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