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Make UK investment screening ‘more business friendly’ says deputy PM

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Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden has announced plans to streamline and enhance the business-friendliness of the UK’s investment screening powers, just under two years since their inception.

Dowden is set to launch a review aimed at “narrowing and refining” the National Security and Investment Act — a legislation enabling the government to scrutinise and potentially veto takeovers.

Speaking to the Financial Times, Dowden said he wants to make investment screening powers “more business friendly”.

For this, the government regulation to be on par with the dynamism of the private sector and to minimise regulatory burdens as much as possible.

“We can’t have yesterday’s regulation for tomorrow’s world,” said Dowden, who is also chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and secretary of state in the Cabinet Office.

This move comes as the government gradually releases its grip on businesses. Earlier this month it scrapped governance legislation after its presentation before parliament.

The introduction of the National Security and Investment Act in January 2022 aimed to address security concerns related to the acquisition of UK companies by foreign entities, particularly from China.

Last year the government used the act to block the sale of Newport Wafer Fab, a semiconductor company, to Chinese-owned Nexperia over security concerns.

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