The closure of BHS in August was a huge blow to its 11,000 employees who lost their jobs, to the members of its pension fund, who have been left with a £571 million deficit, and to shoppers all around the UK.
The BIS report into this is clear: Philip Green’s mismanagement and neglect were responsible for BHS’s demise.
Philip Green ran BHS into the ground over 16 years, awarding £422 in dividends, mostly to himself and family, and selling the company owing £6 million in unpaid taxes and VAT.
Philip Green who is worth an estimated £3.22 billion displayed a complete disregard for the livelihoods of BHS employees and those who rely on its pension fund. It is time that he made good on his promise to replenish the pension’s deficit out of his own pocket or be stripped of his knighthood.
But it is important to understand that as repugnant as Philip Green’s actions were he was acting within the law. This matters as the Tories would have us believe that BHS is an isolated case of one man when in fact it is the whole system which allows this to happen.
The majority of British companies are well managed and play by the rules. But the Tories have championed an economy built on deregulation which has led to a culture of many companies exploiting their workforce rather than creating wealth.
But while the Tories now offer words of fairness and democracy, their lack of action exposes a Government without the political will to take on a corporate culture of short-term greed over long-term investment.
They have over the last six years implemented a harsh programme of austerity on the most vulnerable in our society while turning a blind eye to the conduct of Philip Green and others. I hope this case serves as a wake-up call to the serious problems about how business is governed in our country.