Young care leavers gifted full tax relief under council scheme

Couple holding hands together

Young people leaving care in Cambridgeshire could be granted financial support, such as full council tax relief, under a new county council scheme. - Credit: Matheus Ferrero/Unsplash

Young people in Cambridgeshire could be granted full council tax relief under new plans to support their futures after leaving the care system. 

The proposals also include a targeted support fund for young people leaving care who may need extra support with independent living up to 25-years-old. 

The scheme, which aims to provide 100 per cent council tax relief for people up to 21-years-old, will be proposed at a full Cambridgeshire County Council meeting on February 8. 

If passed, council tax paid will be refundable to those who qualify and will be reimbursed on approval of payment. 

Cllr Bryony Goodliffe, chair of the county council’s children and young people committee, said: “Living on your own for the first time is a challenge for most young people.  

“However, leaving care can come with its own additional pressures. 

“As a joint administration, we want to do as much as possible to help protect them from future risks that could lead to debt, eviction and potentially homelessness.” 

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In the scheme, young people leaving care can apply for tax relief under the targeted relief fund beyond the age of 21. 

Aspects such as their status and other circumstances will be considered to find out how much support is needed. 

The discretionary support fund aims to support individuals who may be experiencing financial issues once they leave care. 

Nicola Curley, acting director of children’s services for Cambridgeshire County Council, said the proposals will help young people leaving the care system “stand on their own feet. 

“There are currently more than 300 eligible young people who have left care in Cambridgeshire who are now aged between 18 and 21. 

“When these young people move into their own home, this is often their first experience of managing money on their own.” 

If passed, the scheme will see young people leaving care aged 18 to 21 receive ongoing support by reimbursing 100pc of their council tax liability during their first years of independence.   

Ms Curley added: “We want to reduce the financial pressures from council tax and daily living costs for these people leaving care to give them the best possible foundations.”