23 March 2018 | Bradford Keen
MPs accused partners from PricewaterhouseCoopers of having "milked the Carillion cow dry" by charging the Official Receiver "superhuman" fees of £20.4 million in the first eight weeks of work after the firm's demise.
David Kelly, the special manager for PwC in Carillion's liquidation, told the committee the accountancy firm was charging about £1.4 million a week to employ 112 staff - down from 257 people and £3 million for their services in the first week after its collapse. Kelly said the fees for keeping Carillion running and upholding government contracts, while selling parts of the business to salvage funds for its creditors would continue to fall.
Despite this assurance, Kelly, with a personal rate of £865 an hour, and co-partners Gavin Stoner and Marissa Thomas told the committee they could only accurately estimate the overall costs by June.
Rachel Reeves, the Labour MP in charge of the business select committee, said: "If I pay someone £20.4m working for eight weeks, I would expect them to have some grasp of how much it might cost.
"It's the big four accountancy firms that make a killing advising struggling companies how to turn them round and the big four that make millions tidying up when that advice fails."
Greg Clark, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, spoke of plans for an independent inquiry into accountancy regulator Financial Reporting Council (FRC) after Carillion's failure, having previously called it useless.