On Monday night Bromley Council agreed the rates of council tax support available for 2017-18.
Recent research by the Children’s Society shows that young people leaving care struggle to manage
household budgets for the first time because they have no experience of managing bills and often no
family to help them. Nearly 60% fall into debt.
Labour Councillors therefore proposed that care leavers aged 18-25 should be exempt from paying
council tax, but this was completely rejected by the Tories with many claiming that care leavers
should not be treated differently to other young people.
Cllr Peter Dean commented that it would be
“inappropriate to discriminate in their favour… they must learn the lessons of life the same as everyone else”
Cllr Angela Wilkins, Leader of the Labour Group said:
“I am astonished by this lack of care. Given the serious criticisms of the council’s provision for care leavers in the recent OFSTED inspection, it looks to me like Tory councillors still haven’t understood that these young people need additional support. I suggest they stop behaving like Scrooge and take a reality check.
This proposal would have added just a few thousand pounds to a budget of just under £13m. But it would have shown our care leavers that we, as their corporate parents, recognise the challenges they face when they set out to live independently and will do what we can to help.
Ironically our proposal is also supported by the recent government strategy for care leavers and by the Communities and Local Government Select Committee report into homelessness. They accused us of being politically motivated – yet we were proposing something their own government recommends.”
Bromley has approximately 300 young people in care, of whom 169 are aged 18-25; not all of these would be eligible for council tax relief – the number could be as small as 10….