Socialist Worker

Tories' benefits cuts killed Stephanie Bottrill - Stop the bedroom tax now

Issue No. 2353

Stephanie Bottrill, a pensioner in Solihull, was losing £20 a week because of the bedroom tax. 

The council had nowhere smaller for her to move to after her children left home.

Stephanie was on constant medication for the auto-immune disease Myasthenia gravis and was too ill to work.

She used hot water bottles instead of central heating all winter to save money.

The bedroom tax was the last straw.

Stephanie told her neighbours, “I can’t afford to live”.

Last week she threw herself under a lorry and died.

In her suicide note to her son Steven Stephanie said, “Don’t blame yourself for me ending my life. The only people to blame are the government.”

Anger over Stephanie’s suicide has piled pressure on the government. 

Thousands of people have signed a petition calling on Iain Duncan Smith to resign for indirectly causing her death.

Even Labour’s shadow chancellor Ed Balls joined the criticism, saying the Tories were pushing people to “the brink of despair”.

Steven called on the government to scrap the tax.

“I think my mum wanted to get it out there what happened,” he said. 

“Hopefully now someone will listen. Someone will change things.”

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