If anyone knows here that would be good - they live 300 miles away and - i just can't pop in cab with the little detail i have and i can't force them to do it - i am trying to pre-empt a potentially disasterous situation
He is entitled to a redundancy payment from The Redundancy Payments Office, which is operated by the Insolvency Service. There is some advice on their website here which is quite helpful. The liquidator should send out a form to all the employees of the insolvent company so they can claim under the scheme. They don't get a huge amount but due to your FIL's age and length of service he should get a fairly decent payout.
If he hasn't had the form to fill out he needs to get on to the liquidator of the company to get one. Normally private companies managing the liquidation are better at getting these out in a timely fashion than the government.