Bankrupt entrepreneurs ‘don’t all deserve a second chance’.

The president of the Society of Insolvency Practitioners Murdoch McKillop, said that, while it is important to create ‘a more resilient enterprise culture’, ministers should not forget that ‘serial entrepreneurs are usually risking other people’s money.

‘The enterprise culture must play fair by those who fund its enterprises or who lose out when a business crashes. There must be penalties for those directors and entrepreneurs who act irresponsibly,’ he said.

He also urged the government to stick by its intention to ‘stamp out cowboy directors who don’t stick by the rules’.

At the CBI conference in Birmingham, Mandelson called for changes in bankruptcy law, to reduce the trauma for those affected and help them start again. He also said the ranking of the Crown as a creditor should be reviewed.

Calling for a knowledge-driven economy, he declared: ‘In the US, some of the most successful entrepreneurs are those who have failed once or twice. They see them as people who have learned; people who are worth backing again.’

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