U.K. GVT National Security and Investment Bill Regime

U.K. GVT National Security and Investment Bill Regime

On 2 March 2021, UK GVT narrowed definitions of new regime sector scope.

  • UK GVT published further details about the sectors within scope of the mandatory notification regime under the proposed national security and investment bill.
  • Follows UKP November 2020 issued bill on national security and investments.
  • And follows UK GVT November 2020 consultation on acquisition notification.
  • Also follows UK GVT November 2020 issued national security paper response.


  • Published revised definitions of sensitive sectors in scope of mandatory notification for the new national security regime under the national security and investment bill.
  • It will ensure investors and businesses having to tell the government about proposed acquisitions have certainty over the targeted and proportionate approach.
  • National security bill will boost UK’s ability to investigate, intervene in potentially hostile mergers, acquisitions, other deals that could threaten national security.
  • Definitions will help strike balance between ensuring national security is safeguarded, and keeping businesses caught by mandatory notification regime to a minimum.

Revised Definitions

  • Under the bill, investors, businesses will have to notify a dedicated government unit via a digital portal about certain types of transactions in designated sensitive sectors.
  • Including civil nuclear, defence and advanced robotics, with investments screened faster than current regime, assessing transactions within 30 working days, or quicker.
  • In November 2020, UK GVT consulted on how definitions of 17 sectors in scope of mandatory notification could be refined to ensure they are targeted and proportionate.
  • Many of these sectors are emerging, e.g. quantum technologies and synthetic biology.
  • Definitions set out clear parameters so acquirers can judge if planned deals in scope.
  • They will ensure that parties involved in deals that aren’t captured by the regime have the clarity they need to proceed, which will be the majority of transactions.
  • List may be further refined following continued engagement with sector stakeholders.

National Security and Investment Bill

  • Mandatory notification will ensure UK GVT is informed of sensitive acquisitions before they take place, and can take action to national security risks before a deal completes.
  • Mandatory regime is supported by a voluntary notification option for relevant acquisitions across the rest of the economy, and a call in power for secretary of State.
  • This power allows secretary of State to scrutinize acquisitions in the wider economy which were not notified to government but may raise national security concerns.
  • Investments will be screened faster than the current regime, with legally set timelines.
  • Majority of acquisitions will require no intervention, can proceed quickly, with certainty.
  • UK GVT will not revisit a transaction once cleared unless given false/misleading data.

Policy Statement

  • On same date, UK GVT issued a policy statement for each of the statutory instruments in the national security and investment bill needed for commencement of new regime.
  • There are 10 delegated powers within bill, 8 are needed for regime commencement.
  • UK GVT intends for national security, investment regime to commence by end 2021.

Next Steps

  • The final definitions will be set out in regulations following royal assent of the bill