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Question for Home Office

UIN 176047, tabled on 25 March 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the report of the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, Preventing modern slavery and human trafficking - An agenda for action across the financial services sector, published on 18 January 2021, what steps the Government is taking to support businesses to undertake due diligence on modern slavery as part of their investment decisions.

Answered on

19 April 2021

The UK was the first country in the world to require businesses to report on the steps they have taken to tackle modern slavery. The landmark provision in section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 requires businesses, with a turnover of £36m or more, to report annually on the steps they have taken to prevent modern slavery in their operations and supply chains.

The Government expects businesses to determine the most appropriate methods to assess and tackle modern slavery based on the nature of their operations and supply chains. We encourage businesses to be transparent about the instances or indicators of modern slavery and prioritise their due diligence activity based on risk, and on where they can have most impact. To support businesses in reporting on their modern slavery risks, the Government has produced guidance on the Transparency in Supply Chains legislation, which is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/transparency-in-supply-chains-a-practical-guide.

On 11 March 2021, the Home Office launched the Government-run registry for modern slavery statements. The new registry will enhance transparency by making modern slavery statements available in one place for the first time. It will provide greater visibility of the steps businesses are taking to prevent modern slavery in supply chains and will empower investors, consumers and civil society to scrutinise the action businesses are taking.

To improve the quality and detail of reporting and accelerate action to prevent modern slavery, the Government has committed to introduce a range of measures to strengthen the reporting requirements on businesses. These measures require legislative change and will be introduced when parliamentary time allows. Following legislative change, organisations in scope of the Act will be required to report against specific areas, including due diligence. The Government will publish updated guidance to support businesses in meeting the new reporting requirements, in line with the timing of these measures coming into force.

The UK Government also supports ShareAction’s Workforce Disclosure Initiative (WDI), providing £200,000 of funding to support this in 2020/21. The initiative has mobilised investors with $6.5 trillion of assets under management to call for transparency from multinational companies on how they manage workers.

Answered by

Home Office