What changes about life in France from February 2019

What changes about life in France from February 2019
Photo: AFP
As ever, the new month signals a new raft of small but perhaps important changes in France. Here's what you need to know.

Gas prices 

Gas prices are set to drop once again from February 1st. 
Those who use gas for cooking will see a drop of 0.3 percent, households that use gas for cooking and hot water will see a price drop of 0.5 percent and those who use it for heating as well will see a drop of 0.8 percent. 
After an average drop of 1.9 percent on January 1st gas prices will fall by 0.73 percent in February. 
Gas prices are expected to remain stable in March but should go down again in April (by 1.91 percent), May ( by 0.6 percent) and June ( by 0.45 percent).
These regulated tariffs apply to nearly 4.5 million French households that buy their gas through Engie.
These price drops come after a period of steep increases at the end of 2018 (+ 5.8 percent in November, + 3.25 percent in October, + 0.9 percent in September).
Photo: AFP
Prime d’activité
The prime d’activité or top-up benefit for those who are working for low salaries will expand to include five million households from February 1st. 
This was one of the key measures announced by French President Emmanuel Macron in response the demands of the yellow vest protesters. 
The move means that 1.2 million more households will receive the non-taxable benefit and in addition it will go up by €90 for all of those entitled to it. 
Loi Alimentation (food law)
From February 1st in France certain big brand food products will rocket in price due to the introduction of a new Loi Alimentation (food law). 
Prices on a whopping 800 food products are set to shoot up, including items such as President Camembert, which is set to go up by 8.6 percent to €1.51, everyone's favourite chocolate spread Nutella, which will see a price hike of 8.4 percent meaning a jar will cost €4.39, and Ricard Pastis, which will go up by 9.9 percent to €20.61. 
The move is an attempt on the part of the government to create a better selling environment for smaller producers. 
With the new law in place big brands will be forced to sell the products in question with at least a ten percent margin. 
That means that if a product was bought by the supermarket for €1 it would have to be sold for at least €1.10 in a bid to make it impossible to sell food at a loss to small producers and farmers. 
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Photo: AFP
Pensions will increase by only 0.3 percent in February — well below the inflation forecast by the government for this year (+ 1.3 percent).
Motorway toll fees
Motorway companies are raising toll fees on February 1st by an average of 1.8 percent.
However to offset this increase, a new subscription service will be offered to frequent drivers. 
All motorists who make at least ten round trips a month on the same route will benefit from a 30 percent discount at toll booths (péages) from the very first journey.
Drivers will need to subscribe for the deal which they will be able to do from February 1st, with the threshold low enough to be accessible to those who work part time. 
Moving vans 
From February 1st, moving vans in Paris have to pay to park on the city's streets and customers will see the amount added to their bill. 
It was previously possible for moving vans to park for several hours in the streets of the French capital as long as permission had been given by the town hall. 

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