All men are capable of rape therefore all men are rapists was one of the strident assertions of the New York feminist movement in the early 1970’s.
Contrast that with what Iain Duncan Smith says about the bedroom tax and I quote directly from a DWP argument put into the Upper Tribunal which says:
a. the Government intended that all rooms that are capable of being used as a bedroom should be classified as such (see for instance DWP circular U6/2013);
The absolute perversity of such a statement is lost on the DWP legal department. It is legally, economically. practically and politically perverse to say a room capable of being a bedroom is a bedroom.
- I can fit a mattress on my bath therefore its a bedroom.
- I can fit a single bed in my bathroom therefore it is a bedroom.
- I can fit a bed into my kitchen therefore it is a bedroom
- I can fit a bed in my living room therefore it is a bedroom
All of the above are true and therefore according to Iain Duncan Smith I have 3 bedrooms more than anyone thinks. So will 4 million or so social tenants across the country.
Just think reader social landlords have all along been charging tenants a rent level that is far too low and all local councils have been charging too little in council tax as they wrongly believed Acacia Avenue has 40 3 bed properties when it has 40 6 bed properties.
Even estate agents have been underselling the compact and bijou properties as being smaller than they are.
Of course this cannot go on and social landlords must reclassify all properties now as all living rooms are capable of being a bedroom and therefore are bedrooms.
The above DWP submission to the Upper Tribunal continues and says why IDS believes that all rooms capable of being bedrooms are bedrooms:
b. the effect of the First-tier Tribunal’s decision is that social security funds should be used to pay for claimants to have rooms to be used as [XYZ]. This clearly does not accord with the policy intention of the removal of the spare room subsidy, which is to reduce housing benefit expenditure and encourage more effective use of social housing stock;
So the policy intention of saying that far more rooms are bedrooms is to REDUCE housing benefit expenditure? Yet if all rooms capable of being bedroom are bedrooms in the tortured mind of IDS then rents and housing benefit expenditure must INCREASE!
If all 3 bed properties are actually 6 bed properties given all rooms capable of being bedrooms are bedrooms then a quick calculation reveals the HB bill for social housing will increase by circa £2.7 billion overnight given an increase in HB of about £14.97 per SRS property receiving HB.
The bizarre legal and practical nonsense goes on:
c. given that there are 241,000 households living in overcrowded accommodation it is clear that the Government did not intend for others to have [X Y Z], paid for by the social security budget;
Of course if every room capable of being a bedroom is a bedroom then there is no such thing as overcrowding is there? Tenant households can be shoe-horned into properties and this is the Government’s intention and we can take part X of the 1985 Housing Act out altogether as it becomes meaningless too. There is no such thing as society rewritten as there is no such thing as overcrowding says the self-proclaimed rapist.
Oh hang on why does Government pay for older persons through social security to live in under occupied property. Does that mean the pensioner is next to be hit by the bedroom tax? Yes it must be!
What about privately rented housing? If IDS and his DWP won’t to do away with overcrowding and all rooms capable of being a bedroom are bedrooms, then there is no need for the independent rent officer service so a huge saving to Government, yet the Rachmann’s of the PRS will cram 4 people into every 1 bed property and claim the 4 bed rate of LHA. Another quick calculation reveals the Housing Benefit bill increases by a further £4.12 billion per year overnight given 1.65m PRS properties would see each LHA claim rise by circa £47.90 per week.
So far we see that the DWP assertion that all rooms capable of being a bedroom are bedrooms resulting in the HB bill increasing by £6.9 billion per year overnight.
All men are capable of being incompetent arseholes of course as IDS clearly reveals here…not that we needed any further proof!
Strange that IDS and DWP are so resolute that the 1985 Housing Act overcrowding provisions are not to be considered or be read across into HB regulations yet argue that they do in seeking to appeal a bedroom tax decision that has gone against their hare-brained policy don’t you think?
