Christmas payout to lowest earners

Prime de noël is renewed for another year, with 1.8 million people eligible

ALMOST two million of France's least well-off people will receive a "Christmas bonus" to help them meet the cost of the festive season.

The government has announced that the prime de noël initiative will be renewed for another year, paid out by local Caisses d'Allocations Familiales.

It is automatically paid in the week before Christmas to low-earners who already receive some form of income support, whether RSA (revenu de solidarité active), the allocation de solidarité spécifique, allocation équivalent retraite or the allocation transitoire de solidarité.

The amounts are the same as last year, ranging from €152 for a single person to €320 for a couple with two children.

The prime de noël was introduced by Lionel Jospin's government in 1998. Last year, 1.83 million people were eligible - at a cost to the public purse of €400 million.