The French government is considering almost halving the amount of VAT on public transport, a recent newspaper report claims.

French financial daily newspaper Les Échos says that draft legislation to cut the current rate of VAT for bus, metro and rail services from 10 to 5.5 per cent could be included in September’s Finance Act

A return to a VAT rate of 5.5 per cent would cancel the increases performed in 2012 and 2014.

Although the measure could cost between €300-€500m a year, promoting public transport over the use of private cars in this way would be a strong gesture by the French government three months before the 2015 Paris Climate Conference.

The conference, known as COP21, aims to achieve a legally binding and universal agreement on climate, with the aim of keeping global warming below 2°C, for the first time in 20 years of UN negotiations.

Although there is no guarantee that the VAT reduction would result in lower tariffs, the newspaper says the measure will also show that the French government is acting to improve the purchasing power of French citizens, particularly the most disadvantaged.