Government advisers were awarded contracts worth millions of pounds on failing nuclear projects, despite in some cases also advising the companies behind the schemes. PWC, the accounting firm, was awarded a five-year, £4.5 million contract by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy as a financial adviser on the Wylfa plant on Anglesey, the future of which is in doubt. The project was being developed by Horizon, a subsidiary of Hitachi, but the Japanese company said last month that it could be saved only if Britain nationalised it as private companies were unwilling to invest. The Times reported last July that PWC was also among Horizon’s advisers. Linklaters, the law firm, was awarded a three-year, £10 million contract as a legal adviser on the government’s development of new nuclear projects. These incl ude Moorside, in Cumbria, scrapped last year after Toshiba said that it would take a £125 million hit from closing its Nu Generation subsidiary, having failed to find a buyer for the scheme. PWC was also an adviser to Nugen, a response from the business department to a freedom of information request shows. The department stated that before the appointment of PWC as financial adviser “for the new nuclear pipeline, the department sought clarification of any services previously provided to Nugen by PWC. PWC declared that they had previously provided various programme related consultancy services to Nugen.” Arup, the engineering and design company, was awarded a £3.5 million government contract, over three and a half years, to act as technical adviser on the development of new nuclear projects. The Times reported in July that Arup was also an adviser to the Hitachi subsidiary behind the Wylfa project. Meg Hillier, chairwoman of the Commons’ public acco unts committee, described the contracts as eye-watering, and added: “Given how little we have to show for it in progressing delivery, there are questions that have to be asked about the advice to government.” Ms Hillier said that firms advising both sides were a “symptom of how few companies there are in this field”.
Times 16th Feb 2019 read more »