Bedroom Tax – Let’s all cost IDS £1.26 billion per year and get rid

Jeremy Corbyn tweets a story in today’s Mirror which says that the Tories are to spend more in legal fees appealing last weeks Court of Appeal defeat than the ruling would cost them to implement.

corbyn bedroom tax

IDS is prepared to waste taxpayer’s money in spitting out his dummy is the implication and it’s a correct implication.

So is what is good for the goose good for the gander?

When 449,151 bedroom tax households get their new bedroom tax decision notices in March this year, which on average cuts their housing benefit by £795.72 per year then ALL 449,151 could appeal this decision which is their right and if they did then each First-tier Tribunal costs central government £2,800.

The bedroom tax cuts saves government £357.4 million [449,151 x £795.72] yet if everyone appealed the decision then 449,151 bedroom tax appeals will cost government £1.26 billion – or 3.5 times what they wish to save from it.

For every £1 allegedly saved, the government would be spending out £3.50 to defend that decision in simple terms.

Every one has a right of appeal against the decision to impose it and they SHOULD use that right.

It costs nothing to appeal and it would severely damage the policy by a form of lawful direct action.

All it takes is a letter with a signature within one month of receiving the HB decision notice and handed in to your local council’s one stop shop or office.

Sample letter to explain the simplicity of this below.

Include the date and your HB reference number and/or NI number and say as an opening paragraph the following.

Dear sirs,

I request that you reconsider your housing benefit decision dated dd/mm/2016 as I maintain you have not considered all relevant circumstances of my individual case which the Upper Tribunal state you must do as the decision maker in paragraph 54 of the three judge panel in [2014] UKUT 0525 (AAC).

Then you need to say (a) why you maintain a room is NOT a bedroom and then (b) sign it and hand it in.

There are many reasons you could give as to why you maintain the room or rooms upon which you have been deducted bedroom tax are not a bedroom and I cover some of these at the end (also in blue.)

The key issue is that you appeal as part of a direct action protest which is lawful and a legitimate form of protest – else you would not have the right to appeal in the first place – and these appeals all going to the tribunal service would cost central government £2,800 each.

All it takes is one letter with a signature.  Your council’s HB department then have to conduct a reconsideration of the decision and say, in writing to you, why they maintain the original decision was correct to impose the bedroom tax.

Then you could email your council’s HB department (this second step does not necessarily need a signature though the first step does, hence a letter) to say you disagree with their decision and require the matter go to the tribunal.

One letter and one email is all it takes.

Is 1 letter and 1 email worth the trouble to potentially save £795.72 per year?  Of course it must be and note many of the 449,151 bedroom tax cases could have very legitimate reasons of appeal.

If EVERYONE appealed which I restate is your absolute right, then this would cause an almighty political stink as well as cost the government much more than they could possibly save.  So what!

The fact such a direct action protest would bring the matter to a head and do to IDS what he is now doing by using taxpayers money to appeal the Court of Appeal decisions which will cost more to appeal than the government gets if it wins – is example the same principle.

Do unto IDS as he is doing unto you!!

____________________

Some valid and arguable reasons why a room is not a bedroom are below and kept deliberately short.

  1. I maintain that 1 room is not a bedroom as it does not conform to the minimum size requirements in order to be a functional bedroom in accordance with Tudor Walters issues as stated in paragraph [55] of the above 3JP case
  2. I maintain that 1 room is not a bedroom as of its unusual design and layout 
  3. I maintain that 1 room is not a bedroom as to put a bed in that room would deny access to a built-in cupboard
  4. I maintain 1 room is not a bedroom as it has no window
  5. I maintain that 1 room is not a bedroom as it is not ventilated in the same way as other bedrooms
  6. I maintain that 1 room is not a bedroom as it is not heated as other bedrooms
  7. I maintain that 1 room is not a bedroom as it is needed for therapeutic other uses.
  8. I maintain that 1 room is not a bedroom as it is not of normal height
  9. I maintain that 1 room has a sloping roof and it not a bedroom

All of the above are very legitimate legal reasons why a room is not a bedroom even if the landlord says it is a bedroom and you only need to add one reason in the original letter and in addition to the opening paragraph as drafted.

There will be and are dozens more reasons that have all been upheld at tribunals or in which the decision has been changed before the matter going to a tribunal.

One such reason which was an example of common sense and good practice was a case where an 8 year old girl and her 5 year old brother were sharing a bedroom which is what the regulations say.  Two children of opposite sexes can share a room if both under 10.

Yet the 8 year old girl started her periods and after discussion and consideration the council bedroom tax decision maker agreed that the girl needed a bedroom of here own which she clearly did.  Note too that the NHS have this on their website:

Most girls start their periods when they’re about 12, but they can start as early as 8, so it’s important to talk to girls from an early age to make sure they’re prepared before the big day.

So we see the NHS admitting that some girls start their period as young as 8 years of age.

Regrettably many councils believe they do not have the discretion to do this and must stick rigidly with 2 children under 10 must share a room for bedroom tax purposes.  However every council decision maker DOES have discretion and they are free to determine in the individual circumstances that the housing need in terms of bedrooms was not 1 for the 8 year old girl and her 5 year old brother, but, as a matter of correctness 2 bedrooms or a bedroom each.

The example above is used because it illustrates what I drafted in the opening paragraph of the letter above in the council decision maker considering all relevant circumstances on a case by case basis which is what paragraph 54 of the legal precedent says.  In discussing what is and is not a bedroom and how decision makers approach that question paragraph [54] says:

We also agree with the Secretary of State that the choice by Parliament of a test using an undefined familiar or ordinary English word supports the view that Parliament intended to allow decision makers to take account of all relevant circumstances on a case by case basis

All relevant circumstances on a case by case basis is discretion for the decision maker and so decision makers – and they are your local councils HB department and no one else – have to consider my points 1 – 9 above and also have to consider the much rarer examples of an 8 year girl starting her periods as I illustrate.

