In 2018, the government consulted on proposed reforms to government’s powers for scrutinising investment for the purposes of protecting national security. The white paper set out the government’s proposed reforms for creating clear and focused powers within a predictable and transparent process. The government has now published its response.
The 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 they have been notified to the government)
- 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 authorisation and obtain approval from the Secretary of State before completing their acquisition
- create, where there is no requirement to notify, a voluntary notification system to encourage notifications from parties who consider that their trigger event may raise national security concerns
- create a power to impose remedies to address risks to national security, sanctions for non-compliance with the regime and mechanisms for legal challenge.