Sunday, 18 October 2009

France is the best place to live in Europe

France is the best place to live in Europe, according to a review of 17 quality of life factors carried out by a leading UK based consumer website.
The study examined a range of variables, such as net income after taxes, the cost of essential goods such as fuel, food and energy, along with lifestyle factors such as hours of sunshine, holiday entitlement, working hours and life expectancy, to provide a picture of the quality of life experienced in each country. The index was produced by the website http://www.uswitch.com/ a comparison site for consumer services and products. They publish an annual quality of life index across the main countries of Europe.
According to their study, France enjoys one of the lowest retirement ages, has the longest life expectancy in Europe and spends the most on healthcare. It also has one of the highest levels of spending on education. French workers also benefit from 34 days holiday a year – compared with only 28 days in the UK – and it comes only behind Spain and Italy for hours of sunshine. France has an average of 1,967 hours of sunshine per year, compared with 1,476 hours in the UK. Our base, in the Poitou Charentes is the 2nd sunniest area of France, after the Med coast, with around 2,250 hours of sunshine on average.
The study shows that money does not buy everything, for the UK has the highest net household income in Europe. At £35,730 it is £10,325 higher than the European average. However, people living in the UK also have to contend with a high cost of living - the average household energy bill alone adds up to an eye watering £1,239 a year while they also pay £1,175 a year in council tax. Even travel is expensive with a 30 mile journey into London on a train setting commuters back over £3,000 a year.
Drawing on official figures from the EU, the study shows that the same basket of goods that costs £134.48 in the UK costs £124 on average in Europe and only £118.76 in France, which enjoys the lowest food prices amongst those countries in the study. While they earn less, the French also have some of the lowest alcohol, electricity and gas prices. France is the biggest investor in health, spending 11% of GDP on health, closely followed by Denmark and Germany.
Peter Elias (Agent Commercial), La Moinerie, 79500 Paizay le Tort, Deux-Sèvres

Sunday, 11 October 2009

New Carbon tax

A carbon tax is to be introduced in France, accompanied by a compensatory reduction in income tax. The tax (Contribution Climat-Energie), is planned to come into operation on 1st January 2010, will be paid by households & companies who consume oil, gas or coal. (The tax will not be applied on electricity as less than 10% of electricity generation is coal powered). The rate of tax has been set at 17 € per ton of CO² emitted, a rate half of that proposed by the committee set up by President Sarkozy to provide recommendations on the introduction of the tax. For example, this will mean an increase of approximately 4.5 cents in the price of a litre of diesel and 4 cents on a litre of petrol. In practice the impact will vary significantly between households, with some households likely to be paying 200 € a year or more in tax. The French government have made it clear that the rate has been set lower than they would have desired in order not to impact adversely on household budgets during the current economic downturn. The government have stated that it is not their aim to increase the total level of taxes paid by households and companies, so other taxes will be reduced. All households will receive either a reduction in the level of income tax they pay each year, or alternatively a tax credit (Chèque Vert) if they do not pay tax. The amount of the tax rebate or credit will depend on the size of the household and the location. You can check out your own situation by visiting the following website (in French) :- http://www.taxe-carbone.clcv.org/index.html The government has also announced the abolition of the Taxe Professionnelle in 2010, although this tax is being replaced by a new system of tax, called the Cotisation Economique Territoriale, details still to be finalised. It may come as no surprise to many that there will be concessions for transport companies, farmers, and fishermen. Farmers and fishermen will receive a rebate of 75% in the first year! Look out for new measures for energy conservation and low polluting cars.
Peter Elias (Agent Commercial), La Moinerie, 79500 Paizay le Tort, Deux-Sèvres, FRANCE
Tel: 00 33 (0)5 49 27 01 22 or Tel: 00 33 (0)8 77 07 58 99 Mob: 00 33 (0)6 62 28 02 25

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Agency - going green

Like many people we are extremely concerned about the protection of the environment. Travelling to France from the UK, which represents most of our clientele, obviously impacts upon an individual’s carbon footprint. Whether you travel by ferry, aeroplane or car there is a significant impact.
For 2010 and the remainder of this year have decided that we will try to off-set the carbon footprint of clients viewing through us, by planting a tree* for each client visiting and viewing a selection of property, which will over time absorb their carbon dioxide emissions. At Allez-Français we are taking steps to help reduce our impact on our surroundings and create a more environmentally friendly future.
We can also assist clients to find artisans for home improvements, such as insulation to better than recommended levels, this ensures heat retention during winter months (reducing the need for heating) and ensures a cooler environment during summer months, reducing the need for air conditioning. Double glazing to all windows and doors. Recuperate rainwater. Install saltwater pool system which minimises the use of harsh and harmful chemicals. Plus of course, the use of alternative energy sources, such as wind, solar, geothermal. We would like to think of ourselves as ground-breakers with this idea. Hopefully, clients will decide to view with an agency trying to something for the environment, rather than one just offering a standard service, that we are confident that we will exceed in any case! * A tree for each client will be planted in the village of Paizay le Tort. A carbon footprint is defined as - The total amount of greenhouse gases produced to directly and indirectly support human activities, usually expressed in equivalent tons of carbon dioxide (CO²).
In other words: When you drive a car, the engine burns fuel which creates a certain amount of CO², depending on its fuel consumption and the driving distance. (CO² is the chemical symbol for carbon dioxide). When you heat your house with oil, gas or coal, then you also generate CO². Even if you heat your house with electricity, the generation of the electrical power may also have emitted a certain amount of CO². When you buy food and goods, the production of the food and goods also emitted some quantities of CO².
Your carbon footprint is the sum of all emissions of CO² (carbon dioxide), which were induced by your activities in a given time frame. Peter Elias (Agent Commercial), La Moinerie, 79500 Paizay le Tort, Deux-Sèvres, FRANCETel: 00 33 (0)5 49 27 01 22 or Tel: 00 33 (0)8 77 07 58 99 Mob: 00 33 (0)6 62 28 02 25 Tel: 0871 717 4176 (UK)