• Work and Pensions committee to investigate how BHS pension deficit will impact PPF
  • Sir Philip Green could be called to give evidence to committee
  • BHS pension scheme been in sharp focus since owners called in the administrators

MPs are launching an investigation into the potential impact of BHS’s collapse on the state-backed Pension Protection Fund (PPF).

The Work and Pensions Committee said today it will look how the department store chain’s £571m pension deficit will affect the fund and its users.  

The ailing chain’s pension deficit has been in sharp focus since its administration was revealed yesterday, leaving up to 11,000 staff at risk. Retail Week revealed on Friday that BHS was on the brink of collapse.

During a debate in Parliament yesterday, MPs raised questions over the role Sir Philip Green, BHS’s former owner, has played in the pensions situation. Green sold BHS to a group of lawyers and businessmen, Retail Acquisitions, last year for £1. 

Chair of the Work and Pensions Committee Frank Field said: “We need as a committee to look at the Pension Protection Fund and how the receipt of pension liabilities of BHS will impact on the increases in the levy that will now be placed on all other eligible employers to finance the scheme.”

He added: “We will then need to judge whether the law is strong enough to protect future pensioners’ contracts in occupational schemes.”

Field wants to get Philip Green to give evidence to the committee, according to reports. But Retail Week understands Field must get this agreed to by the rest of the committee.

The PPF is a pension safety net for collapsed pension schemes, funded by a levy on businesses with final-salary schemes.

The Pensions Regulator has also opened a probe into BHS’s pension scheme and is considering whether to use its anti-avoidance powers to force Green to contribute to the debt.

Green has reportedly so far offered £80m to the Pensions Regulator.