BHS pensions row steps up a gear


The pensions’ watchdog has sent warning notices to Sir Philip Green, to his family firm and to the man who bought British Home Stores (BHS) for just £1.
Action is being stepped up in a bid to seek redress for employees who have lost out on their pensions.
Lesley Titcomb, head of the pensions regulator has announced that it is moving to redress 20,000 BHS pension scheme members.
Mr Green and Taveta Investments, the parent company overseeing his high street empire have each been sent warning notices setting out evidence against them. Notices have also been sent to Dominic Chappell, who bought BHS, and to his company Retail Acquisitions.
When Mr Green sold BHS to Retail Acquisitions for just £1, it was with a pension deficit of £571 million.
Ms Titcomb said the latest move was a key step in ongoing work to redress members of the BHS pensions’ schemes.
The action has been warmly welcomed by Frank Field MP, chair of the Work and Pensions Committee, who has been overtly critical of Mr Green.
He said it was hardly surprising that the Pensions Regulator had grown tired of waiting for Mr Green to fulfil what he said were “empty promises”.
While the retail mogul has promised to sort out the dire state the pension fund was left in when he sold the ailing company, so far nothing has happened.
“It seems clear,” he added, “Sir Philip would rather kick the can down the road and avoid responsibility than come up with any fair, sustainable settlement for BHS pensioners.”
Shadow Secretary of State for business, energy and industrial strategy Clive Lewis said it was vital the tens of thousands of pensioners still waiting to find out what the fate of their pensions is get swift answers.
He added: “Let’s hope that, by stepping up their investigations, the pensions’ regulator will finally hold Philip Green to account and give those pensioners the security they deserve.”
It was announced in March last year that BHS had been sold to Retail Acquisitions for the nominal sum of £1.
In March this year, the firm sought a company voluntary arrangement to allow it to restructure the business. As part of that application, it was revealed that there was a large deficit in the pension scheme.
So far Mr Green has not issued any statement in response to the warning notice he has received.


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