Council tax scrapped for foster carers

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Children. Pic © Eitan / Wikimedia Creative Commons

Children. Pic © Eitan / Wikimedia Creative Commons

Merseyside foster carers working ‘in-house’ will no longer have to pay council tax, as of April this year.

Plans to cut council tax for foster carers who directly work for Liverpool City Council were announced this month following a range of incentives introduced as part of a drive to encourage more people to become carers.

This will include ‘lifestyle passes’ giving foster carers free access to city gyms and other facilities, as well as additional allowances to cover the costs of fostering.

Eliminating the council tax charge will mean a saving of £1, 100 per year for the 290 households who currently foster one or more child.

Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said: “Taking in someone else’s child is life changing, both for the foster carer and the young person, so it is absolutely right and proper that we do everything we can to support them.

“This is our way of saying thank you to our foster carers and recognising the amazing work that they do to protect and support some of the city’s most vulnerable young people.”

The scheme will cost around £372,000 to fund over the next financial year, but analysis shows that £500,000 will be saved if the policy leads to the recruitment of 10 additional foster carers to replace high cost placements in residential homes and with foster care agencies.

Foster carers that live outside of the city’s boundary will be given an annual payment equivalent to the cost of their council tax.

Sue Boddison, a Liverpool City Council foster carer, said: “Many families will benefit from not having to pay the council tax. That money could then be used to improve the quality of life for our looked-after children, such as assisting them to go on family holidays, to provide extra treats and enhance their well-being.”

Liverpool has over 150 more looked-after children than it had five years ago, and the number now stands at around 1,000.

About Amber Pritchard, JMU Journalism