A kind plumber who visited a starving family provided them with £170 worth of food, gas and electricity after seeing the 'actual poverty' they lived in.
James Anderson, 52, whose company provides emergency plumbing services to vulnerable people, said the family called him at the weekend as they were struggling to keep their heating on before they reached their next payday.
He said when he visited the family of five, he was shocked by the "actual poverty" they were living in, with the parents sobbing while two of their children thought they were "going to die" from the cold, prompting him to provide them with food and power to help them out.
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Anderson, from Burnley, Lancashire, said: "They rang me to see whether there was anything we could do to help them get through until the next time they got paid.
"I said I’d pop in and see what I could do. But when I got there, I realised the actual poverty that they’re living in and the impact all this is having on people.
"You walk in and you’re talking to them, and you can see your breath while you’re talking to them.
"They’ve got children there. They’re confused because they don’t know what’s going on.
"The children are like: “Why is this happening? Why am I cold? Why can’t my mum and dad keep me warm? Why can’t they put the boiler on? Why can’t they give me a meal."
The kind-hearted plumber, who runs not-for-profit company Depher and has built up a reputation for helping people out, said it wasn't the first time recently that he'd been in a freezing home as families try to save money by switching off their heating.
He said: "Over the last few weeks, I’ve been to a few houses, not just families but elderly and disabled people as well, and you can see a plume of air coming out of their mouth.
"It’s that cold you can see your words before you can bloody well hear them, and that should not be acceptable in this day and age."
He called on the government to help families struggling with the cost of living crisis, and warned that poverty-stricken parents may turn to crime if they can't make ends meet. Where do we draw the line as a society and say, 'Now we need to act?'.
"There’s a lot of stuff the government can do to cut the cost of living by capping these companies that are charging stupid, extortionate, out of reality rates.”
“The poorest and the lowest in the country are always going to be penalised and expected to pay the most in the country out of everybody else.
“It’s wrong, and it’s time for a change.”
He added: "There are two options – either go to a loan shark and then they get themselves in debt, and that will drive up the crime rate on that side.
"Or even worse, there’s going to be more crime with vans, schools, shops getting robbed.
"People are going to go out and take stuff that doesn’t belong to them to feed their child – that’s the next stage we’re going to see."
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