Frank Field

The Lobbyists

Michael Crick on tales from the Lobby
Up in his attic, Michael Crick found a tape from 1981 called the Lobbyists. 
Together with producer Miles Warde, he tracks down two lobbyists from that programme - Frank Field MP and Lord Faulkner. Frank Field reveals the extraordinary events behind the introduction of Child Benefit; and Richard Faulkner explains the 1979 campaign to save the Spot the Ball competition.

Questions for Arcadia

Frank Field has written to the pensions regulator to raise concerns over the funding of the pension deficit of Sir Philip Green's Arcadia fashion group.

The MP who chairs the Work and Pensions Committee is asking questions about the part of the proposed Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) plans that cover funding Arcadia's pension deficit.

A crucial meeting to rescue Arcadia was adjourned earlier this week he after landlords initially rejected his plan which involved the closure of 48 stores and the loss of around 1.000 jobs.

There is also a suggestion that Sir Philip is offering changes to the CVA, according to the retail editor for The Daily Telegraph & Sunday Telegraph, who tweets:

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More from Frank Field

BBC Radio 5 Live

Wake Up To Money

top shop
Getty Images

A critic of Sir Philip Green when the BHS store chain collapsed, Frank Field also told Wake Up To Money that schemes such as the CVA proposed by Arcadia are "not always the fix they are presented to be".

He said the delay to the vote to next week would not only give Sir Philip time to try to convince landlords to back the CVA but also give the Work and Pensions Committee change to "look at just how acceptable the terms have been" for the pension scheme.

He said the terms offered by Sir Philip and his wife were a "move in the right direction... but in the great scheme of things, peanuts".

"I mean this family has taken the largest dividend out of this set of companies that’s ever been paid in corporate Britain. They should have money coming out of their ears. The idea we are not pressing at this stage, given how much you took out through Arcadia and other companies, surely we should be asking for a total commitment to make up the pension deficit," he said.

Sir Philip Green 'responsible' says Field

BBC Radio 5 Live

Wake Up To Money

top shop
Getty Images

More from Frank Field, who has been speaking to Radio 5 Live's Wake Up To Money about the postponement of the Arcadia CVA vote.

"My concern is that some landlords have not agreed to the deal, and there are good reasons for them not doing so. My worry is for [landlords] is that Sir Philip Green who is the person responsible for this state of affairs - he’s been in charge for a long period of time and it's now only at crisis point that he seems to be ultra active again - that he is able, if the deal doesn't go ahead, to blame a couple of landlords for the collapse, when the collapse, if it does come to that, is totally, totally due to him".

Frank Field worries on Arcadia pension

BBC Radio 5 Live

Wake Up to Money

Frank field
Reuters

A crucial meeting to rescue Sir Philip Green's Arcadia Group was adjourned yesterday for a week after landlords initially rejected his plan.

Landlords of the troubled group's stores, which include Topshop and Miss Selfridge, were due to vote on a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) yesterday.

MP Frank Field, who chairs the Work and Pensions Committee, has been telling BBC Radio 5 Live's Wake Up To Money about this concern that a decision by the Pension Protection Fund (PPF) to back the CVA - after Lady Cristina Green, Sir Philip's wife and Arcadia's largest shareholder, agreed to make a £100m contribution to the pension fund - had been taken too quickly.

"I am worried it [being decided too quickly]. There is no substitute for Lady Green writing out an IOU which can be enforced compared with assets which are going to decline very quickly unless this move [for a CVA] brings back an extraordinary restoration of health, which of course one hopes it will because there's lots of jobs involved here," Mr Field said.