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French PM Rules Out Abolishing Fuel Tax Hike Despite Upcoming Protests

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PARIS (Sputnik) - The French government does not intend to reverse its decision to raise the tax on diesel and carbon despite planned protests, French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said on Wednesday.

"We will not abolish the fuel tax. We made an obligation during the presidential campaign. I would like to note, by the way, that it was President [Emmanuel Macron's] campaign promise, as well as of other [presidential] candidates, who today seem to have forgotten about [their pledges], to organize a system, in which we will be gradually raising taxes on oil, coal and pollution charges," Philippe told France's RTL radio station, adding that it was one of the measures aimed at addressing air pollution and global warming.

In the meantime, Philippe indicated that the French public's calls for increased state support amid tax hikes had been heard and announced the steps the government would take toward alleviating the population's tax burden.

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These measures, in particular, include granting subsidies to low-income families who decide to change their cars for ones with lower fuel consumption and supporting the French commuters who travel 60-70 kilometres (37-43 miles) each day.

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The statement was made ahead of mass protests against rising fuel prices, which will be reportedly held in about 60 cities across France on Saturday.

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In late 2017, the French government approved the decision to raise the direct tax on diesel fuel, which is the most popular type of fuel in the country. Since then diesel prices in France have grown up over 40 per cent.

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