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DWF Regeneration lawyer calls for Government to fastrack the UK Shared Prosperity Fund

13 March 2020
Alexander Rose, Director in DWF's award winning Public Sector team, today appeared as an expert witness at the House of Lords EU Internal Market Sub-Committee.  In giving evidence, he set out recommendations about how the UK Government can design an effective UK Subsidy Control regime after the EU-UK Transitional Period ends.  He also called for the Government to fastrack the proposed UK Shared Prosperity Fund by way of replacement to the EU structural funds previously distributed to different regions, which are due to end.  Alexander is the third DWF expert to contribute to House of Lords Select Committees in recent months. 

The House of Lords EU Internal Market Sub-Committee announced a special inquiry into Post-Brexit subsidy control rules in February 2020, inviting experts such as George Peretz QC, Karen Turner, James Webber and Alexander Rose to give evidence.

Alexander's evidence made the case that a UK State aid regime can strike the balance between giving the sufficient assurance to the EU as part of a trade deal, whilst also ensuring there are clear rules to manage public money and coordinate public funding to deliver important Government objectives, for example helping address climate change and supporting the "levelling up" agenda, in addition to maintaining and strengthening a competitive economy.  He used examples of what can happen in the absence of effective State aid rules, for example the US experience of subsidy races between States while working solely within the WTO rules, under which it is reported that US States spend over $100billion each year to incentivise companies to relocate headquarters within the same country.

He also argued that the Government's replacement for EU Funds, the UK Shared Prosperity Fund needs to be urgently accelerated and that stakeholders from business, public bodies and community organisations need to be given the chance to shape its design through a consultation. This is particularly important to the new UK government's stated agenda of levelling up the economy of the regions with (in particular) London and the South East. DWF has been pushing for further action in this area, including publishing FAQs and setting up a Linkedin group to discuss issues in more detail.  The evidence session can be seen at Parliament.TV.

DWF have provided three experts for Select Committees in recent months and has commented regularly on the issue of UK State aid law post Brexit. Head of EU Competition Jonathan Branton gave evidence on how State aid rules can support the Steel sector and trade defence considerations and Caroline Colliston gave evidence to the Finance Bill Sub-Committee on UK employment taxes including IR35.