One of the country’s most historic educational centres for young blind people is warning that financial pressures are threatening its survival.

The Royal National College for the Blind, which has operated for almost 150 years, says without extra funding it will cease to be sustainable.

Lucy Proctor, chief executive of the college’s charitable trust, has blamed a squeeze on special-needs budgets.

But the government is promising a £700m increase for special needs.

‘National asset’

Lord Blunkett, a former student at the college, said he was “very concerned” about the “financial difficulty”.

The former education secretary said a “unique national asset” was at risk.

Ms Proctor says there might be a perception that the Hereford college must be well-resourced.

“Even the name makes us sound wealthy,” she says.

But accounts show a shortfall of £2.7m between income and spending – and in cash terms the college has a smaller income than six years ago.

Even with a recent sale of land, a restructuring and a hiring out of sports facilities, there is still a cash shortage.

As well as A-levels and vocational qualifications, the students, aged 16 to 25, learn practical skills needed by blind people for university or the workplace.

Local funding pressure

The biggest problem, says Ms Proctor, is that the college depends on local authorities paying for residential places, which can cost more than £50,000 a year.

“It is difficult for the local authorities, because there isn’t enough money in the system. They’ve been subject to cuts in every area,” says Ms Proctor.

“We’re a national provision, but we’re being funded locally.”

This means legal wrangles about getting councils to support places – and there are students who should already have started this term who are still at home arguing about funding, she says.

“Increasing student numbers is critical – and if student numbers don’t go up we won’t be financially sustainable,” she says.

At present, about 75 students are living there, but that number would need to rise to more than 90, says Ms Proctor.

Tackling isolation

Brandon, 19, says learning how to be independent has made a “massive difference” to him.

He is applying to university and has gone from thinking he would be “stuck in a room” all his life to feeling confident in travelling around the country.

“It’s so important to have independence – I felt like I couldn’t do anything for myself and then I got really depressed thinking I wasn’t worth the time and effort.

“No teenager should have to feel so isolated from the world. It’s awful. If other people can do it, why can’t we?

“In the end you can do whatever you want to if you put your mind to it.”

Brandon says having the support of other young people who have faced similar problems, after years of being the “odd one out”, has also made a big difference.

“They’ve all gone through sight loss, one way or another, in their life. You can put yourself in their shoes because you’ve gone through it.

“It helps massively because if you’re dealing with it on your own it can be a very isolating world. It’s so painful.”

‘Cheeky’ guide dogs

He says students have stories of being bullied, patronised or written off.

It’s even small things, says Brandon, like not being embarrassed if his guide dog starts making noises in lessons.

He also points out that despite their calm exterior, guide dogs can have “cheeky days” and his own had just eaten an entire cheesecake.

“It’s not just the academic side, but it’s the social side,” says 20-year-old Sonal.

“I really like sharing our experiences,” she says, after enduring years without friends facing similar challenges.

“I felt like I was the only person with visual impairment.”

It also gives her confidence and makes her less self-conscious to learn alongside other people with sight problems, whether it’s learning how to get into town or to cook for themselves.

Colour blindness

Ms Proctor says there is a great deal of information sharing between the young people, swapping apps and technology to assist blind people.

She mentions a device that can read the colour of clothing, so that people going to work will not dress in a way that makes them look out of place.

“They’re learning so much from each other. The friendship groups, the socialisation, is incredibly important,” she says.

The college says only about a quarter of working-age people who are blind or partially sighted are in employment, down from about a third in 2006.

Extra government support

The spending review, presented by Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid in September, also promised more for special-needs funding, alongside a wider school spending increase of £7.1bn.

“We’re providing over £700m to give more support to children and young people with special educational needs – an 11% increase compared to last year,” the chancellor told MPs last month.

The Local Government Association welcomed the extra funding.

But Judith Blake, chairwoman of the association’s children and young people board, said there were still “long-term concerns” about meeting the cost of special educational needs.

“Without certainty over funding for the future the situation is likely to get worse as the number of children who need support continues to increase,” she said.

Perl 6 set to be reincarnated as Raku, as favored by Larry Wall

Perl 6 should soon be known as Raku, now that Perl creator Larry Wall has given his blessing to the name change.

On Friday, Wall approved a GitHub pull request to adopt the new moniker, citing a Biblical parable.

He wrote, “I am in favor of this change, because it reflects an ancient wisdom,” before reciting:

No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.

