Philip Green's retail empire has been 'taking handouts while making staff ...

Sir Philip Green's retail empire is taking advantage of furlough rules to reduce staff pay while still taking millions in government handouts, leaked documents reportedly show. 

Staff at Arcadia Group were told by an executive that they had to take 'every penny we can get' from the public purse, reports say. 

Arcadia made 300 staff at its head office redundant and paid then reduced rates for their notice period through a loophole in the government rules, it was said. 

Those made redundant will be paid at reduced rates - some as little as half - during their notice period due to a loophole in government rules, The Times reports.

Sir Philip Green enjoys his billionaire lifestyle as he chills out at the seaside village of Beaulieu-sur-Mer on the French Riviera

Sir Philip Green enjoys his billionaire lifestyle as he chills out at the seaside village of Beaulieu-sur-Mer on the French Riviera

Staff at Arcadia Group were told by an executive that they had to take 'every penny we can get' from the public purse, reports say. Pictured: Sir Philip heading to his yacht on September 5

Staff at Arcadia Group were told by an executive that they had to take 'every penny we can get' from the public purse, reports say. Pictured: Sir Philip heading to his yacht on September 5

Sir Philip's sprawling new superyacht, called Lionheart, is pictured as it arrives in Valletta, Malta

Sir Philip's sprawling new superyacht, called Lionheart, is pictured as it arrives in Valletta, Malta

The company, which owns brand Topshop, accepted millions of pounds to pay furloughed staff - and has indicated that it wishes to take another £3 million from £1,000-a-head retention grants in January. 

Internal minutes from meetings that took place amid the redundancy process are said to indicate that a representative of the company, Paul Forrest, told employees that he did not 'dispute with you what you are saying about how this seems unfair and the ethics of this'.

He reportedly said  that the company was 'complying with minimum obligations provided by the law. It can't afford any more.' 

The retail tycoon is helped on to a smaller boat before heading to his yacht on the French Riviera last week

He steps down on to the vessel

The retail tycoon is helped on to a smaller boat before heading to his yacht on the French Riviera last week

Sir Philip is hauled back off the small vessel by friends in the sunshine on the French Riviera last week

Sir Philip is hauled back off the small vessel by friends in the sunshine on the French Riviera last week

Arcadia Group now faces a legal challenge from the Unite trade union, who said: 'Arcadia has taken the taxpayer-funded furlough cash during the pandemic, but now is using it as a shoddy smokescreen to slash notice pay.' 

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