Who are they, who would benefit?

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As diesel prices hit record highs in France this week and SP95 gasoline prices are the highest in 10 years, the government has announced it will provide financial support for some drivers.

Read more: Good tips supermarkets, apps: how to find the best gasoline prices in France

President Macron said last week that a “short-term household support measure” would be put in place to avoid “leaving people in trouble”.

The government has not confirmed what form it will take, but Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire said Europe 1 yesterday they favor a fuel check (fuel check), that is to say. regular money to pay for fuel, although not all drivers are eligible for checks.

Mr Le Maire said the alternative of a blanket fuel tax cut was unfair because it helped drivers of gas-guzzling cars as well as others, and would amount to a subsidy on fossil fuels, which which would “send the wrong message”. It would also be “expensive” to set up, he said.

How could checks work?

The future presidential candidate and president of the Hauts-de-France region Xavier Bertrand suggested that a device proposed in his region be taken as a model by the government. A similar plan had been proposed in the Nice region, in the Alpes-Maritimes in 2019 and 2020, but was interrupted at the end of last year.

Fuel checks have been used in Hauts-de-France since 2016 with up to € 20 per month granted to employees on long or short-term employment contracts for round-trip car journeys by car, when their place of work is at least 20 km from where they live and there are no alternatives to public transport.

Workers must have a wage income equal to or less than double the minimum wage – currently € 1,258 net (after payroll social charges) per month. Some 100,000 drivers have benefited from this assistance since its inception.

Fuel checks could be introduced nationally on a similar basis.

One problem, however, is that applications in Hauts-de-France involve a complex assessment of eligibility criteria, including the person’s place of residence and access to public transport and the number of kilometers they travel. every day – which begs the question of whether this would lead to backlogs if introduced nationally.

There are also questions as to whether only those with more environmentally friendly cars should benefit.

Meanwhile, the government has said it shouldn’t be just workers who are entitled to help.

A government source told Le Parisien newspaper: “A stay-at-home mom who takes her children to school or a disabled person who needs to use their car should receive support even if they are not working.

He is expected to announce the details of the new measure in the coming days.

Earlier this year, another program, energy checks, has been used to help low-income households pay their gas and electricity bills, which also increased last year.

Read more: Nearly 6 million households in France will benefit from a bonus of € 100 on the energy bill

Possible fuel tax changes

Another method to counter rising fuel prices would be to reduce taxes on gasoline and diesel, frozen at 60% since 2018.

However, it appears the government is turning away from this option, as a source said it “would also benefit healthcare workers doing home checks and families leaving for the weekend in an SUV.”

Alternatively, tax breaks could be introduced for some drivers, although critics have said there is a risk that only households that already pay income tax would be eligible, while unemployed drivers would not. not (editor’s note: this would not be the case if the aid were in the form of a tax credit, as opposed to a reduction, as these give rise to a payment from the tax administration if a person’s tax bill is not high enough for them to benefit from it).

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