Local measures to provide the best start in adult life for vulnerable young adults are an essential lifeline, according to Stockton North MP Alex Cunningham.
Care leavers under 25 years of age will receive a local discretionary Council Tax discount of up to 100%, after a decision made yesterday by Stockton Borough Council at a Cabinet meeting, with a motion led by Leader of Stockton Borough, Councillor Bob Cook.
In July 2016, the government made recommendations in their strategy on care leaver’s that local authorities should consider exempting care leavers from Council Tax using their discretionary powers, and yesterday Stockton Borough Council became one of the first to do so. This measure is expected to cost approximately £10,000 a year.
Commenting on Stockton Council’s decision to exempt young care leavers, Alex Said:
“As a member of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Carers, I welcome this move by Stockton Council.
“What we have is a group of vulnerable young people, who are now venturing into the world as an adult after potentially many years in care, and some of them struggle to make ends meet. They don’t have family to fall back on if times get rough – they often have just themselves.
“This measure reinforces the commitment to continuing to act in the best interests of those young adults that are now living independently. This move will help those who had been in care to have a proper, supported start at adulthood. I’m proud of my local authority for implementing this.”
The Children’s Society have commented on the move by Stockton Borough Council:
“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. That’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 Stockton Council has approved this measure which will make life easier for many young people making the move into independent living.”
For further information, please contact Alex’s office on 020 7219 7157