Greens in spotlight again as Arcadia faces collapse

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Sir Philip Green's retail group Arcadia, which includes Topshop and Miss Selfridge, is facing collapse according to media reports.
Former chair of the Work and Pensions Committee Frank Field is calling on the Greens to fund the two pension schemes, which are estimated to have a £350m buyout deficit.

The current chair of the committee, Stephen Timms MP, has added his voice to the calls for a cash injection to the schemes, saying he will raise the matter with the Pensions Regulator.

Arcadia group was already experiencing problems before the outbreak of the pandemic, and this year has deferred deficit recovery contributions due to the impact of Covid-19.

Last year, it agreed a schedule of contributions with the Pensions Regulator for its two schemes, when the group proposed a company voluntary arrangement. The trustees were asked to accept lower deficit reduction contributions, down from circa £50m to £25m a year. 

It was eventually agreed that the schemes would be given security over group assets worth £185m to secure what the schemes were projected to receive from an insolvency.

Last year's deal also included £100m cash for the schemes from the majority shareholder, Lady Green, payable in three instalments over two years and backed by a guarantee, plus a further £25m security as mitigation for the reduction in the DRCs for the first few years of the CVA.

The group was able to reduce its annual DRCs to £25m as requested but had to agree that this would increase by given amounts after three years.

Sir Philip previously contributed £363m to help plug the deficit of the  pension schemes of bankrupt retailer BHS in 2017, after calls to withdraw his knighthood if he did not step in.