French communes offer help for low-income residents to go on holiday

The means-tested scheme is thought to be the first of its kind and aims to help 10,000 people

The scheme is means-tested and aimed at people who would otherwise not be able to afford to go on holiday

Local authorities in France are set to pay for 10,000 low-income residents to head off on holiday, in the first scheme of its kind nationwide.

Regional authorities in Hauts-de-France launched the scheme, called ‘10 000 départs, ne rêvez plus… Partez (10,000 departures, don’t dream any longer…go)’, on June 29.

Of 26 communes involved in the scheme, 24 are in the area of Lens-Liévin (Pas-de-Calais).

The scheme helped the first eligible recipients of the RSA income benefit (Revenu de solidarité active, Active solidarity income), pensioners, and low-income workers head off on a short break at the weekend.

Read also: Benefits in France: revenu de solidarité active (RSA) for work seekers

The scheme, which is means-tested, is aimed at people who otherwise would not have been able to afford to go away.

The initiative will cost the region €1.2million, but it is aiming to help 10,000 eligible people.

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‘Methodological and psychological obstacles’

The mairies delivering the scheme are offering more than money; they are also set to provide help for participants to sort out the paperwork required for a few days away, so that people who may otherwise struggle to organise their benefits and take some days off can do so.

The idea is to “remove the methodological and psychological obstacles” that prevent people from going on holiday, the authorities said, as well as providing the much-needed financial support.