Could it be? BHS pensions deal to be wrapped up by Christmas

Rebecca Smith
Green has made an offer to the Pensions Regulator
Green has made an offer to the Pensions Regulator (Source: Getty)

There could finally be light at the end of the tunnel.

Sir Philip Green and pension regulators could reach a deal over the BHS scheme within weeks, according to the BBC. But, don't get too excited just yet: Green could still walk away, which would prompt the beginning of a prolonged legal battle.

Newsnight reported that the former BHS owner offered more than £300m as part of a deal to restructure the collapsed retailer's indebted pension scheme, only that fell short of the Pensions Regulator's expectations. The regulator wants around £350m, but one offer fell short by £100m.

Read more: Sir Philip Green's BHS pension scheme offer fell short by £100m

The regulator launched enforcement action against Green and other former owners of the retailer on Wednesday after they failed to come to an agreement over the pension scheme, which was left with nearly a £600m deficit when it collapsed earlier this year. The regulator is seeking redress for 20,000 BHS pension scheme members.

Green, the parent company of his empire: Taveta Investments, Dominic Chappell (who was sold BHS last year), and his company Retail Acquisitions have each been sent warning notices – setting out evidence to support the use of contribution notices and financial support directions, which would demand money from the parties.

Frank Field MP, chair of the Work and Pensions committee, had said he was "not surprised" that the regulator had "lost patience" with Green.

"His answer throughout our inquiry was always that he was going to ‘sort’ the disastrous position he left the pension fund in when he sold off BHS to Dominic Chappell for £1," Field said. "We're glad to see TPR is now calling his bluff and instigating enforcement proceedings."

Read more: Administrators submit findings on ex-BHS directors to Insolvency Service

The regulator opened an investigation into the BHS pension situation in March 2015. MPs last month backed a call to strip Green of his knighthood for his role in the collapse of BHS, although that decision would need to be taken by the Honours Foreiture Committee.

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