Statement on Government action to support Thomas Cook customers

05 November 2019

Andrea Leadsom, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy makes a statement to the House of Commons on Government action to support Thomas Cook customers.

Following the collapse of Thomas Cook, Britain's oldest travel firm, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy made a statement to the House on what action the Government has taken to support Thomas Cook customers.

The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said:

"As the House knows Thomas Cook has entered into insolvency proceedings on the 23 September. This has been a hugely worrying time for employees of Thomas Cook and its customers, and the Government has done and continues to do all it can to support them. This has included the biggest peace time repatriation effort ever seen in the United Kingdom with around 140,000 people successfully flown home thanks to the efforts of my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Transport and his department, and also to the Civil Aviation Authority. In BEIS we've set up a cross-government task force alongside local stakeholders to support employees and supply chains."

"But I'm sorry to have to inform the House, Mr Speaker, that the official receiver has recently brought to my attention further impacts of Thomas Cook's insolvency which I wish to share with the House today. There is an important outstanding matter relating to personal injury claims against Thomas Cook companies impacting customers who have suffered life changing injuries, illness, or even loss of life while on Thomas Cook holidays. Thomas Cook only took out insurance cover for the very largest personal injury claims. For agreed claims below this figure up to a high aggregate amount, they decided to self ensure through a provision in their accounts."

Responding on behalf of the Opposition, Bill Esterson, Shadow Minister for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said:

"In her statement she mentioned the high aggregate amount. Can she tell us more about what that is? And can she come to the point about audit which I will return to shortly, and perhaps she can explain why no regulation was in place to ensure that this serious weakness didn't materialise. Mr Speaker, can I also put on record my thanks to all those involved in bringing 140,000 holiday makers home, and can we welcome the fact that the online services have now been bought and that shops, including those in constituencies of Members right across the House have been reopened or are being reopened by Hays Travel."


Image: PA - Clara Margais

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