Revealed: Sir Philip Green's growing Arcadia Group pension deficit as MPs accuse TopShop tycoon of favouring it over BHS

Lynsey Barber
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Philip Green Announces Surge In Arcadia Group Profits
The pensions hole at Topshop owner Arcadia has grown (Source: Getty)

The pension deficit at Sir Philip Green's Arcadia Group grew by almost a quarter in the three years to 2016 it's been revealed, as the retail tycoon laid out plans to plug the gap.

Details of the deficit at the retail group behind high street favourites such as TopShop, Dorothy Perkins and Burton, have been published in documents released by the work and pensions select committee, just weeks after Green agreed a plan to prop up the BHS pensions scheme in the wake of the store's collapse.

Read more: Another blow to Sir Philip Green as Topshop's MD quits

The pensions hole at Arcadia stood at £565m to the end of March 2016, compared to £456m in 2013. And the shortfall is near the £1bn mark on a "buyout" basis, if the scheme had to be wound up and costs covered by an insurer.

Green has promised a new repayment plan for Arcadia, ploughing £50m a year into it and rising to just under £55m from 2019, over the next decade. He had previously planned to plug £24.3m each year over just under 14 years.

Chair of the committee, MP Frank Field, who has previously blasted Green and called for him to be stripped of his knighthood, welcomed the plan as "credible", but accused the retail boss of favouring the Arcadia Group over BHS.

Read more: Sir Philip Green in line for £15m refund from his BHS pension contribution

"It is though clear from these figures that Sir Philip was long favouring the Arcadia schemes over their BHS counterparts, which have more members," said Field.

"Not long after he refused to shift on a ludicrous 23 year recovery plan for the BHS scheme he agreed a 13 year plan for Arcadia with well over double the deficit contributions. I imagine Sir Philip would say that Arcadia could afford it because it was profitable, whereas BHS was not. But it is clear that that all his companies are run as one large tax-efficient empire in the family interest," he said.

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