From Sir Philip Green to Frank Field, these are the most important reactions to BHS' wind-down

 
Emma Haslett
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Green: "saddened and disappointed" (Source: Getty)

It's the end of an era: after weeks of uncertainty, today BHS' administrators finally announced they were calling time on the sale of BHS - without a buyer.

That could mean the disappearance of one of the high street's biggest names, with all 163 stores closing.

Not surprisingly, given the size of the collapse - some 11,000 jobs may be at risk - reactions are coming in thick and fast. Here are some of the best so far.

1. Administrator Philip Duffy

"The British high street is changing and in these turbulent times for retailers, BHS has fallen as another victim of the seismic shifts we are seeing.

"The tireless work and goodwill of the existing management team and employees of BHS with the support of my team were not enough to change the fortunes of the company."

2. Sir Philip Green, who sold the company for £1 last year

A spokesman for Sir Philip said he is "saddened and disappointed" by the news.

3. Frank Field, chair of the Work and Pensions Committee

Field told City A.M. his main concern lay with the 11,000 workers and the pension scheme.

"The inquiry can look after itself. Those two groups can't.

"[The liquidation] means the pension scheme - nobody owns it, nobody's responsible for it, it is drifting loose and there are 11,000 people who have worked loyally, most of them in BHS, who must be worrying whether they're going to have a job tomorrow. It's appalling and a tragic outcome given the amount of money that BHS has generated and actually has been taken out of the company.

"I would hope that the deals have fallen through because the money actually couldn't be put on the table at one or two o'clock today. I would hope that others, if they're serious bidders that are still going to try and make that bid, to salvage very much as possible from this network of shops."

4. Business minister Anna Soubry

“Today’s announcement that the administrators have been unable to find a buyer for the business will be devastating news for all those who work at BHS and those in the supply chain. The government stands ready to support workers to find new jobs as quickly as possible.

“The business secretary has already announced an accelerated Insolvency Service investigation into the activity of former BHS directors. Any issues of misconduct will be taken extremely seriously.”

5. Usdaw union national officer Dave Gill

"There are some very serious questions that need to be answered, by former owners of the business, about how a company with decades of history and experience in retail has now come to this very sorry end.

“We believe the government has also got to take a hard look at the process of administration. Currently the law requires administrators to liquidate a company if they believe that secures the best return for creditors, regardless of whether there is an option to keep the business going and secure jobs.

"Now that decision has been made for BHS, we urge the administrators to comply with the law on consultation and not force the staff to seek a protective award which can result in taxpayers picking up the bill."

6. Shadow business minister Bill Esterton

"The closure of BHS and Austin Reed risks having a knock-on impact on the supply chain and other local businesses.

"In two weeks Sir Philip Green, the former owner of BHS, will be appearing at the House of Commons joint Select Committee enquiry. The staff will want answers about how things went so badly wrong on his watch.

"But given the similarities with the collapse of other retail giants, such as Comet, they will also want to hear what the Tory Government is doing to support the great British high street."

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