In summary, the most important issue and for me the quickest way to get rid of the bedroom tax is if all 449,151 households who are currently affected write 1 letter and then insist in 1 email their council refers their individual case to tribunal to cost the government £2,800 or so.

Do unto IDS as he is doing unto you!

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27 thoughts on “Bedroom Tax – Let’s all cost IDS £1.26 billion per year and get rid

  1. IF ONLY!!! Every single day on Facebook Bedroom Tax groups you can read of people who know absolutely, nothing about appealing. OR, applying for a DHP. There is a lot of confusion, over the two.
    This is besides the thousands of people who must be affected. And who have no internet access.
    So, go under the radar.
    All, we can do is keep trying to reach people with the facts.
    There are so many tenants who are just paying it. And have been since the beginning.
    And the many, who can’t afford to eat and/or heat.

    Another, huge issue is the many councils who are using DLA as income when applying for a DHP. And this remains, unchallenged.

    1. Debbie, take a step back as you are putting the cart before the horse.

      If everyone appealed the bedroom tax would collapse due to its cost so therefore ALL other issues such as taking DLA into consideration for a DHP go with it.

      The post says as simply as possibly to appeal, why to appeal and how to appeal.

      While understandable that many get emotive about the bedroom tax, the way to beat it is to put those emotions aside and appeal. The process is simple so everyone affected needs to take that one step back and the post tells them how to do that and appeal

      1. I’m not in any way, trying to detract from tenants appealing. Of course, everyone must appeal!!
        I’m just pointing out the pit falls of getting the facts out there. So, people have the knowledge…..

        Advertising in the newspapers is one option. Maybe the Daily Mirror would run such a story. And inform people how to do it??

  2. If only our newpapers weren’t in the pocket of Scameron – Then we could put out an advert – That might get the word out to more people who don’t have internet access.

    I will appeal, even though I reckon they will say the less than 70sq foot room is perfectly fine – I will appeal anyways as this is a cruel and evil thing to do to people – If it were about fereing up council houses then people lucky enough to be able to pay their rent and not have housing benefit would also be targeted – But they – If they can afford to pay the rent – Can happily live in a 5 bed house and only need one bedroom – But they are fine – Its only the poorest people who need HB that get attacked by this evil policy after they tell you you need ‘this much’ to live on and then take half of it away!

    Thank You

  3. Joe I take it that is also a response to Gavin Smart’s comments about the Court of Appeal judgement? 😉
    I asked my landlord Riverside to explain if they would do like Coast & Country have done re bedroom tax, back when Coast & Country came out with it. Am still waiting to hear back from them!

    1. No Chris its not. Its just a simple and lawful direct action protest. All it takes is every bedroom tax affected household to cut and copy the text and then hand in a letter which is signed. That is the tenant’s right and as simple as it gets

  4. Maybe the Daily Mirror and the Sunday people could run this as a story. With the template letter. It could reach all those that have no internet access. And all those who don’t know they can appeal??

  5. Is it this bit I am cutting and pasting please? – I can do that 🙂 Thanks –

    Dear sirs,

    I request that you reconsider your housing benefit decision dated dd/mm/2016 as I maintain you have not considered all relevant circumstances of my individual case which the Upper Tribunal state you must do as the decision maker in paragraph 54 of the three judge panel in [2014] UKUT 0525 (AAC).

    Then you need to say (a) why you maintain a room is NOT a bedroom and then (b) sign it and hand it in.

  6. Not sure I will win but I wil as ir is a very smal lroom but you can fit a bed and a wardrobe in it, but – I will appeal anyways as they BOUGHT this place to rent to me as they didnt have anywhere for me – So – It is ridiculous to charge me when they know damned well there aint nowhere for me to move to! (Tho i guess there might be now ten years on – either way this bedroom tax is evil and cruel and I hate them for it and for what they are doing to peoples lives)

  7. Question -= Why do people on these BT sites keep saying we need for GL24? I just downloaded and read this form and at the top it says the below…… So I assume we do not need this form GL24 that everyone keeps telling me we need.(I will just write a letter as you said above – Thanks)

    Please note: You must only use this leaflet if you are appealing against a decision made before 28 October 2013. If your decision was made on or after this date, you must not use this leaflet. Your decision notification tells you what to do if you think our decision is wrong

    1. The GL24 form was used for ALL welfare benefit appeals prior to 28 October 2013. From that date all welfare benefit appeals BUT NOTE NOT HOUSING BENEFIT APPEALS SUCH AS BEDROOM TAX – now have to go through mandatory reconsideration (MR) first before they get to a tribunal.

      Housing Benefit decisions do NOT go through this MR and go direct to tribunal.

      Footnote – Bedroom Tax appeals if you are on Universal Credit DO go through mandatory reconsideration first however

  8. So – I not have a date for my son moving out – When all this will start – 18th Feb – I am assuming after that I write to the council and to the housing (and possibly DWP?) to inform them that he has moved out
    Could you please tell me the words that I say in the letter informing them that he has moved out – Or do I just wait until after they attack me with BT – Many Thanks for your help

    1. Once your Son, does move out. You will need to inform Housing Benefit. Straight away. This is a change in circumstances. Just give the facts. Then you can put an appeal in. You don’t need to inform the DWP. Make sure you only deal with them in writing. And keep copies of all letters.

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