Housing benefit lowered

Housing benefits are being cut by €5 a month per household from October 1 as part of a controversial economy drive.

30 August 2017

The government says the measure had been decided on (but not yet applied) under president Hollande – however, this was refuted by the former housing minister, who said no ‘generalised lowering’ was agreed. It follows earlier reductions in July and October last year and represents about €390million in annual savings.

It comes in a context in which the Macron government is aiming to lower public spending in several areas where ministers say it is higher than in neighbouring countries.

Housing benefit is paid out to around 6.5 million households by the caisses d’allocations familiales (Caf). There are three variants of housing benefit: aide personnalisée au logement (APL), which especially concerns some 800,000 students, allocation de logement familial (ALF) and allocation de logement social (ALS).

Student organisations are particularly opposed to the cut, which amounts to €60 less per year per student.

Hollande era housing minister Emmanuelle Cosse said last year’s lowerings related only to families owning investments over a threshold and students whose parents pay wealth tax.

Some 50,000 others who are eligible for €15-19/month were set to lose it because of a rule that it is not paid if the amount is less than €15. To avoid this, the level is dropping to €10.

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