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Government response to the Business and Trade Committee’s submission to the National Security and Investment Act Call for Evidence 2023

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1. The Business and Trade Committee made a submission to the NSI Call for Evidence on 6th February 2024*. The following text is the Government’s response to the Committee’s submission, taking the Committee’s recommendations in order. The bold headings come from the Committee’s submission whilst the plain text is the Government’s response.

(*) Business and Trade Subcommittee response to the Call for Evidence on the National Security and Investment Act 2021

The Changing Context

A. There has been a significant change in inbound investment trends. The nature of the threat to the UK has also changed. Our allies’ strategy has also evolved.  It is vital that the UK does not become a ‘back door’ through which our adversaries acquire capabilities that imperil NATO allies’ collective security.

2. The Committee has identified a number of significant global changes, in particular changes in inbound investment trends, the nature of threats to the UK, and our allies’ strategies. These shifts form important parts of the rationale for the introduction of the NSI Act and the way it has been operated, and the backdrop for the strategy articulated by the Government in the Integrated Review 2021 and the Integrated Review Refresh 2023.

3. Given these changing and uncertain times, the Government has directed substantial resource to develop national security legislation (including the NSI Act) and underpinning systems that are flexible enough to respond to the ever-changing threats, whilst being transparent and predictable enough to ensure the UK remains an attractive place to invest.

4. Two years after the NSI system commenced, we can see that it is working well, and the Call for Evidence represents an excellent opportunity to keep the system under review in a predictable and measured way.

5. The Government continues to work very closely with our allies to ensure the UK’s investment screening system draws on global best practice. Through this continuing engagement, our allies are also now learning from the UK’s experiences as they amend their own approaches. In February 2023 the US Government upheld the UK’s status as an ‘Excepted Foreign State’ under the US investment screening system, describing the NSI system as ‘robust’ and demonstrating their confidence in the operation of the NSI Act even at that early stage. 

6. The Government is committed to ensuring that the NSI system remains effective and flexible, adapting to the changing nature of our economy, in line with our allies’ approaches. The recent NSI Call for Evidence and its outcomes demonstrate  that commitment.

B. The lack of a clear definition of ‘national security’ undermines the NSI system: an explicit definition of ‘national security,’ which is well-communicated and understood by business in particular, would help to ensure that we create a ‘small garden and high fence.’

7. National security risks are multifaceted and constantly evolving, as the Committee acknowledges in its submission. In line with other legislation and longstanding governmental practice, the Government therefore does not define national security, since providing a definition could itself result in risks being missed and harm the Government’s ability to safeguard national security. This was subject to extensive debate at the time the NSI Bill was going through Parliament, and the Government’s position has not changed.

8. The Government already follows a “small garden, high fence” approach: safeguarding the UK against the small number of deals that could be harmful to our security whilst leaving the vast majority of transactions unaffected. The Act’s mandatory notification requirements ensure that the Government does not need to be notified of the large majority of deals that pose no national security risk while making sure it is notified of those deals that do warrant consideration under the Act. However, this does not prevent the Government from scrutinising or intervening in acquisitions in the rest of the economy where it identifies national security risk.

9. The Government is committed to ensuring that the legislation operates as transparently as possible, ensuring that businesses understand how the Act applies to them, without compromising national security or constraining its ability to conduct proper scrutiny. This is why the Government published guidance on the exercise of the call-in power (the “Section 3 Statement”) and the mandatory sector definitions, which the Government will be reviewing over the coming months to reflect the past two years of experience. Doing so will ensure the legislation continues to operate in a transparent and predictable manner.

C. Awareness amongst industry of the NSI Act’s coverage appears to be low.

10. Contrary to the Committee’s assertion, responses to the Call for Evidence indicated high awareness of the NSI Act. 80% of the 110 responses the Government received agreed or strongly agreed they have a good understanding of the risks the Government is seeking to address. This is the result of extensive and ongoing engagement with sector-specific trade organisations, as well as with individual businesses and legal firms over the last three years since Royal Assent. The Government is reassured by the level of understanding and believe the number of notifications the Government receives reflects strong awareness of and compliance with the NSI Act.

11. Nevertheless, the Government remains committed to improving understanding of the legislation. This was the driver for the questions in the Call for Evidence which asked about particular topics where businesses would welcome more information or clarity. The Government will respond to this by engaging with stakeholders and through our continuous updates to guidance, in order to aid comprehension and compliance, following our best practice established through the development and implementation of the Act.  

