Subsidy control: guidance

Guidance to help public sector bodies to understand and comply with subsidy control.

Services of public economic interest

The Act contains provisions for public authorities to provide subsidies for services of public economic interest (SPEI). These are essential services provided to the public and may include, for example, postal services, social housing, and certain transport networks, particularly in rural or less populated areas of the country. Without these subsidies, these services would not be supplied in an appropriate way or may not be supplied at all by the market.

To designate a service as an SPEI, the public authority must be satisfied that:

  • the service is provided for the benefit of the public
  • the service would not be provided, or would not be provided on the terms required, by an enterprise under normal market conditions

For further detail on SPEI and how this provision can be used, please refer to Chapter 6 of the Subsidy Control Statutory Guidance.


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