In the name of solidarity, France is continuing to hand out its traditional Christmas bonus to those most in need, helping poor families put food on the table and buy gifts for their children.
The bonus, which adds up to about €152 for one person households and €320 for couples with two children, is primarily earmarked for French people on unemployment benefits and who don’t have any other assets.
Although the bonus was confirmed on Thursday the government has declined to raise the amount given to households.
“This is an act of solidarity,” Social Minister Marisol Touraine told French daily Le Parisien.
This year, as French unemployment level has hit an all-time high with 3.46 million out-of-work, this means that a total of 1.83 million out of France’s 66 million inhabitants will be eligible for the bonus, costing the government an estimated €400 million.
According to the newspaper, the financial crisis France is currently going through, made worse by a soaring deficit, meant that this year’s bonus was no way near guaranteed.
Touraine, however, said the government would never turn its back on the country’s poor.
“The fight against poverty is one of our priorities. Maintaining this bonus is a choice of solidarity and humanity,” she said.
“During holiday season the values of such solidarity are even more meaningful.”
The bonus is handed out about a week before Christmas.