SCC agrees not to charge Council Tax to young people leaving care.

July 21, 2019 12:00 AM
By Councillor Will Forster
Originally published by Woking Liberal Democrats

Surrey County Council agrees not to charge Council Tax to young people leaving care.

Following a Lib Dem motion, Surrey County Council has agreed to exempt vulnerable young people leaving care from paying its share of Council Tax.

The County Council's ruling Cabinet yesterday decided to give young people who used to be in the care system a discount of 75% on their Council Tax, which is the Surrey Council portion of Council Tax bills. Around 600 young people under 25 who have left the care of the Council will no longer have to pay full Council Tax from next April.

Will Forster, Lib Dem County Councillor for Woking South, said:

"I am delighted that the County Council is finally enacting my motion of over a year ago to take young care leavers out of Council Tax. Following a similar motion, I got Woking Borough Council to give care leavers in my Borough a complete Council Tax discount."

"Expecting some of the most vulnerable young people to start paying Council Tax just days after leaving care is setting them up to fail. Which is why I have pushed so hard for Surrey and Woking Councils to give young care leavers a hand with their Council Tax bills."

"Care leavers have had to cope with significant issues when growing up, yet they leave home earlier and have less support than other young people. 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."

"Although taking young 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, local authorities can help prevent more costly interventions in the future."

Surrey County Council will now work with Borough and District Councils and the Police and Crime Commissioner with the aim of giving young care leavers a full Council Tax discount.