The Scope of the Act

D. We welcome the Government’s proposals to:

a) create a standalone ‘semiconductors’ sector that would be covered under the Act to make it clearer which types of transactions involving semiconductors are subject to mandatory notification;

b) create a standalone ‘critical minerals’ sector under the Act.

We call on the Government to take this opportunity to secure wider critical minerals supply chains … [and] ensure that the new ‘critical minerals’ category under the NSI Act remains aligned with the UK Critical Minerals Strategy.

12. The Government is grateful for the Committee’s endorsement of these proposals. The proposals are the result of careful engagement with businesses over the past two years, which in turn followed extensive consultation during the original development of the Notifiable Acquisition Regulations.

13. As the Committee may be aware, the Government has a statutory obligation to review the Notifiable Acquisition Regulations within a three year period of them coming into force. The Call for Evidence effectively launched this review and, to refine the proposals further, the Government will publish a consultation on updating the mandatory area definitions  in the summer. This means that the Government will not comment on the specific proposals now, but would like to provide reassurance that the ISU will continue to work closely with the relevant experts inside and outside of Government, and intends to harmonise the new ‘Critical Minerals’ area with the Critical Minerals Intelligence Centre’s (CMIC) latest criticality assessment. CMIC’s first criticality assessment informed the list found in the Critical Minerals Strategy. 

14. As with the current regulations, any changes will be drafted carefully to ensure they capture current and future risks: circumstances can change quickly and the regulations must be adaptable to that reality.

E. We call on the Government to use this review to bring the UK’s investment screening regime under the NSI Act into stronger alignment with those of allies, and in particular with President Biden’s Executive Order 14083 (September 2022). This would involve:

– creating a new standalone sector to capture transactions relating to media freedoms and the integrity of our democracy;

– measures to protect access to UK persons’ sensitive data;

– measures to protect the UK’s ‘cybersecurity’, starting from the definition provided in EO 14083;

– measures to protect the supply chains and critical imports for strategically important infrastructure and technologies, including those that are essential to the current and future collective security of NATO Allies;

– measures to protect industry, intellectual property and sensitive data relating to the UK biosecurity industry, including genomics (which is not specifically mentioned under the current secondary legislation), whether through the creation of a standalone sector or inclusion in another sector. 

15. The NSI system is in close alignment with our allies’ approaches to investment screening, including the USA, with whom the Government continues to engage and collaborate with closely. 

16. As a relatively new system, the NSI Act has been able to adopt or adapt the best parts of older systems from around the world, in a way that best suits the UK. Therefore, it should not be a surprise that the areas of focus described in the Executive Order are already able to be considered under the NSI Act. As the UK does not define “national security”, the Government considers a variety of ways in which risks may arise. This includes, for instance, the effect of an acquisition on the UK’s cyber security, or impacts on the UK’s supply chain resilience and critical imports where these concern the UK’s national security.  

17. The US Executive Order also emphasises data security as an area of focus for CFIUS. The powers in the NSI Act apply to assets as well as entities, which is relatively unique, as many systems around the globe only apply their powers to entities. That power to act in asset acquisitions includes the ability to act if the acquisition will grant a person access to sensitive data which could be used to harm the UK’s national security. The UK also benefits from the wider data protections present in the Data Protection Act (2018) which apply to all entities processing personal data.

18. On the Committee’s suggestions for the creation or amendment of sectors requiring mandatory notification, as noted above, the Government will publish a consultation on updating the mandatory areas in the summer so will not comment on the Committee’s specific proposals now.

F. We further request information on the ISU’s approach to identifying the critical sectors subject to mandatory notifications under the Act. The Committee needs to understand how the ISU undertakes technology forecasting, how this forecasting is assessed against the Government’s understanding of future geopolitical trends, and how expertise within and outside the Government is brought to bear in that process.

19. The Government arrived at the mandatory area definitions through extensive consultation with Government and external experts. It consulted on the mandatory area definitions in November 2020 and responses to this consultation were used to refine the definitions so they provide enough clarity to allow parties to self-assess whether they need to notify. The definitions are carefully drafted to capture technologies that will be relevant in the future as well as now. Part of the purpose of the Call for Evidence was to inform a review of the Regulations that define the mandatory areas. As part of this process the Government continues to engage with internal and external experts to keep abreast of emerging technology and geopolitical trends to ensure the mandatory areas continue to capture the right technologies and sectors. This will include drawing on a range of assessment and horizon scanning products, including Joint Intelligence Committee assessments and Government Office for Science analysis. 

