Modern Slavery Act 2015: Home Office publishes guidance on the slavery and human trafficking statement

The Home Office has published its guidance on section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015, which requires businesses with a global turnover above GBP 36 million to publish a slavery and human trafficking statement each financial year. The obligation applies to organisations that are in financial year ending on or after 31 March 2016. To ensure that the statement is relevant and current, organisations are encouraged to report within six months of the financial year end to which the statement relates.

The guidance sets out the basic requirements of section 54 and includes helpful case studies on various topics that may be included in the statement. By increasing transparency in supply chains, section 54 aims to ensure that the public, consumers, employees and investors know what steps an organisation is taking to tackle slavery and human trafficking. It also aims to create a level playing field between large businesses that act responsibly, and those that need to change their policies and practices relating to slavery and human trafficking.

Commission approves amendments to UK Green Investment Bank

The European Commission has decided, under the EU state aid rules, to approve amendments to the scope of the activities of the UK Green Investment Bank (GIB). The GIB is a UK development bank, established to bridge market failures for the financing of green energy projects. The Commission approved the set up and original funding of the GIB in October 2012, and approved an extension of its state funding and a widening of its remit in May 2014.

The Commission has now approved a further extension of the GIB's remit and a prolongation of the approval duration. This will enable the GIB to invest, on market terms, in any of the sectors to which the Commission's 2014 guidelines on state aid for environmental protection and energy apply. The GIB will also be able to intervene on the basis of its redefined remit until 31 March 2018 at the latest, instead of October 2016 as originally planned. In designing the GIB's extended remit, the UK committed to complying with all provisions of the guidelines. The Commission has concluded, in particular, that the GIB's objectives match the EU environmental and energy objectives recognised in the guidelines, without unduly distorting competition.