£20m PwC bill for eight weeks’ work on Carillion
Accountancy firm PwC has charged “superhuman” fees of £20.4m in the first eight weeks since the collapse of Carillion, MPs heard yesterday.
Partners from the firm, which has been handed the task of retrieving money from Carillion on behalf of its creditors and pensioners, told the MPs heading the inquiry into the contractor’s demise that they had no idea how much they would end up charging.
David Kelly, Special Manager for PwC in Carillion’s liquidation, told the committee that the firm was charging £1.4m a week to employ 112 staff to keep the company running and to honour government contracts.
He added that it would take until June at the earliest until the firm had an idea of the total bill for its work.
Kelly’s personal rate is £865 an hour, he revealed, but said that PwC’s costs would eventually fall as more parts of Carillion were sold.
Meanwhile, he told MPs that 8,500 jobs at Carillion have been saved so far, while a total of 1,500 have been made redundant.
Labour MP Rachel Reeves described PwC’s fees as “superhuman”.
She 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.”
A spokesperson for PwC said: “We were appointed because of our ability to deliver the scale, skills and experience at the speed required to minimise the disruption caused by the collapse of Carillion.”
Earlier in the session, business secretary Greg Clark said the government may consider shaking up the Financial Reporting Council (FRC), which earlier this week announced that it would be investigating two of Carillion’s former finance directors, Richard Adam and Zafar Khan.
The FRC is responsible for regulating the accountancy profession but has come under fire after several high-profile collapses of businesses which had had their accounts signed off by auditors.
Clark said: “I think we should look at the operation of the FRC to see if there are any changes to be made.”