Sir Philip Green: 'Still stains' despite BHS pension deal

Image copyright AFP Image caption Sir Philip Green reached agreement with the Pensions Regulator

Retail tycoon Sir Philip Green's £363m payment to the BHS pension scheme does not wipe away the stains from his reputation, an influential MP has said.

Business committee chairman Iain Wright told the Daily Mirror letting him keep his title would be the "biggest case of cash for honours that we've ever seen".

Sir Philip agreed the settlement with the regulator to help fill the failed retailer's pensions black hole.

But fellow Labour MP Frank Field said the BHS saga was far from over.

Under the deal with the Pensions Regulator announced on Tuesday, former BHS workers will get the same starting pension that they were originally promised.

Green keeps his promise to 'sort' BHS pension problems

Filling the gaps on the High Street

Mr Wright and Work and Pensions Select Committee chairman Frank Field led questioning of Sir Philip over the sale of the chain and its eventual collapse.

He owned BHS for 15 years before selling it for £1 to former bankrupt Dominic Chappell.

Mr Wright welcomed the pensions deal but said it "doesn't wipe the stains from his reputation clean".

"It's like rewarding an arsonist who put his own fire out," he added.

In a letter to the Times, Mr Field said: "Yesterday's out-of-court settlement will give BHS pensioners a better retirement than had previously looked likely.

"This marks a really important milestone on the road to justice, but we are far from reaching the end of that road."

Mr Field said the government's Insolvency Service was investigating how and why BHS went under, and at "the deals that took place between Sir Philip Green and Dominic Chappell".

At the end of that process, the government had some "key decisions" to make, he added.

The Pensions Regulator says anti-avoidance enforcement action against Sir Philip and his companies will cease in light of the settlement, but action continues in respect of Mr Chappell and his firm, Retail Acquisitions.

'Satisfied'

An online petition calling for Sir Philip to be stripped of his knighthood has attracted nearly 150,000 signatures.

MPs backed the move in a non-binding motion in the Commons last year, but any decision would have to be taken by the Honours Forfeiture Committee.

Sir Philip's contribution is significantly less than the £571m pensions deficit BHS was left with.

But he said it was "significantly better" than schemes entering the Pension Protection Fund (PPF).

"The settlement follows lengthy, complex discussions with the Pensions Regulator and the PPF, both of which are satisfied with the solution that has been offered," he said.

"All relevant notices, including legal matters and claims from the regulator, have been withdrawn, bringing this matter to a conclusion."

BBC

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