Sarkozy promises billions for French households

19th February 2009, Comments 0 comments

The latest proposals consisting of tax breaks and social benefits worth over EUR 2.5 billion are targeted to help families.

PARIS – French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Wednesday unveiled proposals for tax breaks and social benefits worth up to EUR 2.65 billion to help families cope with the economic crisis.

The package of social measures was unveiled at a meeting at the president's Elysee Palace with union leaders, two weeks after mass protests by more than one million strikers caused major disruption across France.

Sarkozy said he supported a union proposal for a three-billion-euro fund for job re-training, half of which would be financed by the state.

He was also in favour of increasing benefits for workers who are temporarily laid off and presented various options for tax breaks for consideration by the unions.

Other measures included a one-off allowance of EUR 400 to 500 for the unemployed and expanding a voucher scheme to pay for child care, domestic help and home studies.

"The total cost of my proposals to the state would be between EUR 1.65 and 2.65 billion," Sarkozy said.

Facing a drop in his poll ratings, Sarkozy is hoping a deal at the "social summit" could help the government avert more mass demonstrations during a second day of nationwide strikes set for 19 March.

The right-wing government has been battling to dispel criticism that bankers and carmakers are getting multi-billion-euro bailouts while ordinary families struggle.

[AFP / Expatica]

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