Council Set to Help Care Leavers with Council Tax Discount

A plan to exempt care leavers from paying council tax up to their 25th birthday could be given the go-ahead when Gloucester City Councillors meet tomorrow

Currently the city council offers a full discount on council tax to care leavers aged 18 to 21 but this could be extended following tomorrow’s Cabinet meeting.

Councillors could also give the green light to offer the discount to all care leavers who live in the city, not just those who have been in care in Gloucestershire, who are currently covered by the policy.  

The move follows a motion by Councillor Alastair Chambers.

Charities advise that those who have been in care are more likely to fall into debt when faced with the challenge of managing their household budget, with little or no family support to fall back on.

The cabinet will also consider a proposal to double the council tax on second homes and those left empty for more than a year.

The government gave the green light this year for councils to increase council tax on second homes, of which there are over 150 in Gloucester.

It also agreed that owners could pay twice as much council tax on houses left empty for more than a year. Currently a property must be empty for two years before additional council tax is charged.

With increased pressure for housing in Gloucester the council wants to encourage homeowners to bring their properties back into use and is speaking to owners to find out how it can assist them.

Empty homes are also more likely to fall into disrepair or attract anti-social behaviour such as squatting or vandalism. The changes for empty and second homes if backed by the cabinet will take effect from April next year.

Councillor Hannah Norman, cabinet member for Performance and Resources at Gloucester City Council, said: “These moves will hopefully go some way to giving a helping hand to care leavers and offering them a little extra support when they are setting up home.

“It will also send out a message to homeowners that we are committed to addressing the housing shortage in our city and that these properties should be brought back into use where possible.”