State aid rules and coronavirus (COVID-19)

On 19 March 2020 the European Commission adopted the Temporary Framework for Covid-19 which was amended on 3 April, 8 May, 29 June and 13 October.

EC Covid-19 Temporary Framework

You can find information on the Temporary Framework on the European Commission website.

UK State aid scheme - COVID-19 Temporary Framework for UK authorities

On 6 April 2020 the European Commission approved the UK umbrella scheme to support businesses affected by the Coronavirus outbreak. On 28 April 2020 the European Commission approved an amendment to the scheme which allows for pricing guarantees on loans to be charged on a stepped basis over three years rather than at a flat rate to allow for greater scheme flexibility. An second amendment was approved on 31 July 2020 to allow micro and small businesses to receive support even if they were an undertaking in difficulty on 31 December 2019. A further amendment was approved on 8 December 2020 to increase the overall budget, to provide for subordinated interest rates for loans under section 3.3.of the Framework and to provide support for uncovered fixed costs as set out in section 3.12 of the Framework. The use of the Temporary Framework has also been prolonged until 30 June 2021, this prolongation relates to aid that is within the scope of Article 10 of the Protocol.

Due to the complexity of the undertaking in difficulty test and the reporting obligations under the UK Temporary Framework Scheme, it is recommended that existing rules such as the de minimis and General Block Exemption regulations are utitlised before the UK Umbrella Temporary Framework Scheme. NI Public authorities should contact the Department for the Economy State aid Unit  to discuss any proposals where State aid cover under the UK Umbrella Scheme is being considered. 

State aid guidance on the Covid-19 Temporary Framework

The department has issued guidance which summarises the types of aid allowable under the UK measure. In addition, the guidance contains:

  • a checklist setting out the relevant conditions that must be adhered to when granting aid
  • a template letter to send to recipients of aid to ensure they are eligible to receive support  


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