The settlement will allow all BHS pensioners the option to receive pensions at the full starting level that they were promised by the company’s schemes, which is higher than what they would have received from the Pension Protection Fund.
High street giant BHS collapsed last April, putting 11,000 people out of work, 22,000 pensions at risk and unleashing a major investigation by the pensions regulator.
In a statement on Tuesday seen by The Independent, Sir Philip said that his decision to make the contribution followed lengthy and complex discussions with the pensions regulator and the pension protection fund.
“Once again I would like to apologise to the BHS pensioners for this last year of uncertainty, which was clearly never the intention when the business was sold in March 2015,” he said.
Sir Philip also said that any of the pensioners that had faced cuts over the last year would be “brought back to their original BHS starting level pension and will all be made whole”.
He said that he hopes that “this solution puts their minds at rest and closes this sorry chapter for them”.
Commenting on the settlement, Chris Martin, chair of the BHS Pension Trustees said that he is “delighted” that a deal had been clinched.
“I am equally delighted we are now in a position to confirm that members will be offered benefit improvements, enhanced flexibility, and just as importantly, long term sustainability for their benefits,” he added.
MP Frank Field, chair of the Work and Pensions Select Committee, said that he welcomed the settlement and called it “an important milestone in gaining the justice for BHS pensioners and former workers that we have been pushing for since beginning our inquiry into the downfall of BHS”.
The billionaire owned BHS for a decade and a half before he sold the ailing department store chain to Dominic Chappell, a serial bankrupt with no retail experience, for £1 in 2015. The company’s last stores closed in August last year.
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