PwC staff were paid an average of £356 an hour by the official receiver for their work on Carillion’s liquidation, letters released by MPs’ joint inquiry have revealed.
The accountant is expected to earn around £50m for providing special manager services to the official receiver since the contractor collapsed in January.
A letter from PwC to joint inquiry chairs Frank Field and Rachel Reeves shows that the firm billed £20.4m for the first eight weeks of the Carillion insolvency.
PwC said this amounted to around 57,500 hours of work at an averaged rate of £356 an hour.
The accountancy giant included a breakdown of the average rates for the different staff working on the insolvency (see table below).
This shows partners working on the Carillion collapse made an average of £645 an hour, while directors were on £559 and senior managers made £406.
PwC said it had also worked with internal specialists as part of the liquidation. These staff accounted for 13,656 of the billed hours at an average rate of £393 an hour, amounting to a total of around £5m.
The accountant also revealed that the most expensive rates were charged by its pension specialists.
Partner and director-level pension specialists charged almost double the hourly rate of their regular-grade equivalents, earning an average of £1,156 and £1,060 an hour respectively.
Senior manager pension specialists averaged £816 per hour.
PwC Carillion liquidation pay rates
|Grades||Average hourly rate||Pension specialist grades||Average hourly rate|
|Senior manager||£406||Senior manager||£816|
|Senior associate||£260||Senior associate||£412|
|Client account support||£63|
PwC said it discussed the costs of the insolvency with the official receiver on a weekly basis.
In its letter to the MPs select committee, the company also listed the key objectives against which its performance was being judged, which included maintaining a continuity of public services and seeking the best outcome for creditors.
No construction projects were listed in the key metrics PwC said it had reported to the receiver, although it did say railway and motorway maintenance had continued.
PwC also said it had helped sell Carillion joint ventures in the UK and abroad, bringing in around £100m.
A spokesperson for PwC said: “We understand concerns over the cost of the liquidation; however, without this work the cost to UK jobs, the economy and the taxpayer would be considerably higher.
“From the outset it has been clear that PwC’s fees for assisting the official receiver on the liquidation of Carillion will be subject to scrutiny and approval by the official receiver and the court.”
In its final report on Carillion’s collapse published in May, the joint inquiry called on the government to refer the ‘big four’ accountants – Deloitte, EY, KPMG and PwC – to the Competition and Markets Authority due to “conflicts of interest at every turn”.
The inquiry also voiced concern that PwC had a “blank cheque” for its work as special manager of Carillion’s liquidation, but said government was left with little alternative but to hire the firm.