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FACTBOX-France unveils measures to bolster competitiveness

PARIS, Nov 6 (Reuters) - France will offer tax credits from 2013 that should permanently ease companies' labour costs by 6 percent a year, in a tougher-than-expected response to business heads' demands for measures to reverse industrial decline. Following are details of the proposed measures:

* Companies to be offered 20 billion euros in tax credits annually, which will equate to a 6 percent reduction in labour costs. The credits will be available in stages, with 10 billion euros on offer in 2013, 15 billion in 2014 and 20 billion in 2015 and thereafter. The use of tax credits as opposed to direct cuts to payroll taxes should limit short-term volatility in the state revenues.

* Public spending to be cut by 12.5 billion euros a year from from 2013, 10 billion coming from the state budget and 2.5 billion from public health insurance. The cuts follow an announced spending freeze which aims to save 10 billion a year.

* The standard VAT rate will rise to 20 percent from 19.6 percent, which should raise 3 billion euros, and a reduced rate that applies to the restaurant sector and property repairs will rise to 10 percent from 7 percent, generating another 3 billion. From Jan. 1, 2014, a special VAT rate on basic items like medical equipment and utilities will be reduced to 5 percent from 5.5 percent, at a cost of 10 billion euros, to ease the impact on low-income households.

* A new environmental tax will be imposed by 2016 with the aim of generating 3 billion euros of revenue a year.

* New state guarantees to provide 500 million euros in financing for small and mid-sized businesses through a Public Investment Bank to be created next year.

* Incentives will be created for household savings and life insurance policies to be invested in shares.

* Incentives will be created to improve on-the-job training and youth employment with the aim of helping small businesses hire half a million apprentices by 2017. A new public agency will guide job seekers and help them through changing careers.

* At least two employees to be placed on boards of big companies to widen decision-making.

* A ``Made in France'' brand will be created to promote French products abroad and attract foreign investment.

(Compiled by Catherine Bremer and Nicholas Vinocur; editing by Andrew Roche)