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National Security and Investment Act

The new UK National Security & Investment Act 2021 comes into effect fully from 4 January 2022.  Businesses and investors should check the guidance at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/national-security-and-investment-bill to understand:

  • what types of acquisitions are covered by the new rules
  • whether you need to tell the government about an acquisition
  • how the government will scrutinise the acquisition

The Act gives the government powers to scrutinise and intervene in acquisitions that may pose national security risks. It also provides businesses and investors with predictable, legally defined timelines and processes for decisions on acquisitions.

The Act requires particularly sensitive acquisitions to be approved by the government before they are completed. The government will be able to impose certain conditions on an acquisition and, in rare instances, the government may unwind or block an acquisition completely.

The Investment Security Unit – a dedicated hub that sits within the business department – will run the investment screening and provide a single point of contact for businesses wishing to understand the Act and notify the government about acquisitions.

Contact the hub using the email address investment.screening@beis.gov.uk if you have any questions.

The business department, BEIS, has set up a survey to assess the level of knowledge that firms have of the National Security and Infrastructure Act - the interpretation of national interest is wider than before.  BEIS asks that an appropriate company representative fills in the questionnaire, which includes questions as to the respondent’s understanding of the company’s legal obligations.  You can find this (relatively short) survey at https://beis.fra1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_5zQMJAmtpGI2nr0.  BEIS requests that, if possible, firms complete the survey by 29th October.