Regulation – Mandelson told not to backtrack

Peter Mandelson, the trade and industry secretary, was warned this week against relaxing rules governing accountants and company directors.

Backbench Labour MP Austin Mitchell said Mandelson would be backtracking on a manifesto commitment if he failed to bring in independent regulation of the profession.

‘It will only be independent if it is enshrined in statute,’ Mitchell said. Last month, the DTI published for consultation a modified version of the profession’s plans to maintain a self-regulatory regime.

Mandelson was also warned by insolvency practitioners against weakening bankruptcy laws to the detriment of creditors. Speaking during a US trade visit last week, he said US investors, unlike their UK counterparts, would back businesses with failures behind them ‘because they appreciate the spirit of enterprise’.

Society of Practitioners of Insolvency president Murdoch McKillop said limited liability should only be extended to directors who played by the accepted rules.

View from the House, page 21.

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