Retail tycoon Sir Philip Green has confirmed he will face MPs questions on Wednesday, after threatening to pull out of an appearance at the inquiry into the collapse of BHS.
The billionaire threatened over the weekend not to attend the inquiry unless co-chair Frank Field MP resigns, accusing him of being biased.
However, he has now agreed to attend the BHS inquiry in Parliament tomorrow. A spokesperson emailed this statement from the Arcadia Group billionaire:
I am disappointed not to have had a reply to either of my letters sent to Mr Field. I did not think or believe that those conducting a Parliamentary process would or should express concluded views in such a public way before I have had the chance to appear before the committee.
Having given long and hard thought to the matter however, I have decided I will attend tomorrow morning, hoping and trusting that the committee will give me a fair hearing.
This will be the first and only opportunity I have had to tell my side of the very sad BHS story and I will do my best to answer all the questions put to me in an honest and open way.
Sir Philip threatened not to attend after Field said he “would laugh” if Sir Philip offered less than £600 million to settle BHS’ pension scheme deficit. The actual deficit of the scheme is estimated to be around £275 million but the so-called “buyout” value, which calculates how much and insurance firm would charge to buy the scheme, is £571 million.
Arcadia boss Sir Philip claims Field’s comments show he is biased. A spokesperson for Sir Philip told the Financial Times: “Sir Philip is waiting for a proper response from Frank Field to his letter and will decide then [whether to attend the inquiry.] He feels the committee is deeply prejudiced and not a proper forum in which to consider the evidence.”
Field is co-chairing a joint Work and Pensions Select Committee and Business, Innovation, and Skills Committee inquiry into the collapse of BHS. The 88-year-old department store collapsed into administration in April and 11,000 jobs are likely to be lost.
Sir Philip owned the retailer from 2000 until last year, when he sold it for £1. Sir Philip, who bought the chain for £200 million, took over £400 million in dividends out of the chain.