Overview and general definitions: State aid
A State aid is defined in Article 107(1) Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union as:
‘any aid granted by a Member State or through State resources in any form whatsoever which distorts or threatens to distort competition by favouring certain undertakings or the production of certain goods shall, in so far as it affects trade between Member States, be incompatible with the internal market.’
The Department for Business Innovation & Skills (BIS) provides further guidance on State aids at .
Television (including animation but not Children’s) relief is a State aid notified to the European Commission under the Cinema Communication. In common with other aids under this Communication it has an intensity limit (a cumulation limit of State aid) of 50% of the budget for the programme concerned. There is no limit to the amount of State aid that can be received as long as it does not exceed the intensity level. Receipt of aid in excess of this limit will need to be repaid to the organisation or Department granting the aid which exceeds the limit.
Children’s television is notified under the General Block Exemption Regulations (GBER). This has the same cumulation limit but has further limits on the level of aid granted and the amount of overall aid that may be granted in any year. A recipient of aid under Children’s relief cannot receive more than €50 million in any year. Additionally the total aid that may be granted under the measure cannot exceed €50 million in any year.
State aid intensity and cumulation
Cumulation means that you must add up any State aid received from more than one source going to the same project.
Other forms of State aid may include: grants, direct payments, interest rate subsidies, tax reliefs, repayable advances, reimbursable grants, guarantees, tax advantage or exemption, risk finance, or any aid by a state or through its own resources. This list is not exhaustive and companies should determine whether any payments, grants etc. they receive are State aid which may need to be taken into account when determining whether they have reached an intensity level.