Free care leavers from the burden of council tax debt

Teenage female care leaver on bed looking sadly at camera

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

Find out more about this by listening to our podcast

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 reveals 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 chance at avoiding problem debt in the future.

ask your council to ensure a fairer start for care leavers

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, and then click the button to ask your council to ensure a fairer start for care leavers.

 

Listen to our podcast

Listen to our audio briefing on council tax exemption for care leavers, and hear from policy experts, councillors, and young care leavers about how this policy can be implemented and what it means for young people. 

You can also download our podcast direct from iTunes (running time 15 minutes).

download from itunes

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:

Local authorities

Barnsley
Bath & North East Somerset
Bedford
Birmingham
Bolton
Bracknell Forest
Bradford
Brent
Brighton & Hove
Bristol
Bury
Camden
Cheshire East
Cheshire West and Chester
Cornwall
Coventry
Croydon
Darlington
Derby
Doncaster
Dudley
Durham
Gateshead
Hackney
Halton
Hammersmith & Fulham
Haringey
Hartlepool
Havering
Hounslow
Islington
Kingston upon Hull
Knowsley
Lambeth
Lancashire
Leicester
Lewisham
Liverpool
Manchester
Middlesborough
Milton Keynes
Newham
North East Lincolnshire
North Somerset
Oldham
Redbridge
Richmond Upon Thames
Rochdale
Rotherham
Royal Borough of Greenwich
Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea
Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead
Salford
Sandwell
Slough
South Gloucestershire
South Tyneside
Southwark
St Helens
Stockport
Stockton-on-Tees
Stoke-on-Trent
Sunderland
Swindon
Tameside
Thurrock
Torbay
Tower Hamlets
Trafford
Walsall
Waltham Forest
Wandsworth
Warrington
Westminster
Wigan
Wirral
Wokingham
Wolverhampton

 

A number of district councils have also introduced this change including:

  • Bassetlaw
  • Broadland
  • Broxtowe
  • East Lindsay
  • Gedling
  • Mendip
  • Norwich
  • Rushcliffe
  • South Holland
  • South Kesteven 
  • Taunton Deane
  • Woking
  • Wychavon

If you know your district council has already adopted this policy, but you can't see their name on this list then please let us know.

The following councils in Wales have also introduced this change:

  • Brigend
  • Caerphilly
  • Cardiff
  • Carmarthenshire
  • Flintshire
  • Isle of Anglessey
  • Merthyr Tydfil
  • Rhondda Cynon Taf
  • Swansea
  • Torfaen

 

Tools for meeting with your council

We have the tools to encourage your local authority to help care leavers. Please download:

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 Gov.uk website.