Barnet Council will give a helping hand to hundreds of care leavers after granting them Council Tax relief up to the age of 25.
The policy was passed at a full meeting of the authority in Hendon Town Hall last night (Tuesday, 31 July).
Under the policy, Council Tax relief will be offered to care leavers up to age 25 for their first two years of independent living. Care leavers experiencing financial difficulties after the initial period will also be eligible for relief. Financial help would be available to care leavers living outside of Barnet.
Nationally, one in three care leavers have problems paying their bill and are being forced to sacrifice basic necessities in life to pay Council Tax. By providing these exemptions, the council will give care leavers the additional support required to help prepare them for independence.
The Leader of Barnet Council, Councillor Richard Cornelius, said: “We are delighted to be able to give care leavers the help they need to become independent. All parents want to help their children as they take their first steps towards living independently – and the council, as the corporate parent to children in care, is no different. We want our care leavers to be successful in life, and we hope this will help.”
There are currently more than 200 care leavers in Barnet, many of whom have experienced challenges in childhood and adolescents. When care leavers move to living independently, it is often their first experience of having to manage a budget on their own.
Financial pressures stemming from Council Tax and daily living costs, can adversely affect the mental health and employment prospects for care leavers.