State aid - Rules, Regulations and Guidance

Information about the rules and regulations that govern State aid, and guidance on how to apply them.

Public authorities should note that the information on this page is only applicable when the aid being provided is within the scope of Article 10 of the Windsor Framework. If you are providing support to service sector companies please refer to the information on the State aid and Subsidy control after EU Exit webpage.

Article 10 of the Windsor Framework

The EU and the UK formally adopted the Windsor Framework (previously known as the Northern Ireland Protocol) on 24 March 2023.

The Windsor Framework, provides a new legal and UK constitutional framework

Article 10 provides that the EU State aid rules will continue to apply to the UK in respect of measures which affect trade in goods between NI and the EU (including the production of and trade in agricultural products) and the production of wholesale electricity in NI (i.e. measures impacting on the Single Electricity Market).

The European Commission and the United Kingdom have recently published their respective guidance on the circumstances in which Article 10 of the Windsor Framework will apply.

Horizontal and Sectoral EU State aid rules

Horizontal State aid rules apply to all sectors. Sectoral State aid rules, as their name suggests apply to specific sectors/industries.

For further information please see Horizontal and Sectoral State aid rules.

Services of General Economic Interest

Services of General Economic Interest (SGEI) are economic activities that public authorities see as being of particular importance to citizens and that would not be supplied (or would be supplied under different conditions) without public assistance. 

For further information, please see Services of General Economic Interest.

EU Block Exemption Regulations

The Block Exemption Regulations provide a simple and relatively quick way of obtaining European Commission approval for a range of aid measures that do not unduly distort competition.

For further information please see General Block Exemption Regulation.

EU Industrial de minimis Regulation

As small amounts of aid are unlikely to distort competition, a useful approved EU mechanism for State aid is the industrial de minimis regulation which allows small amounts of aid i.e. less than €200,000 over 3 consecutive fiscal years, to a single undertaking for a wide range of purposes.

For further information on the industrial de minimis regulation, please see De Minimis Aid.

Other de minimis regulations

Separate rules apply to the Agriculture, Fisheries and Road Transport sectors.

 Guidance on the EU State aid rules

European Commission State aid information

The Commission Notice on the notion of State aid as referred to in Article 107(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union was published in 2016 and gives general guidance on all aspects of the definition of State aid, and can often provide clarification on the more complex elements of State aid.

State aid - desk aids

SCAU has developed desk aids to help you assess whether State aid is present in your proposed projects, and what to do if you think it is:


Please contact DfE Subsidy Control Advice unit if you require advice or assistance.




Back to top