ueen’s Speech – Peers vote derails insolvency bill

The government has dropped its insolvency bill from its programme for the coming year in a blow to Trade and Industry secretary Peter Mandelson.

The proposal to streamline bankruptcy laws was axed from the Queen’s Speech at the last minute, and its failure to appear in her address to MPs and peers at Tuesday’s state opening of parliament came as a significant surprise.

Mandelson’s aides said they were still hopeful of finding time for the bill before the end of the forthcoming parliamentary session. But the Bill’s future depends on how much time is taken up by the plan to scrap the voting rights of hereditary peers.

Whitehall sources made clear to Accountancy Age that concerns about parliamentary time and the fact that work on the legislation was not finished was the reason for its omission.

A key element of the changes would be attempting to stop the Inland Revenue and Customs & Excise being the main creditors responsible for putting firms out of business.

Another key part of the legislation will be giving statutory backing to and extending the scope of Company Voluntary Agreements, where firms do deals with creditors to try to avoid bankruptcy.

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