A retired gardener took his own life after a change in the benefits system left him owing more than £800 to his local council, an inquest heard.
Malcolm Burge, 66, who lived in a lodge at the City of London cemetery, wrote to the council telling them he was “depressed, stressed and suicidal”, saying: “I have no savings or assets. I am not trying to live, I am trying to survive.”
Speaking after his inquest in Bridgwater, Somerset, his sister Carol Higdon said: “He was a very quiet and proud man. We knew nothing about all this until after his death.”
Burge began claiming benefits when he became a carer to his father. He was forced to leave his job as a gardener at the cemetery and was entitled to housing benefit, council tax benefit and a state and work pension.
Government changes to welfare in January 2013 meant Burge’s…
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