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Thomas Cook crisis – here is what you can do if your airline goes bust

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THE COLLAPSE of Thomas Cook, the world’s oldest travel company, has caused another holiday meltdown; leaving hundreds of thousands of travellers stranded and many half term and winter travellers without a holiday.

But when does your travel insurance kick-in with a crisis like this, and are there ways to protect yourself from the continuing travel issues the UK is facing? Can you buy travel insurance to protect yourself?

Fiona Macrae, from the consumer awareness initiative travelinsuranceexplained.co.uk, gives advice on what you should do if your holiday provider goes bust.

What if I have purchased my flight as part of a package holiday through a tour operator?

If you have purchased a package holiday from Thomas Cook, you will not be left out of pocket. Thomas Cook hold an Air Travel Organiser’s Licence (ATOL). This means they are responsible for your flight and accommodation arrangements if you are already abroad. Those who are already abroad should not panic, the Civil Aviation Authority are already working to bring holidaymakers back to the UK at the end of their holiday.

If you have a future package holiday booked with Thomas Cook, you can submit a claim and your money will be reimbursed.

If I made my own holiday arrangements, can I get compensation?

Travellers, who booked directly with Thomas Cook but have yet to travel, will have various avenues available to them to recoup their flight costs. If the flights are ATOL protected you will be able to make a claim to get the cost back. However, if they are not ATOL protected, travellers can approach their credit card provider (or if they paid by debit card, their bank) and obtain a chargeback form. However, they will not be able to claim back any other elements of their trip (hotel, car hire etc.) from their bank or credit card company which they have had to cancel because of the Thomas Cook collapse.

But will my travel insurer pay up?

Once you have exhausted all of the avenues detailed above, you can approach your travel insurer, but do not expect to be able to claim under the conventional cancellation, curtailment or travel delay sections of the policy. Most travel policies do not provide cover under these sections for the failure of an airline, tour operator or travel agent.

The section you are looking for will be called either Scheduled Airline Failure, or End Supplier Failure.

If your policy has Scheduled Airline Failure, then you will be able to claim back the cost of your flight if you are unable to travel, provided you purchased your policy before any formal announcements were made. If you are abroad the policy will pay the cost of a one-way ticket (in the class you originally booked) to get you back home. It will not cover your unused elements of the holiday such as hotel and car hire.

If your policy has End Supplier Failure then you get both the scheduled airline failure cover and the cost of any other elements of their trip (hotel, car hire etc) which you have had to cancel because of the Thomas Cook collapse.

Fiona Macrae from travelinsuranceexplained.co.uk said: “Thomas Cook customers should explore whether the travel arrangements they have booked are ATOL protected before checking their travel insurance policies to see whether they are covered for scheduled airline failure. This cover would provide cover for the costs of the flight (if they have not travelled) or the cost of a flight home (in the same class they travelled out in if they are already abroad), or end supplier failure, which would provide cover for the costs of the flight (if they have not travelled) or the cost of a flight home (in the same class they travelled out in if they are already abroad), and also things like hotels and car hire, which have been paid for and can no longer be used.

“In these uncertain times, we would urge anyone buying a travel insurance policy to look for one that provides the scheduled airline or end supplier failure. These policies may be slightly more expensive, but would be a couple of pounds well spent if you find yourself in a situation like this.”

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Crime Commissioner continues to secure funding for organisations that support victims of domestic and sexual violence

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THE POLICE and Crime Commissioner for Dyfed-Powys Police is again making the offer for organisations that support victims of domestic and sexual abuse to bid for additional funds.

Funding was made available last year, in light of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on organisations supporting victims of domestic and sexual violence.

It was part of a £76 million package of support made available by the UK Government.

Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn said: “Thanks to this additional funding, we can ensure that victims and survivors of domestic abuse and sexual violence in Dyfed-Powys can access specialist services for support, at a time when they are needed the most.

“Unfortunately, we have seen a rise in domestic violence during the pandemic and victims need help now more than ever and I am grateful for the work of all the service providers across the Force area that help these men, women and families who are most in need.

