Background: According to the UK Withdrawal Agreement, during the transition period which ended on 31 December 2020, the entire body of EU law continued to apply to and in the UK, as if it had been a Member State. This included all EU rules relating to State aid.

The European Commission approved the following under the temporary framework,

  • On 21 December 2020, the Commission approved, under EU state aid rules, a €1.1 million UK grant to a company in Scotland active in the poultry sector agricultural product processing. The measure aims at compensating the company for the loss of revenue caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

 

  • On 3 December 2020, the Commission approved, under EU state aid rules, a €20 million UK aid scheme to compensate Scottish airports for the damage suffered due to the coronavirus outbreak. Under the scheme, the Scottish authorities will be able to compensate airports for the revenue losses suffered during the period between 1 April and 30 June 2020, as a result of the restrictive measures on international and domestic air passenger services implemented by the UK. The support takes the form of relief from the ‘Non-Domestic Rates', a tax on properties used for non-domestic purposes such as airports. 

 

  • on 17 September 2020, under Article 107(3)(c) TFEU, a GBP 1,3 billion (approximately €1,46 billion) UK scheme to distribute free medical grade personal protective equipment (PPE) to health and social care services, community pharmacies and public sector organisations in the context of coronavirus outbreak. The public support will take the form of free medical grade PPE and will be accessible to eligible health and social care providers, community pharmacies and public sector organisations. The purpose of the measure is to ensure that beneficiaries continue to provide their services, while limiting the spread of the coronavirus through preventing cross-infection and other forms of contamination.

 

  • on 24 August 2020, a UK scheme of up to GBP 15 million (approximately €16 million) to support companies in Scotland that are affected by the coronavirus outbreak. The public support, which will take the form of subordinated loans with subsidised interest rates, will be accessible to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and large companies in Scotland which have been negatively impacted by the coronavirus outbreak. The aim of the measure is to help companies address the liquidity shortages they face and enhance their access to financing, thus helping them continue their activities during and after the outbreak.

 

  • under EU State aid rules, a UK guarantee scheme to support the trade credit insurance market in the context of the coronavirus outbreak. Trade credit insurance protects companies supplying goods and services against the risk of non-payment by their clients. Given the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak, the risk of insurers not being willing to maintain their insurance coverage has become higher. The UK scheme ensures that trade credit insurance continues to be available to all companies, avoiding the need for buyers of goods or services to pay in advance, therefore reducing their immediate liquidity needs.  The Commission assessed the measure under Article 107(3)(b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), which enables the Commission to approve State aid measures implemented by Member States to remedy a serious disturbance in their economy.

 

  • on 7 July 2020, an approximately EUR 110 million (GBP 100 million) “umbrella” scheme to support enterprises of all sizes in Gibraltar. The measure aims to provide liquidity to undertakings operating in Gibraltar affected by the coronavirus outbreak, facilitate their access to external finance, and support the development of coronavirus relevant activities. Under the scheme Gibraltar authorities can grant public support in the form of: (i) limited amounts of aid (in the form of direct grants, repayable advances and tax advantages) of up to €800,000 per company; (ii) guarantees on loans; (iii) interest rate subsidies for loans; (iv) aid for coronavirus relevant research and development (R&D); (v) investment aid for the construction or upgrading of testing and upscaling infrastructures that contribute to develop coronavirus relevant products; and (vi) investment aid for production of products necessary to respond to the coronavirus outbreak. The measure is open to companies active in all sectors except the financial, agriculture and fishery and aquaculture sectors. Aid is granted under the measure either directly or, as concerns aid in form of guarantees and subsidised interest rates for loans, through credit institutions and other financial institutions as financial intermediaries.

 

  • on 11 May 2020, a GBP 9 billion (approximately € 10.3 billion) UK aid scheme to support self-employed individuals and members of partnerships affected by the coronavirus outbreak. The scheme will support lower-end income self-employed individuals, including members of partnerships, which have been severely affected by the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak. The scheme will allow them to continue their activities during and after the crisis. The scheme will take the form of direct grants and will be applied to all sectors and to the whole territory of the UK.

 

  • on 25 March 2020, two separate UK State aid schemes to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) active in all market sectors having temporary financial difficulties due to the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak called the “Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme" (CBILS).

 

  • on 6 April 2020, an “umbrella” UK scheme to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and large corporates in the United Kingdom affected by the coronavirus outbreak. The measure is a UK-wide National Temporary Framework for State aid, and allows for the provision of aid in the form of: a) Direct grants, equity injections, selective tax advantages and advance payments; b) State guarantees for loans subject to safeguards for banks to channel State aid to the real economy; c) Subsidised public loans to companies with favourable interest rates; d) Support for coronavirus related research and development (R&D); e) Support for the construction and upscaling of testing facilities to develop and test products useful to tackle the coronavirus outbreak; f) Support for the production of products relevant to tackle the coronavirus outbreak. The measure allows aid to be granted by UK authorities at all levels, including central government, devolved governments, local authorities and other bodies administering schemes involving state resources channelled through their own budgets.