Subsidy Control countdown
When Parliament enacted the Subsidy Control Act in April 2022; most of this new legislation did not immediately become law.
This was done to: give the government time to implement statutory subsidy guidance and certain regulations/subsidy schemes; to give the Competition and Markets Authority or CMA (the new subsidy 'regulator') time to fully set up its subsidy advice unit and to ensure that the Competition Appeals Tribunal (CAT) was in a position to hear subsidy control cases/appeals.
Sufficient progress appears to have been made and accordingly the UK Government has announced its intention to fully implement the Subsidy Control Act 2022 on 3 January 2023. The government announcement confirmed the Act will be accompanied by:
- Regulations governing "subsidies and schemes of interest" and "subsidies and schemes of particular interest" (ie. high value or high risk subsidies)
- Regulations concerning the Competition and Markets Authority's information gathering powers (to be laid before parliament during the Autumn 2022)
- Regulations concerning the information requirements for the national subsidy database (to be laid before parliament during the Autumn 2022)
- Regulations concerning calculating the "Gross Cash Equivalent" (to be laid before parliament during the Autumn 2022) – this may also provide a simplified route to evidence that a public sector loan has been given on market terms
- Statutory guidance (to be updated since draft consultation version published in July)
- 3 streamlined subsidy schemes (no date announced for publication)
If a public authority grants a subsidy on or after the 4 January 2022 it will need to comply with all of the Act and above mentioned related regulations/guidance. Subsidy and subsidy schemes granted before this date should continue to comply with the existing subsidy requirements.
A key change will be the implementation of the CMA's new role which will require subsidies of a certain value/ sector being referred to the CMA for it to review and report on.
The BEIS subsidy control team has announced it will be running a series of in-person events during November to explain the subsidy control regime, which are online or in-person.
Trowers & Hamlins are running an online webinar on 29 November 2022 setting out what public authorities can be doing to get ready for the new system's implementation. This will go over and beyond the BEIS sessions' contents.