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Macron: January fuel tax rise for France cancelled

The French fuel tax rise that was expected for January 1 has been definitively cancelled, President Emmanuel Macron has confirmed, after reports this week had described it as merely “postponed”.

The planned fuel tax rise is one of the major grievances of the Gilets Jaunes protest movement.

It had been described as under a “moratorium” on Tuesday, with Prime Minister Edouard Philippe stating that it would merely be pushed back for six months.

The PM had also suggested that the tax would only be suspended “if he could not find any good solutions” to address the problem of people’s buying power; another Gilets Jaunes grievance.

But now, President Macron has confirmed that the rise will be cancelled completely.

A statement from the Elysée Palace said: “[The rise] is not ‘suspended or postponed’ but ‘cancelled’”.

Despite this apparent concession to the Gilets Jaunes demands, the President remained steadfast on other fiscal changes, when speaking to ministerial council Le Conseil des Ministres this week.

Mr Macron said that the government had ruled out a return to the previous ISF tax (l'impôt de solidarité sur la fortune; wealth tax), even if the new IFI (l'impôt sur la fortune immobilière; property wealth tax) did not work out as planned.

This week, equality minister Marlène Schiappa and government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux appeared to suggest that parliament could reevaluate the ISF system if the IFI did not work out.

The restoration of the ISF is another key Gilets Jaunes demand.

But Mr Macron said: “We will not unravel what we have been working on for 18 months. We are against economic zig-zagging. As already agreed, if the IFI is not effective, we will look at how to adapt it, but there will be no return to the ISF.”

The Elysée said that Ms Schiappa’s comments had been “unwelcome”, but continued to support her stance as a “loyal fighter” for the administration.

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