But it doesn’t look like wealth


11,000 employees in the Green pee soup

SQUARE.JW.01With demand in Britain’s “strong and growing economy” so poor, BHS is about to undergo a demise of grizzly proportions. But here’s a nice bit of double-talk to start the week:


OK, fair enough – I know what this is saying. But rejoicing about the administration having no effect on the pension scheme is a bit like saying “The Führer’s dead but his teeth will continue the fight”. What we’d all like to know is what percentage of the pension is half a billion quid (an awful lot, I’d imagine) and why has it gone walkabout? What were the auditors and trustees doing all that time?

Well, it’s five weeks since Phil Green sold the entire business for £1, and we’re no clearer how it happened. It has been reported that he could be asked to stump up £280m to save many BHS staff from having their pensions cut. This would represent around 12.8% of his personal wealth. But could and would means nothing nowadays.

But ‘pension deficit’ is another of those anodyne phrases like ‘unfunded civil service pensions’. What they mean is ‘who’s been eating my porridge?’

Here, we can be a bit more specific: 6,700 of former employees will be unaffected: being already retired, their pensions are ring-fenced. But just over 7,000 will face a cut of at least 10%…and younger employees are bound to lose more. So 7/11ths of those thrown out of work will also have a lower pension

This is, of course, the first of many retail collapses to come throughout Europe. And proof once again “that our longterm economic plan is working”.

And further proof that wealth trickles down. Of course it does. We all know that. Keith Joseph said so. Nothing wrong with the late Keith that a Venusian mindmeld couldn’t have sorted out.

If only they’d called in Jewels Altmann; she’s good at this sort of stuff. She’s also big mates with Avid Cameldung. And Sir Philip gave Dave Cameo his first (and only proper) job.

S’a small world, innit?