Sutton is to scrap Council Tax charges for youngsters when they leave the care system, the council has announced.
Care leavers have been found to have greater difficulty around managing their money, often go into debt and are more likely to be sanctioned over benefits, research has shown. Such issues also put young care leavers at greater risk of rent arrears and therefore becoming homeless.
Sutton Council acts as “corporate parents” to those young people in care, or who leave care, up to the age of 25, and by exempting them from Council Tax up to that age, the hope is that it will provide further assistance for them to settle into homes, work and adult life. The measure is likely to help up to 800 young people.
“We have a duty to support care leavers to transition successfully to adulthood, but we also need to be compassionate to their wider needs as they leave our care,” said Marian James, the chair of the council’s “People Committee”.
“Support is provided by the Leaving Care Team covering different aspects of a young person’s life – finances, health and well-being, accommodation and housing, and employment and education.” James said that the council will be looking “at further ways we can shape services to positively impact our children and young people’s futures”.
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It would be pretty hard for any of us to be paying nothing at all until age 25, then get hit with the full amount.
Maybe a phased approach would actually be more helpful, so that there would not be a sudden 100% transition from paying no Council Tax to paying the full amount at age 25.?
Would it not be better to do this in 3 stepped increments from age 18 to 25, paying nothing from 18-19, then 1/3 at 20, 2/3 at 23, and all at 25?
This would be the money mangement equivalent of paddling then wading, not being pushed into deep water until the swimming lessons have been completed, and one can swim.