Business grants

De minimis guidance

De minimis guidance

If you're applying for a grant from us, you might be asked about any de minimis aid your company has received. Read this guide to understand what de minimis is, and how to know if you've received it.

What is de minimis subsidy?

Some public funding comes in the form of de minimis subsidy, a state aid mechanism designed for small amounts of funding. It’s sometimes referred to as ‘de minimis aid’. ‘De minimis’ is a legal term that means ‘too small to be meaningful or taken into consideration’. In this context, it means that the funding is small enough to support the individual business without giving them an unfair advantage.

Different types of de minimis subsidy are available, depending on the sector that your company is active in. The most common type is ‘general’ or ‘industrial’ de minimis. Other types include ‘road freight transport’, ‘agricultural’ and ‘fisheries’. Different rules apply to the different types.

De minimis aid can be provided in a number of different ways, including:

  • A grant (this is the most common way to deliver de minimis)
  • A loan
  • A guarantee
  • A free or subsidised service
  • Rates relief from local authorities
  • Investment schemes run by HMRC

How do I know if I’ve received de minimis in the past?

If you’ve received UK public sector support in the past, you should have been told in your award letters or other documentation if any of the funding contained de minimis aid. You should also have been told which type of de minimis subsidy you received.

If you’re not sure whether you’ve already received any de minimis aid, you should check your previous award letters and related documents from UK public sector bodies. You only need to check the awards you’ve received in your current and previous two fiscal years.


Why do I need to provide details about de minimis I’ve received?

We need to ask you about de minimis aid you’ve already received to make sure any additional aid we give you won’t take you over the de minimis limit that applies to your company. We only need to ask for this if the funding you’re applying for may be delivered using de minimis subsidy.

De minimis is just one type of subsidy we can use. If you’ve already reached your de minimis limit or have applied for a grant that exceeds the de minimis limits, we’ll aim to use other types of state aid funding where possible. 

What are the de minimis subsidy limits?

There’s a limit to how much de minimis aid your company or corporate group can receive over its current and previous two fiscal years in the UK. The limit depends on the type of de minimis you qualify for:

  • General – 325,000 Special Drawing Rights. This is a value used and maintained by the International Monetary Fund, which currently equals around £344,600
  • Road freight transport – €100,000
  • Agricultural – €20,000
  • Fisheries – €30,000

De minimis limits apply to a single undertaking, meaning that these limits may apply to the whole group rather than to individual companies. If you’re part of a group or company structure that’s considered a single undertaking, then any de minimis received by other companies within that single undertaking could count towards your limit.


What counts as a single undertaking?

If your company is linked to another company or is part of a corporate group, you may be considered part of a ‘single undertaking’. A single undertaking includes all enterprises which have at least one of the following relationships with each other:

  • One enterprise has a majority of shareholders’ or members’ voting rights in another enterprise
  • One enterprise has the right to appoint or remove a majority of the members of the administrative, management or supervisory body of another enterprise
  • One enterprise has the right to exercise a dominant influence over another enterprise following a contract with that enterprise or a term in its memorandum or articles of association
  • One enterprise, which is a shareholder or member of another enterprise, controls a majority of shareholders’ or members’ voting rights in that enterprise, following an agreement with other shareholders in or members of that enterprise

The limits on de minimis aid apply to the single undertaking as a whole. This means individual subsidiaries or branches of a single undertaking can’t receive separate allocations of de minimis aid, even if they are legally separate companies with individual company registration numbers.

What information do I need to provide about previous de minimis I’ve received?

De minimis won’t be relevant to every fund we offer. If it is relevant, we’ll ask you for some details during your application.

You’ll need to tell us about any de minimis received in the current or previous two fiscal years by:

  • Your company
  • Any companies currently within your single undertaking
  • Any companies who were within your single undertaking within the current or previous two fiscal years
  • Any previous entities your company has been connected to in the current or previous two fiscal years. For example, if your company has been part of a merger or acquisition, or is the result of a company or group that’s split into two or more separate entities

You’ll need to tell us:

  • The date of the award (the date on the award letter, not the date the funds were received) and relevant fiscal year
  • The amount of the de minimis awarded
  • The type of de minimis awarded
  • The public funder
  • The company who received the funding

Got a question?

If you've got any questions about this guidance, you can speak to a member of our team.