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Tory councillors branded ‘Scrooges’ for failing to back plan to support care leavers

PUBLISHED: 14:42 14 December 2016 | UPDATED: 14:57 14 December 2016

Labour leader Angela Wilkins

Labour leader Angela Wilkins

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A recent report by the Children’s Society revealed almost 60 per cent of care leavers get into debt

Bromley’s Tory councillors have been branded ‘Scrooges’ after they refused to back a plan to support young people leaving care.

Labour councillors proposed giving care leavers aged 18 to 25 an exemption from paying council tax after a study showed they often struggle to manage their household budgets.

Research by The Children’s Society revealed that, with no experience of managing bills and often no family to help them, nearly 60 per cent of care leavers fall into debt.

But Conservative councillors refused to back the measure, claiming care leavers should not be treated differently to other young people.

Labour leader Angela Wilkins said she was ‘astonished’ by the response - particularly after an Ofsted inspection criticised the council’s provision for care leavers.

“It looks to me like Tory councillors still haven’t understood that these young people need additional support,” she continued. “I suggest they stop behaving like Scrooge and take a reality check.

“This proposal would have added just a few thousand pounds to a budget of just under £13 million.”

She added that the Labour proposal is supported by the recent government strategy for care leavers.

Councillor Graham Arthur, executive member for resources, said: “Care leavers in Bromley are given a range of targeted assistance tailored for their individual needs, on a one to one basis in a manner which reflects their specific requirements and they are delivered with sensitivity.

“That is the way to provide assistance, with privacy and dignity, not by seeking to separate them from the world in which they will play a full part.”


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