France to postpone contested new truck tax 'by six months'

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Unpopular eco-tax will be implemented next July after local and European elections, says newspaper, as protests against green measure continue.

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The French government plans to defer by six months the introduction of a new levy on heavy trucks at the heart of a gradually spreading anti-tax revolt, Le Monde newspaper reported on Saturday, reports Reuters.

President Francois Hollande's government is struggling to rein in the public deficit, but it has had to suspend the January 1 application of the tax, without bowing to protesters' demands for it to be scrapped altogether.

Voicing concerns about the government's ability to cut the deficit in the face of violent protests, Standard & Poor's cut France's credit rating on Friday to AA from AA+.

Le Monde reported that the government intended to wait to apply the tax, which is supposed to bring in more than one billion euros (£830.2 million) per year, until July after municipal and EU elections in March and May, in which Hollande's Socialists risk big losses.

An official with Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault's office would not confirm the report, but said the tax had not been entirely scrapped.

Read more of this report from Reuters.

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