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Well-off families could lose benefit

Budget cuts could mean end of universal aid as Caisses d'Allocations Familiales looks for €2.2bn savings

BENEFITS for well-off families could be cut as the Caisses d'Allocations Familiales looks for €2.2billion of economies over three years to balance its books.

The Haut Conseil de la Famille (HCF) had been asked to work out how to finance the shortfall, which is expected to hit €1.7bn by 2016, plus €500million that the government added in December as aid for poorer families.

Targeting better-off families would allow the HCF to “redistribute aid” to the most needy and its report on the plans will be examined in detail tomorrow by council members with a final decision by the end of the month.

First revealed in Les Echos, the report says that “around €15bn of benefits is distributed without any regard to income” and where maximum income levels are set they are too high.

If the cuts are approved – or if it is planned to include any benefits as income for income tax purposes - then it would however be a breach in the usual principle of “universality of aid” with regard to certain benefits.

Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault had asked the HCF to look at ways for the aid to be “better distributed”.

It is thought to have suggested two options: halving aid for better-off families, which could bring in €1bn if such a cut was applied to the top 890,000 of the five million recipients, or limiting to €1,500 per child the maximum tax reduction from the family quotient system.

Photo: styeb-Flickr

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