This is a bill particularly awaited by the French. It concerns purchasing power and will propose several measures to combat inflation. According to a document partially consulted by AFP, confirming information from the newspaper Les Echos, the government will propose in its future bill on purchasing power the increase, retroactive to July 1, of 4% of a string of social Security benefits. A measure that would cost “a little less than 7 billion (euros) at the end of 2022, and 8 billion by April 2023”, according to Les Echos.
This boost would concern, as already announced, retirement and disability pensions under the basic schemes, but also family benefits and social minima, including the active solidarity income (RSA), the allowance for disabled adults ( AAH) and the solidarity allowance for the elderly (Aspa), is it written in part of the bill.
These increases programmed in the bill “purchasing power”, which must be presented at the beginning of July in the Council of Ministers but whose adoption by Parliament promises to be an obstacle course, for lack of an absolute majority in the Assembly national for the presidential camp, are only one part of the measures concocted by the government to respond to the rise in prices. These are unveiled in dribs and drabs, such as the 4% increase in the activity bonus, the inflation check, the unfreezing of civil servants’ salaries, the tariff shield on energy or even the tripling and sustainability of the purchasing power premium.
According to the bill, the text also wants to open up the possibility of setting up a profit-sharing scheme by the employer even without a branch agreement or with staff representatives. The objective is to allow employees to benefit from the sharing of the value created in the company.
The bill on purchasing power also provides for a strengthening of the “transport bonus” paid by companies to their employees to cover part of the cost of their home-work travel. The ceiling for tax and social exemption from the employer’s responsibility for the fuel costs of its employees will thus be doubled, from 200 to 400 euros for the years 2022 and 2023 according to this document. Employees will also be able to combine this bonus with the payment by the employer of 50% of the price of public transport subscriptions.
In addition, the government has decided to considerably relax the conditions of eligibility for this “transport bonus”. Until now reserved for employees outside Ile-de-France, or in an urban area, or for those with schedules that prevent them from using public transport, it will be extended to “all employees incurring fuel or fuel costs for electric, plug-in hybrid or hydrogen vehicles for travel between their habitual residence and their place of work”, specifies the explanatory memorandum to the text.
In the same logic, the measure also plans to increase from 500 to 700 euros the exemption ceiling provided for in the event of the combination of the “transport bonus” with the “sustainable mobility package”, paid to employees who favor the modes of so-called soft mobility transport. “This measure aims to improve the purchasing power of employees using their vehicle for their home-work journeys, particularly affected by the increase in prices at the pump”, defends the government, while fuel prices have risen sharply these last months.
Another measure that the government intends to propose: capping the increase in rents at a maximum of 3.5%, for one year, to limit the impact of inflation on tenants, as AFP learned on Sunday June 26 from ministerial sources.
The “rent shield” device, as the government calls it, will be included in the amending finance bill, to be voted on by Parliament this summer. The government thus ensures that it has chosen “a balanced solution”, taking into account the constraints of owners and those of tenants, according to sources at the Ministries of the Economy and Ecological Transition.
At the same time, the government intends to upgrade personalized housing assistance (APL) in order to support tenants who need it the most. These APL should be revalued from July 1, also by 3.5%, which for the state budget would represent an additional expense of 168 million euros, according to the same sources. While the benchmark rent index could reach around 5.5% by the end of the year and be even higher during the first half of 2023, if the measure applied rents could at most increase by 3.5%, for one year.
The government claims to have always ruled out “a pure and simple freeze on rents”, Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne having already said that it was “a false good idea”. He points out that owners are also affected by inflation, which should reach an average of 5.5% in 2022, with increasing maintenance costs, or when they want to carry out energy renovation work in their homes. “Wanting to freeze rents is a false good idea, because it would seize up the entire housing supply,” we insist at Bercy.
In addition, as revealed by Le Monde, the executive is seeking to put pressure on the professional branches whose salary scale has not taken into account the evolution of the minimum wage. With this in mind, the administration will have the option of carrying out the “administrative merger” of branches which have an obsolete remuneration grid. As the daily reminds us, at present, this possibility already exists for a branch which negotiates very few agreements and on a limited number of subjects.