G. We ask the Government to commit to reviewing the critical sectors subject to mandatory notifications on an annual basis.

20. The Government recognises the importance of staying up to date with emerging technology and threats. However it also believes predictability and consistency are important for continued compliance with NSI Act, especially so that acquirers understand whether or not they must submit a notification. This is underpinned by having stable regulations that are not under near-constant review, and a set of mandatory area definitions that are broad enough to capture emerging technologies that might be relevant in the future. The Government believes that an annual review would be unnecessary and introduce uncertainty and potential instability into the NSI system, so the Government has no plans to update the Regulations annually.

H. The Government should clarify whether it will retrospectively call in for review acquisitions completed since 12 November 2020, if it updates the Notifiable Acquisitions Regulations in future.

21. The NSI Act grants powers for the Secretary of State to call in acquisitions for review from across the economy, even from outside the sectors defined in the Notifiable Acquisition Regulations, so long as they meet the tests set out in the NSI Act. Changes to the Notifiable Acquisition Regulations do not affect the call in power.

22. If changes to the Notifiable Acquisition Regulations were to apply retrospectively, then each time the Government updated the regulations it would render all past acquisitions newly in scope of the change immediately void under the NSI Act  if they had not been notified. The Government believes this would introduce significant uncertainty and instability into the NSI system. It is also unnecessary, because the Secretary of State already has the ability to call in acquisitions retrospectively on a case-by-case basis.  

Implementation of the Act

I. The Government should use its response to this Call for Evidence to clarify the process for dealing with differences of opinion between the two Ministers.

23. To clarify the process for dealing with any differences of opinion between Ministers who hold responsibility for particular areas of the legislation’s operation and the Deputy Prime Minister in his capacity as Secretary of State in the Cabinet Office: the main point to note is that, under the NSI Act, the Secretary of State is the sole decision-maker and their decision is final. 

24. The contributions of Secretaries of State and other Ministers who have sectoral or other responsibilities are an extremely important part of giving the decision maker the best possible advice. Whilst the Secretary of State may take other Ministers’ views into account, where they are based on relevant considerations according to the usual principles of quasi-judicial decision-making, these are advisory only, and the final decision is for the Secretary of State, based on the full evidence presented.

25. The Secretary of State may also delegate decision-making from time to time, for example to avoid an actual or perceived conflict of interest. In such circumstances, there would remain a single decision maker. 

J. The Government should take all possible steps to counter potential ‘acquisition strategies’ by other countries even as it waits for stronger patterns to emerge within the NSI regime data. This includes routinely:

a. assessing the potential motive of the acquirer or its ultimate beneficial owner as part of formal case reviews;

b. drawing on Foreign Office and intelligence agencies’ insight into relevant countries’ declared and revealed economic and national security policies;

c. sharing insight and information with allies on patterns from within the data of mature investment screening regimes, such as CFIUS, and on relevant third countries’ policy goals;

d. learning from the experiences of more mature regimes in identifying weaker ‘signals’ of a deliberate strategy of acquisition from within the available data. 

26. All of the suggestions made by the Committee in this section are already an integral part of operating the UK’s investment screening system successfully. When assessing the national security risk arising from an acquisition, the ISU takes a holistic view of all aspects of the acquisition. This is in line with the approach set out in the Section 3 Statement, which describes the three primary risk factors the Government expects to consider, namely the risks arising from the target, the acquirer and the control being acquired. 

K. The Government must ensure that the Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies fulfil their responsibilities in introducing and maintaining public registers of beneficial ownership.

27. The UK Government has made substantial progress in its work with the Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies to improve transparency of beneficial ownership. The UK Government is providing extensive technical and financial assistance to the Overseas Territories to expedite implementation.

28. Gibraltar introduced a register that went live in 2023. This year, more Overseas Territories expect to implement fully publicly accessible registers. The Crown Dependencies and other permanently inhabited Overseas Territories either reaffirmed their previous commitments or agreed to implement a publicly accessible register with a legitimate interest access filter. These reforms would be a significant boost to beneficial ownership transparency. The UK Government is clear that legitimate interest includes media and civil society, and that it is an interim step to fully publicly accessible registers.

