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Islington Council scraps council tax for young care leavers

Islington has scrapped council tax for care leavers to help them avoid getting into debt as young adults.
Care leavers - young people leaving local authority care - are especially at risk of falling into council tax debt, as they manage money on their own for the first time, without support from family. A Children's Society campaign has called on councils to make care leavers exempt from paying council tax until they turn 25.
Last night, Islington Council's executive agreed to scrap council tax for young people leaving any local authority's care and living in Islington until the age of 25.  This will take effect from April.
Islington is the second council in London and one of the first in the country to end council tax for care leavers.
Cllr Andy Hull, Islington Council's executive member for finance and performance, said:  "Young people leaving local authority care can face a huge range of challenges, and we want to support them as much as we can.
"Care leavers are among the most vulnerable groups in our community and we're pleased to scrap council tax for them until the age of 25 to help them as they start out as young adults.
"The exemption will be made as easy as possible for care leavers to access – the council’s children’s services, housing and council tax teams will work together to apply the relief automatically for those leaving Islington's care and will make it as simple as possible for those arriving in Islington from other councils' care to apply for the discount."
Sam Royston, Policy Director at The Children’s Society, said: "To expect some of the country’s most vulnerable young people to start paying council tax just days after leaving care is setting them up to fail.  
“That’s why The Children’s Society has been calling on local authorities – who take on parental responsibilities for children in care – to exempt those leaving care from paying council tax until they turn 25.  
“We’re delighted that Islington Council has taken this vital step to support care leavers, and we would urge other councils to follow their lead."

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Chris Roe
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