Fuel, energy cheques, cold calls: 14 changes for residents in April

From the 18 cent per litre fuel refund to a ban on meat growth antibiotics, we look at some of the changes coming in from April 1

A number of changes to household benefits and costs are coming in France from April 1
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1. Refund of up to 18 centimes per litre of fuel

The government has pledged that it will offer a refund of up to 18 centimes per litre on the price of fuel in a bid to help consumers with soaring costs. The new prices will be shown on displays in petrol stations, and your receipt should confirm that you have had the new price applied.

The price will apply to all fuel – including SP95, SP98, and diesel – except E85, which already has a financial benefit. The discount has been raised to 15-18 centimes from the 15 originally agreed.

However, a report from RMC and BMFTV has suggested that not all petrol stations will be ready to make the switch from day one, mainly because the price change will need to come from suppliers, and not the supermarkets or petrol stations themselves.

Service station tanks must be empty of the old fuel at the old price, before they can be filled with more fuel at the lower price. This means that some could still be offering the higher price come April 1. Most stations are expecting to offer the new price from then, however.

Read more: Not all petrol stations in France will offer discount on April 1

2. Measures against phone harassment

From April 1, callers must get consent from the person called before they can begin presenting their offers. If the customer says no, the caller must hang up. The aim is to enable people in France to say no to unsolicited calls and offers, without having to listen to a long sales pitch before saying no.

It comes after a campaign by consumer group UFC-Que Choisir, which published a report on the issue last year, alongside recommendations for how to fight telephone harassment. Last month, the government published its own report on plans to combat the problem.

3. Ban on meat growth antibiotics

From April 22, it will no longer be possible to import or sell meat in France that has been treated with antibiotics to promote growth. This comes after a decree to that effect from February 21, 2021.

4. 2022 energy cheque sent

More than six million households will receive their energy vouchers for 2022 in April. This aid is intended for low-income households that spend more than 10% of their annual budget on paying their electricity, gas or fuel oil bills.

Read more:Am I eligible for France’s chèque énergie 2022?

5. Rent controls

In areas where rents are controlled, property professionals must state their bands for rent increases. Estate agents will have to include the base rent of properties, as well as the increased rent, and any extra rent (due to location or comfort) if the maximum for the area has already been reached.

Areas where rents are controlled include Paris (and most of its surroundings), Lille, Lyon. Bordeaux and Montpellier are expected to join this list in 2022.

6. Anti-scam protection

Companies selling over the phone must receive a written, signed agreement from customers as well as a verbal agreement, with a minimum of 24 hours between signing and transaction, in a bid to boost protection against telephone scammers. Companies will also be required to keep recordings of sales calls for two years.

Essentially, this new measure should help people to avoid falling victim to fraud, as if the payment amount or deal seems suspicious they can simply not sign the written agreement.

Benefits recalculated

April will also bring a host of changes to benefit and financial aid amounts.

7. Working benefits

La prime d'activité, a non-means tested payment given monthly to low-earning workers, will increase from the 2021 amount of €553.71, to €563.68 in 2022 for a single person without children. A couple without children will receive €845.52.

Read more:France’s income support benefit set to rise: who can claim it?

8. RSA benefits

The revenu de solidarité active (RSA) is increasing by 1.8% this year compared to 2021. It will increase from €565.34 to €575.52.

Read more:RSA: What is France’s back-to-work social benefit and who is eligible?

9. Family benefits

Allocations familiales (for families with more than two children and under 20 years of age) are also going up by 1.8%. From April 1 the rate will increase from €131.95 in 2021 to €134.46 for couples with at least two dependent children.

10. Back to school aid

Around 5.6 million children benefit from this each year. It is intended to help families cover the cost of purchases relating to school.

For the year 2022-2023, the amounts are:

  • Age 6-10: €376.98
  • Age 11-14: €397.78
  • Age 15-18: €411.56

11. Disabled adult aid

The maximum amount will rise to €919.86 from €903.60 in 2021.

12. Disabled child education aid

This is a monthly sum paid to parents to contribute to the cost of their disabled child’s education and care. It will increase to €135.13 per month from April 1.

13. Birth benefit

A means-tested bonus to help parents meet the costs of a new baby’s arrival. It will rise from €948.27 in 2021 to €965.34 from April 1. It is usually paid in the seventh month of pregnancy.

14. Adoption benefit

A payment to help adoptive parents support the arrival of a new adopted child. In 2021, this was €1,896.52; it now stands at €1,930.68. The amount changes depending on the number of children you have.

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