Et in Arcadia ego

The news that Arcadia the British store group seems to be about to go into administration raises many issues about business in the UK. High Streets across the country will take another massive hit, with more empty stores adding to their misery and 13,000 staff could be out of work when unemployment is already soaring.

Sir Phillip Green on the other hand will still be a billionaire, or to be more precise his wife will be; she after all owns the company. Both are based in Monaco, not for the tax benefits you understand, but as Sir Phillip told Parliament because he found the schools there were so good.

We will have to take his word for that but the wider issue is how the owners of businesses can take billions out of a company and then watch it fail. Sir Phillip is not the first and he won’t be the last to do this. Accountants, lawyers and auditors arrange and sign off these deals, they are all perfectly legal.

But stripping cash from a business, loading it with debt, failing to fund the pension pot properly and then wringing your hands as thousands of loyal workers lose everything; is not a business model any country should be proud of. Not least because at the end it is the state and its taxpayers who pick up the bill.