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Bedroom Tax Blamed For Woman's Suicide

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
http://news.sky.com/story/1089813/bedroom-tax-blamed-for-womans-suicide
A woman who committed suicide left a note blaming the Government's so-called bedroom tax for her death.

Stephanie Bottrill, who killed herself earlier this month, wrote in her final letter: "I don't [blame] anyone for me death expect [sic] the government."

Her son Steven, 27, said she was struggling to cope after being told to pay £20-a-week extra for two under-occupied bedrooms at her home in Solihull.

He told the Sunday People: "I couldn't believe it. She said not to blame ourselves, it was the Government and what they were doing that caused her to do it.

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

Ms Bottrill died 10 days ago. She was 53.

In the days running up to her death she had told neighbours: "I can't afford to live any more."

I'm surprised this hasn't been posted on here yet. It's very sad news and there is no getting away from the fact that the so called "bedroom" tax will have contributed to this woman's desperation. It's mentioned in the media (though I have no idea have accurate) that she was unfit to work but never registered as disabled so didn't claim any benefits.

I honestly am shocked whenever I hear news about things like this, and it saddens me that people either can't reach out for help from charity or her family, or others don't see the signs of someone being in deep trouble. I wonder how much stress was contributed by the "bedroom tax" along with having an empty house after both her children moved out.

As I've never dealt with serious mental health issues of my own, I do find it scary that someone can go downhill so quickly and can't help but wonder what other factors might have been at play, but which we know nothing of.

Comments

  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Her local council is partly to blame - they should have been in contact with her about what her options were. But her family should have spoken to her - if they could see something wasn't right then why didn't they intervene? Why didn't any healthcare professionals that had contact with her? Why was she left so unsupported?

    But she won't be the last, I don't think people understand quite how damaging this is, it was just slapped on people without much warning, and even letters from GPs stating you need the extra room for an overnight carer isn't enough.

    I've never understood this registered disabled stuff, there is no such register, yet people ask me am I registered disabled all the time.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I read this on a local newspaper website. Apparently she was already in money troubles long before this 'tax' came in. A neighbour is quoted as saying 'I used to go round in the winter, and it was so cold with only one light on'. She was in the process of being re-homed to a smaller property but, like so many council tenants, they believe because they've lived there a long time the house belongs to them, and she didn't want to move.

    I don't particularly agree with this 'tax' but I also don't agree with a single person taking up a 3 bedroom property when affordable social housing is so scarce.

    I've no idea what level of benefits she's on, but being long term sick she could be on £200+ a week. She got housing benefit so probably got council tax benefit (or whatever it is now) so she could of been getting £180+ (after this tax) a week to live on. That, is a piece of piss to do. But, as I say, I don't know how much she was getting.

    She did not kill herself because she had to £20 a week extra, there's a lot more to this.

    Don't think me unsympathetic, it's tragic that someone got so low that they felt the need to take their own life and I sympathise with her friends and family she left behind. But, if all these people knew what she was going through ( from the article I read and the video in G's post) why (like Ms R said) the fuck didn't they get off their fat butts and do something ?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Miss_Riot wrote: »
    I've never understood this registered disabled stuff, there is no such register, yet people ask me am I registered disabled all the time.

    :yes: It's weird, it's a figure of speech I suppose, but I was asked that when I showed my railcard once by the ticket inspector. I didn't really know what to say.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Pretty much agree with what Rubberskin said.

    It's a hell of a leap to say that the bedroom tax caused her to take her own life. Last straw possibly - but that's probably it. Not that I'm defending the way the bedroom tax has been implemented mind.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    RubberSkin wrote: »
    some stuff

    Yup
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I have a great deal of sympathy for her and her family, but I have to admit I'm rather angry about the way the usual suspects are trying to argue "the bedroom tax killed her". It didn't. To try and claim it did is as disgraceful as the Toryscum claiming welfare benefit "culture" caused those children in Derby to be burned to death.

    I have issues with the way the "bedroom tax" is being implemented on people with disabilities, but I have absolutely no issue with the principle behind the "bedroom tax". It isn't a tax, it is a reduction in benefits for people who are in social housing far bigger than what they need. Admittedly I'm in London but I'm earning the thick end of £30k and, because of the tax I pay on that money, I can only afford to live in a shared flat. I don't see why my tax should be spent on keeping other people in housing far bigger than what they need. I have to go to work every day to afford to live in a shared flat and yes, I deeply resent the fact I'm losing so much of my income in tax and it is being given to support people in housing I couldn't dream of affording.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    piccolo wrote: »
    :yes: It's weird, it's a figure of speech I suppose, but I was asked that when I showed my railcard once by the ticket inspector. I didn't really know what to say.

    They mean do you get dla usually.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Randomgirl wrote: »
    They mean do you get dla usually.

    That's how I interpreted it. I flashed my bus pass and he didn't press.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    From what I have read from various articles it does sound like her doctors may have said she was too ill to work, but she then didn't really do much further about it. Though I do concede that all the different articles I've seen are essentially from the same information. I do imagine that if this poor unfortunate woman hadn't been subject to the bedroom tax than she could very well have killed herself anyway. Interesting point in that in her letter she does blame the government, but not specifically the bedroom tax.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    G-Raffe wrote: »
    From what I have read from various articles it does sound like her doctors may have said she was too ill to work,

    There will be no possible way of ever confirming that. All you have is her family's word, and they're hardly going to say the doctor gave her a clean bill of health.

    I'm with others on this, she was in a 3 bedroomed house on her own and the council had, for some time been trying to downsize her but she was digging her heels in. I just think the council are a convenient scapegoat. Why should I pay a significant proportion of wages in tax and have struggled to afford a 3 bedroomed house when people living on their own can live in one on the cheap?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    We don't know if she was an obsessive horder or what her mental health issues were. Yes she may have killed herself anyway but I think if she had legitimate reasons for not moving (ex: in my area they are moving people as far as 20 miles away because that's where there are smaller properties, and it's breaking apart families which is going to put added pressure onto social services etc). I think if this policy had been rolled in over a number of years that would have made a huge difference to many people.

    If mental health services were involved then the question of why wasn't she better monitored and sectioned should be asked.
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