Housing is the major crisis

I fear those who are protesting against the pensions changes may be missing the point.

The elephant in the room in France is the huge rise in house prices in big towns and cities, along with the lack of afford-able housing.

Compared with what the average person or couple will have to shell out in mortgage repayments over their lifetime, the difference in pension proposals is small fry.

The dilemma facing French people and residents is whether to live in an expensive place, where you can get a job, or somewhere cheaper and risk not getting a job – as well as going without hospitals, schools, public transport, a good internet connection and doctors.

Moreover, the expensive place prices keep rising, whereas the cheaper places continue to stagnate, along with their economies.

With interest rates low, any future rise is likely to harm the finances of those who have just stepped on the property ladder.

A great gulf exists between the prosperous, though expensive, towns, and the stagnant, though cheap, country, and this gap keeps widening.

Until this problem is fixed, resolving the pensions question won’t make much difference.

James CHATER, Avallon, Yonne


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