UK BEDROOM TAX – Legal minimum size of a bedroom confirmed by appeal courts 16 September 2014 at 11:11

Legal minimum size of a bedroom confirmed by appeal courts

16 September 2014 at 11:11

This coalition government DO have a minimum room size and minimum room width and a detailed specification of what constitutes a bedroom and below is a game changer in the bedroom tax and especially in appealing this ill-conceived policy.

In the bedroom tax everything hinges on the term ‘bedroom’ as Housing Benefit is only reduced (the ‘bedroom tax’) if you have a spare bedroom. Nothing is deducted for a spare toilet or any other spare room, it is only on a spare bedroom, however defined.

Until now it has been believed there is no definition of the term bedroom and the DWP infamously issued the U6 HB circular in September 2013 to say a bedroom is merely a room that can accommodate a single bed.

Yet in August 2013 this coalition government put out a highly detailed definition of what is a single bedroom, a twin bedroom and a double bedroom.  A single bedroom the government say measures at least 75.55 square feet in floor space and includes:

  • A bed
  • A wardrobe
  • A chest of drawers
  • A bedside cabinet
  • A table and chair

And with access space in between the above so the bed can be made and the wardrobe can be accessed and also further activity space for which they give the example of room to get dried after a bath or shower and room in which to get dressed.

This is a game changer for the bedroom tax appeals.  The government cannot hide behind IDS’s nonsense and for me legal fiction that a bedroom is merely a room that can fit in a single bed and nothing more.

I am urging every bedroom tax affected household to ask their local council to review all of the 481,000 decisions in which a room is deemed to be a bedroom when it is less than this 75.35 square feet and / or is not of a size to accommodate all of the above items of normal bedroom furniture.  If your council does not revise its decision then I am urging all to formally appeal to a Tribunal on the ground that the disputed room is not a bedroom as it fails to meet the government’s own definition of a bedroom.

What does the Government’s definition say?

Fig 1 – The Requirement

hs requirements all

Note well point 1.3 above which says that ALL bedrooms should provide a minimum area and minimum width.

Figure 2 – The Minimum size and width

hs bedroom size

The minimum size in floor space of a SINGLE bedroom is 7.0 square metres or 75.35 square feet and the room must have a minimum width of 2.15 metres or 7 feet 1 inch.

A DOUBLE bedroom (or twin) needs to be 11 square metres or 118.41 square feet with a minimum width of 2.55 metres or 8 feet 5 inches.

Yet the government, this coalition government go much more detailed into what a bedroom is and needs to include and the above dimensions are minimums and assume a regular shaped room.  A bedroom needs to include typical items of bedroom furniture that a fair minded observer – the legal doctrine of the man on the Clapham omnibus – would include and say are reasonable in a single, twin or double bedroom

Figure 3 – What a bedroom must include according to Government

hs furniture schedule

The above is in list form but you can see a SINGLE bedroom has to have a bed, a wardrobe, a chest of drawers etc all of which have a typical size for a room to be deemed a bedroom according to this coalition government.  This is a government definition of bedroom lets not forget

The government also says there is a need for typical access and activity space in a bedroom

Figure 4 – Bedroom Furniture Schedule

hs bedroom space furniture


Everything hinges upon the definition of a bedroom in the bedroom tax and one of my earliest arguments back in January 2012 was how can you tax something you refuse to define?  Yet we have a government definition of what constitutes a bedroom and a definition which is the government’s position on what is a bedroom has been since at least at least August 2013 when they released it.

The DWP said in the bizarre U6 HB Circular of September 2013 that a bedroom is a room that can fit a single bed in it, just that and nothing more.  That has always been a nonsense and legal fiction yet some tribunal judges have ruled that way citing the absence of a definition of bedroom and going along with the knee jerk view the DWP expressed in the U6 of September 2013.

The DWP has also argued in seeking permission from the Upper Tribunal to appeal decisions it has lost that any room which is capable of being a bedroom is a bedroom and citing this U6 circular.  Yet the above is the coalition’s own definition of what a room needs to be to be capable of being deemed a (single) bedroom which it says is so much more than a room that can fit a single bed in it!

Where is this government definition to be found?

It is the “Housing Standards Review” from the Department of Communities and Local Government or CLG which is the government department that looks after housing.  In August 2013 they issued a consultation paper and with that part 2 was called “Illustrative Technical Standards” which contains all the drawings used here.

The Housing Standards Review is an attempt to set a national standard of minimum housing size and quite cynically some say it reduces the overall size of new properties.  However, that is another issue for another day notwithstanding that we have the smallest house sizes in Europe.  The real issue is that we do have a coalition government definition of bedroom and that is hugely significant.

The DWP cannot argue that the term bedroom’ is merely a room in which merely a single bed fits and nothing else.  They cannot state this is the government position because another government department and the one which is responsible for housing in CLG says a very different thing.

