Macron has already axed the taxe d’habitation (householders’ tax) for most households, axing the TV licence fee as well would mean the end of the autumn tax bill entirely for many, although some communes have an additional charge for rubbish collection.
“We will remove the taxes that remain, the fee is part of it,” Macron said during his first candidate rally, a low-key town hall event with 200 residents of Poissy in the outer suburbs of Paris.
He said abolishing the licence fee – currently €138 a year – is consistent with the abolition of the taxe d’habitation, which has already been scrapped for 80 percent of householders and will eventually be scrapped for all, with the exception of second homes.
The fee is used to finance the TV and radio channels of the public sector, such as France Télévisions, Radio France, Arte – and France Médias Monde, which includes channels such as France 24, and RFI.
Macron presented the measure in the middle of a series of proposals to support purchasing power, such as tripling the “Macron bonus”, without charges or taxes.
This tax-free bonus that he introduced in 2020, “we will triple it”, because “this is purchasing power,” he said.
He did not go into detail about how public service broadcasting would be financed in future. But the pledge is in line with rival candidates in the 2022 election race.
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Valérie Pécresse, Marine Le Pen and Éric Zemmour have already announced their intention to abolish the TV licence – but while some have said they intend privatise some or all of France’s public service broadcasters, this does not seem to be in Macron’s plans.
“Privatising public broadcasting is in no way the project that is ours, the project of candidate Emmanuel Macron,” LREM MP Aurore Bergé told France Info after Macron’s town hall event had ended.
“The French were paying it at the same time they paid their housing tax. From the moment you abolish the housing tax, it was necessary in any case to find another mechanism, another lever of financing of public broadcasting,” Bergé said.
“The question is to manage to secure a perennial financing, probably on the State budget.
“There are those who privatise and those who, like us, on the contrary, perpetuate it.”