Wall thus has ended a debate that has occupied the Perl developer community for the past few months and has been an issue for more than a decade. Back in August, Dutch software developer Elizabeth Mattijsen opened an issue in GitHub’s Perl 6 repository seeking to rename Perl 6 because it’s “confusing and irritating.”

The problem – apart from Perl’s dwindling popularity – simply is that Perl 5 and Perl 6 are separate, but related, programming languages. And when developers talk about Perl, they usually mean Perl 5. To give Perl 6 a chance to thrive on its own, the Perl community mostly agreed that a new name would be helpful.

Clutching at its Perl 6, developer community ponders language name with less baggage

READ MORE

Mattijsen initially proposed “Camilia,” the name of Perl 6’s butterfly mascot. Other suggestions included “Wall,” in honor of Larry Wall, ofun, hiro, juro, kiln, mayu, pumpking, rafu, rapt, and raptor, among many others.

Ultimately, Raku, a reference to Perl 6’s Rakudo compiler, won out. Perl 6 will become Raku, assuming the four people who haven’t yet approved the pull request give their okay, and Perl 5 will become simply Perl.

Announcing the change in a post to the Hacker News forum, Perl programmer and book author Curtis “Ovid” Poe said, “This has been a huge deal for the Perl community.”

“If I had my choice, I’d program in Raku because it’s a lovely language addressing many pain points (including being one of the few dynamic languages with a working concurrency model). But it’s not adopted widely enough yet for that to happen. Time will tell.”

The arguably awful butterfly character Camelia will remain the Raku mascot. ®

Sponsored: What next after Netezza?

Perl 6 set to be reincarnated as Raku, as favored by Larry Wall

Perl 6 should soon be known as Raku, now that Perl creator Larry Wall has given his blessing to the name change.

On Friday, Wall approved a GitHub pull request to adopt the new moniker, citing a Biblical parable.

He wrote, “I am in favor of this change, because it reflects an ancient wisdom,” before reciting:

No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.

Wall thus has ended a debate that has occupied the Perl developer community for the past few months and has been an issue for more than a decade. Back in August, Dutch software developer Elizabeth Mattijsen opened an issue in GitHub’s Perl 6 repository seeking to rename Perl 6 because it’s “confusing and irritating.”

The problem – apart from Perl’s dwindling popularity – simply is that Perl 5 and Perl 6 are separate, but related, programming languages. And when developers talk about Perl, they usually mean Perl 5. To give Perl 6 a chance to thrive on its own, the Perl community mostly agreed that a new name would be helpful.

Clutching at its Perl 6, developer community ponders language name with less baggage

READ MORE

Mattijsen initially proposed “Camilia,” the name of Perl 6’s butterfly mascot. Other suggestions included “Wall,” in honor of Larry Wall, ofun, hiro, juro, kiln, mayu, pumpking, rafu, rapt, and raptor, among many others.

Ultimately, Raku, a reference to Perl 6’s Rakudo compiler, won out. Perl 6 will become Raku, assuming the four people who haven’t yet approved the pull request give their okay, and Perl 5 will become simply Perl.

Announcing the change in a post to the Hacker News forum, Perl programmer and book author Curtis “Ovid” Poe said, “This has been a huge deal for the Perl community.”

“If I had my choice, I’d program in Raku because it’s a lovely language addressing many pain points (including being one of the few dynamic languages with a working concurrency model). But it’s not adopted widely enough yet for that to happen. Time will tell.”

The arguably awful butterfly character Camelia will remain the Raku mascot. ®

Sponsored: What next after Netezza?

Mastercard, Visa, eBay and payments firm Stripe have pulled out of Facebook’s embattled cryptocurrency project, Libra.

Their move, first reported in the Financial Times, follows the withdrawal of PayPal, announced last week.

It represents a huge blow to the social network’s plans to launch what it envisions as a global currency.

The project has drawn heavy scrutiny from regulators and politicians, particularly in the US.

Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg will appear before the House Committee on Financial Services on 23 October to discuss Libra and its planned roll-out.

Regulators have raised multiple concerns over Libra, including the risk it may be used for money laundering.

Mercado Pago, a payments firm serving mostly Latin America, also pulled out. It means of the six payments-related firms first involved in Libra, just one, PayU, remains. Netherlands-based PayU did not respond to the BBC’s request for comment on Friday.

