Sir Philip Green may be forced to fork out £1 billion to resolve the controversial BHS pension deficit under new government proposals.
The Work and Pensions Committee, chaired by Labour MP Frank Field, has urged Westminster to introduce a “nuclear deterrent” to ensure companies or business leaders are held accountable when it comes to their responsibilities to pension schemes.
The deterrent would consist of a fine from The Pensions Regulator worth three times the amount that is needed to fill in a pension black hole.
With the regulator reportedly seeking £350 million from Green for the BHS pensions scheme, should the proposals get approved it could threaten the billionaire tycoon fine of around £1 billion.
The “nuclear deterrent” is part of a package of measures to help ensure another BHS scandal is avoided.
BHS went into administration in April this year – 13 months after Green sold the chain to Dominic Chappell for £1 – leading to the loss of 11,000 jobs before the £571 million pension black hole was revealed.
The regulator has started legal proceedings against Green and Chappell in an attempt to fill the deficit. They collected millions of pounds from the retailer.
“It is difficult to imagine [The Pensions Regulator] would still be having to negotiate with Sir Philip Green if he had been facing a bill of £1 billion, rather than £350 million,” Field said.
“He would have sorted the pension scheme long ago.”