Pensions regulator refuses to release details of Sir Philip Green's BHS settlement to MPs

 
Helen Cahill
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BHS fell into administration a year ago (Source: Getty)

The Pensions Regulator has refused to release details of Sir Philip Green's BHS settlement to MPs.

Labour MP Frank Field, chair of the work and pensions select committee, which has been leading the inquiry into the collapse of BHS, has asked the Pensions Regulator to provide MPs with the terms of a settlement made with Green.

Read more: The BHS collapse: one year on

The retail tycoon has contributed £363m to the BHS pension scheme as part of his promise to help BHS pensioners following the high street retailer's collapse. The settlement was agreed in negotiations with the Pensions Regulator and the Pension Protection Fund.

Field has said that "transparency about the collapse of BHS" is vital to allow proper scrutiny of the Pensions Regulator, and that MPs should be allowed to see the settlement agreed with Green, as well as any confidentiality agreement made between Green and the regulator.

Read more: Sir Philip Green contributes £363m to BHS pension scheme

The Pensions Regulator is expected to publish a report on its enforcement action against Green, and said in a letter to Field that the report is due before the end of April.

However, the watchdog said that revealing the details of its settlement with Green would breach a confidentiality clause in the agreement, likely prompting legal action.

Providing a redacted copy of the agreement might limit the watchdog's ability to reach such agreements in the future because respondents would be able to use the outcome with Green as a starting point for their negotiations, the Pensions Regulator said.

Read more: Revealed: Sir Philip Green's growing Arcadia pension deficit

"It is also worth noting that there are still a number of other organisations undertaking investigations in relation to BHS and we are of the view that any disclosure of confidential information could undermine the work that they are undertaking at this time," the Pensions Regulator's chief executive Lesley Titcomb said.

"We recognise that our response will not be welcome to you. However, we feel it is important to be clear how strongly we feel on these issues relating to the disclosure of the settlement agreement."

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