Tax cuts and green pledges for government’s Act 2
Tax cuts for 12 million families, pension reform and urgent action on the environment were among key promises by the prime minister as he launched the second half of the Macron presidency.
Edouard Philippe told MPs that action was important on all fronts.
Top of the list was the environment and he confirmed the closure of France’s oldest nuclear power plant at Fessenheim, Haut-Rhin, before the end of next year.
Nuclear power will be reduced from 75% of France’s electricity to 50% through rapid development of renewable energies, such as marine wind turbines, he said.
Grants for conversion to greener central heating will change to help lower earners. He said a law against binning unsold goods will be debated and single-use plastic will be banned in public offices. He aims for 100% plastic recycling.
The Nutriscore label showing a food’s nutritional value should be compulsory.
He confirmed that taxe d’habitation will be scrapped for all main homes. From September, 80% of homes will see bills reduced by two-thirds and totally by 2020. It will be phased out over three years for the 20% higher earners.
Income tax will lower for lower middle-income families, resulting in an average €350 saving next year. It will work by lowering the 14% bracket, on income between €9,964 and €27,519 in 2019, to 11%.
The PM wants to stop repeated short-term work contracts and to cut unemployment benefits to encourage work. The retirement age will remain at 62, but there will be incentives to keep working. The 42 existing pension schemes will be progressively replaced by one.
He promised that a pension for people who have worked all their life will not be less than 85% of the minimum wage.
In school, he aims for CP and CE1 (6-8 years) classes to be reduced to 24 pupils maximum across the country and for better inclusion of disabled children.
There will be up to 30,000 new crèche places and new measures to help single parents get support from ex-partners.
A new universal system of social benefits is planned to remove current complexities.
The problems of an ageing population, he says, will be faced and new ways of helping people stay at home and more investment in OAP homes are planned.
Medically-assisted procreation is now restricted to married heterosexual couples but a law to open this to all women will be debated in September.
On immigration, there will be more money for protecting those who need asylum status but stronger action against system abuse. An annual debate on the subject starts in September.
These, he said, “touch the foundations of our sovereignty and principles”.
He also plans to enable police and courts to dismantle drug-trafficking gangs more effectively. Measures will be presented to reduce knife and gang crime.
Mireille Lachaud, president of Familles de France, said the announcement was a missed opportunity. She said: “It does not go far enough to help working families.”