Home Breaking News Lisa Wilkinson blames Liz Truss’s mini-budget and soaring interest rates for the collapse of Wilko

Lisa Wilkinson blames Liz Truss’s mini-budget and soaring interest rates for the collapse of Wilko

by LLB political Reporter
28th Nov 23 12:12 pm

Lisa Wilkinson the former chairwoman of Wilko has said she is “sorry” that more than 12,000 people lost their jobs after the retailer went into administration.

Speaking to MPs at the Business and Trade Committee Wilkinson said that the former Prime Minister Liz Truss’s disastrous mini-budget was one of the reasons as to why the company fell into administration in August 2023.

She told MPs, “I am devastated that we have let each and every one of those people down with the insolvency of Wilko.

“I don’t know how to put into words how sad I am that we have let down all our team members, all our customers, our suppliers, and our advisers.”

Chairman Liam Byrne pushed for her to apologise directly, Wilkinson said, “You can have the word sorry, of course I am sorry… I am sorry that we are not there supporting these people anymore.”

Wilkinson told the MPs that there was a number of reasons as to why Wilko collapsed, she said soaring interest rates happened after Truss’s mini-budget in 2022.

Wilkinson said, “We were about to enter into secured lending arrangements with Macquarie when the 2022 mini-budget happened.

“Literally we were in the midst of that, and at that point the interest terms on that loan were hiked massively and that became infeasible. So, that was a contributor.”

However, the GMB Union said that Wilko had a “challenging trading position” in 2010, the committee heard in evidence.

“We’ve got correspondence between ourselves and Wilko where they identify a challenging trading position from about 2010,” said GMB national officer Nadine Houghton.

“They identify that the discount retailers are an issue.”

Houghton added that Wilko had tried to change their business model by moving away from a “discount retailer.”

Houghton said, “What you see is a move away from this idea of Wilko as a discount retailer,” Ms Houghton said.

She added: “The internal messaging to our members … was very much this attempt to move very much to almost a John Lewis-type model.”

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