The big four accountancy firms have been savaged by British MPs who have accused them of "feasting on the carcass" of collapsed construction giant Carillion and collecting more than £70m in the process.

MPs from the business and pensions committees are conducting a joint inquiry into Carillion's demise.

They have published a breakdown of fees collected by KPMG, PwC, Deloitte and EY. 

It shows that the professional services firms have pocketed a total of £71.6m in Carillion-related work since 2008, including on its pension schemes. 

"The image of these companies feasting on what was soon to become a carcass will not be lost on decent citizens," Labour MP Frank Field, head of the Work and Pensions Committee, said. 

"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," he added.

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

"PwC managed to play all three sides - the company, pension schemes and the Government - to the tune of £21mn and are now being paid to preside over the carcass of the company as Special Managers," he said.

"It was perhaps telling that, with their three fellow oligarchs conflicted, PwC were appointed to this lucrative position without any competition," he added. 

According to information published by the committees, KPMG has banked £20.2m in fees since 2008, PwC £21.1m, Deloitte £12m and EY £18.3m.

Carillion's liquidation last month left in its wake a £900m debt pile, a £590m pension deficit, and hundreds of millions of pounds in unfinished public contracts.

A total of 989 jobs have been lost since, 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.

The accountancy watchdog has gone as far as to open an investigation into KPMG over its audits of Carillion under the Audit Enforcement Procedure. 

The probe will cover the years ended 2014, 2015 and 2016, and additional audit work carried out during 2017.