Transparency in the Subsidy Control Bill: Lowering the reporting threshold
- The Subsidy Control Bill (‘the Bill’) could make it easier for public authorities to provide economically damaging subsidies – by moving away from the European Union’s state aid process and reducing transparency requirements.
- The Bill outlines principles that public authorities must follow when granting subsidies and disclosure requirements for when subsidies are provided.
- The Bill only requires transparency (through publication in a database) if a subsidy is worth £500,000 or more pursuant to a pre-published scheme or £315,000 or more if not part of a scheme. It is estimated that this could allow £4 billion of subsidies to escape transparency.
- There is a significant risk that billions of pounds in subsidies will escape public scrutiny and challenge and be wasteful or distortionary. A lower threshold for transparency requirements could help reduce this waste and increase democratic accountability, enable affected businesses to contest decisions, and lessen rent seeking and corruption.