Sir Philip Green has been accused of favouring the pension schemes of Acadia over those of fallen retailer BHS.
According to the chairman of the Commons Work and Pensions Committee, Frank Field, the billionaire retail tycoon had put a “substantial” recovery plan in place to resolve the deficit in pension schemes at Arcadia, reports the BBC.
However, the original fix for the BHS scheme had been “inadequate”, Field said.
Over the weekend, documents published by the committee showed that the pension deficit at Arcadia, which owns Topshop, Dorothy Perkins, and Miss Selfridge, had soared to £565m last year, up from almost £456m, when the previous assessment was made in March 2013.
Sir Philip has now agreed to double his annual contribution into Arcadia’s pension fund to £50m a year until 2019, when it will increase to £55m a year.
The recovery plan for Arcadia is in contrast to the 23-year BHS recovery plan imposed by Sir Philip in 2012, which involved £10 million annual contributions.
“It is clear from these figures that Sir Philip was long favouring the Arcadia schemes over their BHS counterparts, which have more members,” Field said.
“Not long after he refused to shift on a ludicrous 23-year recovery plan for the BHS scheme, he agreed a 13-year plan for Arcadia with well over double the deficit contributions. I imagine Green would say Arcadia could afford it because it was profitable, whereas BHS was not. But it is clear that all his companies are run as one large tax-efficient empire in the family interest.”
In February Sir Philip agreed to pay £363 million to resolve the pension deficit at BHS, which fell into administration about a year after it was sold to a group led by a former bankrupt for £1.