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LIVING IN FRANCE

What changes about life in France in August 2019

At the beginning of each new month in France there are many changes. Here is an overview of what is coming into effect this August, including some important information for car and home owners.

What changes about life in France in August 2019
Photo: AFP

 

Changing your car to a greener vehicle

 

France's prime a la conversion or prime a la casse – is basically a bonus or financial aid given to low-earning car owners who ditch their older vehicles to buy a newer car with a less polluting engine – basically one with a Crit'Air sticker numbering 1.

 

But the rules are changing as of August 1st 2019 because the policy has been a victim of its success and it's costing the state too much – €900 as opposed to €600 million initially budgeted.

 

In order for individuals to receive the financial aid, they need to conform to the new conditions taking action on August 1st, 2019 which include: 

 

  • Only the cleanest of new vehicles will qualify in other words ones that emit less than 117g/km of CO2 emissions rather than 122g/km, which was the previous level. Basically car owners won't qualify for the aid if they intend to buy any second-hand diesel vehicle.
  • From August onwards a person's revenu fiscal de reference will be used to determine whether they qualify for the prime a la conversion. This is an amount calculated by the a tax authority that you can find in your estimated tax bill (avis d'imposition). The threshold set will be €13,489 so anyone with a revenue fiscal above this amount won't qualify for the prime. In other words the bonus will only be applicable to the country's lower earning households.
  • The bonus will no longer be given out to individuals buying less polluting cars that cost over €60,000.
  • And importantly the amount of aid people can receive will be reduced. This all depends on what kind of car you are buying and what your revenues are but, in short, the level of prime will be less advantageous after August 1st. (More information here)

 

Grants for parents

 

The allocation rentrée scolaire is a form of educational financial grant offered to certain families with children ages 6 to 18, in order to help them with their educational expenses and is paid every summer.

 

It's essentially money to help the more hard-up families cope with the expenses of having to buy stationary, bags, and books for the rentrée – return to school in September, which can be quite high.

 

The amount of money given depends on the parents' financial situation, tax revenues, the child's age and which educational system they are enrolled in. 

 

This year the grants will be paid out on August 20th for most households.

 

La rentrée: These are the 29 items your child will need for school in France

 

AFP

 

Gas prices 

 

The Energy regulatory commission announced that the prices of Gas are set to drop by 0.5 percent from Thursday, August 1st. 

 

This percentage drop comes after a 6.8 percent drop during the month of July. 

 

Water restrictions 

 

In order to cope with insufficient water resources, the French government will be putting tight restrictions on  water usage in many departments.

 

Some 77 departments currently have water restrictions in place. What those restrictions entail is normally decided on at a local level. You can find out more HERE.

 

 

READ ALSO: Drought alerts in France – What you can do to save water

 

Fuel Prices are dropping

 

Good news for holidaymakers or at least those who are heading on holiday with their cars.

 

Since mid July the price of fuel has been falling and is set to continue that way in August Diesel is around 0.6 centimes cheaper per litre and unleaded SP96 petrol has dropped by around 1.26 centimes.

 

Electricity 

 

While gas prices falling it's the opposite for electricity, which is on the rise.

 

The Energy Regulation Commission says there will be a 1.23% rise in electricity prices in August which comes are a rise in June of 5.9 percent. The price rise applies to EDF customers, which is abut 80 percent of households.

 

Taxes 

 

From mid-August, you will be able to modify errors or add in any important details to your tax assessment (avis d'imposition) such as a marriage declaration or a divorce, that could affect your eventual bill.

 

These changes could be done either online on the consumer's personal space, or through resending the tax application. Make sure you include a letter declaring the update on your application.`

 

CLICK HERE for more info

 

Summer sales end

 

If you want to get your hands on a bargain you will need to be quick – for most of France the summer sale period ends on Tuesday, August 6th. After that shops will again be forbidden to offer widespread discounts until January.

 

In most of the country the sales end on August 6th, but in the Pyrénées-Orientales and Alpes-Maritime départements it is August 13th while people in Corsica have until August 20th to snap up a bargain.

 

 

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For members

LIVING IN FRANCE

What changes in France in July 2022

Summer's here and the time is right for national celebrations, traffic jams, strikes, Paris beaches, and ... changing the rules for new boilers.

What changes in France in July 2022

Summer holidays

The holiday season in France officially begins on Thursday, July 7th, as this is the date when school’s out for the summer. The weekend immediately after the end of the school year is expected to be a busy one on the roads and the railways as families start heading off on vacation.

READ ALSO 8 things to know about driving in France this summer

Strikes

But it wouldn’t really be summer in France without a few strikes – airport employees at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports will walk out on July 1st, while SNCF rail staff will strike on July 6th. Meanwhile Ryanair employees at Paris, Marseille and Toulouse airports will strike on yet-to-be-confirmed dates in July.

