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The UK Experience of State Aid Evaluation

What are the Challenges, and what are the Opportunities?

DOI https://doi.org/10.21552/estal/2018/4/8

Nick Wright


The UK has long regarded evaluation as a fundamental part of the policy development cycle and has had a broadly positive experience in meeting the new State aid evaluation requirements. This article sets out the UK’s approach to policy evaluations and considers the opportunity that the State aid requirements present to improve policies, but also notes that there can be a challenge in applying the Commission’s favoured counterfactual methodology, which might not be appropriate in all cases. The article recommends that the Commission continues to work with Member States to develop good practice, including accepting alternative methodologies when they are robust. This will help to ensure that the State aid evaluation requirements support both the effective delivery of policy, and support State aid compliance. The article concludes that, while there is always scope for improvement in the Commission’s approach, the requirements provide a real incentive for public authorities to accurately measure the effectiveness of State aid interventions in markets. This in turn facilitates evidence-based policy making, which should lead to better targeted measures that generate better policy outcomes.
Keywords: Evaluation methodologies; State aid Modernisation; Effectiveness of aid.

Nicholas Wright is the policy lead for State Aid Modernisation in the UK’s State aid team, based in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

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