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Yellow vest, fuel price and health pass protests planned in France on Saturday

Dozens of protests against rising energy prices and the health passport are planned in towns and cities across France this weekend. 

A protester wearing a hi-visibility vest holds up a sign reading 'Non au pass sanitaire' during a protest in France
Yellow vests have called for more protests this Saturday. Photo by Thomas Samson / AFP

The ‘yellow vests’ are leading the protests against increasing fuel prices, the cause that started the protests three years ago. A call has gone out for a ‘return to the roundabouts’, the movement’s favoured protest site when their demonstrations began in late 2018.

The first new ‘yellow vests’ protests last week were limited in scope, police said, and authorities do not expect a large increase in the scale of demonstrations this week – despite mounting anger on popular activists’ social media.

The French government on Thursday sought to defuse growing anger about record fuel prices, announcing a price cap on household gas until the end of 2022 and a €100 grant for people struggling with petrol price rises.

READ ALSO When and where to get the cheapest fuel in France

Meanwhile, protests against the health pass are continuing for a 15th successive week, despite falling numbers. From a high of around 250,000 marchers in the summer, 40,000 protested the pass last weekend, according to official figures, compared to 45,000 the weekend before.

The number of protests is also dwindling, police have said that about 60 events are planned across France on Saturday, compared to about 200 at the height of the marches against the pass sanitaire this summer.

Rallies are planned in Paris from 2pm, as well as cities such as Marseille, Lille, Lannion and Amiens. In Strasbourg a ‘Marche blanche et silencieuse’ is planned in support of emergency service workers who lost their jobs for refusing compulsory vaccination. 

READ ALSO French MPs agree extension of health pass until July 2022

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PROPERTY

Explained: France’s new property renovation grant

Ma Prime Logement Décent, which came into effect on January 1st, offers financial assistance to property owners for major home improvements.

Explained: France’s new property renovation grant

The French government has several financial assistance schemes that are open to property owners to help finance renovation projects, especially those aimed at making homes more energy efficient.

GUIDE: French property grants you might be eligible for

Now a new one has been launched, aimed at property that is in a dilapidated and run-down state. The idea is both the ease the housing shortage that is a problem in several French cities and ensure that people are living in decent conditions. 

Launched on January 1, 2024, Ma Prime Logement Décent (My Decent Housing Bonus) has enabled property owners to obtain financial assistance for renovation work on run-down housing. 

Homeowners on a modest income can apply for the Ma Prime Logement Décent financial aid, which is – in certain cases – up to 80 percent of the total spent, up to a maximum of €70,000.

The scheme is open to people who own their own home and people who own a property that they rent out, but is not available to second home owners. You do not need to be a French national to apply, but you must be resident in France, have a French tax number and complete the annual French income tax declaration.

The aid can only be used for work to remedy a proven health or safety risk at a property, such as:

  • unsanitary conditions;
  • a risk of lead exposure;
  • significant deterioration to a property’s fabric.

Work may include :

  • renovating an electrical or gas network;
  • replacing a roof;
  • reinforcing the foundations.

Who’s eligible?

Owner-occupiers on ‘modest’ or ‘very modest’ incomes whose main residence requires renovation can apply for the Ma Prime Logement Décent aid, if:

  • the property was built more than 15 years ago;
  • the work is carried out by qualified professionals (except very particular cases);
  • your home has been assessed by a qualified assessor.

After work has been completed, it must achieve a minimum energy efficiency rating of E.

READ ALSO What do energy ratings mean for French property owners?

Owners renting out their property can apply for this aid in the following circumstances.

  • The unfurnished property must be rented to a low-income tenant, who cannot be a family member, or a member of the landlord’s household for tax purposes;
  • The property has a capped rent – ceilings are defined annually by commune or arrondissement;
  • It has at least a level D energy efficiency rating after the work has been carried out.

READ ALSO GUIDE: French property grants you might be eligible for

How much is the help worth?

When you use Ma Prime Logement Décent as an owner-occupier, you’ll be reimbursed for :

  • 80 percent of the cost of the work if you’re part of a ‘very low income’ household (rising to 90 percent if the work also means that your home is no longer a so-called heat sieve);
  • 60 percent of the cost of the work if you are part of a ‘low-income’ household ( rising to 70 percent if the work also prevents the home from becoming a so-called heat sieve).

In both cases, the total cost of the work must not exceed €70,000.

Owners renting out their property can benefit from 35 percent of the cost of your renovation work.

An online simulator can help property owners check whether the work qualifies for the Ma Prime Logement Décent scheme.

You use terms like ‘very low income’ and ‘low income’. What does that mean?

Your revenus fiscaux de référence (RFR) are important. You’ll see the figure on your annual tax assessment – it’s basically an amount calculated by the tax administration from the total income of a tax household intended to reflect the financial resources of that household.

It helps decide what social assistance you may be entitled to.

READ ALSO MaPrimeRenov: How France’s property renovation grants will change in 2024

In the greater Paris Île-de-France region, a single person living on their own is considered to be ‘very low income’ if their RFR is €23,541 or less (€17,009 for the rest of the country), and low income if it’s €28,657 or less (€21,805 outside Île-de-France).

The scale rises to €55,427 for a very low income household of five in Île-de-France (€40,002 elsewhere); and €67,473 for a low income household of five (€51,281 elsewhere).

Okay, I think I qualify. How do I apply?

The first thing to do is create an personal account on the Agence nationale de l’habitat website

You will be directed to an information point, where you can choose an adviser for your renovation project, who will help put together your application.

Once the application has been approved and the work completed, funds will be released to cover the cost.

READ ALSO French home renovations: What grants are available to the elderly and the disabled?

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