Local young people leaving care are set to be further supported by the Council with the introduction of a Council Tax discount scheme.
Councillors will be asked to consider introducing a discretionary discount at Cabinet on Friday 20 December as a priority ahead of the budget setting for 2020/21.
There are approximately 350 young care leavers aged 18 – 25 years living in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole who the Council has a corporate parenting responsibility to ensure they are fully supported through the transition of leaving care to living independently.
Councillor Sandra Moore, Cabinet Member for Children and Families, said: “Assisting young people financially and promoting independence is no more than any parent would strive to do for their child. We considered the range of pressures that care experienced young people face when they start to live independently for the first time and as they transition into adulthood. Of particular concern for young people is budgeting, debt and managing on their own.”
A number of local authorities around the UK already run a similar scheme. If approved, the BCP Council scheme would be in place from 1 April 2020.
All care experienced young people living in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole or the immediate Dorset and New Forest areas, aged 18 – 23 years, would receive a 100% Council Tax discount and those aged 24 – 25 years would receive a 50% discount, alongside guidance to understand bills and budgeting. The discount will end on their 25thbirthday in line with their formal council support coming to an end.
Cllr Moore added: “The young people themselves asked for this taper of financial help because they felt the support ending at 25 was too much of a cliff edge and they needed a year to get used to paying more council tax. I thought this was very responsible of them.
“We have a duty to support our young care leavers as best we can and I am delighted the Council Tax discount scheme has been proposed as a way to further prepare them financially for life.”