James Sunderland calls for jobs to be priority in Wilko deal

James Sunderland expresses his frustration at Wilko outcome and calls for focus to be on jobs.

James Sunderland (Bracknell) (Con)

Could I please raise the issue of the high street chain Wilko? It strikes me that the current outcome, which includes the loss of half the stores and all the jobs for a paltry sum, 13 million quid, is suboptimal when we consider the fact that the chain turned over more than £1 billion last year, and there are businesses across the UK, including one in Berkshire, that would have been happy to bid more than £100 million for the whole business and all the jobs. I accept that this is a commercial consideration, but could the Leader of the House please represent my concerns with the Department for Business and Trade? We should be prioritising jobs over creditors.

The Leader of the House of Commons (Penny Mordaunt)

I thank my hon. Friend for raising this very sad situation, which I know will be of concern to many individuals. It is obviously a commercial decision, but this is a very worrying time for employees; the swiftness of the timeframe is also worrying. On behalf of my hon. Friend, I will write to not only the Department for Business and Trade but the Department for Work and Pensions, which in similar circumstances has also provided support to the workforce. I will ask both Departments to contact my hon. Friend’s office, and I thank him on behalf of many Members of this House for raising this matter, as it will affect a number of parts of the country.