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Top UK accountancy firms accused of 'feasting on Carillion carcass'

Photo: ITV News Central

MPs have accused the UK's top accountancy firms of 'feasting on the carcass' of the collapsed giant Carillion.

The Wolverhampton-based firm went into liquidation in January after falling more than £900 million in debt.

An inquiry into the firm's collapse has found that professional firms KPMG, PwC, Deliotte and EY pocketed a total of £71.6 million in Carillion-related work since 2008, including on its pension schemes.

Veteran Labour MP Frank Field, head of the Work and Pensions Committee, said:

The image of these companies feasting on what was soon to become a carcass will not be lost on decent citizens. The former directors of Carillion are, unlike their pensioners, suppliers and employees, alright. These figures show that, as ever, the Big Four are alright too. All of them did extensive - and expensive - work for Carillion.

– MP Frank Field, Labour politician
PcW, which is currently, handling Carillion's liquidation, has been severely criticised. Credit: PA

PwC, which is handling the liquidation process, comes in for particular criticism, with Mr Field accusing the firm of playing "all three sides".

PwC managed to play all three sides - the company, pension schemes and the Government - to the tune of £21 million and are now being paid to preside over the carcass of the company as Special Managers. It was perhaps telling that, with their three fellow oligarchs conflicted, PwC were appointed to this lucrative position without any competition.

– MP Frank Field

Since the collapse of Carillion, a total of 989 jobs have been lost, with 6,668 saved out of the previous directly-employed workforce of 18,000.

The role of auditors has come under the spotlight, with questions asked about why problems at the firm were not spotted sooner.