Brexit's hit to family holiday plans blamed as Thomas Cook announces £1.5bn loss

PUBLISHED: 13:34 16 May 2019 | UPDATED: 13:34 16 May 2019

A Thomas Cook logo on an aeroplane. Photograph: Tim Goode/PA Wire.

A Thomas Cook logo on an aeroplane. Photograph: Tim Goode/PA Wire.

Thomas Cook has announced a £1.5bn loss for the previous six months and warned that Brexit was hitting family holiday plans.

Shares in the holiday firm plunged 16% after pre-tax losses widened from £303 million a year earlier and it warned second half earnings would be hit amid tough trading over the key summer period.

Boss Peter Fankhauser said there was "now little doubt" that Brexit had caused UK holidaymakers to postpone their summer travel planning, with no pick-up since the EU withdrawal deadline was put back by six months.

Thomas Cook is slashing costs further in the second half in the face of tough trading and higher fuel expenses, including axing 150 roles from its head office in Peterborough.

It also signalled possible further store closures, having already announced plans in March to shut 21 stores and axe 320 retail roles.

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Jo Swinson MP, leading supporter of the People's Vote campaign, said: "Now we know the Brexit mess is damaging iconic British businesses and causing millions of people to delay or downsize their holiday, the worry must be that there will be many more such announcements as the Brexit crisis grinds on.

"Yesterday the holiday company TUI said Brexit was hurting their business and today it is Thomas Cook saying the same: it is clear that as long as the current Brexit deadlock continues, the more the damage to people's lives and the economy will spread.

"Thomas Cook's statement will bring worry and uncertainty to thousands who work for the company.

"And it reflects the real costs Brexit is already having on people's livelihoods. One thing we can all be sure of is that nobody voted in 2016 to ruin their holiday plans or put their job at risk three years later.

"We need a way out of the Brexit shambles and a People's Vote is the only solution. Any stitch-up in Parliament will bring no clarity or stability and will crumble almost as soon as it is agreed. It is only by letting the public have the final say on Brexit that we can close the book on the current crisis."

Best for Britain campaigner Virendra Sharma MP said: "We were told that Brexit would help British businesses take flight, not clip their wings. "Yet that's exactly what's happening right now. Thomas Cook faces oblivion, with lots of jobs at risk, and the finger must be pointed directly at those Brexit campaigners who have for three years swept all these concerns under the rug.

"Before more businesses go under, we have to give the public the final say."

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