In a statement released on Friday, eBay said it “respected” the Libra project.

“However, eBay has made the decision to not move forward as a founding member. At this time, we are focused on rolling out eBay’s managed payments experience for our customers.”

A spokesperson for Stripe said the firm supported the aim of making global payments easier.

“Libra has this potential. We will follow its progress closely and remain open to working with the Libra Association at a later stage.”

A spokesperson for Visa said: “We will continue to evaluate and our ultimate decision will be determined by a number of factors, including the Association’s ability to fully satisfy all requisite regulatory expectations.”

The Libra Association, set up by Facebook to manage the project, said of the departing companies: “We appreciate their support for the goals and mission of the Libra project.

“Although the makeup of the Association members may grow and change over time, the design principle of Libra’s governance and technology, along with the open nature of this project ensures the Libra payment network will remain resilient.

“We look forward to the inaugural Libra Association Council meeting in just 3 days and announcing the initial members of the Libra Association.”

Facebook’s executive in charge of its Libra effort wrote on Twitter that losing the firms was “liberating”.

“I would caution against reading the fate of Libra into this update,” wrote David Marcus, who before joining Facebook was PayPal’s president.

“Of course, it’s not great news in the short term, but in a way it’s liberating. Stay tuned for more very soon. Change of this magnitude is hard. You know you’re on to something when so much pressure builds up.”

Last week, PayPal said it would no longer be part of the Libra Association, but did not rule out working on the project in future – prompting a strong reaction from the Association.

“Commitment to that mission is more important to us than anything else,” it said in a statement. “We’re better off knowing about this lack of commitment now.”

_____

Follow Dave Lee on Twitter @DaveLeeBBC

Do you have more information about this or any other technology story? You can reach Dave directly and securely through encrypted messaging app Signal on: +1 (628) 400-7370

Mastercard, Visa, eBay and payments firm Stripe have pulled out of Facebook’s embattled cryptocurrency project, Libra.

Their move, first reported in the Financial Times, follows the withdrawal of PayPal, announced last week.

It represents a huge blow to the social network’s plans to launch what it envisions as a global currency.

The project has drawn heavy scrutiny from regulators and politicians, particularly in the US.

Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg will appear before the House Committee on Financial Services on 23 October to discuss Libra and its planned roll-out.

Regulators have raised multiple concerns over Libra, including the risk it may be used for money laundering.

Mercado Pago, a payments firm serving mostly Latin America, also pulled out. It means of the six payments-related firms first involved in Libra, just one, PayU, remains. Netherlands-based PayU did not respond to the BBC’s request for comment on Friday.

In a statement released on Friday, eBay said it “respected” the Libra project.

“However, eBay has made the decision to not move forward as a founding member. At this time, we are focused on rolling out eBay’s managed payments experience for our customers.”

A spokesperson for Stripe said the firm supported the aim of making global payments easier.

“Libra has this potential. We will follow its progress closely and remain open to working with the Libra Association at a later stage.”

A spokesperson for Visa said: “We will continue to evaluate and our ultimate decision will be determined by a number of factors, including the Association’s ability to fully satisfy all requisite regulatory expectations.”

The Libra Association, set up by Facebook to manage the project, said of the departing companies: “We appreciate their support for the goals and mission of the Libra project.

“Although the makeup of the Association members may grow and change over time, the design principle of Libra’s governance and technology, along with the open nature of this project ensures the Libra payment network will remain resilient.

“We look forward to the inaugural Libra Association Council meeting in just 3 days and announcing the initial members of the Libra Association.”

Facebook’s executive in charge of its Libra effort wrote on Twitter that losing the firms was “liberating”.

“I would caution against reading the fate of Libra into this update,” wrote David Marcus, who before joining Facebook was PayPal’s president.

“Of course, it’s not great news in the short term, but in a way it’s liberating. Stay tuned for more very soon. Change of this magnitude is hard. You know you’re on to something when so much pressure builds up.”

Last week, PayPal said it would no longer be part of the Libra Association, but did not rule out working on the project in future – prompting a strong reaction from the Association.

“Commitment to that mission is more important to us than anything else,” it said in a statement. “We’re better off knowing about this lack of commitment now.”

