Former BHS owner Sir Philip Green has agreed to appear before MPs to answer questions about his running of the former high street giant.
Last week British Home Stores, the 88 year old staple of the high street, fell into administration, putting 11,000 jobs at risk and raising serious questions about Sir Philip Green’s tenure as owner.
Having sold the company last year for £1 he now faces accusations that he removed millions from the company in dividend payments knowing that the business was going to collapse. Accusations have flown freely, even from Dominic Chappell, majority leader of Retail Acquisitions, which bought BHS from Green.
“It’s not right the way it’s gone,” Chappell said. “It was in Arcadia’s gift that this business was carried forth…”
Yesterday the Government told the Insolvency Service to fast-track its investigation into the company, rather than wait for administrators to finish their work first.
A parliamentary hearing, which will be overseen by the Work and Pensions Committee and the Business, Innovations and Skills Committee, will likely take place in mid-June.
“There’s two select committees looking into it already and we all understand that there’s been considerable concern expressed in Parliament,” Business Secretary Sajid Javid said in the House of Commons. “I share some of those concerns.
“I can inform you that I have written today to the chief executive of the Insolvency Service and I’ve instructed her to immediately commence an investigation. She has agreed to do so.”
“During Sir Philip Green’s stewardship of BHS the pension fund went from a surplus to a black hole of £571m,” said Shadow Business Secretary Angela Eagle. “What options do the Government and the Pensions Regulator now have to ensure Sir Philip Green pays his fair share of this huge liability?
“The Pension Protection Fund was designed as a lifeboat for staff pensions, not a funding stream for the owners’ luxury yachts.”