Alexander Rose Profile picture
Partner @DWF_Law • Public Funding specialist • Ex-Gov lawyer • Tweets personal opinions on issues such as Subsidy Control, law & regeneration • #SubsidyControl
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Jan 11 5 tweets 2 min read
The Teesworks report terms of reference pointedly do not cover the State aid / Subsidy Control compliance of the deals.

This matters because a transaction found to breach such law is capable of being set aside - potentially saving the taxpayer millions of pounds.

A short 🧵… Image This is surprising given such areas of law are central to assessing regularity and propriety according to the Treasury’s “Managing Public Money” guidance.
May 15, 2023 6 tweets 4 min read
In my view there are 3 main State aid / Subsidy Control questions which need answering in regard to the Teesside Freeport transactions.

So here’s a short 🧵 on these. 1) £200m+ appears to have been spent remediating the site.

The majority of the funding looks to have been committed when EU State aid rules applied.

If so, funding would need to meet the “German Land Preparation Scheme” requirements - but how have sections 4.3 and 4.4 been met? ImageImageImage
Apr 13, 2022 7 tweets 3 min read
The UK Shared Prosperity Fund launches today - here’s a quick 🧵 on the main issues. 

1) the Conservative Party manifesto committed to setting up the UKSPF to replace EU funds lost to Brexit and that it would as “a minimum match the size of those funds in each nation”.

1/4 2) EU funds would have invested £10.85bn in the UK’s regions between 2021 and 2027, but the Government’s replacement fund has a much lower value.

2021 - £0
2022 - £400m
2023 - £700m
2024 - £1.5bn
2025 - unknown 
2026 - unknown
2027 - unknown

A gap of c.£8.25 billion. 🤦‍♂️

Nov 8, 2021 4 tweets 3 min read
A short 🧵 about the transparency flaw in the UK Subsidy Control regime.

I flagged this issue at a recent Select Committee appearance, but so far no steps have been taken to fix this.

Which is a big concern, because it affects how unlawful subsidies can be challenged…

1/4 Under the current Subsidy Control regime, a business can challenge an unlawful subsidy to a rival by going to court.

However a challenge must be brought in a short window that only starts when information about the subsidy is published on the national transparency website.

Sep 21, 2021 8 tweets 4 min read
The Subsidy Control Bill has its second reading in Parliament tomorrow providing MPs with their first opportunity to debate the principles of this important piece of post-#Brexit legislation.

In this 🧵 I set out the main issues to look out for…

1/8… 1) Is the overall strategy correct?

The Subsidy Control Bill aims to create a more permissive system than under EU State aid rules.

Doing away with EU rules will be popular but how will free market minded MPs respond to a policy of loosening the controls on public funding?

Jan 20, 2021 10 tweets 5 min read
The European Commission has published a notice which pushes back on the UK government’s interpretation of when State aid law will apply under the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Is the honeymoon over? Will the EU start challenging UK subsidies?… You’ll recall that on 31 December, @beisgovuk published guidance on the new Subsidy Control regime.

The Northern Ireland Protocol section took a surprisingly robust approach to interpreting when EU State aid law needs to be applied and when it doesn’t.
Jan 1, 2021 6 tweets 3 min read
A few thoughts on the new Subsidy Control guidance...

1/5 Although the Subsidy Control guidance is clearly intended to be helpful, it’s very complicated.

Statements like the one below, are likely to have a chilling effect on the award of public funding.

Oct 20, 2020 9 tweets 4 min read
What happens in the absence of State aid rules?

A couple of US examples provide some insight.

Firstly subsidy races. Each year the US public sector spends c.$100 bn persuading businesses to relocate within the US. No real benefit for US economy.…

•1• Subsidy auctions are competitions organised by big companies to play off funding bodies and generate the biggest taxpayer funded subsidy.

State aid rules act as a backstop for the public sector to collectively refuse to go beyond set values. Bids win on merit, not money.

Oct 19, 2020 6 tweets 3 min read
Interesting article by @Peston - but here’s why I don’t think ‘State aid’ will end the UK-EU trade talks.

• A thread • There are multiple reasons why it’s a win-win for both parties to find agreement on State aid which include:

> State aid rules align with the UK (and in particular Tory) mindset that subsidies should be a last resort;

> Frost has agreed sensible general principles on subsidies;
Oct 19, 2020 5 tweets 4 min read
@Peston @BorisJohnson State aid will be solved in the EU-UK trade talks.

There are multiple reasons for this, which include:

> State aid rules align with the UK (and in particular Tory) mindset that subsidies should be a last resort;

> Frost has agreed sensible general principles on subsidies; @Peston @BorisJohnson > having the EU bound to certain standards / principles is in the UK’s interest as it ensures their system doesn’t become more permissive;

> which is in our interest as the UK doesn’t award as much State aid and confident that our businesses can win work on merit alone.
Sep 29, 2020 8 tweets 5 min read
The UK Government has laid a Statutory Instrument to revoke EU State aid rules.