_____

Follow Dave Lee on Twitter @DaveLeeBBC

Do you have more information about this or any other technology story? You can reach Dave directly and securely through encrypted messaging app Signal on: +1 (628) 400-7370

Mastercard, Visa, eBay and payments firm Stripe have pulled out of Facebook’s embattled cryptocurrency project, Libra.

Their move, first reported in the Financial Times, follows the withdrawal of PayPal, announced last week.

It represents a huge blow to the social network’s plans to launch what it envisions as a global currency.

The project has drawn heavy scrutiny from regulators and politicians, particularly in the US.

Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg will appear before the House Committee on Financial Services on 23 October to discuss Libra and its planned roll-out.

Regulators have raised multiple concerns over Libra, including the risk it may be used for money laundering.

Mercado Pago, a payments firm serving mostly Latin America, also pulled out. It means of the six payments-related firms first involved in Libra, just one, PayU, remains. Netherlands-based PayU did not respond to the BBC’s request for comment on Friday.

In a statement released on Friday, eBay said it “respected” the Libra project.

“However, eBay has made the decision to not move forward as a founding member. At this time, we are focused on rolling out eBay’s managed payments experience for our customers.”

A spokesperson for Stripe said the firm supported the aim of making global payments easier.

“Libra has this potential. We will follow its progress closely and remain open to working with the Libra Association at a later stage.”

A spokesperson for Visa said: “We will continue to evaluate and our ultimate decision will be determined by a number of factors, including the Association’s ability to fully satisfy all requisite regulatory expectations.”

The Libra Association, set up by Facebook to manage the project, said of the departing companies: “We appreciate their support for the goals and mission of the Libra project.

“Although the makeup of the Association members may grow and change over time, the design principle of Libra’s governance and technology, along with the open nature of this project ensures the Libra payment network will remain resilient.

“We look forward to the inaugural Libra Association Council meeting in just 3 days and announcing the initial members of the Libra Association.”

Facebook’s executive in charge of its Libra effort wrote on Twitter that losing the firms was “liberating”.

“I would caution against reading the fate of Libra into this update,” wrote David Marcus, who before joining Facebook was PayPal’s president.

“Of course, it’s not great news in the short term, but in a way it’s liberating. Stay tuned for more very soon. Change of this magnitude is hard. You know you’re on to something when so much pressure builds up.”

Last week, PayPal said it would no longer be part of the Libra Association, but did not rule out working on the project in future – prompting a strong reaction from the Association.

“Commitment to that mission is more important to us than anything else,” it said in a statement. “We’re better off knowing about this lack of commitment now.”

_____

Follow Dave Lee on Twitter @DaveLeeBBC

Do you have more information about this or any other technology story? You can reach Dave directly and securely through encrypted messaging app Signal on: +1 (628) 400-7370

The US has agreed to suspend its next tariff hike on Chinese imports after two days of trade talks in Washington.

US President Donald Trump said negotiators had reached a “phase one deal” that would include increased agricultural purchases and address financial services and technology theft.

China’s top negotiator Liu He also said he was “happy” with progress.

The US was due to raise tariffs on some Chinese goods to 30% next week.

US share markets, which had risen on reports of a deal, closed higher, but shed some gains in the final minutes of trade as it became clear any agreement was relatively limited.

‘A deal, pretty much’

“We’ve come to a deal, pretty much, subject to getting it written,” Mr Trump said, adding that negotiators would begin discussing additional phases as soon as this set of agreements is put to paper.

Mr Trump said he might sign the deal alongside Chinese President Xi Jinping at a United Nations summit in Chile in December.

The US has claimed progress in the past on similar issues, such as increased agricultural purchases and foreign exchange and currency, without the dispute being resolved.

Another planned tariff hike, in December, remains on the table, said Robert Lighthizer, America’s top trade negotiator.

Lobby group Farmers for Free Trade said the promise of increased agricultural purchases by China – to between $40bn and $50bn, according to Mr Trump – was welcome, but noted that details were scant.

“While we are pleased that tariffs aren’t going up, this agreement seemingly does nothing to address the crippling tariffs farmers currently face,” said Brian Kuehl, the group’s co-executive director.

“From the very beginning of the trade war, farmers have been promised that their patience would be rewarded. To date, the deal they’ve been promised has not come.”

Long dispute

The US and China have imposed tariffs on billions of dollars worth of each other’s goods over the past 15 months, casting a pall over the global economy.

The US wants better protection for US intellectual property, and an end to both cyber theft and the forced transfer of technology to Chinese firms.

