After months of controversy and a war of words with MPs, Sir Philip Green has finally made a contribution of £363 million to the BHS pension scheme black hole.
In a statement released this afternoon, Green confirmed he contributed £363 million of his own funds to plug the collapsed department store chain‘s pension deficit, which was revealed to be £571 million after it went into administration almost a year ago.
“I have today made a voluntary contribution of up to £363 million to enable the trustees of the BHS pension schemes to achieve a significantly better outcome than the schemes entering the Pension Protection Fund (PPF), which was the goal from the outset,” Green said.
The settlement, supported by the chairman of trustees, comes after weeks of negotiations with the Pensions Regulator and the PPF.
It is believed that both organisations are satisfied with the solution that has been offered and all relevant notices – including legal matters and claims from the regulator – have been withdrawn, effectively bringing this matter to a conclusion.
“Once again I would like to apologise to the BHS pensioners for this last year of uncertainty, which was clearly never the intention when the business was sold in March 2015,” Green added.
“I am also happy to confirm that any of the pensioners that have faced cuts over the last year will now be brought back to their original BHS starting level pension and will all be made whole.
“I hope that this solution puts their minds at rest and closes this sorry chapter for them.”
Green, whose company Arcadia Group owns Topshop, Miss Selfridges and Burton, had initially promised to “sort” out the pension deficit after a parliamentary inquiry last year.
He had owned BHS for 15 years, selling it to former bankrupt Dominic Chappell for just £1 in March 2015.
The retailer collapsed just over a year later in April, spurring on a series of bad press and spats with MPs, including Works and Committee chairman Frank Field who co-led the parliamentary inquiry on the collapse of BHS.
Late last year, Westminster Hall urged the Honours Forfeiture Committee to have Green lose his knighthood, due to the way he handled the sale of BHS.
However, Green said that through his Arcadia retail empire, he had provided £600 million to BHS after the dividend payments.
Field has welcomed the settlement on the deficit but warned it was not yet over.
“I welcome this out-of-court settlement and it is an important milestone in bringing justice to BHS pensioners and its workers,” he said.
“In other words, it doesn’t end here.”
He added: “I think there are a lot of other issues which are not solved by this which we will obviously be looking at and the courts and everybody else will be.
“It’s not justice, but it is a milestone.”