Policy paper

Subsidy Control Bill 2021: bill documents

Documents relating to the Subsidy Control Bill 2021.

Documents

Subsidy Control Bill

Subsidy Control Bill: impact assessment (revised 16 March 2022 - see note under Details)

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Report from the Regulatory Policy Committee

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Details

The Subsidy Control Bill was introduced to Parliament on 30 June 2021. It sets out the government’s legislative proposal for a new UK subsidy control regime.

The Subsidy Control Bill:

  • provides a legal framework for public authorities to award subsidies in line with our subsidy control principles. There will be a statutory duty for public authorities to consider these principles and only award a subsidy if the subsidy is consistent with these principles
  • introduces a number of prohibitions to prevent public authorities granting subsidies with distortive or harmful economic impacts
  • in specified circumstances, provides for various full and partial exemptions which will give public authorities the freedom to act swiftly in providing subsidies
  • provides a requirement for public authorities to use the transparency database, which will contribute to the effective management of the regime
  • establishes the Subsidy Advice Unit (located within the Competition and Markets Authority) to provide monitoring and oversight of the new regime. The Subsidy Advice Unit will also advise public authorities on specific subsidies in a limited number of cases, for subsidies that are more likely to distort UK competition and investment and international trade
  • enables interested parties to challenge subsidy decisions on judicial review grounds in the Competition Appeal Tribunal
  • provides that the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy can issue statutory guidance for the subsidy control regime, especially to support public authorities to apply the requirements

16 March 2022: Impact Assessment updated

The Impact Assessment has been updated based on recently available data sources which allowed us to expand the scope of the analysis to include costs of all categories of subsidies at the £315,000, £100,000, £25,000 and £500 thresholds.

The original analysis as published in the Bill Impact Assessment in June 2021 included cost estimates for a narrow set of alternative options, such as lowering the threshold for Minimal Financial Assistance subsidies.

The updated IA also uses the new data to estimate the cost impact of reducing the transparency thresholds for additional categories:

  • in-scheme tax subsidies
  • in-scheme subsidies
  • Services of Public Economic Interest
  • agricultural subsidies

The updated version shows that the administrative costs of the transparency requirements will be £1.6 million over the 10-year appraisal period if thresholds are lowered to £100,000 across all categories of subsidies. The government believes that while this is a significant increase in the anticipated burden on public authorities, the new £100,000 upload threshold provides the appropriate balance between ensuring transparency of subsidies most likely to be distortive and excess bureaucracy.

Published 30 June 2021
Last updated 16 March 2022 + show all updates
  1. Impact Assessment revised in light of new data: further detail is available on the page and in the document.

  2. First published.