UK council housing
A UK house similar to that occupied by Stephanie Bottrill

A grandmother threw herself in front of a speeding lorry because she could not afford to pay the government's controversial new bedroom tax, she said in her suicide note.

Stephanie Bottrill had lived in her council house in Solihull, West Midlands, for 18 years, raising two children there.

Ten days ago, aged 53, she killed herself on the northbound M6 motorway, and in her suicide note wrote, "I don't [blame] anyone for my death except the government."

After the government's new housing benefit reform, dubbed the bedroom tax, came into effect, she found herself having to find an extra £20 a week to pay for two under used bedrooms when her £320 a month housing benefit was cut.

Under the reforms, those in social housing with a spare bedroom can have their housing benefit slashed by £40-£80 a month.

Her relatives say that no suitable alternative accommodation was offered to her.

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

Her son Stephen, 27, 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."

He said that his mother had been diagnosed with auto immune deficiency illness Myasthenia gravis as a child, which left her weak and in need of constant medication.

Despite doctors telling her that she was too ill to work, she never registered as disabled so was not entitled to extra state support.

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

"I hope the government will sit up and take notice and reconsider this policy."

The Samaritans said that "although a catalyst may appear to be obvious, suicide is never the result of a single factor or event and is likely to have several inter-related causes".