The overcrowding position is also an interesting one as overcrowding is more prevalent in the PRS than in the social rented sector. While both have 6% overcrowding the PRS is the bigger sector and 8% bigger in fact according to the EHS from where this 241,000 overcrowding in social housing originates meaning the PRS has 261,000 overcrowded households and of course if every room capable of being a bedroom is a bedroom as IDS believes then that overcrowding can only INCREASE Also interesting to note that overcrowding was on a significant downward trend in social housing before the bedroom tax policy was introduced as that is the fact and the same fact from which this 241,000 figure originates:
IDS now wants to reverse that trend by saying that
“…all rooms capable of being used as a bedroom should be classified as such”
I am minded of the late Les Dawson who quipped the Mother-in-Law is coming to stay but don’t worry I’ve cleared a space so she can sleep hanging upside down in the wardrobe! So the vampire mother-in-law reveals that a wardrobe is a bedroom in IDS’s view as this is clearly a room capable of being a bedroom. You may think I am being flippant reader yet “…all rooms capable of being used as a bedroom should be classified as such (see for instance DWP circular U6/2013)” accords with that.
Leaving aside for a second that DWP circular U6/2013 was issued in September 2013 and six months after the bedroom tax decisions were made and thereby could NOT have played any part in the original bedroom tax decisions (surely a slip of the DWP legal mind which expects HB officers to have a crystal ball into IDS’s thinking) the U6 /2013 is not universally known as the Captain Mainwaring guidance without good reason.
Here is page 2 of the DWP circular U6 of 2013:
Oh dear IDS really has got his knickers in a twist here hasn’t he (proving he would even be an incompetent rapist anyone?)
At 3 he says the space standards of the 1985 Housing Act don’t apply as that would mean a living room is a bedroom yet he no says a living room is a bedroom as it is capable of being a bedroom!
At 4 he says that the landlords determination of the number of bedrooms is determinative which (a) fails to tally with paragraph 20 of his own earlier A4/2012 guidance which says the landlord is under no obligation whatsoever to give any information to the council to decide whether the bedroom tax applies. How information that SSWP IDS recognises may not be given becomes determinative is just another perversity of this chop-change flip-flopper when the paucity of thought he put into the policy is exposed
(b) IDS fails to realise that a landlord is not a party to the bedroom tax decision and of course unaware that the SI governing the Tribunal who find that pesky term FACT as their raison d’etre states who is and is not a “party” to the decision in its definitions and of course the landlord is not a party just a mere third-party despite IDS wanting to have the landlords view as sacrosanct here in September 2013 but not have to provide any view at all in the June 2012 A4/2012 circular
(c) If the landlords word now is sacrosanct as to the number of bedrooms then all every landlord has to do is say each bedsit holds 4 bedrooms and the HB bill rockets by the trifling amount of £6.9 billion per year – which while technically ridding any need of the overcrowding legislation in the 1985 Act which IDS appears to think he can overturn by a DWP circular – would also severely bugger up the economy
At  he reiterates that it is up to the landlord but the landlord should not measure rooms. Anyone tells me how a landlord can deem if a room is capable of fitting in a bed without measuring such rooms?
Ah perhaps IDS is a Les Dawson fan reader “…whether or not a room is large enough to accommodate at least a single bed”
I once had fitted floor to ceiling sliding door wardrobes in my bedroom with a depth of about 3 ft. They could accommodate a single bed standing on its end ergo they were bedrooms though I never allowed my former mother-in-law to hang upside down in repose there.
Also note this says a single bed too which reveals IDS does not even know his own HB regulations which say nothing at all about a single or a double bed. Regulation B(13) says 1 bedroom is allocated for a couple. So IDS thinks couples sleep in single beds then! I see so every room your landlords classifies as a double bedroom is meant for two couple to occupy! Ah a sneaky way of increasing the bedroom tax even further eh IDS!
What this bizarre DWP legal argument states is not that IDS is a rapist, just that he is an incompetent arsehole who zealously seeks to hang on to a zealous ideological policy that wasn’t thought through. This DWP response is seeking permission to appeal cases where the Tribunals have ruled that a room is what it is used for such as a study or any other reasonable alternate use of a room.
What it reveals is that the DWP counter argument to what a room is used for determines what that room is deemed to be is incredibly legally flawed and truly perverse. All of the 481.603 bedroom tax affected households who can argue that they have a reasonable alternate use of a room have absolutely nothing to fear from IDS’s perverse counter argument that if a room is capable of being a bedroom then it is a bedroom.
Two years ago this month and 8 months before it came in, I advocated tenants should appeal the bedroom tax. I spoon fed how you do this here and it will take you 5 minutes to appeal and you have nothing to lose by doing so. I have seen no argument why appealing was wrong then or wrong now and this perverse and risible argument from the Incompetent Despotic Shyster just confirms I was right so get appealing reader!