Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Tycoon to Pay PS363m to Fill BHS Pensions Black Hole

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Tycoon to Pay PS363m to Fill BHS Pensions Black Hole

Article excerpt

Byline: Ravender Sembhy Reporter

SIR Philip Green has agreed to pay PS363m to settle the pension scheme of collapsed retailer BHS, following months of public outrage.

The billionaire tycoon said the amount, less than the PS571m deficit the firm was left with when it went bust in April last year, represents a "significantly better" outcome than if the scheme entered the Pension Protection Fund (PPF).

The collapse of the high-street giant impacted 11,000 jobs and around 19,000 pension holders.

Sir Philip said: "I have today made a voluntary contribution of up to PS363m to enable the trustees of the BHS pension schemes to achieve a significantly better outcome than the schemes entering the PPF, which was the goal from the outset."

But Frank Field, the Labour MP who co-chaired a parliamentary inquiry into BHS's demise and has acted as Sir Philip's chief tormentor, warned: "It doesn't end here."

He said: "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."

News of the settlement comes after the Topshop owner was grilled by MPs over the sale of the chain, which he owned for 15 years before offloading it for to former bankrupt Dominic Chappell in 2015.

The fallout from the chain's collapse sparked a lengthy parliamentary inquiry and left both its highprofile former owners potentially facing a criminal investigation.

But Sir Philip said yesterday's settlement brings "this matter to a conclusion" and apologised to the affected pensioners.

"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. …

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