Council tax breaks are announced for youngsters leaving the care system in East Devon

Council tax breaks lasting years have been announced for young people once they leave care in East Devon.

Young people leaving the care system in East Devon are to be granted a council tax exemption after Councillors voted in favour of the move, writes local democracy reporter Bradley Gerrard.

The policy, which has been retrospectively implemented from the start of October, will mean youngsters leaving care at 18 will get a discount of up to 100 per cent until their 25th birthday.

East Devon District Council’s cabinet waved through the proposal, which will support those individuals who have been under the care of Devon County Council but live in East Devon.

Other Devon districts operate similar schemes, and efforts have been made in recent months by the Devon District Forum, which comprises council leaders, to develop a consistent approach across the county.

East Devon’s cabinet meeting this week heard the policy would impact just 15 people right now, with the cost for the remainder of this financial year being £7,000 to £8,000. This would rise to £15,000 for a full year, provided the policy continued to apply to just 15 individuals.

Councillor Marianne Rixson (Lib Dem, Sidmouth Sidford) called the policy a “no brainer”

She said: “Fortunately, very few people are affected [by this policy]but it is a huge undertaking for those adjusting to life outside the care system, so I fully support this move,” she said.

Offering his vote of support, Councillor Olly Davey (Green Party, Exmouth Town) said the policy is “a simple thing we can do to help these young people.”

A report for councillors suggested the cost could be reduced in future if it was implemented through the Local Council Tax Reduction (CTR) Scheme.

Such a move would mean the support is funded through a scheme that receives all of Devon’s districts’ collected council tax, not solely through East Devon coffers as is the case now.

However, the report acknowledged that unlike care-leavers’ support, CTR is a means-based scheme and any changes to its it would need to be put to public consultation, which would take time.

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