The French government has announced a one-time payment of € 100 (£ 84; $ 116) for every citizen whose monthly net income is € 2,000 or less, to help counter rising fuel and energy prices.
The “inflation allowance” will automatically go to around 38 million French people, including those who do not drive a car or a motorbike.
The first payments will go to the employees of the companies at the end of December.
Government employees, students and retirees will get theirs in early 2022.
The € 100 payment will be tax free and Prime Minister Jean Castex said it will cost the government € 3.8 billion (£ 3.2 billion; $ 4.4 billion). That would be far less than the cost of cutting the fuel duty, he said.
Europe is facing widespread discontent following the surge in world energy prices, largely due to huge demand from businesses recovering from the long-standing Covid paralysis. The turbulence in the energy market has had a ripple effect, disrupting supply chains and causing some shortages of fuel and other consumables.
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President Emmanuel Macron is six months away from the presidential election and the surge in energy prices threatens to trigger a new wave of mass protests.
Protests by “gilets jaunes” (yellow vests) in 2018 went from protests over the fuel tariff to a much broader anti-government movement.
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Castex said a gas price cap for households will remain in place until the end of 2022, as global energy prices are expected to decline only gradually.
Among those who will receive the 100 euros there will be about 13 million pensioners and two thirds of students. It will also go to about half of all workers, as € 2,000 is the average monthly net income.
Drivers have been hit by the surge in fuel prices: diesel has risen to a record average of 1.56 euros per liter in France and unleaded petrol to 1.62 euros per liter, reports the newspaper Le Monde.
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