Council tax support for Haringey care leavers

Care leavers in Haringey will be exempt from paying council tax under new measures unveiled this week.

The council’s Cabinet agreed tonight (October 17) to ensure that young people leaving the care system are not shackled with the burden of council tax bills - writes haringey.gov.uk.

The move, which will apply to all care leavers aged 18-25, comes after research from leading charity The Children’s Society revealed that care leavers are at significant risk of falling into debt.The national charity, which supports vulnerable children and young people, urged local authorities to take steps to protect them, including by exempting them from council tax.

As “corporate parent” to children and young people in care, the council is determined to offer ongoing support once people move on from the care system, in much the same way as any parent would seek to do after their child turned 18.

Cllr Jason Arthur, Cabinet Member for Finance and health said:

“The evidence presented by The Children’s Society could not be more clear – young people leaving care face myriad challenges, including the very real risk of falling into serious debt. No parent would want that for their child as they begin adult life, and we don’t want it for our borough’s care leavers.

"So many of these young people have faced very serious challenges in life, and it’s absolutely right that we explore every possible option for giving them the right support to help them to lead successful, happy adult lives.

“We are committed to keeping care leavers safe, to ensuring their experiences of moving into independent living are positive, and to improving their life chances. We hope that removing the burden of council tax will help them forge a happier and more successful future.”

Sam Royston, Director of Policy and Research at The Children’s Society, said:

“Care leavers have often experienced a really difficult upbringing and they may have experienced abuse, neglect or family breakdown which can have a big impact upon their life chances.

“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.T hat’s why The Children’s Society is continuing to call on local authorities to exempt care leavers from paying council tax.

“We’re delighted that Haringey Council is adopting this exemption, which will make life easier for many young people making the move into independent living.”

Haringey already offers council tax exemptions and discounts to pensioners and those who receive certain disability benefits. Extending the support to care leavers will help safeguard one of the most vulnerable groups of people in the borough.

The exemption will be introduced from April 2018.

The Children’s Society is a national charity that runs local services, helping children and young people when they are at their most vulnerable, and have nowhere left to turn. We also campaign for changes to laws affecting children and young people, to stop the mistakes of the past being repeated in the future. Our supporters around the country fund our services, volunteer with us, and join our campaigns to show children and young people they are on their side.

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