Jospin bins energy and diesel tax plans

Key Green demands off the agenda as French government faces elections, economic uncertainty

France's newly-appointed Green environment minister Yves Cochet was left with the unenviable task yesterday of confirming that the government will not proceed with two key environmental taxation proposals in its forthcoming draft 2002 budget. Mr Cochet said that prime minister Lionel Jospin had decided against retabling a proposal for an industrial energy tax or reactivating the country's diesel tax escalator.

The move is being seen as evidence that Mr Jospin is loath to alienate voters by increasing taxes in the run-up to elections next year and wants to avoid raising citizens' fears about the cost of living at a time when economic growth appears to be in sharp decline.

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