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Sir Philip Green urged to appear before MPs over BHS collapse

Published 26/04/2016

Sir Philip Green is the former owner of BHS
Sir Philip Green is the former owner of BHS

Sir Philip Green is to be called to appear before MPs to face questions over the collapse of retailer BHS.

The retail billionaire will be invited to give evidence before a cross-party committee of MPs carrying out an investigation into the retailer's administration, its pension liabilities and the impact it will have on the Pension Protection Fund.

Frank Field, the chairman of the Work and Pensions Committee, said: "We need as a committee to look at the Pension Protection Fund and how the receipt of pension liabilities of BHS will impact on the increases in the levy that will now be placed on all other eligible employers to finance the scheme.

"We will then need to judge whether the law is strong enough to protect future pensioners' contracts in occupational schemes."

Asked whether Sir Philip would be called before the committee, Mr Field told the Press Association: "I am sure he will be invited to give evidence."

The department store chain collapsed into administration on Monday, putting 11,000 jobs at risk.

Sir Philip's ownership of BHS ran from 2000 to last year, when he sold the business for £1 to a group called Retail Acquisitions.

His tenure at the helm has been called into question on a number of fronts, including leaving it with a huge £571 million pension deficit while paying his family £400 million in dividends from the business.

Labour MP John Mann has called for Sir Philip to pay back the dividend or risk losing his knighthood.

Mr Mann said: "Sir Philip Green has taken over £400 million out of the company and now must be held responsible for the actions that were taken under his stewardship. There is a very simple and honourable solution to this crisis; repay the dividends, live up to the name he has chosen for his new yacht, Lionheart, or lose his knighthood."

Sir Philip, who owns the Arcadia group retail empire that includes Topshop, is yet to make a statement on BHS's collapse.

But he is now being urged to break his silence.

Tory MP Richard Fuller has demanded that he clarifies his involvement in the chain's demise, saying: "Green and Arcadia need to put out a statement immediately clarifying their position. He has a responsibility, a duty.

"Arcadia should be made to make public the documents and correspondence between themselves and Retail Acquisitions so that we can ascertain if the correct due diligence was undertaken in terms of there being enough cash left in the business and to cover the pension liability.

If it's found that the correct due diligence was not undertaken, the Sir Philip will face serious consequences."

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