Duplicity -Hypocrisy – Two-faced – Insincerity -Deceit … all terms very apt when it comes to Grant Shapps the former housing minister and former Conservative Party Chair.
Yet for sheer temerity nothing beats the latest wheeze from the acknowledged internet fraudster also known as Sebastian Fox or Michael Green than his latest don’t touch with a bargepole scheme – the Homes for Heroes Foundation.
An article in 24Dash today says:
A new campaign is being set up to stop the “bias” against veterans getting council housing.
The campaign, called Homes for Heroes Foundation, will launch tomorrow with the backing of Lord Robertson and Lord Richards, former NATO secretary general and former chief of defence staff respectively.
Former housing minister Grant Shapps is the founder of the group, aiming to ensure the best housing is available to veterans within the next four years, to coincide with 100 years since the original homes for heroes Housing Act was passed.
Homes for Heroes (fit to live in) was the report done by Sir John Tudor Walters, an eminent and internationally renowned architect who became Paymaster General in Lloyd George’s post WW1 cabinet.
You may have seen reference to “Tudor Walters” in the leading Upper Tribunal bedroom tax case when the three judge panel said any alleged bedroom that is smaller than the Tudor Walters minimum criteria sets off alarm bells that the room is NOT a bedroom.
Grant Shapps was the Housing Minister when the Bedroom Tax was launched and indeed is credited with coming up with the “Spare Room Subsidy” name that the Conservative’s prefer and here is the huge deceit and duplicity of Shapps when we look at what Tudor Walters report said:
The smallest possible acceptable bedroom size is 65 square feet (and 520 cubic feet – meaning a normal ceiling height of 8 feet) and that is for a property with one living room. For a property with two living rooms (a parlour house) the minimum size laid down was 110 square feet.
Yet Shapps who NOW wants to see homes fit for heroes to commemorate a standard of 100 years ago spent his time as Housing Minister saying a bedroom is a room that accommodates a single bed (circa 21 square feet) and nothing more.
What a two-faced hypocritical little shit Grant Shapps is!
That picture above referencing and quoting the Tudor Walters report comes from a Ministry of Health command paper from 1921 and the table is on page 6 and here is its frontispiece:
The report reads like the Ragged Trousered Philanthropist and anyone seeking any history of council / state provided housing history should read it.
There was no housing ministry back in 1921 and housing came under the Ministry of Health who commissioned the Tudor Walters report because British men called up for active service from 1914 were found to have such poor health and the link was made between this ill health and their housing conditions.
In this 1921 Ministry of Health report it states clearly that (a) no funding for housing would be given unless it met the above minimum room specifications; and (b) the majority of local authorities believed the above size standards were too SMALL!
That is pages 6 and 7 of the MoH report and a larger view of the top of page 7 sees this:So either Grant Shapps is a two-faced duplicitous hypocrite who is latching onto the good name of Home for Heroes to try and rest his political career which is not just in the toilet but half-way around the U-bend; or he has had a Damascene moment like IDS’s Easterhouse Epiphany that resulted in the bedroom tax for people’s own good!!
Bedroom Tax Sizes
It was I who gave the Tudor Walters size argument to the Fife Law Centre the day before final submissions were due in the Nelson brothers Upper Tribunal case. I only found it the night before in an obscure PhD thesis and nowhere with perhaps the exception of the British or Bodleian Library is there a paper or digital copy of the Tudor Walters report.
Yet plenty of reference is made to it in the Ministry of Health command paper above, which also sees no paper copy available and the above are from a digitised version online from the University of California that can only be downloaded via a page by page screenshot grab.
As such the Upper Tribunal when they reference it specifically would not have seen sight of the Tudor Walters report and all they had was the basic argument of how can standards of 100 years ago possibly be smaller than today and the version of the above Tudor Walters room size table found in the dissertation which is below.
