London, Sept.18 : The Gordon Brown Government has confirmed the loss of a laptop that contained the names, addresses, and in some cases dates of birth and National Insurance numbers of 486 directors and employees of 122 failed companies.
They were stolen from an office at the Insolvency Service, The Telegraph reported.
The paper quoted a spokesman of the service as saying that the police are investigating the theft, which occurred on August 27 at its offices in Manchester.
The information watchdog had been informed, as well as those people whose information has gone missing. The laptop was one of four computers that were stolen. It was the only one to contain any personal data and consisted of documents sent by insolvency practitioners who act as administrators, receivers or liquidators of insolvent companies.
The news of yet another loss by a Government will increase fears that identity fraudsters can use the information to scam money from members of the public.
Shadow Business Secretary Alan Duncan said: "The endless stream of data losses is making the whole Government look farcical. These computers should have been properly secured and accounted for."
"This is a serious breach of confidentiality and will make people think the Government is incapable of holding personal data," he added.
Last month, it emerged that sensitive data of more than four million people had been lost by Government departments in the past year, in addition to the high-profile loss of the details of 25 million child benefit claimants last year.
Since the child benefit loss, Whitehall departments have begun including information on personal data losses in their annual financial statements.
The statements showed that Government departments were losing more than 300,000 people's details a month in the year to April.
Among the losses were the National Insurance numbers of 17,000 people and the theft of a laptop with encrypted details of 17,000 Sats exam markers.