A new Insolvency Bill is to be introduced that provides a fast-track approach to disqualifying dodgy directors without the involvement of the courts.

At present disqualifications can only be achieved through the courts and this process often involves long delays.

Dr Kim Howells, competition and consumer affairs minister said: "The new Bill is a dramatic step forward as it will result in a fast-track disqualification for those who give an undertaking not to act as director of a company and allow the courts more time to deal with defended cases. The undertaking will have a the same effect as a court order. It will be registered at Companies House; accessible by public search and if contravened will be a criminal offence."

The DTI will give a helping hand to the new Bill with its Insolvency Service which has identified over 870 rogue directors between March and September this year and had them struck off through the courts. This is a 35% increase over the same period last year.

Howells added: "There is no let up in the clampdown on unfit directors and these figures show that this government's commitment to stamping out unfair trading is working."

According to Government figures the rag trade was the worst offending industry with ten per cent of all directors banned from working in this sector. Ten of these cases were heard on the same day before Croydon County Court each involving unexplained withdrawals of between £100,000 and £600,000 over relatively short trading periods.

In most cases the orders had been made within just over a year of the date of liquidation.

Howells added: "It is not an easy task for government departments to identify dodgy directors when working alone. That is why the Insolvency Service is working in partnership with other Government departments to pool expertise and information in an attempt to stop people getting ripped off and ensure adequate working conditions are met."