Slavery

Home Office written question – answered on 20th July 2020.

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Photo of Claudia Webbe Claudia Webbe Labour, Leicester East

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will bring forward legislative proposals to introduce penalties for companies who fail to (a) publish an annual statement and (b) comply with their obligations under the Modern Slavery Act 2015.

Photo of Claudia Webbe Claudia Webbe Labour, Leicester East

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans she has to strengthen the provisions of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 to require (a) large companies and (b) fashion brands to undertake due diligence checks throughout their supply chains to ensure (i) materials and (ii) products are produced without the use of exploited labour.

Photo of Claudia Webbe Claudia Webbe Labour, Leicester East

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans she has to ensure that Government procurement is compliant with the Modern Slavery Act 2015.

Photo of Victoria Atkins Victoria Atkins The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

This Government is committed to eliminating modern slavery from our communities and the global economy. The landmark transparency requirement contained in section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 made the UK the first country in the world to require businesses to report on how they are tackling modern slavery in their operations and supply chains. Section 54 was designed to empower consumers, investors, civil society and others to scrutinise the action that businesses are taking to identify and address modern slavery in their supply chains.

To further increase transparency in supply chains, the Home Office launched a public consultation on a range of measures to strengthen section 54, including requiring organisations to report on specific topics, including due diligence, and introducing civil penalties for non-compliance. The Government will publish its response to the consultation this summer. We are also developing a new gov.uk registry for organisations in scope of the requirements of the Modern Slavery Act to publish their modern slavery statements which will enable greater scrutiny.

In March this year, we became the first country to publish a modern slavery statement setting out how we are preventing modern slavery in Government supply chains. Bidders for central Government contracts, above relevant thresholds, are required to confirm that they are compliant with the transparency requirement in the Modern Slavery Act 2015, where the bidder is in scope of the transparency requirement. Bidders for public contracts that have failed to meet their legal obligations in the last three years risk being excluded from public procurements, unless they can demonstrate that they have taken measures to remedy the failures and prevent recurrence.

The Home Office has written twice to the CEOs of more than 16,000 businesses in scope with clear information about how to meet their obligations.

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