// Lord Blencathra says Arcadia Group was “legally robbed by the Greens” to the tune of £1.2bn in dividends
// Meanwhile, Lord Goddard renewed calls for Green to be stripped of his knighthood
House of Lords peers have rounded on Sir Philip Green over his Arcadia Group retail empire fell into administration and the impact on employees’ pensions.
Tory former minister Lord Blencathra said Arcadia Group was “legally robbed by the Greens”.
Meanwhile Liberal Democrat Lord Goddard of Stockport renewed calls for Green to be stripped of his knighthood.
- Arcadia suppliers left unsure on payments following administration
- Arcadia brands halve in value as collapse prompts heavy discounting
- Arcadia Group: What went wrong?
Arcadia Group, which includes Topshop, Burton and Dorothy Perkins, collapsed into administration last week – placing 13,000 jobs at risk.
At Lords question time, Lord Blencathra said: “Let’s be blunt. Debenhams collapsed after three ruthless vulture funds loaded it with debt and then cleaned it out to the tune of £1.2 billion in dividends.
“Arcadia was legally robbed by the Greens to the tune of another £1.2 billion in dividends.”
He said that in the US, the regulator would have “gotten back every single cent and they would all be serving life without parole”.
Lord Blencathra, a former Home Office minister, asked when there was going to be some “proper regulation and legislation to tackle people whose behaviour is de facto criminal but at the moment is technically legally okay”.
Work and Pensions minister Baroness Stedman-Scott said the government did need to ensure legislation would deal with those who would “plunder pension schemes”.
She said this was why a Pension Scheme Bill was going through Parliament, which would extend the regulator’s sanctions regime, including the power to issue civil penalties and new criminal offences for “bosses who run pension schemes into the ground or plunder them to line their own pockets”.
Lord Goddard suggested the minister should contact the Prime Minister and “try to get Philip Green’s knighthood revoked as he is clearly less than an honourable man”.
Lady Stedman-Scott said it would not be right to comment on individual cases but added that there was a clear independent process in place for the forfeiture of an honour.
with PA Wires