Birmingham City Council has today confirmed it will introduce a council tax exemption for care leavers.
Recommended by the Child Poverty Commission, the city council immediately set the process in motion, resulting in today’s announcement.
The 100 per cent council tax exemption will be mandatory for care leavers until age 21 and discretionary until age 25.
Birmingham City Council leader Cllr John Clancy said: “I said when I became leader of the council that I wanted to see the recommendations of the Birmingham Child Poverty Commission acted upon, so I am delighted that we have been able to take the important step of exempting young adults from council tax when they first leave the council’s care.
“Looking after all of Birmingham’s children and making sure they reach their full potential remains at the very top of my personal political agenda. This latest initiative follows on from a decision also to implement the commission’s recommendation that the council should not use bailiffs when seeking to recover debt from citizens in receipt of council tax support.
“As the Child Poverty Commission correctly noted, managing and understanding council tax bills for the first time is frequently a challenge, and many care leavers aren’t aware of their entitlements around exemption or support.
“It’s important to do everything possible to make sure the move from care to independence runs as smoothly as possible, including giving a helping hand to cover initial housing costs.”
Councillor Brigid Jones, cabinet member for children, families and schools, said: “For many young people they have the option of staying with parents when they leave education, but for care leavers the safety net can just disappear.
“So exempting them from council tax mirrors the support many youngsters get from their family. It is hard enough making the transition into adulthood with the support of a family, but too often young people, particularly care leavers, can be put at risk and get into serious debt, just when they are starting out in life.
“I’m really pleased and proud that this council has taken this bold step to help support some of our most vulnerable young people.”