French government persists with fuel tax but boosts aids
On Wednesday French government confirmed taking firm stand on the fuel tax and boosting the aids to help citizen to cope with it. The energy check will be extended, the scrapping scheme bonus will be doubled, a 20 euro transport aid will be introduced and anyone buying a new electric car will get a 6.000 euro bonus.
Three days before the November 17 Yellow Jacket Protest against the rising fuel prices, the government announced a series of measures designed to help working-class citizens to cope with the environment tax.
“We won’t cancel the carbon tax and we will combat this considerable climate issue”, explains Prime Minister, Edouard Philippe, on RTL radio, “but we’ve heard the need expressed by the French to be accompanied in this transition.”
Energy check, scrapping scheme
The government will introduce and extend a series of measures to help its citizens. The energy check, designed to help low income households to pay for their energy bill, will increase from 150 euro to 200 euro. The PM also pointed out that 2 million more households will benefit from it for a total of 5,6 million.
The scrapping bonus introduced in 2015 will be extended and enhanced. Everyone can benefit from a 2.500 euro bonus if they exchange their old polluting car for a cleaner alternative.
For the 20% of the most modest households, this bonus will be increased to 4.000 euro for a diesel or petrol car and to 5.000 euro for a hybrid or electric car. People driving more than 60 km to and from work and non-taxable citizens will also benefit from that rise. In total, the government will help one million people with their car exchange by 2022.
The purchase of a new electric car will now give right to an eco bonus of 6.000 euro. Everyone is eligible without any conditions. The government also supports alternative mobility solutions and will give 200 euro for the purchase of an electric bicycle.
The Hautes-de-France region will offer a 20 euro monthly contribution for people who work more than 30 km away from home and don’t have access to any other form of transport. People with a net salary inferior or equal to twice the minimum wage will be eligible.
Counterproposal from the opposition
While those measures constitute a step in the right direction, the opposition to Macron’s government has counterproposals. Les Republicains, led by Laurent Wauquiez, want a 100 euro fuel check to be distributed to all French citizens. They also want to promote and shift energy demand toward hydrogen, and so does the UDI.
The Communist party, La France Insoumise and Europe Ecologie-Les-Verts propose to tax kerosene, which is currently completely tax exempted. A common ground between the Communist and the Socialist Party is also found on the matter of small train lines. Both think they should be sustained.
Les Verts Desires France would stop extracting fossil resources and concentrate investments on renewable energy sources, while Marine Le Pen’s Rassemblement National wants to stop importing products from China because it’s “the most polluting country on earth”.