The welfare reform death toll has risen by one more tragic victim the Sunday People is reporting. The papers says:
Ten days ago Stephanie Bottrill sat in the redbrick terrace house which had been home for 18 years to write notes to her loved ones, the Sunday People reports .
She ripped the pages from a spiral-bound notebook and placed them neatly in little brown envelopes.
There was one for her son. Another for her daughter. Her mother. Friends. And a very special one for the year-old grandson she doted on.
Then in the early hours of last Saturday Stephanie, 53, left her home for the last time, leaving her cat Joey behind as the front-door clicked shut.
She crossed her road in Meriden Drive, Solihull, to drop one of her letters and her house keys through a neighbour’s letterbox. Then she walked 15 minutes through the sleeping estate to Junction 4 of the M6.
And at 6.15am she walked straight into the path of a northbound lorry and was killed instantly. Stephanie Bottrill had become the first known suicide victim of the hated Bedroom Tax.
In the letter to her son, Steven, 27, she had written: “Don’t blame yourself for me ending my life. The only people to blame are the Government.”
This is what happens when people are left with nothing at all, something the millionaire scum in Government will never understand. Money runs out for most of us, and very quickly if you are on benefits. It’s hard to even think about anything else if you have no money. If it goes on for days, or weeks or longer it can be torture. Even before welfare reforms the benefits system was not generous. It did contain some strange anomalies, usually down to the huge cost of renting in some parts of the UK, but people on benefits were already living in dire poverty. It was landlords living it up, not claimants. Yet a handful of unusual cases – often large homeless families in expensive, emergency housing – have been presented as the norm and used as cover to slash social security even further.
When you take away money from people in already in poverty it drives them to destitution. Desperate people do desperate things. Yes there will always be a complex combination of factors in tragic deaths such as these. But homelessness, hunger and despair are not trivial matters that can be cleared up with a bit of counselling or a work related activity meeting with some welfare-to-work poverty pimp. They don’t go away – not without money. So whilst Iain Duncan Smith hands out billions to Atos, A4e and his friends in the private sector remember Stephanie Bottrill. She didn’t need incentivising, assessing, motivating to find those ‘hidden vacancies’ or any other bullshit. She was too ill to work, and there aren’t any vacancies, hidden or otherwise in many parts of the UK.
She needed twenty quid a week because she was poor and couldn’t pay her rent and was going to lose her home. What little she had in this world, this Government took away, and now she is dead. And she was someone’s mum. The price of her life was just half of what Iain Duncan Smith spends on breakfast in a day, let alone a week.
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