29. Detailed breakdowns of commitments and timelines for implementation for each Overseas Territory and Crown Dependency were provided in Written Ministerial Statements laid in December 2023 by the Minister for the Americas, the Caribbean and Overseas Territories (HCWS150) and the Minister of State for Security (HCWS151).

L. We call on the Government to ensure that the NSI regime benefits from joined-up implementation with other recent legislation. This includes:

– cross-referencing cases under review by the ISU with individuals registered with the Foreign Influence Registration Scheme (FIRS), once established under the National Security Act 2023;

– putting provisions in place to allow for the sharing of vital intelligence with allies under FIRS;

– cross-referencing cases under review by the ISU with data held by Companies House. As such, we call on the Government to implement as quickly as possible the proposed reforms to Companies House under the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act 2023.

30. The Government is working across many different areas to reinforce our economic security protections, as set out in the Integrated Review Refresh. All of our security protective tools must work together seamlessly. The establishment of the ISU as a ‘hub and spoke’ model underpins that seamless working: the ISU has broad reach into and across government departments and agencies. This means that the ISU’s work is always informed by the best available information. The ISU, in turn, brings its operational experience to benefit the establishment and operation of other  parts of the economic security system. Within that, the ISU of course shares data, within the legal frameworks governing information sharing and data protection.

31. The ISU consults appropriate Government experts to ensure that all relevant information is taken into account during the NSI review process. Reviewing Companies House data is already a key part of the due diligence the ISU undertakes during the initial review period. The ISU will continue to employ all relevant government data, potentially including new sources of data like the Foreign Influence Registration Scheme, where relevant to our assessment of acquisitions under the NSI Act, and in accordance with relevant data protection legislation. 

M. The Committee requests the following information, in confidence if necessary:   

– how the ISU monitors, verifies and reports to Ministers on compliance with, and the effectiveness of, remedies imposed on acquisitions;

– how many ISU officials are currently devoted to this task and how resourcing might change in future.

32. Ensuring parties comply with the terms of final orders is vital to the functioning of the system. In most final orders, parties are required to submit statements of compliance to the ISU. This is often on an annual basis but may be more frequent, based on a number of factors. Methods of monitoring vary on a case-by-case basis, focusing on the specific mitigations and risks of a transaction, and what is therefore necessary and proportionate. Verification of information provided to the ISU in compliance with a final order is undertaken in collaboration with the holders of relevant expertise across Government. Where the ISU has concerns, it uses the information gathering powers under the Act, for example issuing an information notice, attendance notice, or drawing on requirements contained in the final order for parties to provide information requested by the ISU.

33. The Secretary of State will consider enforcement action when it is necessary to ensure compliance with the Act and the terms of orders and notices, to maintain national security, and to deter non-compliance. Obstructive conduct, for example unexplained complications or delays in providing evidence of compliance with interim or final orders, is one example of non-compliance that could result in enforcement action. When considering the level of monetary penalties the Government will consider the seriousness of the offence, which may include any evidence of intentional avoidance or circumvention of ISU scrutiny.

34. In the event of suspected non-compliance with provisions under the Act, the ISU will provide advice to the Secretary of State on enforcement action. This can include criminal prosecution.

35. The ISU is appropriately resourced to ensure compliance with the NSI Act and will continue to engage privately with the Committee on such matters. 

N. The Government should review all acquisitions that were issued a final notification within two years of the decision being taken. This is important to ensure both that sensitive technologies have in fact been protected sufficiently and that companies do not find means to evade ISU scrutiny. The Government should also set out how it has incorporated systematic learning into its day-to-day operations.

36. The ISU constantly reviews its performance and learns lessons from its actions, through formal and informal processes during the assessment of transactions and after a case has concluded. This includes considering where the government can provide further public guidance based on the lessons identified, helping parties interact with the system most effectively.

37. The NSI Act balances the necessary protection of national security with transparency and certainty to business and investors. The binding nature of final notifications is an important part of this, as it reflects the fact that the Government has undertaken its screening process and concluded that no further action is required, enabling the acquisition to proceed with confidence. 

38. Protections in the Act against future risks to national security include the fact that any onward sale may constitute a separate trigger event. Additionally, there are penalties against the provision of false and misleading information, and powers which enable the Secretary of State to revisit the acquisition if that situation arises.