READ ALSO How strikes and staff shortages will affect summer in France

Parliamentary fireworks?

Prime minister Elisabeth Borne will present the government’s new programme in parliament on July 5th – this is expected to be a tricky day for the Macron government, not only does it not have the parliamentary majority that it needs to pass legislation like the new package of financial aid to help householders deal with the cost-of-living crisis, but opposition parties have indicated that they will table a motion of no confidence against Borne.

Parliament usually breaks for the summer at the end of July, but a special extended session to allow legislation to be passed means that MPs won’t get to go on holiday until at least August 9th. 

Fête nationale

July 14th is a public holiday in France, commemorating the storming of the Bastille which was the symbolic start of the French Revolution. As usual, towns and cities will host parades and fireworks – with the biggest military parade taking place on the Champs-Elysées in Paris – and many stores will remain closed.

As the national holiday falls on a Thursday this year, many French workers will take the opportunity to faire le pont.

Festival season really kicks in

You know summer’s here when France gets festival fever, with events in towns and cities across the country. You can find our pick of the summer celebrations here.

Paris Plages

The capital’s popular urban beaches return on July 9th on the banks of the Seine and beside the Bassin de la Villette in northern Paris, bringing taste of the seaside to the capital with swimming spots, desk chairs, beach games and entertainment.  

Summer sales end 

Summer sales across most of the country end on July 19th – unless you live in Alpes-Maritimes, when they run from July 6th to August 2nd, or the island of Corsica (July 13th to August 9th).

Tour de France

The Tour de France cycle race sets off on July 1st from Copenhagen and finishes up on the Champs-Elysée in Paris on July 24th.

New boilers

From July 1st, 2022, new equipment installed for heating or hot water in residential or professional buildings, must comply with a greenhouse gas emissions ceiling of 300 gCO2eq/KWh PCI. 

That’s a technical way of saying oil or coal-fired boilers can no longer be installed. Nor can any other type of boiler that exceeds the ceiling.

As per a decree published in the Journal Officiel in January, existing appliances can continue to be used, maintained and repaired, but financial aid of up to €11,000 is planned to encourage their replacement. 

Bike helmets

New standards for motorbike helmets come into effect from July 1st. Riders do not need to change their current helmets, but the “ECE 22.05” standard can no longer be issued – and all helmets sold must adhere to a new, more stringent “ECE 22.06” standards from July 2024

New cars

From July 6th new car models must be equipped with a black box that record driving parameters such as speed, acceleration or braking phases, wearing (or not) of a seat belt, indicator use, the force of the collision or engine speed, in case of accidents.

New cars II

From July 1st, the ecological bonus for anyone who buys an electric vehicle drops by €1,000, while rechargeable hybrids will be excluded from the aid system, “which will be reserved for electric vehicles whose CO2 emission rate is less than or equal to 20g/km”.

What’s in a name?

Historically, the French have been quite restrictive on the use of family names – remember the concern over the use of birth names on Covid vaccine documents? – but it becomes easier for an adult to choose to bear the name of his mother, his father, or both by a simple declaration to the civil status. All you have to do is declare your choice by form at the town hall of your home or place of birth.

Eco loans

In concert with the new boiler rules, a zero-interest loan of up to €30,000 to finance energy-saving renovations can be combined with MaPrimeRénov’, a subsidy for financing the same work, under certain conditions, from July 1st.

Rent rules

Non-professional private landlords advertising properties for rent must, from July 1st, include specific information about the property on the ad, including the size of the property in square metres, the area of town in which the property is in, the monthly rent and any supplements, whether the property is in a rent-control area, and the security deposit required. Further information, including the full list of requirements for any ad, is available here.

Perfume ban

More perfumes are to be added to a banned list for products used by children, such as soap-making kits, cosmetic sets, shampoos, or sweet-making games, or toys that have an aroma.

Atranol, chloroatranol (extracts of oak moss containing tannins), and methyl carbonate heptin, which smells like violets, will be banned from July 5th, because of their possible allergenic effects.

Furthermore, 71 new allergenic fragrances – including camphor, menthol, vanilin, eucalyptus spp. leaf oil, rose flower oil, lavendula officinalis, turpentine – will be added to the list of ingredients that must be clearly indicated on a toy or on an attached label.

Ticket resto limits

The increased ticket resto limit ended on June 30th, so from July 1st employees who receive the restaurant vouchers will once again be limited to spending €19 per day in restaurants, cafés and bars. The limit was increased to €38 during the pandemic, when workers were working from home.

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