France

Socialist MPs make counter-offer to French PM's budget reduction plan

Manuel Valls outlines his strategy to cut the budget on April 8
Manuel Valls outlines his strategy to cut the budget on April 8 REUTERS/Charles Platiau

Several socialist MPs have thrashed out new proposals to reduce the budget without penalizing purchasing power. They propose three scenarios to generate fresh cash, notably by fighting tax evasion. 

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The counter-offer is designed to make the government's responsibility pact more acceptable to the Socialists, before they vote on it at the end of April.

But the Prime minister's proposals to curb public spending by 50 billion euros between 2015 and the end of President Francois Hollande's term in 2017 have been heavily criticized.

The spending curbs are meant to come through capping social benefits, but socialist MPs say that this will hurt the poorest members in society, like single mothers and low-income workers.

The MPs say they are not challenging Paris' commitment to reduce its public deficit to 3 percent of national output by 2015, but question how it does so.

They criticize the two-year time frame to generate fresh savings as too short, and argue that the government is looking in the wrong place.

Instead of capping social benefits and pension rights, they say that as much as 2 billion euros could be saved if the government fought more seriously against tax evasion and banned fiscal optimisation for big companies.

Their proposals will be presented on Tuesday by Bruno Le Roux, the Socialist leader at the National Assembly and Valérie Rabault the new budget writer.

 

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