France’s much-talked-about ‘food cheque (chèque alimentaire)’ is now set to be delivered as a simple bank transfer to the least well-off households, it has been confirmed.
The food cheque, which had been intended to specifically help lower-income households buy healthy food despite rising supermarket prices, was a key pledge of President Macron’s election campaign, and had since been promised again by new Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne.
It is one of a series of measures that the government is set to bring in to help consumers with the rising cost of fuel, and food, as inflation reaches record levels (4.2% in May, said statistics bureau INSEE).
The food cheque had been intended to help recipients buy healthy, local, sustainable, and organic items.
However, the new bank transfer will no longer be a ‘food cheque’, and will instead be a simple inflation aid that recipients can technically spend on whatever they choose.
It will be transferred to eligible bank accounts at ‘la rentrée’ (early September), Ms Borne confirmed to FranceBleu.
The exact details of the aid are not set to be revealed until June 29, when the proposed law on purchasing power will be presented to the Cabinet. It will then have to be passed by Parliament.
The change from ‘food cheque’ to ‘inflation aid’ has come about because it is “difficult to implement” a cheque for a specific item, said Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire.
He told Le Grand Rendez-vous programme by Europe 1, Cnews and Les Echos: “We cannot make a single cheque that can only be spent in such or such a shop, or on such or such a product.”
Ms Borne said that the amount would be paid in as an “emergency, due to inflation…[which would] take into account the number of children in the family”.
However, she added that the government would later launch a process to consider how to improve access to “quality and organic [food] products” for everyone in France.