Whenever a public body provides financial support to a commercial organisation, it is necessary to consider whether such support constitutes state aid. Accordingly, state aid rules may apply in a wide range of scenarios, including where a public body intends to:
- Set up a publicly funded body
- Establish a scheme or body to give financial assistance
- Set up a scheme to stimulate growth in a target sector or region
- Create a fund to give loans where the banks do not
- Provide incentives to companies
- Invest in new infrastructure
ALWAYS THINK "STATE AID" EARLY
Ultimately, giving state aid will nearly always be more time consuming and difficult than designing assistance in a way that ensures compliance with state aid rules. Thinking about the state aid rules early on will help minimise longer-term delays to a project. It will also protect against the worst case scenario: having to claw back money from recipients and exposure to lengthy litigation.
We advise a wide range of public and private sector organisations on the state aid implications of proposed public investments, working closely with our clients to develop tailored funding solutions that achieve our clients' commercial and social objectives, whilst also remaining compatible with state aid rules.
Our principal areas of work include:
- The identification of potential State aid issues
- Designing or adapting funding proposals such that they fall outside the EU Treaty definition of state aid
- Structuring aid to fit within the European Commission's block exemption regulations, decisions, existing approved schemes and/or sector specific frameworks
- Notifications to the European Commission for approval of aid
- Submitting, and responding to, state aid complaints and enquiries from the European Commission and UK government departments