Flagship measure of the amending finance bill and campaign promise of several presidential candidates, the abolition of the audiovisual license fee was adopted at first reading on Saturday July 23 in the National Assembly. The deputies validated it by 170 votes against 57. Presented as part of the measures to support purchasing power, the end of the fee will represent a saving of 138 € for metropolitan households, 88 € for the others. Created in 1933, and reformed several times, the tax which finances public radio and television to the tune of 3 billion euros could be replaced by a levy on VAT receipts.
During this often turbulent session, the Minister in charge of Public Accounts Gabriel Attal expressed his attachment to “strong public broadcasting”while qualifying the current fee “obsolete tool”. “We assume to remove taxes that weigh on the French”he continued.
Concerns on the left
The main objections came from the ranks of the leftist alliance Nupes, where many speakers notably highlighted the risks for the independence of the public service. For Inaki Echeniz (PS), this deletion is a ” bad idea “while Alexis Corbière (LFI) underlined that guaranteeing “the independence of public broadcasting is a condition of democracy”.
The RN, for its part, called for going further than the abolition of the fee, by privatizing public broadcasting. “A great democracy like ours no longer needs a public service”, said Caroline Parmentier. Culture Minister Rima Abdul Malak argued that “it is not the royalty that guarantees independence” but Arcom (ex-CSA), the body that appoints the directors of public broadcasting companies.
Other measures adopted on Friday
The abolition of the fee comes after the adoption of other measures on Friday July 22 by the deputies, still within the framework of the PLFR:
– Increase in the overtime tax exemption ceiling for 2022, which thus goes from €5,000 to €7,500.
– Possibility for companies to buy back from employees the RTT days they have given up.
– Doubling of the tax-free aid that companies can pay to employees to cover their fuel costs, by raising the ceiling from €200 to €400.
These measures are in addition to those voted within the framework of the examination of another text, the law “purchasing power” adopted Friday morning by the National Assembly.