Some of the naysayers we chirp up that this is not a definition in legislation or regulations.  They are right it is not; yet the purpose of the Tribunal is to find fact in the absence of a definition in regulation or legislation and Tribunal judges rightly adopt a position of what would a reasonable fair minded person say is a bedroom – the legal doctrine of the man on the Clapham omnibus.

The phrase ‘man on the Clapham omnibus’ was reviewed by the UK Supreme Court in the case of Healthcare at Home Limited v. The Common Services Agency [2014] UKSC

“The Clapham omnibus has many passengers. The most venerable is the reasonable man, who was born during the reign of Victoria but remains in vigorous health. Amongst the other passengers are the right-thinking members of society, familiar from the law of defamation, the officious bystander, the reasonable parent, the reasonable landlord, and the fair-minded and informed observer, all of whom have had season tickets for many years”

Would the man on the Clapham omnibus, or a fair minded member of the public if you will, say a single bedroom for everyday use is a room with a bed a chest of drawers, a wardrobe and space to make the bed and to get dressed reasonable?  Yes he would.

This, in short, and there are many other arguments, is why this is a game changer.  It matters little that this definition is found in a document that aims to reduce overall property sizes or does it matter that it is not a definition found in legislation or regulations; we have a government definition and a highly detailed definition of the central question in the bedroom tax policy of what is a bedroom.  It is not an unreasonable definition and accords with what a reasonable person would say a bedroom is and constitutes and it comes from the same government that IDS is a part of.

It cannot hold that any Tribunal can accord with the narrow IDS view of a bedroom being a room with just a single bed in it and not can any local authority administering the scheme too.  Of course LAs will not change as it costs them too much to make a proper and legally reliable bedroom tax decision and it will only be the Tribunals which do give a legally reliable decision so the bedroom tax affected household will have to go to Tribunal to get one.  That will cost central government a fortune and if it does then that is its own and the First Tier Tribunals with their remit and purpose of fact finding are going to be very busy.

You can only work with what you’ve got…

You can only work with what you’ve got…

A bad phone call is a bad phone call.

Scratchy patchy fuzzy sounding. To any local court it might be the very call that should have convicted a rapist, but didn’t.

With this kit behind the victim that call would have been analysed by technology used by governments, hospitals, research laboratories. What could end up being presented at court, with the full weight of high level analytics is a recording that takes the rapist out of circulation whilst restoring some honor to the victim.

This kit can be designed with a powerful open front end. All the user has to do is start talking, or shouting, or screaming… if the input from that user is unexpected then the technology being focused on that input ramps up too.

So, if the user speaks calmly in the expected dialect with a ‘normal’ taxonomy then standard technology like Nina from Nuance or Voxeo’s Prophesy can easily handle not only what is being said but in many cases know how to handle that command directly.

However if it is someone shouting in Swahili in the middle of rural Wales then Autonomy and it’s language independence jumps into play – it can focus down to the root of the language based on phonemes so it can even get a measure of understanding even if the language itself isn’t one that has been optimized. By asking a few more questions based on the words inputted the system then knows what it needs to do. Something or nothing.

Real-time analysis has been going on from the start of the conversation. If there is panic, fear even terror in the sounds being analysed then focusing in on the source of that call is set in motion, If the words ‘Police’ or ‘HELP’ or any other recognizable cry for help in any language then the emergency services are alerted with as many details as possible – if they need to connect in with the call they can easily do so – all of this is fully recorded.

Until the ‘victim’ or client has been restored to equilibrium the kit keep the case as live. Nothing can stop the kit from interfering to make sure all has been handled properly regarding resolution of the initial problem, and any other problems triggered by the event, whatever it was. We expect change in our lives, even though we might not like it, we expect disasters of one kind or another to change our lives too, however there are some events that happen that should be helped with and sorted out so the scarring and damage don’t rule the whole of the rest of someone’s, or some groups, lives.

So this kit not only anchors the incident, only letting go when the incident is resolved, but it also actively works on that incident with all the tools that incident needs for its resolution.

This is not a purely mechanical digital setup. People add their own input and can allow that input to be used as answers for someone else’s input. Obviously a lot of the answers will come from output already there on the web and in different libraries of all sorts of user useful information. Only by asking a question will the kit know where to look and eventually find an answer, if there is one. People are used where people can add that wisdom or knowledge or experience that a solution needs. So where the machinery fails the task is handed over to humans to re define the parameters of the first conversation and find a satisfactory answer, if there is one.

The better the fidelity of the call the more information can be gleaned more speedily, for the benefit of the client.

As with ‘the more ‘normal’ the client’s voice and word useage the better and easier the fulfilling of the mission so it is with higher quality sound input.

But it is also different in that with higher quality sound there is more that can be run successfully on the input in order to find out immeasurably more about the client, their state of mind, of health, of well being. That data from that input and successive inputs is refined until a highly accurate profile is helping the client to better achieve their own goals.

…whilst also helping with those problem days or those problem moments… which is where this kit covers itself financially so that it can then do an amazingly cheap job of helping sort out distress and the like.

Unless you just get the major players to install this at their own expense so that from soon onwards we can all have this kit and all it’s possible help tools as part of our everyday lives.