Communications with stakeholders

O. The Government should provide a clearer picture of evolving national security threats through an annual National Security Assessment, similar to the Annual Threat Assessment published by the US Government. We also need a clearer list of factors that decision-takers use to make judgements.

39. The Integrated Review Refresh shows where the Government sees key geopolitical risks in a broad sense, providing a clear picture of the Government’s policy priorities in light of the rapidly-changing global context.

40. The Government sets out its assessment of evolving national security threats through the National Risk Register (NRR), which contains the most serious risks that would have a significant impact on the UK’s safety, security, or critical systems at a national level – from terrorism, cyber attacks and state threats, to pandemics, wildfires and industrial action. The most recent register was published in August 2023, and is the most transparent version ever.

41. Additionally, the Government is establishing a new process for identifying and assessing more continuous and enduring challenges which over time may erode our economy, society, way of life and/or national security – ‘chronic risks’. Following the 2023 National Risk Register, where the Government published more risk information from the classified National Security Risk Assessment than ever before, the Government is now planning to share more detail on this chronic risks analysis later this year.

42. With specific regard to investment security, the Government has made a statement under section 3 of the NSI Act (referred to as the “Section 3 Statement”) that sets out the factors the Secretary of State expects to take into account when deciding whether to exercise the call in power. This statement has been in place since 2021 and, in light of more than two years of operation of the NSI Act, the Government has announced in its response to the Call for Evidence that it will publish an updated statement in May 2024. 

P. The Government should establish an online tracking portal for all notifications submitted to the ISU.

43. The ISU is always working to improve its systems, including its digital systems. As the Annual Report showed, 93% of notifications are cleared to proceed within 30 working days, which means the vast majority of notifications can expect a swift screening process that would not materially benefit from a tracking system. The Government always contacts notifiers to inform them whether their notification has been accepted, and if the government wishes to call in the acquisition. For acquisitions undergoing more detailed screening after having been called in, the ISU maintains contact with acquisition parties throughout the assessment period, including routinely offering calls to parties.

Q. The Government should publish which departments and agencies feed into the decision-making process.

44. The ISU works across Government to assess acquisitions. This is fundamental to the continued successful operation of the NSI Act, as such a ‘hub and spoke’ model means that deep expertise that the ISU holds with regard to investment screening under the NSI Act can be complemented by deep sectoral, technological and other expertise held across Government. The ISU has the ability to work with any Government department or agency if it is necessary to the successful execution of the powers in the NSI Act. The departments and agencies that contribute to the ISU’s assessment of specific acquisitions includes, but is not limited to: HM Treasury; Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office; Home Office; Department for Business and Trade; Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport; Department for Energy Security and Net Zero; Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs; Department for Health and Social Care; Department for Levelling Up, Housing, and Communities; Department for Science, Innovation, and Technology; Department for Transport; Ministry of Defence; National Cyber Security Centre; National Protective Security Authority; Office for Life Sciences; UK Government Investments; UK Space Agency. Other Departments and Agencies are involved as and when they are required depending on the specifics of the case.

R. The Government must undertake tailored engagement with groups that play an important role in the UK economy. In particular, we recommend that the Government offer more detailed, targeted guidance to—and engage earlier with—university joint ventures, start-ups and spin outs.

45. Ministers and the ISU engage frequently with a wide range of organisations across the UK economy. Specifically, in the first year of operation the ISU and Ministers held over 50 ministerial and official events, reaching up to 1000 stakeholders, including lawyers, investors, businesses, academics, and other governments, to explain how the Act works and gather feedback. In 2023, the Government held around 30 more events at official and ministerial level, with more planned over the course of this year. Additionally, the NSI Expert Panel brings together a cross section of stakeholders who have a detailed knowledge of the NSI system and its effects on important sectors, providing important feedback and insight throughout the year.

46. Regarding engagement with universities, the Government has published specific guidance for universities and other higher education institutions and has announced in response to the Call for Evidence that it will update this guidance in May. The Government has a dedicated team, the Research Collaboration Advice Team (“RCAT”) which assists researchers and higher education institutions in keeping their work safe whilst keeping the UK research sector open and secure. RCAT provides researchers with specific points of contact as well as giving more general advice about ensuring higher education activity is secure. Ministers and officials continue to meet with stakeholders from the higher education sector.

