care, 24% of the adult prison population have been in care, 70% of sex workers have been in care and only 6% of care leavers are in higher education at 19.

"Without the family support most young people get as they become adults, care leavers often struggle to juggle their household bills and make ends meet. Many find themselves in debt, or having to go without food or other basic necessities. To expect some of the country's most vulnerable young people to start paying Council Tax just days after leaving care is setting them up to fail."

Cllr Chris Botten, Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Children & Families, added:

"Care leavers have had their childhoods punctuated by instability and trauma, they leave home earlier and have less support than other young people. That is why I am pleased to support this proposal, initially put forward by the highly respected independent charity, The Children's Society.

"Although taking care leavers out of the Council Tax system is not a silver bullet to the challenges they face, it will be a step in the right direction and will help these young people make a successful transition out of care. By investing in young people at this stage, the County Council can help prevent more costly interventions in the future".

NOTES

The motion to be discussed on Tuesday 20th March can be found here under Item 8(ii):

https://mycouncil.surreycc.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=121&MId=5840&Ver=4

More information on The Children's Society campaign can be found here:

https://www.childrenssociety.org.uk/what-you-can-do/campaign-for-change/a-fairer-start-for-care-leavers