MPs have demanded more information from the Pensions Regulator about cancelled plans to restructure BHS’s pension scheme.
First revealed on BBC Newsnight, in 2014 a plan known as “Project Thor” was presented as a way to restructure BHS’s pension scheme. It included giving holders of smaller pensions the chance to have them paid off, an £80m injection into the company by then-owner Sir Philip Green and changes to contracts with suppliers.
The goal was to increase funding for the pension scheme as closely as possible to 100%. Now, with BHS having a £571m hole in its pension fund, and with an ongoing investigation into the company’s fall into administration, Pensions Regulator Chief Executive Lesley Titcomb has been asked to give evidence on her handling of the situation.
Frank Field, Chairman of the Work and Pensions Committee, asked Titcomb for an analysis of Project Thor, particularly regarding why it was never implemented. She has also been asked for details of the meetings between the Pensions Regulator and BHS in 2015, when the company was sold to Retail Acquisitions.
When the official investigation into BHS first began Titcomb claimed she had first heard about the 2015 sale “in the newspaper”. This led to an angry response from Green, resulting in a clarification from Titcomb.