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  1. ITV Report

Sir Philip Green 'in line for £15 million refund from BHS pension payment'

Sir Philip Green, pictured last year. Credit: PA

Sir Philip Green could receive a £15 million refund as part of his £363 million BHS pension settlement agreement, according to research by the select committee.

The billionaire could see the funds return if 90% of eligible pension fund members decide to take a winding-up lump sum instead of buying an annuity.

Analysis by the Work and Pensions Committee suggest the tycoon could receive as much as £13 million even if only 20% decide against taking the lump sum.

Their findings also show 16 former BHS executives will benefit most from the out-of-court settlement because they will not see their benefits capped - which would have been the case had the scheme fallen under the Pension Protection Fund (PPF).

Frank Field MP is chairman of the Work and Pensions Committee. Credit: PA

Labour MP Frank Field, chairman of the Committee, said: "I hope Sir Philip will recycle any refund back into the scheme as BHS pensioners will still be facing cuts in the benefits for which they paid.

"It is also clear that Sir Philip prioritised his loyal senior managers, who have had the PPF cap on high pension benefits completely removed.

"That measure was designed to encourage those in positions of influence to urge prudence and responsibility; I would be worried if TPR was content to see it jettisoned as a matter of course.

"Those who do far less well out of the settlement are the ordinary staff of working age, many of whom will have lost their jobs as well.

"HMRC will not tell us what the tax implications of this settlement are but I fervently hope the public purse will not be missing out in the same way it does by the Greens' complex offshore business arrangements."

Sir Philip Green gave evidence to the Work and Pensions Committee last year. Credit: PA
  • What happened to BHS?

Sir Philip owned BHS for 15 years before selling it for £1 to Dominic Chappell in 2015.

The collapse of the business in April 2016 impacted 11,000 jobs and 19,000 pension holders.

It also sparked a lengthily parliamentary inquiry and led to both its former owners potentially facing a criminal investigation.

The former Arcadia boss made a voluntary cash payment of £343 million - less than the £571 million deficit the firm was left with when it went bust - towards improved benefits to the pension scheme members as well as an extra £20 million towards implementation costs.

Sir Philip said the amount represents a "significantly better" outcome than if the scheme entered the PPF.

Some 11,000 staff lost their jobs when BHS collapsed in 2016. Credit: PA

After a long-running campaign by Usdaw to get justice for BHS pensioners, we were initially pleased that Sir Philip had finally put his hand in his pocket, having promised to 'sort' the pension scheme last June.

However, we needed to see the details of the settlement to be reassured that the offer would give BHS pensioners a better deal than they would have got through the Pension Protection Fund.

Only a few weeks after the announcement it appears to be unravelling. Whilst he seems to have done enough to cover the liabilities of the Pension Protection Fund, Sir Philip hasn't gone anywhere near providing the BHS pensioners with all the benefits they accrued and are entitled to.

– Alan John Hannett, general secretary of Usdaw