- Sir Philip prioritised his “loyal senior managers”, claims MP Frank Field
- Headline that scheme members will receive 88% of promised benefits “hides a great deal of variation”
- Green could end up with a “refund” of £15m from the £363m settlement
Sixteen of the best-off former BHS executives will benefit most from the pension settlement agreed by former owner Sir Philip Green, according to MPs.
The House of Commons Work and Pensions Committee also claimed that Green “is in line to get a refund of £15m” from the £363m settlement he made, assuming 90% take-up of the “winding-up lump sum” option offered.
BHS collapsed last year, when it was owned by Dominic Chappell’s Retail Acquisitions.
Last month, former owner Green agreed a contribution to the pension scheme.
But the Parliamentarians maintained: “The headline figure that scheme members will receive 88% of their promised benefits hides a great deal of variation.
“Owing to less generous indexation in the new scheme, some pensioners will receive less than 80% of what they would have received under BHS scheme rules.
“Those that do best are the 16 people with the best pensions as they would have been subject to the PPF [Pension Protection Fund] cap, which has been removed as part of the settlement and will not be applied in the new scheme.”
If the scheme had gone into the PPF then members would have received, on average, 69% of their promised benefits.
Work and Pensions Committee chair Frank Field MP 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 [The Pension Regulator] 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.”
No comment was immediately available from Green.