Millions pushed into poverty in energy crisis, warns plumber who helps families for free

3 February 2022, 09:54 | Updated: 3 February 2022, 11:25

James Anderson - Cost of Living

By Sarah Collins

A plumber who spent £57,000 helping more than 10,000 vulnerable families fix their heating and plumbing for free says the energy crisis will push millions into poverty.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

James Anderson from Lancashire set up Depher CIC as an emergency plumbing and heating repair charity in 2017 to support elderly, vulnerable people but he’s now expanded to help families after seeing more and more customers struggle with rising energy costs.

He’s helping people across the country with food parcels and heating repairs. He’s raising money to try and meet a surge in demand for help.

“Last week we had 137 families contact us for food, electric and gas alone, I’ve just had a gentleman rung me who has seen a 72% rise in his fuel bills already and that’s before April gets here,” he said.

“I ordered a food parcel for a family in Liverpool; mum, dad and two children and there was nothing in the cupboards, they were bare.”

Read more: Minister challenged over VAT cut for families as crippling energy price hike looms

Read more: Voters can drop Tories if Levelling Up promises are broken, Tory MP declares

LBC spent time with James ahead of an announcement by the energy regulator Ofgem on how much bills for around 22 million households can rise from the beginning of April. It’s expected the cap will rise by 50%.

Millions currently have their energy bills capped at £1,277 for an average household. It’s believed that this could rise to around £1,900 from April 1 when the new price cap comes into force.

James says the people he sees have already seen a big jump in their gas and electric bills on top of rising food prices.

Government minister reacts to energy price hike

He said the situation is already desperate.

“Two weeks ago, I went to a family in Wakefield, they had heating, no hot water and no food and a child said to me, 'I thought I was going to die',” he said.

“No child should think that, no child should think they’re going to die because their parents can’t feed them, that’s the biggest disgrace of this country.”

Read more: Boris Johnson 'faces 12k fines for party breaches' as three more Tories call for him to go

Read more: Russia is 'flexing muscles unnecessarily' as RAF intercepts bombers, Minister tells LBC

Calls have intensified in recent weeks for the Government to step in to help struggling households.

“Getting rid of VAT on energy bills wouldn’t be enough to stop the poverty that’s coming,” he said.

“They need to cap the rise at 10% and get rid of VAT at the same time, even if it’s only just for a year cut VAT and give people a chance.

“I’ve spoken to families, and they’ve told me they’ve been to the foodbank, and they’ve contacted the supplier, and they’re at a point where any extra money they did have is going on the rising cost of living, these are working families and they have nothing.

“The government have to do something, it’ll get to the point where the poor aren’t getting poor, they’re dying.”

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

The case against Donald Trump has been thrown out.

Florida judge dismisses classified documents case against Donald Trump

Gareth Southgate

Gareth Southgate deserves to leave England gracefully. A knighthood could keep everyone happy

England players return home after Euros final heartbreak amid speculation over Southgate's future as Three Lions boss

England players return home after Euros final heartbreak amid speculation over Southgate's future as Three Lions boss

Spanish police reportedly carried on searching for the missing teen despite publicly calling off the search

How Spanish police 'discreetly' continued looking for Jay Slater's body after publicly calling off search

Live
The remains were found near Jay Slater's holiday rental

Live updates: Body found in Jay Slater hunt - Police recover young man's remains from village cliffside

Jay Slater Tenerife timeline: Hunt for missing British teen Jay Slater enters fifth day - here's what we know

Timeline of Jay Slater's disappearance: Everything we know as remains are found 29 days after he went missing

Human remains were found by police looking for missing Jay Slater

Human remains found 'in a very inaccessible area' by police searching for missing 19-year-old Jay Slater

Police have launched a new search for the body of Muriel McKay

'This is our last chance': Police launch new search to find Muriel McKay's body

Flight carrying hungover England fans from Euros makes emergency landing after 'undefined smell' wafts through cabin

Flight carrying hungover England fans from Euros makes emergency landing after 'undefined smell' wafts through cabin

The Prince and Princess of Wales have issued a new image

William and Kate hail 'inspirational' England team as they share photo of Charlotte and Louis watching Euros final

Married school chaplain banned from teaching over illicit relationship with ‘very vulnerable’ student

Married school chaplain banned from teaching over illicit relationship with ‘very vulnerable’ student

'Terrible shot': Trump gunman Thomas Matthew Crooks

Would-be Trump assassin tried to join school shooting club but was rejected for being a ‘comically bad’ shot

England manager Gareth Southgate leaving the team hotel in Berlin, Germany

They're coming home: Forlorn Gareth Southgate and England squad leave Berlin hotel after Euro's heartbreak

Thomas Matthew Crooks pictured in his high school year book from 2022

Thomas Matthew Crooks: Everything we know about the Trump gunman described as a 'bullied loner’

King Charles has sent a private letter to Donald Trump after he was shot in the ear

King Charles sends private message of support to Donald Trump after former president survives assassination attempt

Gareth Southgate after England's defeat against Spain

Gareth Southgate tipped for new honour as his future remains in the balance following Euro's heartbreak