The government has been accused of “inertia and inaction” ahead of the collapse of Thomas Cook.

The Unite union made the claim after it emerged that the Insolvency Service alerted government officials to its concerns about the state of the company ten days before it crashed.

Insolvency Service CEO Dean Beale made the disclosure yesterday in evidence to the Commons Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Select Committee hearing. 

He also revealed that £11 million had been spent on the fees charged by the special managers KPMG and Alix Partners in the first three weeks since Thomas Cook’s collapse in liquidating the company.

Those fees are on top of the expected £100 million cost of the repatriation of Thomas Cook holidaymakers and the millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money spent on paying redundancy pay, notice pay and other monies owed to the 9,000 workers who lost their jobs, according to Unite.

The union’s assistant general secretary Diana Holland, who gave evidence to the committee on Tuesday, said: “The admission from the Insolvency Service further highlights the inertia and inaction of the government prior to Thomas Cook’s collapse.

“Despite receiving a direct briefing about the consequences of Thomas Cook’s collapse, no one at the department of Business Energy and Industrial Strategy including [business secretary] Andrea Leadsom thought it worth holding meetings with Thomas Cook, or even picking up the phone and speaking to them.

“The department for BEIS needs to reveal if a cost benefit analysis was ever produced comparing the cost of providing a bridging loan to Thomas Cook, to the cost to the taxpayers of the company’s liquidation. Taking into account the actions identified by the Airline Insolvency Review that does not require primary legislation.

“If no analysis was carried out this is a further gross dereliction of the government’s duty and its total failure to protect a loyal and dedicated workforce.”