Free care leavers from the burden of council tax debt

girl looking in to distance

Care leavers can be a particularly vulnerable group when it comes to council tax.

When a young person leaves care and moves in to independent accommodation, they begin to manage their own budget fully for the first time.

They find themselves grappling with the challenges of living independently; managing a household, continuing education or seeking employment, as well as managing their personal finances and paying household bills for the first time. Often without the support of family or previous financial education to help them navigate this.

You can help

Our Wolf at the door report that council tax debt can be a particularly frightening experience for care leavers.  What can start out for many care leavers as falling slightly behind can very quickly escalate to a court summons and enforcement action being taken.

We are asking councils to make care leavers exempt from paying council tax until they turn 25; giving these young people a few valuable years to learn how to manage their finances and have a better change at avoiding problem debt in the future.

Ask your council to ensure a fairer start for care leavers

Councils are supporting young care leavers

Use our map to contact your council.

Already, a range of local authorities across the country have introduced measures to exempt care leavers from council tax, including:

  • Coventry in March 2017
  • Rochdale in March 2017
  • Walsall in March 2017
  • Cheshire West and Chester in February 2017
  • Islington in January 2017
  • Birmingham in January 2017
  • Wolverhampton in January 2017
  • Hammersmith & Fulham in December 2016
  • North Somerset in April 2016
  • Cheshire East in April 2016
  • Milton Keynes in 2016

Tools for meeting with your council

We have the tools to encourage your local authority to help care leavers. Please download our information pack and draft motion:

What is the situation in your area?

We are calling on councils to exempt care leavers' from paying council tax until age 25.

Use our map to take action – simply type your postcode in the search box to find out how many care leavers are affected in your area, then click the button to ask your council to ensure a fairer start for care leavers.



About our statistics

Estimates of care leavers within each local authority are from a Department for Education Statistical First Release on numbers of children looked after in England for the year ending 31 March 2015.

Local authority tables SFR34/2015, table LAF3 provide numbers of care leavers aged 19, 20 and 21. We doubled the sum of care leavers aged 19, 20 and 21 to arrive at an estimate for the total number of care leavers aged 18 to 25 in each local authority.

You can find the tables on the website.