EconomyUK looks to ban purchase of medical supplies linked...

UK looks to ban purchase of medical supplies linked to forced labour


The UK plans to ban the procurement of health goods linked to slavery and human trafficking, following pressure from a cross-party campaign over the purchase of personal protective equipment from Chinese companies suspected of using forced labour.

As part of an amendment to the Health and Care Bill, tabled on Thursday, NHS England will be barred from purchasing “goods or services that are tainted by human trafficking and slavery” with the aim of “eradicating” forced labour from supply chains.

The amendment, on which MPs are due to vote on Monday, will particularly affect contracts with manufacturers in China that human rights organisations have criticised for using forced labour from the Muslim Uyghur minority in Xinjiang province.

The health department bought billions of pounds of medical supplies for the NHS from companies with China-linked supply chains during the coronavirus pandemic, as part of £33bn of contracts awarded during 2020 and 2021, according to Tussell, a contracts research agency.

Sajid Javid, health secretary, said the ban marked a “turning point” in the government’s efforts to end the use of forced labour in supply chains, adding that as the biggest public procurer in the country the NHS was “well placed to spearhead this work”.

A similar amendment, sponsored by the former Conservative Home Office minister Lord David Blencathra, passed in the House of Lords in March, receiving plaudits from across the political divide. The government announcement heads off a possible rebellion from backbench Conservative MPs over the issue.

Iain Duncan Smith, a former Tory leader who was leading the revolt, welcomed the ban and called on other government departments to “follow suit”. “The health department had massive purchases from China during the lockdown, including masks proven to have been made by slave labour. Thankfully, that jolted them into action.”

MPs voted last year to declare the Chinese treatment of Uyghurs genocide, but the government has come under fire for not officially doing so.

Layla Moran, Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesperson, said the ban on healthcare supplies linked to forced labour was “long overdue”. “It should not have taken a pandemic to shine a light on the hugely concerning links between supply chains involving forced labour — including those in Xinjiang — and PPE and other items used in our healthcare sector,” she said.

Moran called on the government to go further by “following the lead” of the US Senate, which in December last year passed a bill banning all imports from China’s Xinjiang region unless they could be proven not to involve forced labour.

Luke de Pulford, co-founder of anti-slavery charity Arise, said it was “hard to overstate the importance of this change”, adding that the ban “could knock out huge swaths of our supply chain which depends on China where both forced labour and involuntary labour transfer schemes are well documented”.

Rahima Mahmut, UK director of the World Uyghur Congress, thanked the health secretary for the legislation and praised the UK government for “standing up to China”.

“For too long the UK has pretended that it’s possible to increase trade with China while denouncing their human rights atrocities. I hope this is the beginning of the end for China’s trade impunity,” she added.



Original Source Link

Latest News

Fani Willis Cites Appearance On Rachel Maddow In Primary Victory Speech

Fulton County DA Fani Willis was interviewed by Rachel Maddow the night before the Democratic primary and she...

Why we still don't know exactly how bird flu is spreading between cows

Early evidence suggests that a bird flu virus called H5N1 may be infecting dairy cows through contaminated milking...

14 Outdoor Decorating Mistakes to Avoid This Year

Designing a picture-perfect outdoor space goes beyond simply arranging furniture and plants. It’s about creating a functional, inviting...

Ireland, Norway, Spain, recognize Palestinian statehood : NPR

Good morning. You're reading the Up First newsletter. Subscribe here to get...

Who Is Zac Brown’s Wife? 5 Things to Know About Kelly Yazdi – Hollywood Life

View gallery Zac Brown and his estranged wife, Kelly Yazdi, have made headlines for their divorce, which took a...

Formula 1 wants Monaco to shell out more to host opulent Grand Prix

Liberty Media Corp., owner of the Formula 1 racing business, is seeking additional funds from the principality of...

Must Read

Burning the stomach lining reduces the ‘hunger hormone’ and cuts weight 

An experimental weight loss procedure blasts the stomach...

Reddit soars after announcing OpenAI deal on AI training models

The trading floor of the New York Stock...
- Advertisement -

You might also likeRELATED
Recommended to you