French budget: tax rises and spending cuts

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Richard Thomas

I am pleased that the French are raising revenue where necessary, I have long been an admirer of the ways the french know how to tax their people

John Higginson

It's such a shame the guillotine has long since died a death. As ex-pats we are now paying 'social charges' to support all those who are already soaking the benefits system. It's like post-war Britain, when it was easier not to work with just enough cash to live on rather than try to find a job that would offer some dignity and self-respect. France will never change. The fundamental problem is that indolence is an endemic feature of its culture. Failure to tackle the real problems of over-powerful unions and the tradition of allowing groups of workers to retire at 50 have put the country into free-fall. The chickens are coming home to roost. Successive governments have opted out of hard decisions, and it's the ordinary tax-payers who are being targeted to pay for their pusillanimity. Have 4 children, earn below 26,000€ and your family allowance reaches sky-high proportions. Live as a tenant without a job and can't pay the rent? The government won't allow the landlord to evict. Who coughs up? Those who are just above the tax threshold. Quite how any country with 7.1 million 'fonctionnaires' i.e. 'paper-pushers', as 26% of the working population, can sort out its balance of payments is, no wonder, beyond the capacity of any French government. Tradition dies hard here. So does frustration.

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