The National Taskforce for Thomas Cook was assembled to discuss support being provided to former employees and to the local communities most affected by the impact of the company going into liquidation on Monday.

The meeting was jointly chaired by the Business Secretary and the Work and Pensions Secretary Thérèse Coffey and attended by national and local stakeholders including Transport Minister Paul Maynard, Northern Powerhouse and Local Growth Minister Jake Berry and Tourism Minister Helen Whately.

Also, in attendance were representative from the Devolved Administrations, the Insolvency Service and Special Managers representing the Official Receiver, and Metro Mayor James Palmer, Local Enterprise Partnership Chairs, local MPs, Union representatives and representatives from the CBI and British Chambers of Commerce.

Plans to launch the special Taskforce were announced by the Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom on Monday. The taskforce will meet on a weekly or bi-weekly basis initially and will consider support available for employees looking for new opportunities, for apprentices looking to continue their training, for employees returning from abroad, and for individuals and families needing access to benefits.

It will also review recovery for local communities including Peterborough, where the firm has its retail headquarters and Greater Manchester, where many employees were based, exploring backing for local businesses and high streets through discussions with local growth hubs and authorities.    

Establishing the National Taskforce is part of a package of measures that government has announced to support employees, customers and local businesses.  Other activity includes a dedicated Government webpage and helpline to advise on rights and protections.

The Business Secretary has also written to the Insolvency Service to ask them to prioritise and fast-track their investigation into the circumstances surrounding Matterhorn going into administration, including the conduct of the directors:

Government has been working around the clock to support all those affected, having launched the biggest ever peacetime repatriation effort ever seen in the UK:

The 150,000 customers who were abroad and due to return to the UK over the next two weeks are being brought home free of charge - as close as possible to their booked return date. So far, 95% of people who have been flown back have returned on their original date of departure at the end of their holiday.