YET, far more importantly for bedroom tax appeals on size is that the 3JP in the Fife UT specifically mention Tudor Walters report in its judgment and say any room smaller than these minimum sizes sets off alarm bells.
At paragraph  after dismissing that you could import or drop in the minimum bedroom sizes from overcrowding legislation such as the 1985 Housing Act (the in pari materia denial) the 3JP judgment says:
“…the Tudor Waters Report (which relates to the building of houses for soldiers returning from the First World War, and was referred to by the Fife Law Centre in its further submissions), is that the floor areas referred to in them provide cross checks that indicate that (or warning bells that) the room may be too small and thus the need to provide reasons why, in the particular case, either it is or is not too small.”
It may seem bizarre that the 3JP rejected that a bedroom has to be 50 square feet or more in the overcrowding acts, yet also said that a room of less than 65 square feet sets off alarm bells and that all councils as decision makers need to provide the reasons why any room of an absolute minimum of 65 square feet is or is not a bedroom. Yet that is precisely what it does say!
Look a bit closer at the Tudor Walters table and it gives a normal height of all rooms to be 8 feet – the 65 square feet of floor space x height = the cubic feet.
The 3JP case in Fife also say for a room to be a bedroom it needs to be of normal height at [64(ii)] and I fail to see how a tribunal of today can say ‘normal’ height is less than the normal height of 100 years ago.
While I strongly doubt and would advise against any bedroom tax appeal saying a minimum bedroom size is 110 square feet as a literal reading of the Tudor Walters report above says, the issue of 65 square feet is a viable argument, and not only does the Fife 3JP decision leave that door wide open, the fact they say the decision maker (the council HB department) has to provide reasons why a room of 65 square feet or less is or is not a bedroom does place an onus on every local council to come out and measure a disputed room if the tenant challenges the decision.
Shortly, all councils will be issuing the bedroom tax decisions for 2016/17 and they all carry renewed rights of challenge through (a) requesting further information, (b) requiring the council to review each decision and (c) a formal appeal to the tribunal service.
Every tenant affected should request a review as I have said here as this would cost £1.26 billion per year to administer for a policy that reduces housing benefit by £0.357 billion per year!
How good of my old friend Grant Shapps to remind me of homes FIT for heroes in terms of minimum room sizes!
I started to compile some sources here on the number of times Grant Shapps was caught out lying over the bedroom tax but that would at least triple the length of this post. From calling the UN rapporteur “that woman from Brazil” for which he was ultimately pushed to saying to Sky News that his children share a bedroom only for him to retract this when it was pointed out his 3 children did not share a bedroom in his 5 bedroom house!
He is a compulsive liar and charlatan and a blend of Alan B’Astard and Arthur Daley and whichever pseudonym he uses what the hell are the highly reputable armed forces having anything whatsoever to do with him beggars belief.
The same Grant Shapps said the benefit cap would not see homelessness increase (only 55% Shappsy Old Boy!) and that stories of a homeless diaspora from London were scaremongering!
The same Grant Shapps proposed that the homeless live on boats docked out to sea and that people should live on barges to solve the housing supply crisis.
Oh and he also said that social tenants should do their own repairs…
A Yes Minister sketch about him is here that I had almost forgotten about – and yes he does make Jim Hacker seem thoroughly competent!
Oh he also said that the Affordable Rent model would not increase the Housing Benefit bill … I must stop reader as my sides are splitting over this easiest of easy targets for lying buffoon of the decade candidate…
The same Grant Shapps who ruled out any regulation of the private landlord as one of his first decisions upon being made housing minister here
Though Shapps did admit that Cameron misled parliament when the PM said the disabled were exempt – see the BBC report here and so the odd truth does utter from his lips – rare I Grant you….
Though there is only one image that springs to mind about Shapps – that of the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz…
Altogether now for a singalongashapps
I could while away the hours, conferrin’ with the flowers
Consultin’ with the rain.
And my head I’d be scratchin’ while my thoughts were busy hatchin’
If I only had a brain.