“I want to reassure anyone who is in an abusive situation or relationship that you do not need to suffer in silence, and I urge anyone to report abuse to the Police on 101 or 999 in an emergency.

“This funding is open both to providers whom I currently commission and those that I do not currently fund. However, unlike the extraordinary Covid-19 funding provided in 2020/21, organisations do not need to be a registered charity, a charitable incorporated organisation, or a social enterprise to be eligible for this funding. They must, however, provide support services which have the purpose of helping victims of sexual violence or domestic abuse cope with the impacts of crime and, as far as possible, recover from the harm they have experienced. We would also encourage applications from small specialist organisations that support groups with protected characteristics.

“If you wish to submit a request for this funding, further guidance is available on my website, and can be requested via the office e-mail address.”

Closing date for submissions is close of play on Friday, March 12, 2021.

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Covid alert level lowered for whole of UK

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THE COVID alert level for all four nations of the United Kingdom has been lowered to alert level 4.

The decision comes following advice from the Joint Biosecurity Centre and in light of the most recent data.

In recent weeks, the R-rate and the number of covid cases has been on the decline.

Chief Medical Officer for Wales, Dr Frank Atherton said: “Following advice from the Joint Biosecurity Centre and in the light of the most recent data, the four UK Chief Medical Officers and NHS England National Medical Director agree that the UK alert level should move from level 5 to level 4 in all four nations.

“The health services across the four nations remain under significant pressure with a high number of patients in hospital, however thanks to the efforts of public we are now seeing numbers consistently declining, and the threat of the NHS and other health services being overwhelmed within 21 days has receded.

“We should be under no illusions – transmission rates, hospital pressures and deaths are still very high. In time, the vaccines will have a major impact and we encourage everyone to get vaccinated when they receive the offer. However for the time being it is really important that we all – vaccinated or not – remain vigilant and continue to follow the guidelines.

“We know how difficult the situation has been and remains to be for healthcare workers, we thank them for their immense effort, skill and professionalism throughout the pandemic.”

Under the Welsh Government’s Alert level 4 restrictions, schools and colleges, places of worship, community centres, playgrounds and public parks are among those that can be opened.

Theatres, entertainment venues, leisure facilities and outdoor visitors attractions are among the places that must remain close while the country is in Alert Level 4.

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Postmaster and politicians welcome Goodwick cash machine U-turn

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GOODWICK post office will now be keeping its ATM, after a U-turn by Post Office Ltd.

The machine was due to be removed within months with the post master, Jon Moverley saying that it would be a disaster for the village.

If the ATM had been removed, there would have been just two 24-hour ATMs serving the whole of Fishguard and Goodwick in the short term and three when the Co-op renovations are completed.

Both politicians and local residents then got behind the campaign to keep the ATM

Pembrokeshire politicians Paul Davies and Stephen Crabb have welcomed the news that Goodwick post office is now set to keep its ATM facility. Following representations made by both politicians to the Post Office, it’s now been confirmed that Goodwick Post Office will be included in the rollout of ATM machines across the post office network.

Mr Davies said “This is really welcome news. I’m pleased that the Post Office has listened to the representations made by the local community and decided to retain the ATM at Goodwick post office. The facility is so important for local people and businesses and it’s great that that’s been recognised and the Post Office has committed to keeping it.”

Following the Post Office’s decision to invest in Goodwick’s ATM rather than remove it, Stephen Crabb MP, who campaigned for the ATM to stay, commented: “It’s great news that the Post Office has overturned its own decision and will be keeping an ATM machine in Goodwick.

“Access to cash continues to be incredibly important for a number of people and businesses and I’m pleased to have played my part in working with John from the Post Office in Goodwick, Paul Davies MS and the wider community to highlight the ATMs importance to the area. It shows what can be achieved when we work together.”

The postmaster described the news as ‘brilliant’. Mr Moverley thanked supporters.

He said “Many thanks to all of you who have used the machine and complained to POL about the removal. We were also supported by our MP, MS and mayor, the National Federation of Sub-postmasters and our Chamber of Trade.

“Everyone did their bit, and it says an enormous amount about the strength of the community.

“We are delighted that locals and so many other people have come together to save this essential facility in the village.”

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