France pledges help for auto suppliers hit by diesel decline

PARIS (Reuters) - The French government will present a plan before the end of the year to help the car industry cope with a tax hike on diesel, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Wednesday.

Concerned about pollution, the French government has been trying to reduce the number of cars running on diesel in France, where until recently most cars were sold with diesel engines.

The 2018 draft budget presented on Wednesday calls for diesel tax to be increased by 2.6 euro cents per liter annually for four years, bringing it in line with petrol and further undermining diesel’s appeal to consumers.

Addressing the French parliament’s finance committee on Wednesday, Le Maire said the industry plan would protect suppliers of diesel technology and their thousands of jobs from the effects of the tax increase, without giving further details.

Reporting by Leigh Thomas and Myriam Rivet; Editing by Laurence Frost