Britain proposes tougher procurement laws to protect national security

June 7, 2023 10:03 am

[Source: Reuters]

Britain will on Wednesday propose tightening procurement laws to protect sensitive sectors on national security grounds by setting up a new unit to investigate suppliers and also creating new powers to ban suppliers from certain contracts.

Britain has been reassessing the role of companies with links to foreign countries in its critical infrastructure and supply chains.

The changes will be put forward by the government when the Procurement Bill is debated in parliament next week.

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Under the updated plans, the government will establish a National Security Unit for Procurement to investigate suppliers and assess whether they should be barred from public procurements.

It will also introduce new powers to ban suppliers from sectors related to national security and defence while allowing them to win procurements in non-sensitive areas.

“These new measures will protect our sensitive sectors from companies which could threaten national security and are a firm deterrence to hostile actors who wish to do Britain harm,” junior Cabinet Office minister Jeremy Quin said in a statement.

The amendments will need to secure approval from both houses of parliament before they become law.

In 2020 the government said it would ban Huawei from its 5G network, and it has also used new laws to order Chinese-owned technology company Nexperia to sell Britain’s biggest microchip factory following a national security assessment.