The Home Office has a specification for the Syrian Refugee (VPR) programme that has some relevance for the bedroom tax and the question of what is and is not a bedroom.
The minimum specification is what the Home Office guidance gives and leaving aside the main double bedroom here is what it says:
And for Bedroom 3 it says:
You will note in both cases (and for the main or double bedroom) that the minimum furniture is a single bed, single mattress and SIGNIFICANTLY for bedroom tax purposes a wardrobe and a chest of drawers that as such gives a minimum bedroom furniture requirement for the storage of clothes.
The post Nelson Upper Tribunal ruling in the Stevenage case (below) said that for a room to be a bedroom and a Nelson-compliant bedroom that it …
“...should be capable of accommodating a single adult bed, a bedside table and somewhere to store clothes (see paragraph 33 of Nelson), as well as providing space for dressing and undressing.”
The Home Office thus believe that a Syrian refugee, who lets face it will have hardly any clothes compared to a UK national given their horrendous necessity to flee, still needs a wardrobe AND a chest of drawers to store his or her clothes.
YET so many First-tier Tribunal decisions and post Nelson too state that a hanging rail is all that is needed – not even a wardrobe and no chest of drawers!!
This minimum housing specification is similar to the Home Office one it issued for the asylum seeker dispersal programme at the turn of the century and which said that the minimum floor size of any bedroom had to be at least 70 square feet – something I remember well as I headed up that programme for a North West council at the time.
Now this Syrian programme is defining the minimum furniture specification of a single bedroom to include what is the minimum acceptable. Quite how the DWP or any tribunal or any local government decision maker can say that a bedroom for bedroom tax purposes does not need to include a wardrobe and a chest of drawers beggars belief.
In these post Brexit vote times of heightened immigrant hating and racist hysteria perhaps the Daily Mail would care to run an article that these foreigners get a higher standard of accommodation than us Brits?