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MPs pass family benefit cuts

Better-off families will receive less from CAF as part of new social security law approved by parliament

FRENCH MPs have voted in favour of a plan to child benefit for better-off households.

The National Assembly approved the government's 2015 social security bill on Friday night, which will introduce a new link between CAF payouts and earnings.

The measure is estimated to save the government €400 million in the first year following its introduction in July 2015, and €800 million the next.

The plans were last week criticised by family association Unaf, which said it destroys "the principle of universality". PM Manuel Valls calls it a "measure of justice".

The law sets an income ceiling of €6,000 a month for a couple with two children. From this level, child benefit will be halved, and from €8,000 it will be quartered. Every supplementary child will have a benefit ceiling of €500.

It is claimed that only 13% of families receiving the benefit will be affected.

Also included in the approved social security law are the following measures:

- Maternal leave will be reduced from 30 to 24 months for the third child onwards and paternal leave will fall from 12 to six months.
- Increased taxes on cigars and cigarillos, bringing them into line with cigarettes.
- Fines of up to €15,000 and a year in jail for anyone who de-registers themselves from the Sécu and stops paying their contributions
- The roll-out of "hospital hotels" for patients who only need basic medical surveillance after an operation. These would cost as little as €60, be reimbursed by the Sécu and free up hospital beds.

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