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Subsidy schemes

We have extensive scope to provide subsidy and are legally obliged to publish our subsidy schemes.

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On 01 January 2021, the UK left the EU and is no longer subject to EU laws on state aid. HIE has registered new subsidy schemes with UK Government which are published below.

Our previous state aid schemes continue to apply to state aid which was awarded by HIE under those schemes up to 31 December 2020. They are retained below for reference.

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Our subsidy powers

Subsidy means a financial or in-kind contribution given by a public authority to a commercial enterprise on a selective basis that provides an economic advantage, and that may cause a distortion in or harm to competition, trade, or investment.

As a public body with a broad economic development remit, we regularly provides grants, loans and other assistance to promote the growth of the region. From 1 January 2021 the scope of much of our assistance is governed by the UK Government’s international commitments on subsidy control. These include the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA), other Free Trade Agreements (FTA) and World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules. It is anticipated that in most cases our assistance, if assessed as a subsidy, will fall within the scope of Chapter 3 of Title XI of the TCA or aid within the scope of Article 10 of the NI Protocol and/or, for awards of funding that include contributions from EU Structural Funds, aid within the scope of Article 138 of the UK-EU Withdrawal Agreement agreed on 17 October 2019 (as implemented by section 7A of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018).

Our new schemes are designed around the obligations of the TCA, wider FTA and WTO rules and will be adapted as further UK Subsidy Control legislation comes into effect.

We always assess each project firstly for its potential to meet our economic development priorities and policies for the Highlands and Islands. If our assistance is considered appropriate, we will make an assessment to determine if the support is likely to constitute subsidy. If it does, our staff will work with clients to find the most appropriate legal cover to avoid breaching the competition laws. It is important that applicants provide full and accurate declarations in support of subsidy assessments. Applicants are responsible for seeking their own legal reassurances on becoming subsidy beneficiaries.

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