It also wants China to reduce industrial subsidies and improve access to Chinese markets for US companies.

This week’s talks were the first high-level negotiations in more than two months. They kicked off amid a backdrop of renewed tensions, as the US blacklisted 28 Chinese entities over human rights concerns.

US business groups, which have largely opposed the tariffs, said they hoped the breakthrough would set the stage for a bigger deal that would remove the import tax hikes already imposed.

Mr Trump said the range of issues under discussion warranted breaking up the negotiations into parts.

“It’s going to be such a big deal that doing it in sections and phases I think is really better,” he said.

Zuck-bucks dead in the water as payment giants snub currency tech

Updated The Facebook-backed Libra crypto-currency project was dealt a crushing blow Friday when eBay, Stripe, and others yanked their support.

The two corporations confirmed within the past hour or so they will withdraw from the Libra Association, joining PayPal, which pulled out earlier this week. Mastercard, Visa, and Latin America payment giant Mercardo Pago are also reportedly pulling out, bringing the total number of Libra backers reportedly ejecting to six out of 28 initially supporting the project.

“We highly respect the vision of the Libra Association; however, eBay has made the decision to not move forward as a founding member,” eBay said in a statement to El Reg. “At this time, we are focused on rolling out eBay’s managed payments experience for our customers.”

Libra, meanwhile, said it plans to soldier on.

Don’t trust Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency, boffins warn: Zuck & Co know that hash is king

READ MORE

“We appreciate their support for the goals and mission of the Libra project,” a spokesperson said.

“We are focused on moving forward and continuing to build a strong association of some of the world’s leading enterprises, social impact organizations and other stakeholders to achieve a safe, transparent, and consumer-friendly implementation of a global payment system that breaks down financial barriers for billions of people.

“Although the makeup of the Association members may grow and change over time, the design principle of Libra’s governance and technology, along with the open nature of this project ensures the Libra payment network will remain resilient. We look forward to the inaugural Libra Association Council meeting in just 3 days and announcing the initial members of the Libra Association.”

Unveiled in June by Facebook execs, the Libra crypto-currency project was touted as a private, secure way for two-billion-plus social-media addicts around the globe to spend their hard earned and make purchases.

It was also met almost immediately with skepticism and hostility as governments feared the currency could be used to stealthily fund criminal activities. Some nations have even planned to reject it outright.

That doubt, it seems, has now caused a number of early partners to withdraw from the project, though all left the door open to participation later on.

“Stripe is supportive of projects that aim to make online commerce more accessible for people around the world. Libra has this potential,” Stripe told The Register. “We will follow its progress closely and remain open to working with the Libra Association at a later stage.”

In addition to PayPal, eBay, and Stripe, it was reported on Friday afternoon that three more partners, Mastercard, Visa, and Mercado Pago, have also pulled their support from the project, casting Libra into further peril. ®

Updated to add

Visa has confirmed it is exiting Facebook’s crypto-dosh for now.

“Visa has decided not to join the Libra Association at this time,” a spokesperson told The Register.

“We will continue to evaluate and our ultimate decision will be determined by a number of factors, including the Association’s ability to fully satisfy all requisite regulatory expectations.

“Visa’s continued interest in Libra stems from our belief that well-regulated blockchain-based networks could extend the value of secure digital payments to a greater number of people and places, particularly in emerging and developing markets.”

It looks as though the currency is now pretty much dead. Libra would have made Facebook potentially the most powerful corporation in the world, had it succeeded.

Sponsored: What next after Netezza?

Zuck-bucks dead in the water as payment giants snub currency tech

Updated The Facebook-backed Libra crypto-currency project was dealt a crushing blow Friday when eBay, Stripe, and others yanked their support.

The two corporations confirmed within the past hour or so they will withdraw from the Libra Association, joining PayPal, which pulled out earlier this week. Mastercard, Visa, and Latin America payment giant Mercardo Pago are also reportedly pulling out, bringing the total number of Libra backers reportedly ejecting to six out of 28 initially supporting the project.

“We highly respect the vision of the Libra Association; however, eBay has made the decision to not move forward as a founding member,” eBay said in a statement to El Reg. “At this time, we are focused on rolling out eBay’s managed payments experience for our customers.”

Libra, meanwhile, said it plans to soldier on.

