Thomas Cook: Insolvency

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered on 5th November 2019.

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Photo of Baroness Doocey Baroness Doocey Chair, Finance Committee (Lords)

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that former Thomas Cook employees who apply for, and are eligible for, Universal Credit begin receiving payments swiftly.

Photo of Baroness Stedman-Scott Baroness Stedman-Scott The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

The Department is monitoring all new claims to Universal Credit to identify where the claimant is a former employee of Thomas Cook so that they quickly receive the right level of support.

For claimants who require urgent financial support, new claim advances provide access to a payment quickly, until the first regular Universal Credit payment is due. Claimants can access up to 100% of the total expected monthly award, which they can pay back over a period of up to 12 months.

From April 2019 Citizens Advice (England and Wales) and Citizens Advice Scotland are delivering ‘Help to Claim’ support to claimants making a new Universal Credit claim. Help to Claim have offered locally tailored support to former Thomas Cook employees in need of assistance face to face, and through prioritised telephony and web-chat channels.

Where we have seen an increase in demand, additional staff have been deployed from neighbouring offices on a temporary basis.

The Department is offering a range of support to anyone affected by the closure of Thomas Cook, through our Rapid Response Service (RRS) and wider DWP services. This is a redundancy service designed to give support and advice to employers and their employees when faced with redundancy. It is coordinated nationally by the National Employer and Partnership Team (NEPT) and is managed by Jobcentre Plus.

The RRS has been mobilised to help people find a new job as soon as possible by offering tailored support. Each Jobcentre Plus district deploy resources according to the situation and the requirements of the workforce. The RRS is delivered in partnership with a range of national and local partners, including National Careers Service and local service providers.

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