Business secretary unveils new UK state aid rules following breakaway from Brussels

The business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has unveiled new British state aid rules, which are free to diverge from EU regulations now that Britain has unleashed itself from Brussels.

The plans are “designed to be more flexible, agile and tailored to support business growth and innovation” while protecting Britain’s competitive market economy.

Kwarteng’s Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy department says the new rules will “empower” devolved administrations “to decide if they can issue taxpayer subsidies by following a set of UK-wide principles. These principles will ensure subsidies are designed in such a way that they deliver strong benefits and good value for money for the UK taxpayer, while being awarded in a timely and effective way.

The new rules will be hailed as a breakthrough by Eurosceptics who saw Brussels bureaucracy limiting the capacity of British governments to help local firms.

“This is a significant milestone on our historic journey as an independent, sovereign nation” said Kwarteng.

“Our new, more flexible system will empower public authorities and devolved administrations, and ensure fair competition for businesses across the UK.

“Now we have taken back control of our money and laws from the EU, we want to use our newfound freedoms to propel the UK to the forefront of innovation and help create the jobs of the future, while also making the UK the best place to start and grow a business.

“With a modern, tailored approach to supporting businesses, we will also be able to press ahead with our long-term ambitions to tackle climate change and to level up opportunity as we build back better from the pandemic.”

The new plans will move away from the EU’s current state aid regime and open up support for British businesses – doing away with bureaucratic EU controls on state aid and instead letting public bodies and devolved follow a set of simple UK-wide principles governing the use of funds.

According to the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the new plans “will allow the UK to be more dynamic in providing support to businesses, including in innovative, R&D-focused industries, to encourage job creation and growth across all parts of the UK.”