Up to 3,000 Peterborough people could be affected by Thomas Cook collapse, council leader claims

The livelihoods of up to 3,000 people in Peterborough may be affected by the collapse of Thomas Cook, according to the leader of the city council.

Thursday, 26th September 2019, 2:32 pm
Thomas Cook's head office in Lynch Wood

Around a thousand people are thought to be employed in Peterborough by the travel company that went into liquidation earlier this week.

But the leader of Peterborough City Council, Cllr John Holdich, told the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority board meeting yesterday (Wednesday) that other workers would suffer indirectly too.

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In a discussion on the county’s support for the former Thomas Cook employees, Cllr Holdich said “we believe in Peterborough it’s probably nearer 3,000 jobs,” because of the affect to the city’s wider economy.

He clarified after the meeting: “I think obviously a thousand jobs in one place is a big shock, but you also have to take into account the services that Thomas Cook get.

“I don’t know whether they outsource their cleaning or anything like that, but we need to find out that sort of thing – the suppliers, and what affect it’s going to have on the local economy as well.”

He added: “At the moment it is guess work to be honest, but it could affect up to 3,000 people.”

He also announced the city council will hold a careers day on October 2 specifically for former Thomas Cook employees.

He said: “It’s a great shock for Peterborough and a great disappointment to us.

“We do create about 2,000 jobs a year as well. There are jobs around that I think will fit the skills of Thomas Cook people.

“To that end, Opportunity Peterborough, which is Peterborough City Council’s economic arm, is holding a careers day on October 2, 9.30am to 4pm in the Town Hall, and there will be a lot of companies there that are looking for similar skills that Thomas Cook people have got, because a lot of it is customer focused.”

He also described how the city had come together as a result, saying there were cases of free haircuts and free taxis to interviews. “You name it, the Peterborough people have come up with it and I think that’s brilliant,” he said.

James Palmer, describing his response as mayor, said: “I have already been in contact with central government and had a conference call with them and the other mayors on Monday morning, making sure that the issues around the Peterborough residents in particular – those people who were working in Peterborough – were front and centre of the government response.

“I will be attending a taskforce meeting in Whitehall tomorrow with the secretary of state for business and enterprise, and we will be doing everything we can locally to make sure that there is as little impact as possible on those people who have very, very sadly lost their jobs.”

Ben Hatton, Local Democracy Reporting Service