BusinessBusiness RecoveryRover probe costs hit £10m with no end in sight

Rover probe costs hit £10m with no end in sight

The cost of the probe into Rover's collapse has reached £9.6m, with government officials refusing to put a deadline on the inquiry

Guy Newey QC of Maitland Chambers and Gervase MacGregor of BDO were
commissioned two months after the car-maker was plunged into administration in
2005, leaving 9,000 workers without jobs at its sites in the West Midlands.

This week a spokeswoman for the Department for Business Enterprise and
Regulatory Reform said the inspectors are intent on ‘completing this inspection
as quickly as possible, with due regard to the fairness of procedures, and to
the thoroughness of the task’.

‘The inspectors have not been given a specific target date for the completion
of their investigation. To do so might restrict the depth and thoroughness of
their enquiry.

‘While the inspectors are ‘masters of their own procedures’ as far as the
investigation is concerned, they meet with officials regularly in order to
monitor progress and to ensure that the momentum of the investigation is
maintained.

‘On their appointment the secretary of state asked the inspectors to report
back to him as quickly as possible and in a form that will enable the report to
be made public,’ a spokeswoman said.

The inquiry came under fire from parliament in March after it was revealed
that the investigation bill had already reached £8m.

The DBERR revealed the costs of the inquiry, as at the end of July at
£7,838,156 plus disbursements of £370,551 and VAT of £1,436,163.

The figures released suggest the cost accumulation from a spend on the
inquiry of approximately £370, 000 per month.

This cost is now in excess of the £6.5m loan, which government granted to
allow the company to continue trading a week after it went into administration
in April 2005.

Last year the Public Accounts Committee also revealed that taxpayers were
paying a £270m bill for Rover’s 2000 to 2005 operations.

Neither Newey nor MacGregor were available for comment.

In the meantime, the Accountancy Investigation and Discipline Board is
investigating the conduct of Rover’s auditors and advisers, Deloitte.

The AIDB began its probe of Rover’s 2003 accounts in 2005, at the request of
the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, Patricia Hewitt.

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