The French government will provide financial assistance to bakers suffering from swelling energy bills, the economy minister has said.
The government is going to send letters to bakers this week to inform them on the details of the help they will receive, Bruno Le Maire said on Tuesday.
“I call on all bakers who are struggling to pay their bills for November and December to visit the website ‘www.impots.gouv.fr’ to seek the financial assistance which they have a right to. It will be paid in January,” Le Maire explained.
He further said that bakers are entitled to a 20% discount on their energy bills.
The discount and financial aid together can make up to a 40% assistance on the bills, Le Maire added.
Social and tax charges will also be postponed for bakers who have liquidity issues, according to the economy minister.
Special teams will be tasked in every department of the country dedicated to bakers’ issues, he also said.
Le Maire regretted the problems faced by the bakers while the French bread “baguette” has been added to UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage list.
“We will be standing with every baker in France. But it can only work if the (energy) suppliers play the game,” he said, criticizing the energy suppliers for not helping bakers and small businesses enough.
Le Maire said he is asking “energy suppliers to do more, to do better and to do immediately.”
The Russia-Ukraine war, weather conditions and infrastructure issues have provoked energy insecurity in Europe, and in France in particular.
French consumers have been urged to take precautions to reduce electricity and gas consumption, while businesses faced skyrocketing energy bills, constantly threatened by the risk of idling activity.