Transport Minister Explains Why The Government Refused To Bail Out Thomas Cook

23 September 2019, 11:23 | Updated: 23 September 2019, 11:27

Thomas Cook has collapsed, resulting in Britain's biggest ever peacetime repatriation, because the travel company couldn't get a £200m cash injection.

Instead of bailing the company out, the government decided to pursue a policy of repatriating around 150,000 holidaymakers.

Nick Ferrari asked: "Why doesn't the government step in? Why don't they take control?"

Grant Shapps, the transport minister, responded: "Look, the government is not in the business of running travel operators."

He said: "If we did try to step in, it would only have been a few weeks away form having to do exactly this anyway.

"In the end, the private investors, the bondholders, all the rest of them, couldn't come together with a deal.

That's why we took the decision."

Shapps then explained how he asked the CAA to start organising aircraft, of which there are now 45 operational, to bring people home.

Nick Ferrari asked if Operation Matterhorn will get everyone back.

Transport Minister Explains To Nick Ferrari Why The Government Refused To Bail Out Thomas Cook
Transport Minister Explains To Nick Ferrari Why The Government Refused To Bail Out Thomas Cook. Picture: pa

About 40 per cent of passengers aren't ATOL protected, said Shapps. However, the government would cover everybody coming back.

Shapps then denied that Thomas Cook's collapse had anything to do with Brexit. He instead put the blame on a hot summer, the failure to switch to a newer model and some of the management within the company.

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