We’re well known for our in-depth experience of all aspects of State Aid, from funding applications and projects, through to public-private collaborations and partnerships, including major regeneration, infrastructure and inward investment projects.
We’re trusted by clients to find the right solutions to make projects happen. Our approach is grounded in experience, deep knowledge of this complex area of law, economic and financial awareness and a practical, ‘can do’ style.
Our public sector clients include over 100 local authorities, education and healthcare providers, Local Enterprise Partnerships and many central government agencies. We also act for private businesses from multi-nationals to SMEs and charities seeking public financial assistance, and businesses concerned that competitors may have received illegal State Aid.
We have advised on numerous European Commission State Aid investigations and actions before the EU and national courts, and other investigations with national authorities. Many of these matters involve large, high-profile projects with considerable public investment, resulting in a high risk of challenge. What sets us apart is our genuine niche expertise in this area which enables us to support our clients in structuring state intervention with minimal distortion and a strong success rate in finding the right solution to complete the project.
The state aid Unit within the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (DBEIS) is currently responsible for state aid coordination in the UK, including acting as the principal point of contact with the European Commission in respect of handling notifications, responding to investigations, the submission of annual reports and making representations on matters of state aid policy. However, all central government departments and the devolved administrations (Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland) have power to award state aid, set up schemes under GBER, deal with enforcement and support the monitoring of state aid by the European Commission.
An extract from GCR's State Aid Know-how 2018. Full publication available at www.globalcompetitionview.com
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On 2nd April 2019 the European Commission concluded that a tax break introduced in the Finance Act 2012 constitutes unlawful State aid to certain multi-national businesses.
The 'United Kingdom Shared Prosperity Fund' ("UKSPF") is the Government's flagship initiative to replace EU funds after Brexit. This article is designed to provide an overview of the UKSPF and address the most commonly asked questions from the public and private sector. These FAQs will be updated as the fund develops.
Local authorities preparing bids for the Government's new £675m Future High Streets Fund have been reminded of the need to factor State aid compliance into the design of their proposals ahead of the first round submission date of 22 March 2019.
The European Commission has announced it is extending seven State aid Regulations and guidelines which would otherwise have expired on 31 December 2020. The exemptions, which include the commonly used General Block Exemption Regulation (GBER) and De Minimis will now expire on 31 December 2022. The Commission has also opened a consultation exercise on whether to further prolong or refine the rules after 2022.
DWF has appointed Alexander Rose as Legal Director, further boosting its highly regarded EU/ Competition team and Public Sector focus.
There remains no guarantee that, from the intended Brexit day of 30 March 2019, the current tariff-free movement of goods between the two territories will not cease. Various models for future relationships are in debate, but the UK is currently ruling out the simplest (and least change) model of remaining in a customs union with the EU.
On 6 March 2018, the Court of Justice of the European Union ("CJEU") rendered an important judgement in case C-284/16, Slovak Republic v. Achmea. The CJEU declared invalid the investor-State dispute settlement ("ISDS") arbitration clause in the bilateral investment treaty between the Netherlands and Slovakia ("intra-EU BIT").
EU State aid law still applies to the UK. This will continue at least until any formal exit from the EU which should not happen before 30 March 2019 (ie. 2 years following the March 2017 triggering of "Article 50" notice to leave the EU). Recent general election results in the UK do not change this.