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State Aid

State Aid

The leading public sector practice acting for over 200 public authorities across the UK

Trowers & Hamlins' State Aid team provides solution focused advice for private sector clients as well as national, regional and local government.

State Aid law is a framework in which public aid and support for a range of initiatives must comply. In England this affects a range of public sector sponsored activities including economic and physical regeneration, PPPs, transport, public sector enterprises, housing development and any other public initiative which includes an economic or commercial element.

Our team is recognised for its pragmatic approach, assisting clients to structure their initiatives so that they qualify as "compatible aid" which is permitted under a number of EU Commission regulations or alternatively, so that it is not aid, for instance, because it is structured to be a public sector market investment.  We work with our clients to identify their desired outcomes and refine and develop the structure of their initiative to ensure State Aid compliance.

For some years the European Commission has been implementing its State Aid Modernisation programme which is aimed at simplifying the law of State Aid.   On 1 July 2014 the Commission adopted a new General Block Exemption Regulation (GBER). The GBER sets out circumstances where public aid and support for initiatives are pre-approved providing the appropriate conditions in the GBER are also complied with.  The 2014 GBER has expanded its pre-approvals into new areas such as heritage conservation, sports stadia and certain areas of promoting innovation.

We also work with many organisations involved in areas such as social housing and social care ensuring that those initiatives comply with the EU Commission's Decision on Services in the General Economic Interest.

Recent initiatives we have advised on include:

  • Buildings and facilities for start-up and new businesses
  • The Help To Buy Scheme
  • Structuring the investment and financing of a new local authority market rent business (Red Door)
  • Structuring and financing the public public partnership which owns and operates the Olympic Stadium
  • Advising on support for an important historic fairground
  • Local authority owned businesses for care services, regeneration, education and development
  • Advising on the use of ERDF and other European funding.

Our understanding not only of the law but our clients' objectives has been recognised by Legal 500, who commented about our team "Trowers & Hamlins LLP has impressive expertise in public sector State Aid issues".

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