In 1918, yes the end of the Great War, some 95 years before the bedroom tax came into operation the minimum size of a (single) bedroom was 65 square feet or 6 square metres. In September 2013 the DWP declared in the HB circular U6 that a bedroom was a room that fits in a single bed measuring 20.67 square feet of 1.8 square metres – LESS THAN ONE THIRD OF THE MINIMUM BEDROOM SIZE OF 1918.
Anyone following the bedroom tax appeal debate will know that the Upper Tribunal lead cases were heard last week of Thursday 18th September and that hearing did NOT just look at whether the overcrowding provisions should be ‘read across’ or not into HB regulations. The hearing was about the central question of what is a bedroom.
Here is what the Ministry of Justice website says about these lead cases:
Reduction for under occupation – Secretary of State appeal on what constitutes ‘bedroom’ by reference to size or use – relevance of statutory space standards
As you can see the Secretary of State Work & Pensions (SSWP) appeal on what constitutes the term ‘bedroom’ with reference to size. It was NOT just about the ‘read across’ of the overcrowding provisions in the 1985 Act in England & Wales and the 1987 Housing (Scotland) Act, it was about the minimum size a room has to be in order to be classed as a bedroom. So the Upper Tribunal may decide a room has to be a minimum of “x” square feet or it may need to include a bed, wardrobe, chest of drawers, etc and be of a size to accommodate that furniture and any access space for making the bed or for getting dressed and undressed as in this governments own preferred minimum bedroom size here.
So many and especially social landlords and their lobbies in CIH and NHF only saw minimum room size in the very narrow and legally procedural aspect of the ‘read across’ and they failed to realise the obvious – that even SSWP’s bizarre and legally perverse notion that a bedroom is a room with just a single bed crammed in and an outwardly opening door is in itself a minimum definition of size, and ironically something IDS as SSWP said he would not be doing in the A4 HB circular of 2012.
The Tudor Walters Committee Report of 1918 – the original Homes fit for Heroes – said that the minimum size of a SINGLE bedroom – note in the bedroom tax the words single or double do not occur – in a house without a parlour is 65 square feet / 6 square metres and in a parlour house the smallest bedroom is 100 square feet or 10.2 square metres.
Hence IDS’s bizarre and perverse U6 HB circular, which I have reported before that the DWP has used in its appeals to the Upper Tribunal here is less than a third of the size of the minimum single bedroom of 1918.
IDS is trying to convince the Upper Tribunal that today’s tenant is worthy of a bedroom a third of the size of a tenant in 1918. Yes I know I keep repeating that but I do so because it is just so bizarre and so surreal and reveals the staggering ineptitude of the policy and the even greater ineptitude and dogma of IDS himself.
What planet is IDS on?