In the House of Lords on 17th December 2020 during exchanges on forced Uighur labour within Xinjiang, China, the Bishop of St Albans asked Government to investigate supply chains in UK local and national public contracts:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans [V]: My Lords, the news that forced labour was active in cotton supply chains is not the first example of business connections to Uighur repression.
Previous concerns have also been expressed in relation to Hikvision and its role in the Xinjiang surveillance apparatus. Will the Government commit to a comprehensive review of supply chains in local and national public contracts to ascertain whether public funds have helped to finance this ongoing tragedy?
Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay (Con): In March this year, the Government published their own modern slavery statement, which assesses the risk of modern slavery across the £50 billion or thereabouts of their annual expenditure. That statement set out the Government’s efforts to eradicate modern slavery from their supply chains, including direct engagement with around 400 suppliers and delivering training to more than 250 government commercial stuff.
In addition, as I said to my noble friend Lady Sanderson, the Home Office has announced plans to strengthen the Modern Slavery Act. That will include extending reporting requirements to all public bodies with a budget of £36 million or more.