'People will die': Burnley plumber who fixes boilers for free issues cost of living crisis warning

James Anderson spoke to Lucy Meacock in the Granada Reports studio

A plumber from Burnley who fixes boilers for the elderly and vulnerable for free, has warned that "people will die" amid the cost of living crisis.

James Anderson runs Depher, (Disabled and Elderly Heating Emergency Repairs) - a charity set up to help people keep their boilers and heating running.

The charity has helped thousands of families get free heating and hot water in their homes since its launch in 2017, but James says things are getting worse and that he "sees poverty every single day".

He said: "I go into homes every single day, we see the empty cupboards and empty fridges.

"We see the debt, we see people crying because they can't afford to bury their loved one who has passed away."

James Anderson has been running Depher since 2017. Credit: ITV News

James' warning comes as experts have predicted the cap on energy bills could soar to over £5,000 next year.

He worries the energy crisis will see people "perish in their homes" if more support is not given.

Despite the cost of living crisis affecting James himself, he says he will not stop helping those in need.

He said: "I will help as many people as I can.

"As long as I've got a penny in the bank and a van, I will not stop.

"If I stop, the people who rely on us won't have anybody."

James with his daughter. Credit: PA

James and the Depher team recently received a Points of Lights award from Boris Johnson, after James wrote to the Prime Minister explaining what Depher did and how it helped people in crisis.

He said that while the award was "nice", it would not "help feed a family".

Depher has received financial support from actor Hugh Grant, who has donated tens of thousands of pounds to the charity on a number of occasions.

James recently referred to Grant as his "brother" after the latest £10,000 donation.

Hugh Grant has donated to Depher three times. Credit: PA

How is the government responding to the energy crisis?

During crisis talks at Downing Street on 11 August, Boris Johnson appealed to electricity bosses to help ease the pressure on hard-pressed families amid the new warning energy bills could top £5,000 by the spring.

However the meeting failed to produce any immediate concrete help for struggling consumers, with Mr Johnson acknowledging any "significant fiscal decisions" would be be a matter for his successor.

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