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NHS to be banned from buying supplies from China’s Xinjiang region

The NHS is to be banned from buying supplies from the Xinjiang region of China, after the Government tabled an modification to “eliminate” slavery from world well being provide chains.

Thousands of Uighur Muslims dwelling within the region have allegedly been pressured into slave labour and imprisoned below the Communist regime in China, campigners declare.

The new modification to the Health and Social Care Bill, tabled on Thursday, will set out laws to cease the NHS buying items and companies produced by, or involving, slave labour around the globe.

Campaigners hailed it because the “biggest advancement in modern slaverly legislation” within the UK.

Chinese corporations given PPE contracts

During the pandemic, virtually £150 million was paid to Chinese corporations with hyperlinks to alleged human rights abuses in Xinjiang for PPE, The Telegraph beforehand reported.

China Meheco, a pharmaceutical agency which has been linked to labour programmes within the region, was awarded a £19 million contract.

Steps that the NHS ought to take to assess the danger stage related to suppliers, and the grounds on which they need to be excluded from the tendering course of, are anticipated to be set out sooner or later.

Luke de Pulford, the chief working officer of Arise, an anti-slavery charity, stated: “This is an extremely significant development, easily the most significant piece of supply chain regulation that we have around modern slavery in the UK.”

An identical modification by Lord Blencathra, the previous Conservative chief whip, handed within the Lord’s final month, which known as for laws to be made to “avoid” trendy slavery in NHS procurement.

The Blencathra modification is anticipated to be accepted within the House of Commons, however sources stated the Government felt it didn’t go far sufficient and a second modification has been tabled.

Clean-up of NHS provide chain

The Government’s modification will say that Sajid Javid, the Health Secretary, will deliver laws to be certain that slavery is “eliminated” from NHS procurement.

A “blacklist” of corporations which fall foul of the laws is probably going to come up from the adjustments, campaigners stated.

Mr Javid desires to clear up the well being service’s provide chain, it’s understood. Last month, he ordered the well being service to cease utilizing the Russian-owned fuel agency Gazprom, following the invasion of Ukraine.

A senior authorities supply instructed The Telegraph: “It’s absolutely right that we use the NHS – a massive procurer of all sorts of goods and services – to help eradicate modern slavery around the world.

“There has been some fantastic campaigning by Conservative MPs on this issue.”

‘Breakthrough’ for human rights

Iain Duncan Smith MP, who has campaigned for the Government to ban procurement from areas linked to pressured labour, stated the modification was a “breakthrough” for human rights.

“In unreservedly welcoming this move by the Health Department I urge all other government departments to do the same as quickly as possible,” he stated.

“We will be sending the most powerful signal to those around the world that exploit and terrorise those weaker than themselves that the swords of justice are on their trail.”

Mr de Pulford stated the Department of Health and Social Care is now “way out in front on human rights” and praised Mr Javid and his officers for the landmark modification work.

“We hope that other departments will follow suit, that it doesn’t just stay within the Department of Health,” he stated.

The British Medical Association beforehand voiced its assist for the Blencathra modification, and stated it was “deeply concerned” about labour rights abuses in provide chains.

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