Socialist Worker

Birmingham march remembers bedroom tax victim Stephanie Bottrill

Issue No. 2358

A protester in Birmingham

A protester in Birmingham (Pic: Pete Jackson)

More than 300 people marched through Birmingham last Saturday, in memory of Stephanie Bottrill.

They included local Labour MP Richard Burden, trade union branches, and benefits campaigners from South Wales, Nottingham, Manchester, Barnsley, Leeds, Essex and Sussex.

Stephanie killed herself in April after the bedroom tax pushed her deeper into poverty. 

Her suicide note told relatives to blame the government.

Tenant Joan Martin told Socialist Worker she could lose her home of 24 years, having lost her job at Debenhams.

“I get £71 a week, but then there’s the bedroom tax, the council tax and the bills,” she said. “If Iain Duncan Smith really knows how to live on that I wish he’d tell me how.” 

Birmingham was one of 36 councils that called on the government to scrap the bedroom tax last week. 

Labour councillor Lisa Trickett said, “We’re taking measures to avoid evictions, but the bottom line is that people can’t afford to pay. We’re lobbying the Party nationally to come out and say the bedroom tax has to go.”

Eileen Short from the national Anti Bedroom Tax and Benefit Justice Federation got the biggest applause at the rally. 

She called for councils to refuse to evict tenants in arrears.

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