French National Assembly approves bill to boost purchasing power

In a first test of President Emmanuel Macron’s ability to reach compromises across party lines after losing the absolute majority in recent elections, the bill next goes to the Senate, the upper house dominated by the conservative Les Republicains. The draft law also includes a pay rise for public sector workers, food checks and a mechanism for companies to make higher tax-free bonus payments to employees. The expected budget cost is about 20 billion euros ($20.37 billion). The so-called “emergency purchasing power bill” passed with 341 MPs in favour, 116 against and 21 abstentions in a vote that took place shortly before 6:00 am (0400 GMT).

Helping the French cope with a higher cost of living, mainly driven by soaring energy prices after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, was one of Macron’s key promises after his first term saw street protests that drew fame as the yellow-vest movement.Last month, France saw inflation of 6.5% on the year, in line with other euro zone countries.The legislation includes a range of measures designed to help consumers, such as extending fuel tax cuts, raising pensions and benefits, and capping rent increases.