At last night's Council meeting Wokingham Borough Conservatives proposed changes to WBC Council Tax policies to benefit both young care leavers and those people who look after their vulnerable relatives.
In two separate initiatives, we have extended the exemption to Council Tax for eligible care leavers from up to their 21st birthday to up to their 25th - helping some of the borough’s most vulnerable. And, last night (Thursday January 21), the council voted to disregard Carers’ Allowance as an income when calculating entitlement to Council Tax reduction – making the scheme more generous to carers. These changes will come into effect on April 1.
This was voted through with the full support of the Conservatives but sadly the four Labour Councillors chose not to support this.
Cllr John Kaiser, Conservative member for Barkham and Executive Member for housing and finance, said: “Tackling poverty is one of our biggest priorities and so it is right that we’ve made our Council Tax policies more generous. By disregarding Carers’ Allowance we are acknowledging the vital role carers play in our communities and ensuring they are not penalised for what they are doing to help others.
“I am also delighted that we will be able to provide a Council Tax exemption to eligible young care leavers who don’t have the ‘bank of mum and dad’ to rely on and who can sometimes find the early years of adulthood difficult.
“We are serious about reducing poverty and mitigating its impact.
"As well as the more generous Council Tax Reduction Scheme and the extended Council Tax exemption, there is currently a £150 payment to all those who receive the Council Tax Reduction, the Winter Hardship support and payments to those who temporarily cannot work because they are having to self-isolate.
"We must wait to see what the Government intends to do about these initiatives in the longer term, but our commitment remains that we will not let people go cold or hungry in the borough.”