The Work and Pensions (W&P) Select Committee published a devastating report into the BHS fiasco yesterday. Prime Minister, Theresa May, has pledged to “make our economy work for everyone by getting tough on irresponsible behaviour in big business”.
So now Sir Philip Green’s reputation lies in ruins this is the first big test for the Prime Minister’s resolve to tackle this injustice and help BHS staff survive the loss of their jobs and their pensions.
Systemic failure of regulation, corporate governance and of accountants and lawyers allowed Philip Green get away with taking vast sums out of this company while running up over half billion pounds deficit in the pension fund of his workforce.
The abject role played by Goldman Sachs, and many others, has also been revealed in this scandal. These are the same organisations that manage the pension assets of millions of UK workers and will be well aware of the obligations to the pension fund.
I fully support the final conclusion of the W&P Select Committee Report which states that Sir Philip owes it to the BHS pensioners to find a resolution urgently.
This will undoubtedly require him to make a large financial contribution. I believe he has a moral duty to act – a duty which I hope he acknowledges.
These issues need to be addressed urgently, given the continued rise in pension deficits, due to low returns on UK government bonds, which are putting unnecessary strain on scheme sponsors.
It is highly regrettable that this Government has not taken the necessary action to protect BHS and other workplace pension schemes during the six years they have been in power. I hope the new Prime Minister will see the publication of the long-awaited Pensions Bill as a priority and that it will address issues of irresponsible big business.