UK – Gov’t National Security, Investment Bill

UK – Gov’t National Security, Investment Bill

On 11 November 2020, UKP issued bill on national security and investments.

  • UKP said national security and investments bill 2019-21 had first commons reading.
  • UK GVT issued statement of policy intent, impact assessment, regulatory policy committee report, memos on human rights, delegated powers and regulatory reform committee, plus factsheets on overview of bill and the process of businesses.
  • Also issued response to white paper on national security, investment.
  • UK GVT consulting on secondary legislation to define the sectors that would be subject to mandatory notification in the national security and investment bill.

New Bill

  • New national security and investment bill: will enable the Secretary of State to call in statutorily defined acquisitions of control over qualifying entities and assets (trigger events) to undertake a national security assessment (whether or not notified to GVT).
  • Establish a requirement for proposed acquirers of shares or voting rights in companies and other entities operating in sensitive sectors of the economy to seek authorization and obtain approval from the Secretary of State before completing their acquisition.
  • Otherwise, create a voluntary notification system to encourage notifications from parties who consider that their trigger event may raise national security concerns.

Remedies for non-Compliance

  • Bill would create new power to impose remedies to address risks to national security.
  • With sanctions for non-compliance with the regime and mechanism for legal challenge.
  • Non-compliance may result in fines of up to 5% of annual global turnover of acquirer, or £10mn, whichever greater, up to 5 years’ imprisonment for responsible directors.
  • Notifiable transactions that proceed without the required clearance will be legally void.
  • Bill provides a 5-year retrospective call-in power, for transactions completed from 11 November 2020 that have not been notified but which may raise national security concerns.

Next Steps

  • The date for the second reading has yet to be announced.