Council tax exemption a ‘significant benefit’ for care leavers, as more people set to be helped

830 care leavers are set to benefit from a council tax exemption aimed at easing the transition for young people leaving care.

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The Welsh Government introduced legislation in April 2019 to exempt care leavers from council tax.

In 2020-21, the first time figures were available, 493 care leavers benefitted from the exemption. This rose to 646 in 2021-22, 746 in 2022-23, and is set to reach 830 in the coming financial year.

The figures come as a series of reports commissioned by the Welsh Government are published looking at the impact of measures taken to alleviate pressure on vulnerable people in relation to council tax.

They found agreement among care leavers and third-party organisations representing care leavers that the impact of the exemption has been of ‘significant benefit’ to young care leavers. It also found the way the exemption was applied uniformly across councils has been welcomed.

As well as the exemption for care leavers, the reports look at the standardisation of the exemption for severe mental impairment, the removal of the sanction of imprisonment for non-payment of council tax, and the implementation of the Council Tax Protocol which outlines an agreed collection and arrears management policy.

The research sets out recommendations to improve the effectiveness of the measures, and its findings will inform future policy-making.

Rebecca Evans, Minister for Finance and Local Government, said:

“The transition to independent living can be a challenging time in the lives of care leavers. Exempting care leavers from paying council tax is one of a range of ways in which we are working to support care leavers into adult life, and it is good to hear how helpful they have found it.

“The research also tells us there is room for further improvement, for example in ensuring information about the support on offer is clearly available. We will be working closely with local authorities to make sure people are supported as well as they can be.

“We remain fully committed to making council tax fairer, and we will be looking to improve the framework of discounts and exemptions as well as our Council Tax Reduction Scheme as part of our wider programme of work to make council tax fairer.”

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