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Kent County Council backs plans for care leavers under 25 to be exempt from paying council tax

May 25, 2019 9:59 AM
By Caitlin Webb in Kent Online

Care leavers under the age of 25 are one step closer to being exempt from paying council tax. Members of Kent County Council have agreed to pursue proposals brought forward by the authority's young people's council, made up of youths who have been in social care. It will approach the 12 district and borough authorities after discussing the plans at the full council meeting today.

Care leavers could be exempt from council tax until the age of 25 under proposals supported by Kent County Council. Young adults who are leaving the care system are more likely to become homeless than their counterparts. To address this imbalance, members of the young people's council has called for care leavers living in Kent to be exempt from council tax until their 25th birthday.

Cllr Ida Linfield (Lib Dem), who brought the motion forward, said: "Kent's young people are an inspiration. KCC does offer a support package for care leavers such as setting up their home and they also have a personal advisor, who helps them. They are considered to be at a disproportionate risk and leading on from that comes homelessness, where 21% of young care leavers, without support, will become homeless within five years. If they go into debt, it comes to the support worker from KCC to sort all that."

Even though Cllr Linfield's original motion was heavily amended by the Conservative group, councillors agreed to continue discussions with the district councils to make sure this waiver is introduced. Council leader Paul Carter (Con) said: "It won't cost massive amounts of money and this is something, I think, we all would like to happen. We intend to get there as fast as possible."

Young care leavers in Wales and Scotland are exempt from paying council tax up to the age of 25. Manchester, Southwark and Nottingham councils have also put a similar waiver in place. New council chairman Cllr Ann Allen has been tasked with updating councillors on the progress of these discussions during her announcements in full council meetings.