The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is seeking views on the operation of the Subsidy Advice Unit (SAU), which will play an advisory role in the UK's new subsidy control regime (the regime that replaced EU State aid post-Brexit).
Under the recently enacted Subsidy Control Act 2022 (which is only partly in force at the date of writing), the CMA is required to establish the SAU. You can read more about the Subsidy Control Bll in a recent blog by my colleague Jill Fryer.
The purpose of the SAU is to provide independent (non-binging) advice to public authorities at all levels, in respect of the assessment of high-value subsidies and the effect that any proposed subsidy may have on competition or investment within the UK. Ultimately however, it should be made clear that any decision of a public authority to offer a subsidy (or to not offer a subsidy for that matter), is a decision for the public authority alone - not the SAU (or the CMA).
Throughout the consultation period, the CMA is aiming to gather views on the operation of the SAU, and in particular:
- how the SAU will exercise its functions in practice, and how it will engage with public authorities;
- how the SAU will evaluate and report on a public authority's assessment of the subsidy in question; and
- how the SAU will decide which subsidies and schemes are to be reviewed.
The CMA is also seeking views on the accompanying Statement of Policy, and in particular, the enforcement by the SAU of its information-gathering powers to perform its monitoring role.
The CMA is seeking views and comments on the draft guidance (and the Statement of Policy), by 10 August 2022.
Our experts regularly advise both the public and private sectors on subsidies, and whether or not proposed grant funding would be considered a subsidy.
Should you require any advice or guidance in respect of the new subsidy control regime, or in respect of any funding queries, contact one of our experts.