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Scandal of Arcadia’s collapse as taxpayers’ forced to pay for workers’ redundancy

by Matt Trinder

Industrial reporter

TAXPAXPERS are having to foot the bill for Arcadia’s collapse after admininistrators said that they have no money left to settle the redundancies of hundreds of workers, according to GMB today.

Staff at a factory in Leeds for fashion retailer Burton, part of “bandit capitalist” Sir Philip Green’s empire, which fell into administration last year, face an uncertain future, with the site set to close.

The factory, which employs 400 workers, also serves as a distribution centre for other Arcadia stores including Dorothy Perkins.

GMB senior organiser Peter Davies described the closure of the site, in operation since 1922, as an “absolute tragedy.” 

“This site was a thriving distribution centre still rammed with stock,” he said. “The administrators have raked in millions overseeing selling off the company names.

“But not one jot of effort has been made on the workers’ behalf who will have to carry on up to the closure date, clearing that stock which they won’t get a penny out of.

“Workers will have to apply for redundancy through the statutory process and the taxpayer will cough up while that greedy multi-millionaire Philip Green sails off on his yacht. 

“It’s absolutely scandalous, and time we had much tougher laws in the UK to protect workers, who always have to pay the price for these board-room disasters.”

The collapse of Arcadia in November put thousands of jobs in jeopardy and further crippled high streets already under pressure from three coronavirus lockdowns in the past year.

Online-only firm Asos bought fashion brands Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge and HIIT from administrators in a deal worth £295 million earlier this month.

Chief executive Nick Beighton said that Asos was “looking at” the possibility of retaining Topshop’s Oxford Circus store in central London, but that all other outlets were to close, leaving 2,500 workers facing redundancy.

It followed the acquisition of former Arcadia brand Debenhams by online retailer Boohoo in January, with the closure of its 118 stores, putting 12,000 jobs in jeopardy.

Labour and unions have called for the government to end its “sticking-plaster approach to support” and introduce a “comprehensive plan” to save the British high street.

Arcadia’s administrators Deloitte has been contacted for comment.


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