Field requests update on Arcadia pension schemes’ deficits

Work and Pensions Committee chair, Frank Field MP, has written to Arcadia Group pensions manager, Margaret Hannell, requesting an update on its two schemes following contribution increases.

In April 2017, Arcadia agreed to double the pension schemes’ deficit recovery contributions to £50m per year for 10 years.

The agreement was put in place after, in March 2016, the schemes were found to have asset values £993m less than the amount needed to secure all member benefits with an insurance company.

Field noted that the combined funding deficit of both schemes was £565m “on an ongoing basis”.

Seeking an update on the changes to the schemes’ deficits, Field wrote: “Might you please let us know to what extent the increased deficit recovery contributions have materially improved the deficit in both schemes?”

On Friday (15 March), owner Philip Green announced plans to financial restructure the retail group, which included seeking approval from the Pensions Protection Fund for a company voluntary arrangement.

Commenting at the time, an Arcadia Group spokesperson said: “Within an exceptionally challenging retail market and given the continued pressures that are specific to the UK high street we are exploring several options to enable the business to operate in a more efficient manner.

“None of the options being explored involve a significant number of redundancies or store closures. The business continues to operate as usual including all payments being made to suppliers as normal.”

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