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Government plans 'universal benefits' income plan

At least 5million people would be affected by the planned reforms

The government is this week set to begin the process of reforming and simplifying the French benefits system to create a 'universal income' basket for people living in poverty looking to find work.

The plan - a campaign pledge of President Emmanuel Macron as part of his strategy to fight poverty - will lead to the etablishment of a revenu universel d'activité (RUA) that will combine a number of existing and new financial incentives for anyone looking for employment - and those in low-paid or part-time jobs who still rely on benefits.

At least 5million people are set to be affected by the reforms.

Secretary of State Christelle Dubos, who has been put in charge of the fight against poverty, chaired the first "strategic orientation committee", before the launch in the spring of a "major consultation" which will have to specify the scope of this allocation, she said in a statement

"At a minimum", the RUA will include the RSA, housing subsidies and the prime d'activité, but "all scenarios will be put on the table" in order to possibly include additional services, Christelle Dubos told LCI.

It could also take in certain disability allowances.

"Our objective is maximum simplification: a single file, a single income, let's simplify the lives of the French."

The consultation period is scheduled the last for much of 2019 - and will include discussions with local authorities, associations and people in receipt of benefits. It should lead to a law in 2020.

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