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Thomas Cook - Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:54 pm on 25th September 2019.

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Photo of Baroness Vere of Norbiton Baroness Vere of Norbiton Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport) 3:54 pm, 25th September 2019

My Lords, I fear that the noble Lord is making the wrong comparison there. On the £250 million, we made the assessment that, even had we been able to provide the guarantee of funds that was requested, the company did not have a viable future. It was severely in debt and losing a significant amount of money. We would have been in the same situation in the future but £250 million poorer. Also, it is not the Government’s usual position to prop up private companies that have got themselves into trouble.

When it comes to the total costs of the failure—there are many, and we understand that—some are clearer than others at this time. On repatriation, for example, I did not just double the Monarch cost—I said that this repatriation is twice the size of Monarch’s, but it is also more complicated. However, we are mitigating that by having conversations with a third party. We learned from the Monarch case that some people do not behave in the way you would expect: in that case, a significant portion of people chose not to be repatriated using the Government. They found other ways of getting home—we do not know how, but they did not arrive for their flights.

Estimating the costs is extremely difficult. It is up to us to keep the costs as low as possible, but ATOL customers who have future bookings can claim from ATOL—that fund is underwritten by the Government. Again, we cannot be absolutely clear about the cost because it will depend on how many people end up claiming, but every person who applies to ATOL to get a refund for their booking will receive it—and that is right.