Tax breaks announced for Doncaster care leavers

Councillor Nuala Fennelly.
Councillor Nuala Fennelly.

Doncaster's young care leavers will be exempt from paying council tax as part of a plan to help them adjust to adulthood.

The move means young people leaving the care of the local authority at age 18 will not have to pay council tax until they reach 25.

READ MORE: Councillors support care leaver campaign

The Care Leavers Council Tax Exemption Scheme will benefit 66 care leavers in the town and takes effect from April 1 this year.

Doncaster Council joins more than 60 other local authorities who have already taken the tax exemption step.

Sheffield Council is also due to consider a similar tax break plan at full council meeting on February 7.

READ MORE: Tax break plan for young Sheffield care leavers
This follows a national campaign by the Children's Society to highlight how many youngsters find themselves in financial difficulty after leaving care due to a range of complex factors.

Councillor Nuala Fennelly, council cabinet member for children, young people and schools, said: “It’s vital that we support our young people in the often difficult transition period where they leave care and begin to live on their own. We want to make that passage as smooth as possible and provide a better chance of them avoiding debt problems in the future.

“It’s important to make it clear that just because a care leaver has turned 18 it doesn’t mean we will no longer assist and support them."

The decision was taken at full council meeting at the Doncaster Civic Offices on Thursday, January 25.

The meeting heard how based on charges for a band A property in 2017/18, the authority would lose £55, 000 through granting the exemptions.

But council officers added: "However, it is expected that this proposal will result in a reduction in emergency payments made to care leavers in crisis as well as further reducing the dependency of these young people on other services."

The move follows a report by The Children’s Society which found that when care leavers move into independent accommodation they often find it extremely challenging to manage their own budgets for the first time due to a lack of family support and limited financial education.