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National Security and Investment Act 2021: Call-in Power

Volume 702: debated on Tuesday 2 November 2021

The National Security and Investment Act 2021 protects the public from potential risks. It bolsters the UK’s status as an attractive place to invest by providing more efficient clearance processes for relevant acquisitions and more certainty and transparency for investors and businesses. It is a proportionate response to modern developments in international investment.

It will also ensure foreign direct investment projects can continue to boost jobs and stimulate the economy in every corner of the UK, as the vast majority of deals will be able to proceed without delay.

The Act provides for a call-in power which enables the Government to screen qualifying acquisitions for national security risks. In order to use the call-in power, the Secretary of State must—in accordance with section 3 of the Act—lay before Parliament, and publish, a statement on the expected use of the call-in power. This will provide clarity and certainty for businesses and investors on the circumstances in which national security risks are considered more likely to arise from qualifying acquisitions.

The Government consulted on a draft of the statement from 20 July to 30 August, in line with the commitment to consult given during parliamentary passage of the Act. I am grateful for the constructive responses which we received from businesses, investors, law firms and others.

I am today laying the statement before Parliament and publishing it alongside the Government’s response to the consultation. This fulfils the requirements of the Act and enables the call-in power to be used once the Act fully commences on 4 January 2022.

The statement should be read alongside other guidance documents which the Government have published about the NSI system, and further guidance will be published in the coming weeks.

I will place a copy of the Government response to the consultation on the draft statement for the purposes of section 3 in the Libraries of both Houses.