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Fight for a fairer start for care leavers

For young people, growing up can be exciting – but it can be daunting, too, to be suddenly faced with paying for rent, bills, and food and dealing with new challenges. For care leavers, this transition into adulthood can be even more difficult. They have already dealt with so much and often lack the support networks that many of us take for granted. That’s why we’re campaigning for all care leavers to be exempt from council tax – relieving a huge burden as they begin their adult lives.   

A group of young women smiling and walking down a street linking arms

Join our campaign for a fairer start for care leavers

We need change now. It’s time for all councils to put a council tax exemption into place. You can help make this happen. Ask your local council to give care leavers a fairer start into adulthood today.

Why is a council tax exemption so important?

In 2015, we conducted research with a group of young care leavers, who told us that council tax was a serious issue for them. Falling behind on council tax bills can quickly lead to debt. All too often, this escalates into letters from the council and the threat of bailiffs and court summons.  

Councils have a legal responsibility for young people who have been in their care until they turn 25. This means the council must act in the best interests of young care leavers and their physical and mental health. But burdening care leavers with hefty council tax bills as they navigate the transition to independent living puts them at risk. 

Now, in 2023, there is the added pressure of the cost of living crisis. With the prices of essentials rising and bills increasing across the board, it’s more important than ever to reduce the financial burden on young people leaving care. 

Ask your local council to lighten the load for care leavers.

Care leaver stats

1 in 4

young people leaving care had faced a mental health crisis since leaving care


of the homeless population are estimated to have been in care

Group of young people with their hands together in a circle

The reality of leaving care

For care leavers, the transition into adulthood can be difficult. Fatima campaigned for her council to exempt care leavers from paying council tax, and she wants every council to do the same.

Facts and figures


local authorities in England have made young care leavers exempt from paying council tax.


are yet to make the change.

The change we’ve made so far 

We’ve been campaigning on this issue since 2016, calling for care leavers to be exempt from paying council tax until they turn 25. This would relieve a huge burden as they begin their adult lives. Together with supporters like you, we’ve made this a reality in Scotland and Wales, where it is national policy, and 241 local authorities in England have made the change too. That’s 75% of all councils in the UK. You’ve helped to transform the lives of thousands of young care leavers across the country.

But the campaign isn’t over yet. There are still 74 local authorities in England that haven’t yet taken this step and those that have made the change don’t have a consistent approach. This means that young care leavers are facing a postcode lottery. In some areas, they’re dealing with mounting council tax debts and the fear of further bills and fines, at a time when they should be being supported to look forward to their futures. Some care leavers lose their council tax relief when moving between local authority areas, too, as councils don’t share information. This adds huge pressure at an already stressful time. 

Now, in 2023, it’s time for every council to get on board and make young care leavers exempt from paying council tax. Write to your local council today.

List of councils without exemption in place

If your council is on this list, that means they haven't implemented the council tax exemption for care leavers.

Councils with partial exemption

There are many more councils that only offer a partial exemption for care leavers. Use our tool to send a personalised email to your council today, to make sure that all care leavers get the support they need.

young woman on megaphone in crowd of others campaigning

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