On 10th December the Bishop of St Albans received a written answer to a question on whether Uighur forced labour had been used in production of PPE bought by Government for use in the UK:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of whether Uighur forced labour was used in the production of personal protective equipment purchased by the UK from Medwell Medical Products; and what plans they have to implement due diligence checks to ensure that items purchased by the UK have not been produced using such forced labour. [HL10106]
Lord Bethell: The masks produced by Medwell Medical Products are marked as part of a donation from Mail Force Charity, a charity supported by the Daily Mail newspaper to solicit donations from the public to be used to purchase PPE from a variety of sources. These masks were procured through an intermediary who Mail Force had no direct dealings with. Of the 22 million masks supplied by the Mail Force Charity, only a small fraction of these were associated with Medwell.
Government guidance advises public sector contracting authorities on how to assess suppliers in terms of mitigating the risk of modern slavery. Contracts are normally placed in line with Departmental terms and conditions which include clauses requiring Good Industry Practice to ensure that there is no slavery or human trafficking in supply chains. In the event that allegations of modern slavery are substantiated in relation to a Departmental supplier, we will consider all available options.