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.

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

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:

  • Birmingham
  • Bolton
  • Bracknell Forest
  • Brighton & Hove
  • Bury
  • Camden
  • Cheshire East
  • Cheshire West and Chester
  • Coventry
  • Croydon
  • Darlington
  • Doncaster
  • Dudley
  • Durham
  • Hackney
  • Hammersmith & Fulham
  • Haringey
  • Havering
  • Halton
  • Hartlepool
  • Kingston upon Hull
  • Knowsley
  • Islington
  • Lancashire
  • Liverpool
  • Lewisham
  • Manchester
  • Milton Keynes
  • North East Lincolnshire
  • North Somerset
  • Oldham
  • Redbridge
  • Rochdale
  • Rotherham
  • Royal Borough of Greenwich
  • Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea
  • Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead
  • Salford
  • Sandwell
  • South Tyneside
  • Southwark
  • Stockport
  • Stockton-on-Tees
  • Stoke-on-Trent
  • Sunderland
  • Swindon
  • Tameside
  • Torbay
  • Tower Hamlets
  • Trafford
  • Walsall
  • Waltham Forest
  • Warrington
  • Westminster
  • Wigan
  • Wirral
  • Wolverhampton
  • Worcestershire


Tools for meeting with your council

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

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.


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.