PAC to probe PwC Rover fees

The Public Accounts committee is to look further into PwC’s fees in relation
to the demise of MG Rover, it emerged yesterday.

At a meeting yesterday with DTI officials in charge of advising on loans made
to Rover at the time of its collapse, MPs asked for further information on the
costs of administrators in such circumstances.

Richard Bacon, Conservative MP for South Norfolk, wanted to know more in
particular about the provision of the £6.5m loan that kept Rover open for a
further week after it had gone into administration.

Administrators PwC was paid £1.2m of that money, the National Audit Office
report into the car company said recently.

Catherine Bell, acting permanent secretary at the Department of Trade and
Industry at the time, told MPs: ‘That was negotiated as their professional fees
in that situation. We have no reason to think that is out of line with payments
made in other circumstances.’

MPs expressed unease about the £6.5m loan, criticised by the NAO. ‘What was
it doing other than letting people feel better for a few days,’ asked Bacon.

Bell said that PwC had ‘welcomed the loan,’ to which Bacon replied: ‘They
would, wouldn’t they?’

The DTI promised to provide some information as to administrators’ fees in
such circumstances.

Bell also said at the meeting that she would not have approved a larger loan,
of £110m, had ministers requested it.

Current permanent secretary at the DTI, Sir Brian Bender, also said that he
hoped the investigators’ report into the company would be out this calendar

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