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France unveils 500 million euros in aid to motorists

FILE PHOTO: French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe is seen after laying a wreath of flowers next to a commemorative plaque near the bar “La Bonne Biere” in Paris, France November 13, 2018, during a ceremony held for the victims of the Paris attacks of November 2015. Yoan Valat/Pool via REUTERS

PARIS (Reuters) – French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe on Wednesday announced a 500 million euros ($564 million) plan to help motorists with the lowest incomes, in a bid to defuse a wave of nationwide protests against a tax increase on fuels.

The government will double the current 2,000 euro bonus granted to motorists on low incomes who change old-model cars seen as contributing to pollution for more recent and cleaner ones, Philippe told RTL radio on Wednesday.

The government will also increase other aids granted to motorists, as well as an existing special aid for low income families who use diesel fuel to heat their homes.

Philippe said the new plans would overall represent an extra 500 million euro cost for the government.

The new measures come after nationwide protests against tax increases on petrol have spread in recent weeks. Several associations and groups created on social networks have scheduled demonstrations and road blockades for Nov 17.

Reporting by Inti Landauro and Jean-Baptiste Vey; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta

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