A FIRM given a £316 million NHS PPE contract by the UK Government has been hit with a US ban over links to forced labour, it has emerged.

Minister for Investment, Lord Grimstone of Boscobel, has said officals will look into supplier Supermax after the issue was raised with him in Parliament.

The assurance came as the government was pressed in the Lords over steps to prevent the import of goods or material that was produced as a result of modern slavery.

Particular concern has been raised over the treatment of the China's Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang.

Tackling the minister in the Lords, former LibDem MSP Lord Purvis of Tweed said: "Overnight, the United States has banned the import of rubber gloves from Supermax and all its subsidiaries because there is 'ample evidence' of forced labour and modern slavery.

"Through NHS procurement, the UK Government have a contract with Supermax worth £316m.

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"Will the minister instruct an urgent inquiry to ensure that we are not using these products, which are a result of modern slavery in Malaysia?"

Grimstone said: "I will ensure that that particular company is looked at by my officials."

Labour former minister Lord Rooker pointed out the US had banned cotton from China's Xinjiang due to the treatment of the Uighurs and questioned why Britain could not follow its lead.

Modern techniques meant "a forensic fingerprint" on clothing containing cotton could show where it was grown, he said.

Rooker added: "Does the minister agree that fashion houses must do more in due diligence than they do now, as they are forced to do in the United States?

"Will the government take a lead on this issue, or has the Chinese Communist Party reached too far inside the UK?"

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Grimstone responded: "The government are fully committed to tackling the issue of Uighur forced labour in global supply chains.

"The measures we have taken do not currently include import bans, but we have announced a range of other measures, including a comprehensive review of export controls as they apply to Xinjiang.

"We continue to keep our policy response under close review."

Pressed over Britain's commercial stance towards China, Grimstone said: "On investment generally, we continue to pursue a positive economic relationship with China and we think that it is in our interests to increase trade with China.

"As an open economy, we welcome trade and investment, however, as I have said on many occasions, we are not so stupid as to welcome harmful investment from China."