Don’t trust Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency, boffins warn: Zuck & Co know that hash is king

READ MORE

“We appreciate their support for the goals and mission of the Libra project,” a spokesperson said.

“We are focused on moving forward and continuing to build a strong association of some of the world’s leading enterprises, social impact organizations and other stakeholders to achieve a safe, transparent, and consumer-friendly implementation of a global payment system that breaks down financial barriers for billions of people.

“Although the makeup of the Association members may grow and change over time, the design principle of Libra’s governance and technology, along with the open nature of this project ensures the Libra payment network will remain resilient. We look forward to the inaugural Libra Association Council meeting in just 3 days and announcing the initial members of the Libra Association.”

Unveiled in June by Facebook execs, the Libra crypto-currency project was touted as a private, secure way for two-billion-plus social-media addicts around the globe to spend their hard earned and make purchases.

It was also met almost immediately with skepticism and hostility as governments feared the currency could be used to stealthily fund criminal activities. Some nations have even planned to reject it outright.

That doubt, it seems, has now caused a number of early partners to withdraw from the project, though all left the door open to participation later on.

“Stripe is supportive of projects that aim to make online commerce more accessible for people around the world. Libra has this potential,” Stripe told The Register. “We will follow its progress closely and remain open to working with the Libra Association at a later stage.”

In addition to PayPal, eBay, and Stripe, it was reported on Friday afternoon that three more partners, Mastercard, Visa, and Mercado Pago, have also pulled their support from the project, casting Libra into further peril. ®

Updated to add

Visa has confirmed it is exiting Facebook’s crypto-dosh for now.

“Visa has decided not to join the Libra Association at this time,” a spokesperson told The Register.

“We will continue to evaluate and our ultimate decision will be determined by a number of factors, including the Association’s ability to fully satisfy all requisite regulatory expectations.

“Visa’s continued interest in Libra stems from our belief that well-regulated blockchain-based networks could extend the value of secure digital payments to a greater number of people and places, particularly in emerging and developing markets.”

It looks as though the currency is now pretty much dead. Libra would have made Facebook potentially the most powerful corporation in the world, had it succeeded.

Sponsored: What next after Netezza?

Planes owned by failed airlines could to be used to repatriate passengers – instead of being immediately grounded – under government plans.

Proposed legislation would enable collapsed carriers to be placed into “special administration”, it said.

This would mean aircraft and crew could continue flying in the short-term.

Under the existing system, the grounding of planes when an airline goes bust leaves passengers at risk of being stranded.

When the government wanted to bring Thomas Cook customers back to the UK after the travel firm collapsed in September, it had to ask the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to get hold of 150 aircraft from around the world.

The regulator operated nearly 700 flights at a cost of £100m, in effect by building a shadow airline.

Even though some passengers were not Atol-protected – meaning they would not have been eligible to automatically claim the cost of an alternative flight – the decision was taken to try to repatriate everyone and avoid people being stranded abroad, or facing long waits to get home.

The proposed legislation would allow the CAA to use an airline’s existing infrastructure, planes and staff to bring people back, which has not previously been allowed by the UK’s insolvency laws.

The government said that this would mean less disruption and would cost taxpayers less.


Analysis

By BBC business reporter Howard Mustoe

When a company goes under, any assets it rents – like planes – will be seized by their owners. The rest of the firm’s belongings will be auctioned off to pay off creditors, such as bond investors and banks. In other words, there’s always someone who has a claim to the airplanes of a bust airline.

Borrowing the hardware for a short period to bring passengers home makes perfect sense, and makes thing much easier for the government.

To rescue Thomas Cook’s passengers they needed to cobble together a short-term fleet, and do so quietly to avoid causing a panic and turning the company’s likely demise into a certainty.

But this new plan does mean making the planes’ owners wait a bit before they get them back.


The recommendation of “keeping the fleet flying” is from a review into airline insolvency published in May this year which looked into the protections available to air passengers.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “We’ve seen recently the huge impact airlines collapsing can have on passengers and staff.

“To bring over 140,000 Thomas Cook passengers home, the government and UK CAA worked together round the clock and, with the support of people across the globe, carried out the biggest peacetime repatriation exercise in UK history.

“I’m determined to bring in a better system to deal with similar situations in future, helping ensure passengers are protected and brought home quickly and safely.

The report also recommended the introduction of a 50p levy per air fare to cover the cost of bringing UK passengers home when an airline goes bust.