YOUNG people leaving care in Plymouth will not have to pay council tax until they reach the age of 25 under plans being announced as part of this year’s budget.
Councillor Mark Lowry, cabinet member for finance said: “Some of these young people have had an extremely difficult start in life and we want to help them ease into adult life where we can.
“Paying bills is part of growing up and becoming independent, but we all know finding an average of an extra £1,000 a year can be tough – particularly when you have no family to turn to. This will not be a big dent in the council’s finances, but the difference it will make to those young people will be enormous.
“Care leavers often face the challenge of living independently while juggling education or employment, which can be low paid. Getting into debt and losing their tenancies are among the biggest issues in care leavers’ lives. We want to give them a leg up.”
Properties that have been empty for more than two years will be charged 100 per cent rather than a 50 per cent reduction. Around 200 properties could be affected by this change which will also be discussed at Cabinet on 15 January.
Councillor Lowry added: “Quite simply, we hope that doubling the charge will encourage landlords to do something with their properties. There are far too many homes still lying empty in Plymouth – and it is shameful when there are so many families who are desperate for a home of their own.
“Being charged full whack rather than a discount should help landlords get the message.”