Birmingham City Council today announced it is introducing a council tax exemption for care leavers to help ease the transition from care to independence.
Recommended by the Child Poverty Commission, the 100% council tax exemption will be mandatory for care leavers until age 21 and discretionary until age 25.
Birmingham’s leader Cllr John Clancy welcomed the move and said it followed the implementation of the commission’s recommendation not to use bailiffs when seeking to recover debt from citizens in receipt of council tax support.
‘Managing and understanding council tax bills for the first time is frequently a challenge, and many care leavers aren’t aware of their entitlements around exemption or support,’ Cllr Clancy said.
‘It’s important to do everything possible to make sure the move from care to independence runs as smoothly as possible, including giving a helping hand to cover initial housing costs.’
Cllr Brigid Jones, cabinet member for children, families and schools, said: ‘For many young people they have the option of staying with parents when they leave education, but for care leavers the safety net can just disappear.
‘So exempting them from council tax mirrors the support many youngsters get from their family. It is hard enough making the transition into adulthood with the support of a family, but too often young people, particularly care leavers, can be put at risk and get into serious debt, just when they are starting out in life.’
‘I’m really pleased and proud that this council has taken this bold step to help support some of our most vulnerable young people,’ she added.