The first signs of State aid in a post-Brexit UK

The Government has confirmed that the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) will be the regulator for any State aid regime which is adopted for the UK post Brexit.

Responding to the House of Lords EU Sub-Committee's report following the Committee's inquiry and call for evidence on the impact of Brexit on UK competition policy the Government acknowledges the need for a UK-wide State aid regime following exit from the EU (the existing EU State aid rules will continue to apply during the transitional period with the European Commission continuing its responsibility for approving and monitoring aid). Whilst the Government's longer term decisions on State aid control will be influenced by the outcome of the EU / UK future trade negotiations without prejudice to these the Government is of the view that the UK should be prepared to establish a full UK-wide subsidy control (State aid) framework with a single UK body for enforcement and supervision at the point this is required. A functioning State aid regulatory regime is seen to be a key part of ensuring fair competition both internationally and within the UK's internal market; and subsidy controls ensure government interventions are smart targeted and have incentive effects. 

To ensure any future UK State aid regime is operable the Government believes the CMA will be best placed to take on the role of independent State aid regulator. This role reflects the CMA's experience and understanding of markets as the UK's competition regulator and the independence of its decision-making from Government.  Establishing a clear regulatory function should according to the Response ensure the State aid rules will be operated fairly throughout the UK internal market.

Coinciding with the Government's Response the CMA has now announced two new appointments through its twitter feed: Sheldon Mills takes on the role of interim Senior Director for State aid and Juliette Enser as interim Project Director for State aid.

The full text of the Government's Response (covering both State aid and wider competition policy) is available here.

Have you seen our new Procurement Portal page on State Aid? Click here to read our helpful guide to when State Aid issues may arise and how you might structure your procurement project so as to avoid the application of the State Aid rules.

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