S. The Government should pursue increased engagement with and enhanced support to venture capital and private equity firms. The Government should tell the Committee how the ISU is monitoring the impact of the Act specifically on the business confidence of the venture capital and private equity industries.

47. It is vital that all areas of the economy understand the NSI Act and can engage with the ISU, and that is why the Government undertakes such a large amount of proactive engagement with many types of business. Venture capital and private equity firms are a key group of stakeholders so, in addition to our general outreach and events, the Government has also undertaken targeted engagement with the sector. In April 2023 the Minister for the Investment Security Unit chaired a roundtable of private equity firms, and associated firms have attended other events involving Ministers and officials since before the NSI Act commenced. 

48. The Government remains committed to gaining the best understanding of the effect of the NSI legislation. As well as regularly seeking feedback – for example through the recent Call for Evidence – the Government will also be conducting a Post-Implementation Review of the legislation. Through this review, due to be published five years after implementation, the Government will investigate the Act’s effect on economic activity, including business confidence, across areas of the economy subject to the Notifiable Acquisitions Regulations. 

Enhancing security and transparency

T. Section 54 is a fundamental roadblock to scrutiny that affects Parliament in its entirety, including all Committees of MPs and Peers. We therefore call on the Government to explore ways to enable this Committee to fulfil its role in scrutinising the NSI regime through amendment to Section 54 of the National Security and Investment Act 2021. This amendment should be brought forward in the current Parliament. 

49. The Government is committed to ensuring that the Committee can access as much of the information it needs to exercise its scrutiny role as possible, whilst recognising the highly commercially sensitive nature and national security significance of the ISU’s work. That is why the Government agreed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Committee in March 2023 governing scrutiny of the ISU, and the arrangements for the sharing of, access to, and handling of, sensitive information. This includes the provision of: a confidential annex to the Annual Report; written notice of the making, variation and revocation of final orders; oral and written evidence; and, where requested by the Committee, explanatory memoranda on specific cases. 

50. However, as set out in the Committee’s Eighth Report of Session 2022-23, the Government and the Committee have agreed that the Committee’s role in scrutinising individual cases should “be exceptional rather than routine”. This reflects the Government’s consistent position that it will ordinarily seek to provide information at an aggregate level rather than on individual cases. In exceptional cases where the limited sharing of information on individual acquisitions is appropriate, the provisions in the Memorandum of Understanding set out the arrangements for this.   

51. The information sharing gateway provided by section 54 of the NSI Act provides a legal framework which governs how information “received under the Act” can be shared, with whom and for what purposes. These safeguards are vital in maintaining the confidence of businesses who provide the ISU with significant amounts of highly sensitive commercial information. The Government recognises the limitations these safeguards place on the information that can be shared with the Committee on specific cases. However, the Government does not consider section 54 to be a “fundamental roadblock” to the Committee’s work in scrutinising the operation of the NSI system, given the Committee’s role in scrutinising individual cases only on an exceptional basis. Amendment to section 54 would necessarily involve primary legislation, which the Government is not currently considering. 

U. The Government should publish key statistics on the NSI system halfway through each reporting year for the next five years, in addition to the Annual Report, to provide external stakeholders with more frequent information on how it is working in practice. We call on the Government to match CFIUS reporting.

52. Transparency is a vital part of the NSI Act, providing confidence to businesses, investors and wider stakeholders. For this reason there are significant transparency measures built into the legislation. In common with many other investment screening regimes this includes a requirement to publish an annual report once a year. It also includes a requirement to publish notices of final orders. 

53. The Government notes with interest the Committee’s suggestions to match CFIUS’s annual reporting and agrees that there is value in looking at how international counterparts report on their systems. Direct comparisons between different investment security systems are difficult due to differences in the way systems operate and the way that data is reported. But as the Committee has recognised, if it looks at the information the Government publishes under the NSI system, the UK is amongst the most transparent internationally.

54. The Government seeks to balance its commitment to transparency with the need to prioritise its available resource to operate the NSI system successfully. Consequently, at this time the Government is not considering a twice yearly report, and instead will continue to prioritise regular guidance updates and the Annual Report. Following the end of the reporting year on 31st March 2024, officials are now preparing this year’s Annual Report, which will be published in the coming months. The Government will consider how our regular reporting on the operation of the NSI system compares with international counterparts in preparing this year’s confidential annex to the Annual Report for the Committee.

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