The sale of 555 Thomas Cook stores to Hays Travel has thrown into question the Government’s hands of approach to the company’s collapse, the Unite union has said.

While the union welcomed the news of the large-scale store purchase – which is set to save hundreds of jobs – it blasted the Government’s reluctance to step in when parts of the Thomas Cook business were viable.

The 178-year-old holiday company abruptly ceased trading last month after bosses failed to secure a rescue package from creditors – leading to the loss of thousands of jobs and leaving 150,000 Thomas Cook passengers stranded overseas.

From the ashes, Hays Travel – which has already recruited 421 former Thomas Cook staff and has offered employment to more of the airline's personnel – has now offered a lifeline to its portfolio of stores, which include shops in Kendal, Ulverston, Barrow, Workington, Whitehaven, Carlisle and Penrith, all of which are currently closed.

Unite assistant general secretary Diana Holland, said the sale “clearly demonstrates that various parts of the business were viable”.

“The Thomas Cook airline was not only viable but was profit making – yet the Government made no attempt to allow the airline to continue to fly,” she said.

“Given the latest developments it is clear that the Government’s assessment that providing any financial assistance would risk ‘throwing good money after bad’ has been proven to be entirely false.

“The Government should look again at the UK Thomas Cook airline, and in doing so call a halt to the insolvency process.

“This would then allow there to be a proper and thorough examination of what action can be taken to find employment opportunities for Thomas Cook’s airline staff.”

Unite has already accused the Government for doing “too little, too late” in ordering a probe into Thomas Cook’s demise.

Business secretary Andrea Leadsom has asked the official receiver, which oversees liquidations, to undertake a “fast-paced” review into the collapse of the tour operator and whether the actions of bosses at Thomas Cook “caused detriment to creditors or to the pension schemes”.