The forgotten jobless facing ruin under lockdown in France

By Cécile Hautefeuille

After this week announcing the prolongation of the national lockdown on public movement to contain the spread of the Covid-19 virus epidemic, the French government increased to 110 billion euros its financial aid package to cushion the effects of the shutdown. The aid, largely ploughed into helping businesses and paying the tab for their laid-off workforces, includes measures for low-income households and the extension of unemployment benefits for those about to lose them. “We provide responses to all human situations,” claimed labour minister Muriel Pénicaud. But, as Cécile Hautefeuille reports, a recent reform restricting access to the benefits system exposes many tens of thousands of the jobless to financial ruin.   

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The lockdown on public movement in France, aimed at containing the Covid-19 epidemic, was this week extended to May 11th, after which the government announced an increase in its emergency aid package in response to the crisis, more than doubling the 45 billion euros earmarked in March to 110 billion euros.