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Osborne: 'Independent bodies should look at BHS'

George Osborne has insisted "independent bodies" should investigate the situation at BHS, and would not be drawn on whether its billionaire ex-boss has questions to answer.

"I don't think as the country's Chancellor of the Exchequer, I should judge what has gone on in a company, before the independent bodies we have created have done that work," the chancellor told ITV News.

Mr Osborne was speaking to our Business Editor Joel Hills.

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Barclays pre-tax profits fall 25% to £793 million

Barclays reported a 25% fall in first quarter pre-tax profits Credit: PA

Barclays has reported a 25% fall in first quarter pre-tax profits to £793 million, down from £1.1 billion a year earlier.

The banking giant has been hit by tough trading in its investment banking arm.

Barclays also announced talks with AnaCap Financial Partners to sell its 74-branch business in France as boss Jess Staley continues to overhaul the lender.

Sir Philip Green called to repay £400m or lose knighthood

Sir Philip Green. Credit: PA

Labour MP John Mann has called on Sir Philip Green to repay the £400 million of dividends that were paid out of BHS or lose his knighthood.

“Sir Philip Green has personally profited hugely from his ownership of the company, while the workforce risk losing their jobs and pensions entitlement,” Mr Mann told ITV News.

“It’s ethically improper and immoral to profit while 11,000 people lose out. He’s done nothing illegal, so the only sanction would be to strip him of his knighthood.”

Sir Philip Green has taken over £400 million out of the company and now must be held responsible for the actions that were taken under his stewardship.

There is a very simple and honourable solution to this crisis; repay the dividends, live up to the name he has chosen for his new yacht, ‘Lionheart’, or lose his knighthood.

– John Mann MP, Treasury Select Committee Member

Mr Mann's call comes as the Work and Pensions Select Committee said it will investigate how the BHS pension scheme, which has a £571 million deficit, will affect the state-backed Pension Protection Scheme.

The Labour MP said Sir Philip should be "put on the spot" by the committee and challenged about whether or not he is an ethical businessman.

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BHS collapse: 'Sir Philip Green must pay his fair share'

Angela Eagle said Sir Philip Green should contribute to the pension deficit Credit: House of Commons

Angela Eagle has questioned whether forrmer BHS owner and businessman Sir Philip Green should contribute to the collapsed store's reported £571 million pension fund deficit.

Labour's shadow business secretary said Sir Philip had turned the retailer's deficit into hundreds of millions of pounds by the time he sold BHS for £1 last year.

"If the worst happens the liability will be covered by the pension protection scheme and BHS staff will only get 90% of the pension they have worked so hard for", she said.

"But Philip Green seems to have got much more out of BHS for himself and his family than that.

"BHS staff and the public will understandably want to know whether the former owner who took so many millions of pounds out of the business will have to pay his fair share of the liabilities accrued during his stewardship.

"It is right that the pensions of working people are covered in the event their employer goes under, but in this situation it appears this owner has extracted hundreds of millions from the business and walked away to his favourite tax haven - leaving the pensions protection scheme to pick up the bill".

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