Subsidy Control Bill

Written evidence submitted by Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP (SCB03)

Subsidy Control Bill written evidence

Good afternoon

I provide this written evidence for an on behalf of Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP ("ACS") in our capacity as legal experts on State aid and subsidy control.

Executive Summary

This written evidence relates to section 2(1)(d)(i) of the Subsidy Control Bill (the "Bill"). We recommend that this sub-section is either removed from the Bill, or amended. We make this recommendation as we have serious concerns about the increased administrative burden that extending the regime to regulate measures within the UK will have.

About ACS

At ACS we are a social purpose law firm and we are committed to supporting our clients in the public sector. Our State aid/subsidies practice aims to support predominantly local authorities and other parts of the public sector to comply with the relevant law, whilst keeping the administrative burden and legal costs involved in doing so to a minimum.

Our recommendation and reasons

We recommend that sub-section 2(1)(d)(i) of the Bill is either removed from the Bill or amended. We understand the government’s intention is to create a regime which regulates measures both having an impact on the UK’s trading partners, and also within the UK. We have serious concerns about the administrative burden that extending the regime in this way will have, and we consider this is not in keeping with the government’s wider objective of "cutting red tape" through Brexit.

The State aid regime does not apply to measures with only a local impact. The current subsidy control regime governed principally through the Trade and Cooperation Agreement and WTO rules is also only engaged where a measure impacts on trade with one of the UK’s trading partners. We consider extending the regime to apply to measures having only an internal impact would substantially increase the administrative burden involved as well as the amount spent on legal advice to ensure compliance.

We are aware that DWF have submitted evidence to the committee that the transparency website is not being adopted to nearly the extent it ought to be. In this context, we recommend that the Committee should seriously consider if the public sector has the capacity to extend this regime so much further than its current application, as we consider would be the impact if sub-section 2(1)(d)(i) is retained as drafted in the bill.

Please note we raised these same concerns as part of the public consultation exercise but they seem to have not been taken into account so far.

I and/or my colleagues cc’d in would be very happy to submit oral evidence to the Committee on this point if that would be helpful.

Martin Brown
for Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP

October 2021


Prepared 3rd November 2021