It’s controversial because at this time the UK won’t have a workable replacement regime in place on 1 January 2020.…

• a thread • Image On 9th September the Government announced that in a “no deal” scenario the UK will follow World Trade Organisation subsidy rules.…
Sep 15, 2020 9 tweets 2 min read
“Brexiters for State Aid” is a good headline.

Of course many Brexiteers see the benefit of subsidy control and coordination. However fewer see the need for EU oversight in this area.

That’s why a meaningful UK State aid regime might be the way forward...… If the UK created a 🇬🇧 Subsidy Control regime without any consideration of an 🇪🇺trade deal, what would it look like?

The chances are that many fundamental characteristics would be present, eg transparency of awards, only paying against incurred expenditure and incentive effect.
Sep 15, 2020 8 tweets 3 min read
A new public body tasked with increasing the prosperity of the North is to be welcomed.

Having worked on hundreds of Northern regeneration projects during the last twelve years, I’m looking forward to @RobertJenrick‘s Devolution White Paper. I’m hoping there will be information about the new UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

I’m interested to see how the process can be made quicker and easier, whilst also taking forward the Local Industrial Strategies and fostering innovation.
Sep 9, 2020 6 tweets 3 min read
When considering the UK’s announcement on State aid today, it is worth noting that the UK’s view is that the WTO rules on industrial subsidies need reforming.… As @trussliz told the WTO in March 2020.…
Sep 8, 2020 7 tweets 4 min read
The Government will publish the UK Internal Market Bill tomorrow.

It’s already controversial, in part due to today’s comments in Parliament, but also because the Devolved Administrations see it as a power grab.… The #UKIM will establish a new “Office for the Internal Market” within the @CMAgovUK.

The exact powers of this body will be set out in the bill. However areas of oversight are stated in the press release to include consumer protection, food, animal welfare and the environment.
Sep 6, 2020 9 tweets 5 min read
Funnily enough when the Daily Mail covers the EU trade talks, it never mentions it is suing the European Commission.

The owners aren’t happy that the European Commission regards them to have received unlawful State aid by using a tax break for foreign companies.

#Brexit The crux of the deadlock is “ideology vs economic pragmatism”

The EU has asked the UK to produce its own State aid regime which achieves the same “high standards”.

However the UK won’t engage with this because of the ideology of Boris Johnson’s inner circle.
Sep 5, 2020 6 tweets 3 min read
The Times is right - Boris Johnson needs to outline his plans for a UK State aid regime.

The reason isn’t simply to unlock EU trade talks (although that’s important).

It is about what kind of country the UK plans to be in future. It’s laudable that the UK proposes to become a champion of rules based free trade around the World.

However our credibility depends upon leading by example.

Therefore we should be creating the best possible competition law regime, not dismantling it.… Image
Aug 30, 2020 4 tweets 3 min read
The UK is lurching towards a ‘no deal’ #Brexit as @BorisJohnson refuses to compromise on State aid law.… @ShippersUnbound #StateAid #Subsidies Worth noting this is a primarily ideological stance.

The Government doesn’t appear to have plans to shift to the UK economy to Scandinavian levels of State spending.

Quadrupling State aid would bring the UK on par with Germany (who, of course, are subject to the same rules). ImageImageImageImage
Aug 17, 2020 5 tweets 3 min read
The 7th round of 🇬🇧- 🇪🇺 talks start at 10am CET on Wednesday.

In terms of #StateAid, agreement ought to be reached on the basis of an independent UK State aid regime, which upholds similar high standards of subsidy control as the EU’s regime.

Thread 1/5 Image The 🇪🇺 is open to such a State aid solution.

However 🇬🇧 has yet to publish any details of its regime.

In part, this is because the most fervent believers in the #Brexit project are convinced that the EU will accept anything, provided it is put forward at the 11th hour.

Aug 5, 2020 5 tweets 3 min read
If the UK going to redesign its #StateAid rules, then perhaps we should start with an informed debate about what type of economy the UK needs.… @MazzucatoM makes some excellent points about how the State currently doesn’t generate “bang for the buck”.

Instead she says we need an openly #EntrepreneurialState, willing to proactively invest and shape markets for society’s benefit. ImageImage
Aug 1, 2020 6 tweets 2 min read
Without a proper State aid regime, the UK taxpayer will foot the bill for excessive and wasteful subsidies (including in a “no deal” scenario). Germany awards about four times as much State aid each year as the U.K.

Therefore unless the UK is planning on quadrupling its budget, the rules aren’t the real problem. Image