The wife of retail tycoon Sir Philip Green is to be called before MPs along with the current owner of BHS to be questioned as part of a probe into the high street stalwart’s collapse.
Lady Green and Dominic Chappell are due to be invited to give evidence to the work and pensions committee (WPC) as part of its inquiry into the outflow of cash from the company and its pension fund. The committee announced it is broadening its scope as the billionaire owner of Sports Direct said he would save thousands of BHS jobs if he bought the retailer.
Sir Philip is facing a double inquisition over the firm’s demise, with the Business, innovation and skills committee (BISC) probing the £1 sale of BHS to Mr Chappell in 2015.
The company went into administration on Monday after 88 years on the British high street, putting 11,000 jobs at risk.
Frank Field MP, chairman of the WPC, said: “The spine of our inquiry is looking at how and where money went out of the company, to whom it went, and how this may have disadvantaged the pensioners.”
The committee’s chairman, Iain Wright MP, earlier said that the company’s collapse had brought “misery and uncertainty for thousands of workers” while putting a “potentially significant” burden on the taxpayer in the form of pension liabilities.
Administrators are currently seeking buyers for the retailer as a going concern and Mr Chappell said he is looking for US investment to draw up a rescue package. On Thursday he said that the dead weight of the £571 million pension deficit his firm assumed when purchasing BHS had blighted his ownership.
He said: “After the administration, when the pensions side of the business is sorted out, we will be able to move on.”
According to reports, Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley was in talks to save the retailer days before its collapse and is still considering a buyout.
In a statement he said: “Any continuing interest that we have in BHS would be on the basis that we would anticipate that there would not be any job losses, including jobs at head office, and that all stores would remain open.”