B&NES to consider Council Tax discounts for foster carers

Bath & North East Somerset Council is to investigate the possibility of providing a discount on Council Tax rates for local foster carers.

At a Full Council meeting on Thursday 14th September, Conservative Councillor Chris Watt tabled a proposal calling on the authority’s Cabinet to investigate options to provide a discount on Council Tax for B&NES-supported foster carers.

The Conservative proposal formed an amendment to a motion by Labour Councillors which called for care leavers to be exempt from paying Council Tax until the age of 25. The joint Labour and Conservative proposals were passed with the unanimous support of Councillors.  As a result, the authority’s Cabinet will now consider options to implement these proposals and report back to the Council as part of its budget-setting process for 2018/19.

Following the meeting Councillor Chris Watt (Cons, Midsomer Norton Redfield) said:

“Foster carers provide an invaluable service, not only to the children they care for but also our wider community and society.  Fostering is also one of the most rewarding things anybody can do and the council could not meet its corporate parenting responsibility for children in care without our network of highly valued foster carers.  We therefore believe it’s right for the Council to look at ways in can continue to to support fostering within Bath & North East Somerset as a positive choice for local families.

“In addition, it is ideal for looked-after children to stay as locally as possible in order to maintain school, health and family networks, and council-supported foster carers are the most cost-effective solution for the council.

“I’m therefore very pleased that this proposal was approved unanimously by Councillors and that the Cabinet will now investigate options to implement the proposal.”

The Council’s Cabinet Member for Children & Young People, Cllr Paul May (Cons, Publow & Whitchurch), commented:

“Children in care are among the most vulnerable people in our society and so it’s right that we do everything we can to support both the children and those who care for them. I there welcome both the proposal to look into exempting care leavers from paying Council Tax until age 25 and the idea of providing a Council Tax discount for the Council’s foster carers.  The Cabinet will now look at the options to implement this for consideration as part of our 2018 budget proposals.”