France unveils major tax cuts as growth flags

The former investment banker's poll ratings have dived in recent weeks as growth has slowed despite a series of reforms presented as unavoidable shock treatment for getting France on solid financial footing.

France unveils major tax cuts as growth flags

The French government on Monday unveiled billions of euros in tax relief for businesses alongside further budget cuts, as President Emmanuel Macron struggles to deliver more jobs and higher growth as promised.Critics say most people have been left behind by Macron's policies so far, which have seen him raise taxes on retirees while cutting a wealth tax on top earners.

Pensions and welfare benefits will be shaved further in the 2019 budget -- Macron complained in June that France spends "a crazy amount of dough" on social programmes.

And 4,100 more public sector jobs will be axed as Macron aims for a deficit of 2.8 percent of GDP, below the 3 percent limit set for EU members.

Higher taxes on fuel and cigarettes will also hit consumers next year.

But the government says the pillar of the 2019 budget will be a combined 20 billion euros ($23.5 billion) of tax cuts for businesses and six billion euros in tax relief for households, including a gradual end to an annual housing tax.

"The long-term goal is to build a new French prosperity that will benefit all French people in all regions," Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said as he presented the budget in Paris.

But he acknowledged that results from Macron's reform drive so far "are unsatisfactory compared with our European neighbours, and we certainly don't intend to stop here".

"We're doing less well than our European partners on unemployment, growth, the deficit and debt," Le Maire said.

Source: AFP

Last Mod: 24 Eylül 2018, 15:19
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