Rotherham care leavers to be exempt from council tax

By Gareth Dennison | 31/08/2017

Rotherham care leavers to be exempt from council tax
Rotherham Council leader Cllr Chris Read

CARE leavers will be exempt from council tax, under proposals set to go before senior RMBC members.

Former looked after children aged under 21 — or 25 if in full-time education — would not have to pay.

Nearly 30 councils have brought in the exemption, designed to help the transition from local authority care to independent living.

Rotherham Borough Council leader Cllr Chris Read said: “When any young person sets up home on their own for the first time, paying bills can come as a bit of a shock.

“For care leavers this can be even more difficult to manage, so through acting as corporate parents and taking care of our own, we can help in those first few years.

“We are one of the first councils in our part of the world to be adopting this sort of policy, which reflects our changing priorities to ensure that we give more Rotherham young people the best possible start in life.”

The proposal, to be voted on by Cabinet members on September 11, has been welcomed by The Children’s Society.

Director of external affairs Peter Grigg said: “Care leavers have often experienced a really difficult upbringing and they may have experienced abuse, neglect or family breakdown.

“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.

“To expect some of the country’s most vulnerable people to start paying council tax just days after leaving care is setting them up to fail.”

The move will cost the council £13,000 a year, based on Rotherham’s current numbers of care leavers.

Robert Cutts, RMBC service and development manager, said: “The rationale for supporting them in this way is to help to support them in making an effective social and financial transition from local authority care to independence.

“Ultimately, this is to help to improve the life chances of looked after children.”

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