Our State aid team has developed an innovative and highly successful State aid practice, delivering practical advice with flare. We advise clients from across the public and private sectors, including government bodies, on the application of the State aid regime, State aid structuring and the full range of associated contractual documents and governance. Our dedicated State aid team can assist in respect of all aspects of State aid, from ad hoc grants and loans to complex multi-funding stream projects and applications to European and national funding programmes.
Our clients praise us for being able to explain complex State aid positions in a clear and concise manner. Our proven reputation of working to enable publicly supported projects to proceed and succeed within the boundaries of the State aid regime enables our clients to focus on the commercial aspects and delivery of their projects.
- Advising a government body on complex State aid matters, including the services of general economic interest regime, notified schemes and the block exemptions for major operational projects.
- Acting for the Council of the Isles of Scilly in respect of a State aid notification to the European Commission for the provision of aid to regional airports. This work also included drafting all required contractual documentation between the Council and its delivery partner for the provision of a European Regional Development Fund grant for the project. Our State aid team is currently acting for the Council on the State aid aspects of the its "Smart Island" project, a complex long term project through which the Isles of Scilly is seeking to realise its aspirations of becoming a self-sufficient island community.
- Providing comprehensive State aid advice to the UK Commission for Employment on the Employers Ownership Pilot Round 2.This role included preparing and delivering State aid training to account managers, advising on State aid guidance to applicants, advising on the State aid provisions in the Grant Offer Letter, providing technical briefings on key State aid issues for the EOP and liaising with BIS' policy teams and State aid branch.
- Advising North Yorkshire County Council on the State aid elements of its funding programmes, including Growing Places Fund, Regional Growth Fund, Local Growth Fund and Skills Capital Funding, and associated procurement, contractual and structuring advice. This work has included advising on applications from projects that involve a number of public funding streams, including the European Regional Development Fund, structuring based on the General Block Exemption Regulation and provision of bespoke grant and loan agreements.
- Acting for Cornwall Council in the provision of comprehensive State aid advice and support on the new State aid regime, including the new General Block Exemption Regulation, in respect of Cornwall's funding programmes for 2014-2020 (including European Regional Development Fund and Local Growth Deal). Also advising on State aid and procurement structuring of proposed funding packages for complex energy projects.
- Advising Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council, as accountable body of the Black Counties Local Enterprise Partnership, on the State aid assessment of applications to the Regional Growth Fund. This has involved advising on a number of complex areas of the State aid rules, including export aid and excluded sectors and projects also applying for support from the European Structural Funds. Also advising the Council in respect of complex State aid issues in respect of a number of regeneration projects.
Our State aid team is also highly experienced in delivering bespoke training and workshop sessions on State aid for client teams and lawyers, including the new General Block Exemption Regulation 2014 and recent State aid reform.
Ashfords supported the Council of the Isles of Scilly in gaining State aid notification for over £9m worth of improvements to St Mary’s and Land’s end Airports, using RGF and ERDF funding. Although airports are hugely contentious from a State aid perspective, Ashfords prepared powerful arguments which meant the process was relatively easy with minimal questions and delivered within 5 months.
Partner and Head of Public Sector
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