West Oxon council moves to support young people leaving care

Councillors are to offer young people leaving care help in reducing their financial burden.

By Roseanne Edwards
Monday, 20th January 2020, 11:29 am
Updated Monday, 20th January 2020, 11:30 am
Cllr Toby Morris
Cllr Toby Morris

Proposals aimed at reducing the cost of their home will go before West Oxfordshire District Council on Wednesday.

Councillors will consider plans to offer care leavers exemption from council tax until they are 21 and to offer discounts until they are 25. If approved the proposal would come into effect from 1 April.

Cllr Toby Morris, Cabinet Member for Resources and Deputy Leader of the Council, said: “When my daughter is old enough to leave home she will have the privilege of a family safety net. She will be able to rely on her parents to help her get to grips with all the things you have to do when you set up home for the first time.

“Young care leavers do not have this and must be able to support themselves financially at the same time as making decisions about accommodation, future education and/or employment and generally dealing with the huge change that living independently represents. These responsibilities can be overwhelming and we know it can make them more vulnerable to homelessness.

“This proposal reduces council tax liability and in doing so provides real, practical help to young people starting out life on low incomes as they develop budgeting and independent living skills.”

Council tax data from 2018/19 shows that the policy could benefit five care leavers in West Oxfordshire and has been assessed as presenting a minimal financial impact on the council.