Collapse of BHS poses serious questions for future of all high streets

The collapse of British Home Stores poses serious questions over the future of our high streets, Shopworkers' trade union Usdaw has said.

Thursday, 2nd June 2016, 3:27 pm
Updated Thursday, 2nd June 2016, 4:32 pm

Usdaw has urged administrators to look after the best interests of staff, after they announced the shock liquidation of BHS this afternoon, Thursday June 2, and is posing serious questions for the Government on the future of the high street.

Dave Gill, Usdaw National Officer, said: “The staff in BHS have been in a state of anxiety and uncertainty for over a year after the company was sold for one pound, went into administration and has now been put in liquidation.

“This news is a devastating blow for the staff and the shock waves will be felt on high streets throughout the country. There are some very serious questions that need to be answered, by former owners of the business, about how a company with decades of history and experience in retail has now come to this very sorry end.

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“We believe the Government has also got to take a hard look at the process of administration. Currently the law requires administrators to liquidate a company if they believe that secures the best return for creditors, regardless of whether there is an option to keep the business going and secure jobs. Now that decision has been made for BHS, we urge the administrators to comply with the law on consultation and not force the staff to seek a protective award which can result in taxpayers picking up the bill.

“There are wider concerns the Government needs to address about the future of the high street as we see yet another major player go to the wall. Very real concerns need addressing about the impact of business rates, high property rents and the much higher tax liabilities high street retailers they have over online retailers.

“In the meantime we are providing the support and advice our members in BHS require at this very difficult time.”