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Ministerial correspondence on National Security and Investment proposals published

20 December 2018

Following recent correspondence with the Business & Industry Minister, Rachel Reeves MP, Chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee comments on the Government's proposals for new powers to block foreign takeovers.

Correspondence published

The BEIS Committee publishes a letter from Richard Harrington MP, Minister for Business and Industry, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy responding to a series of questions raised in a joint BEIS & Defence Committee hearing on the Government's National Security and Investment proposals.

Potential for conflict to arise in judging foreign takeovers

Rachel Reeves MP, Chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee said:

“The Government is proposing a bigger role for Ministerial intervention in foreign takeovers but remains unclear about how it will implement these proposals, or the resources required to manage the expanded regime. 

There is potential for conflict to arise between defence and business interests in judging foreign takeovers.

Given this, it is surprising the Government has brought these plans forward without having a clearer idea of whether it is the Defence or BEIS Secretary of State who should be making the final decision on whether to block or green-light foreign investment.

There is also a lack of clarity about the evidence the designated Senior Minister would consider from Ministers in other Departments, for example, on jobs or on long-standing relationships in the business or defence sectors.

Given the potentially far-reaching consequences of these proposals, the Government should go further in setting out how it will implement these plans and ensure that business gets the clarity it needs, and that foreign investment and UK assets are safeguarded.”

Further information

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