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financial support for care leavers 20 Nov 2023 West Northamptonshire Council steps up financial support for care leavers

Young adults leaving care in West Northamptonshire will receive automatic discounts on their Council Tax bills under new plans agreed by councillors this week. 

West Northamptonshire Council (WNC) is introducing a local discount of up to 100 per cent directly into the Council Tax accounts of Care Leavers aged 18-21.  

The decision by members of the Council's Cabinet last night aims to ease the financial burden on young individuals during their initial years of independent living after moving out of care.

Starting from April 2024, a discretionary Council Tax discount will be automatically applied to the accounts of eligible Care Leavers aged 18-21, after considering other applicable discounts and exemptions. 

Under WNC’s current Local Council Tax Reduction Scheme, care leavers can receive assistance covering up to 100 per cent of their Council Tax liability if they submit an application and provide the necessary documentation.  

This initiative aims to provide additional support to young people leaving care by eliminating the need for them to apply for the Local Council Tax Reduction making sure that the right support is being provided to them during a pivotal time in their lives. 

Cllr Fiona Baker, Cabinet Member for Children, Families, Education and Skills said: “We recognise that care leavers face unique challenges as they embark on their journey towards independence as they don’t always have the same access to supportive networks or the ‘parental’ guidance that many other children or young people might have access to.  Managing finances and adapting to life outside of care can be particularly daunting. The Council Tax debt can quickly become an additional challenge, hindering their ability to establish stable and self-sufficient lives. This step is another positive move forward in supporting our care leavers to lead independent lives.”

Councillor Malcolm Longley, Cabinet Member for Finance at West Northamptonshire Council, added: "By offering a discretionary reduction of up to 100 per cent in Council Tax liability, we want to provide a safety net for care leavers within the West Northamptonshire area, enabling them to focus on developing lifelong skills and building secure futures.” 

The Council's commitment to care leavers is extended through this new initiative, which will provide them with the necessary support to thrive. The Care Leaver Covenant, signed by the Council last month, outlines the various forms of support available, such as council tax and housing assistance, training and employment opportunities, work experience, and partnerships with local businesses.