'Bedroom tax' cited after suicide

The Coalition's so-called bedroom tax has been called into question after the family of a woman who blamed the Government for her death in a suicide note said she was struggling to cope with paying the controversial spare room subsidy.

Live updates

Neighbour calls for more support over 'bedroom tax'

A neighbour of Stephanie Bottrill has said there must be more support in place for vulnerable people affected by the "bedroom tax".

Deborah, who declined to give her full name, said local residents had raised a collection to help pay for Ms Bottrill's funeral on Saturday.

"She spoke to us over the fence and said they'd offered her three places; one was a flat which was no good to her because of her condition, one was in Shirley and wasn't near a bus stop, and another was in Alton, further away," she said.

"I think, because she loved her garden, the thought of moving away from her friends and into something like a one-bed bungalow has had that effect," Deborah added.

"We're professional people, and I understand the underlying reasons why you need the bedroom tax," she said. "But there should be support in place - like a key worker or a housing officer - to say to these people who are having to move 'are you happy? do you understand?' and to give them support."

Samaritans is available for anyone in any type of distress on 08457 90 90 90 in the UK or visit their website www.samaritans.org

Grandmother's suicide note blames Government

The family of grandmother Stephanie Bottrill have shared the suicide note in which she blamed the Government for her decision to take her own life.

"Don't blame yourself for me ending my life," she wrote to her son Steven. "The only people to blame are the Government."

He has since said his 53-year-old mum, from Solihull in the West Midlands, could not cope with the financial burden of the new "bedroom tax".

Samaritans is available for anyone in any type of distress on 08457 90 90 90 in the UK or visit their website www.samaritans.org

Advertisement

Balls: 'Bedroom tax' is driving people to edge of despair

Shadow chancellor Ed Balls has said "there is no doubt" the Government's controversial "bedroom tax" is driving people to "the edge of despair".

Mr Balls was commenting after a family of a woman who committed suicide blamed the pressure of the tax for contributing to her death.

"There is no doubt that this policy is driving people to the edge of despair in their many thousands across the country," Mr Balls told Sky News.

He said: "David Cameron and George Osborne and Iain Duncan Smith should stand back from the rhetoric, which is always a little bit nasty and a little bit divisive, and say: 'What are we actually doing here?'"

Samaritans is available for anyone in any type of distress on 08457 90 90 90 in the UK or visit their website www.samaritans.org

Family blame 'bedroom tax' pressure for woman's death

The family of a woman who blamed the Government for her death in a suicide note said she was struggling to cope with paying the so-called bedroom tax, the Sunday People has reported.

Stephanie Bottrill's relatives told the paper she was worried about how she would afford the £20 extra a week for the two under-occupied bedrooms in her home - money she owed because of the Government's spare room subsidy policy.

Ms Bottrill, who died on May 4, left a letter to her son Steven, which said: "Don't blame yourself for me ending my life. The only people to blame are the Government," the paper reports.

There have been protests against the Government's "bedroom tax". Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

He told the newspaper: "She was fine before the bedroom tax. It was dreamt up in London, by people in offices and big houses. They have no idea the effect it has on people like my mum."

Solihull Council Labour group leader David Jamieson, who knows the family, told the newspaper: "I'm absolutely appalled this poor lady has taken her own life because she was worried about how she would pay the bedroom tax."

Samaritans is available for anyone in any type of distress on 08457 90 90 90 in the UK or visit their website www.samaritans.org

Back to top