France’s prime minister pledges to cut tax burden by $8 billion from 2018

Key Points
  • France's Prime Minister has said it can meet EU budget deficit cap and cut taxes.
  • 7 billion euros worth of tax cuts are due to come into play from 2018.
Mayor of Le Havre Edouard Philippe speaks as he presents the candidates for the 'La Republique en marche' party ahead of the June parliamentary elections
Charly Triballeau | AFP | Getty Images

France's Prime Minister has promised to reduce the tax burden by around 7 billion euros ($7.98 billion) from next year by reigning in public spending.

Edouard Philippe said at the weekend the government would focus on reducing the budget deficit below the EU-agreed cap of 3 percent of economic output this year.

"We are going to do it without increasing taxes in 2017," Philippe claimed, speaking to a convention of the delegates from France's Le Republique en Marche (LREM) government.

Commentators had worried that the government's commitment to meeting Brussels requirements would mean it fails to fulfill President Emmanuel Macron's campaign pledge to cut taxes and boost business.

However, Philippe insisted that the government could do both simultaneously by cutting public spending.

"Taxes will fall starting from 2018 by about seven billion euros by reining in spending and implementing the president's commitments coherently and over time starting with the 2018 budget bill," Philippe said.

The promise comes a week after Philippe outlined his government's reform agenda to the French National Assembly. He announced that corporation tax would be cut from 33.3 percent to 25 percent by 2022 but admitted a one-year delay to wealth and capital income tax proposals.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire reiterated Philippe's claims on Sunday, though he did not give a definitive time-frame.

"No definitive decision has been taken on the time-frame for now," Le Maire told reporters at a conference in Aix-en-Provence.

"I think we can perfectly reduce public spending very significantly to meet our European commitments and at the same time cut taxes for French households and French companies," he added.

The loose timeframe was greeted with optimism by businesses in Aix-en-Provence, according to Reuters reports. Total's chief executive Patrick Pouyanne said it was too early to judge the 60-day-old presidency.

"Let's not start criticizing," said Pouyanne. "Let's give them a bit of time. If there were a magic potion, it would have been used a long time ago."

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