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Arcadia's Sir Philip Green criticised for taking millions of taxpayers’ cash to furlough staff

Sadiyah Ismailjee
22 June 2020

Sir Philip Green has reportedly faced great criticism for continuing to take millions of taxpayers’ money to furlough Arcadia Group workers.

Arcadia, who's retail portfolio includes Dorothy Perkins, Miss Selfridge, Topshop, Evans and Burton, furloughed 14,500 staff in April under the coronavirus job retention scheme.

Some employees have gone back to work after the reopening of 631 stores, while others remained furloughed.

The criticism comes after Green was spotted in Monaco last week browsing multi-million pound luxury yachts.

His decision to keep using the scheme – which pays 80% of wages, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month – is in direct contrast to other retailers, such as Boohoo, who have refunded HMRC after deciding they no longer need the financial support.

Critics have questioned how much support Green needed to rely on taxpayers’ money to keep his business afloat.

Former Labour MP Frank Field, who criticised Green when BHS collapsed in 2016 after he sold it, said Green seems to be “replaying the past”.

Green has previously faced calls to have his knighthood removed after a series of controversies, in particular the collapse of the former BHS department store chain, which Green offloaded to Dominic Chappell for £1. Chappell has since been banned from holding a  company directorship for 10 years. 

Prior to the Coronavirus outbreak, Arcadia was struggling after recording an operating loss of £138 million on turnover of £1.8 billion in 2018.

Last year, Arcadia carried out a series of CVAs across its brands, which include Topshop, Dorothy Perkins, Miss Selfridge and Burton, with the aim of reducing rents and close struggling stores.

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