“My feeling is that taxes must be lowered in France,” Prime Minister Édouard Philippe said on Wednesday March 6, when asked about BFMTV as to his position in the great national debate on tax issues. Recalling that the President of the Republic had made this commitment, he judged that “there would be something curious to imagine that the exit from the great debate, it is more taxes”.
“The idea is rather to consider that it is necessary to lower the level of compulsory levies in France. I think that would be quite healthy”, underlined Mr. Philippe. The rate of compulsory deductions reached 45% in 2018 and should decrease to 44.2% in 2019, thanks to the reform of the CICE and a further reduction in the housing tax. “Often, I see interlocutors of the public debate formulating ideas of new expenses but formulating relatively few ideas of new savings”, regretted the Prime Minister.
“Our objective is to ensure that public spending increases less quickly than growth,” he recalled. But he conceded that “everyone wishes that the public expenditure which concerns them can in one way or another increase”, seeing in this fact “a certain form of both ease and contradiction”
“We’ve been living these contradictions for 45 years, we’ve been running a deficit for 45 years, the debt has been increasing for 45 years. It would be healthy for us to be able to reverse the trend,” the Prime Minister said. Public debt in France is close to 100% of gross domestic product, or a year of wealth production.
Short contracts: the bonus-malus “is on the table”
The Prime Minister also spoke on the issue of short contracts. The bonus-malus is “one of the possible instruments” to fight against short contracts, he said, adding that the “solution” to this question would be found “at the end of the” consultation process “started.
Asked about the social and ecological pact presented the day before by Nicolas Hulot and the secretary general of the CFDT Laurent Berger, Mr. Philippe observed that the government had “already initiated” several of the proposed measures, such as “the revaluation of social minima”. Stressing that this pact raised the question of the limitation of “this multiplication of short contracts which translate into a form of precariousness of employees”, the Prime Minister recalled that the government had asked the social partners “to find a solution”. “It turns out that they did not succeed, I take note of that,” he continued.
The bonus-malus, a measure of modulation of the unemployment contributions of companies according to their use of fixed-term contracts, “is on the table”, said Edouard Philippe, adding that it was “one of the instruments”. “If we are offered something smarter to fight against short contracts, perhaps we will choose” the latter solution, he said, referring to the ongoing “consultation” with the social partners on the unemployment insurance. “At the end of this process, we will find a solution”, assured the Prime Minister, stressing that “the fight against precariousness” was one of the “priorities” of the government.
Last September, the government asked the social partners to find savings between 3 and 3.9 billion euros in three years and to think about a mechanism to fight against short contracts. It is on this subject of the bonus-malus that the negotiations have stumbled, while the CDD of less than one month have multiplied by 2.5 for 20 years. The bonus-malus was a campaign promise from Emmanuel Macron, which he reaffirmed during the great debate.
Great national debate