BHS: Sir Philip Green starts evidence into collapse
15 June 2016
- From the section Business
MPs have begun questioning former BHS owner Sir Philip Green about the sale and collapse of the retailer.
The billionaire, whose empire includes Top Shop and Dorothy Perkins, had threatened not to give evidence.
The Business and the Work and Pensions select committees are conducting a joint inquiry into the demise of BHS.
Sir Philip sold BHS last year for £1, but its collapse with the loss of up to 11,000 jobs has left a huge hole in the pension scheme.
The committees have already taken evidence from the pensions regulator and advisers on the sale of the 164-store chain to Dominic Chappell, an ex-racing driver and former bankrupt.
Last week, Mr Chappell told MPs that, as BHS teetered on the edge of collapse earlier this year, Sir Philip blocked a rescue deal involving Mike Ashley, the owner of Sports Direct.
MPs will also want to know why Sir Philip sold BHS to a man with no retail experience, and why in 2014 he abandoned a plan to restructure the retailer and address the pension fund deficit.
Mr Field had called on Sir Philip to fully cover the £571m deficit in the pension scheme, which covers 20,000 current and former employees.
There have been reports that during the hearing, Sir Philip may offer to put money into the pension fund, but he does not want to discuss the details publicly.
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Ahead of the hearing, there was tension between Sir Philip and Frank Field, chairman of the Work and Pensions Committee.
Last week, the businessman claimed that the Labour MP was biased and called for his resignation.
‘Honest and open’
However, on Tuesday, Sir Philip said: “Having given long and hard thought to the matter, however, I have decided I will attend tomorrow morning, hoping and trusting that the committee will give me a fair hearing.
“This will be the first and only opportunity I have had to tell my side of the very sad BHS story and I will do my best to answer all the questions put to me in an honest and open way.”
Sir Philip owned the department store chain for 15 years until 2015, when he sold it to Mr Chappell’s company, Retail Acquisitions.
BHS went into administration in late April. After no buyer could be found, administrators Duff and Phelps announced that BHS would be wound down, with the shops closed by the end of July.
The BHS pension scheme has had to be absorbed by the Pension Protection Fund at a cost of about £275m.
The hearing can be watched online.
This post was written by FSB News