Lib Dems have secured support for measures that will result in all care leavers in Surrey being exempt from paying council tax from next April.
In 2018, Surrey Lib Dems won unanimous backing at Surrey County Council for a motion to exempt care leavers from paying tax until they are 25. Ten of Surrey's eleven borough and district councils have also already taken this step, but under Conservative administration, Tandridge District Council had been holding out against the exemption, however a change in the power balance there has now created an opportunity for the District to move into line with the rest of the county.
Lib Dem Councillor for Caterham Valley, Jeffrey Gray said: "I was embarrassed to discover days after my election that our district had been holding out against this enlightened policy, despite the efforts of Lib Dem colleagues. I immediately moved to ensure measures would be taken to introduce the exemption here from next April. The initiative has now been backed by the new Tandridge administration, guaranteeing that the change will go ahead. Frankly the move away from 20 years of Conservative domination following this year's elections has made this possible. It is a change that will have a small impact on Tandridge, but a huge impact on the young people concerned."
Lib Dem Group Leader on Surrey County Council, Will Forster, added: "I am delighted that the aim of my motion will finally be realised, and all young care leavers in Surrey will be exempt from paying council tax. These young people have often faced significant challenges growing up, yet they leave home earlier and have less support than other young people. Without the family backup most young people receive, care leavers often struggle to juggle their household bills and make ends meet. Although taking care Leavers out of the council tax system is no silver bullet, it will be a strong step in the right direction and will help these young people make a successful transition out of care."
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