The European Commission has authorised under EC Treaty rules on State aid a UK scheme to relieve firms who may be encountering financial problems due to the current economic climate. The measure allows national, regional and local authorities to grant aid in the form of reduced interest rates on loans of any duration concluded by 31 December 2010. The scheme provides for low rates for loans contracted no later than 31 December 2010, but only on interest payments up to 31 December 2012. After that date firms will have to pay market rates. Further the scheme does not apply to firms that were already in difficulty on 1 July 2008. The Commission found that the scheme meets the conditions of the Temporary Framework for State aid measures which gives Member States additional scope to facilitate access to financing in the present economic and financial crisis.