A new web based/mobile disaster portal for helping in the Philipinnes ASAP

@msurman Philippines disaster version of FF. HPAutonomy/IBMWatson core ASAP. http://About.Me/markaldiss … and hello from a long time ago Namaste

Autonomy is already there in many of the systems being used in large organisations – and can be easily and readily hooked into any system using IBM Webspheres. (or indeed any systems that it is given access too)

Autonomy and IBMWatson (which is going Cloud in 2014) and others (Nuance, Voxeo etc)  are the main core of this – pearltrees is not. you can build and use pearltrees using this kit but it is not a major component – rather just one of the thousands upon thousands of tools that can be accessed using this kit . my pearl trees setup is just for info dissemination and collation
as are all the blogs sites etc on the list on http://About.Me/markaldiss …
This kit can take in EVERY PROGRAMMING LANGUAGE and then use any outcome from any programme to fulfill the task/s set for it
Put any data in a computer and it is already understood
because the us army uses Autonomy kit its already there with the Marine Expeditionary forces and, as far as i know, the US Pacific fleet
people need it – your friend in the Philippines needs this now –
it is EASY
forward this to your friends
Thank you for your help
You have added a lot of positive buzz in a short space of time (-:
Namaste Sue _/\_

Autonomy (Cambridge) said “YES” from 2004 to 2012

Autonomy (Cambridge) said “YES” from 2004 to 2012

They agreed to build this (from 2004) because they liked it and because their technology could do it

The last time they said yes to building it was in December 2012

The idea behind “projectbrainsaver / hightechheadhelper / TellYourPhone / HeadHelp.Me

The use of language independent Meaning Based Computing technology from HP and other industry Standard, Best Quality, technology from companies such as Nuance, Voxeo, IBM, etc., coupled with voice biometrics, voice stress analysis and personal profiling to enable an individual to more accurately understand their own (or group’s) problems, needs, wants and desires and then help them find better answers, directions, connections, etc., in order to achieve the results needed for that individual’s (or group’s) benefit.”

It wasn’t just Autonomy that liked the idea

Representatives, and private individuals, from companies, groups and NGO’s as diverse as IBM, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Gwynedd County Council, Gaia Technologies, S.A.L.T. Bangor, Telstra, Conexant, 451 Group, UNICT Task Force, WSIS, ITU,, Nuance, Neighbourhood Watch,

The police, Travellers, Craftspeople, computer programmers, network engineers, accountants, professors (in fact people from all walks of life)……….

I talked with people with memory problems, and their carers if they had one, or more

I researched and read over 11,000 PDF files withing the first few years ( don’t know what the count is now)



That’s how much a trial will cost, or there abouts.

20,000 all putting in £20 crowd funding maybe – most of this is handed to Autonomy to configure and run the trial.

NOTE: ANYONE can hand Autonomy the money and have the trial up and running – Please do! It’s all built with off-the-shelf components. Decide your use, pull together your HL Scoping doc and get building! They know what to do.

I want this for disasters and for personal distress, you can have it for whatever you want it for.


I started looking at the need for this because of Rwanda 2002, Thomas Hamilton, Dunblaine, Columbine and my friends who committed suicide when everyone thought they were just ‘a bit down’… and for Shapelle Corby, for the Janice Sharps of this World, for Leonard Peltier and all original people and any and all fights between single individuals and governments, corporations etc., in fact any injustice or ‘head bang’ that needs sorting out sooner, rather than later

Web 10 – The helpful Web – in place by 2014/10

  • Global
  • Personal
  • local
  • regional
  • national
  • international
  • Call Centres
  • Data Centres
  • ISP’s
  • Telecom Providers
Contact Info
  • projectbrainsaver
  • The Cwm Consultancy
  • The Craft Marketing Company Ltd
  • Crofter Magazine
  • Unemployed
  • Self Employed
  • Long Term ‘Disability’
  • Excellent for lifelong learning
  • Personal high powered help system
  • Full understanding of ALL input for advanced memory help
  • TBL’s ‘Intelligent Web’
  • Language Independent
  • Personal ‘Baggage’ sorter (problems from the past)
  • Right’s Based
  • Holistic Health apps
  • World Repairing
  • New Universal (working for all people) monetary System
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • IVR
  • IBMWatson
  • Scaleable
  • Automatic taxonomy generation
  • Automatic infrastructure
  • Cognitive computing
  • personal Autonomy






Call Centres

Data Centres


Telecom Providers


The Cwm Consultancy

The Craft Marketing Company Ltd

Crofter Magazine


Self Employed

Long Term ‘Disability’

Excellent for lifelong learning

Personal high powered help system

Full understanding of ALL input for advanced memory help

TBL’s ‘Intelligent Web’

Language Independent

Personal ‘Baggage’ sorter (problems from the past)

Right’s Based

Holistic Health apps

World Repairing

New Universal (working for all people) monetary System


Artificial Intelligence




Automatic taxonomy generation

Automatic infrastructure

Cognitive computing

personal Autonomy