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French economy 'catastrophic’, says business federation
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French economy 'catastrophic’, says business federation

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French economy 'catastrophic’, says business federation

The head of France’s business federation has called for an end to the 75pc tax rate and to the 35-hour working week, saying the country’s economy is “catastrophic”.

Pierre Gattaz, president of the Medef – France’s equivalent of the CBI – said the 75pc tax that companies are forced to pay on employees’ annual salaries above €100,000 (£79,000) was damaging France’s competitiveness.

“It’s a symbol which, like the 35 hours, has gone around the planet, and it’s destructive. I never meet a single Chinese or American who doesn’t bring it up,” said Mr Gattaz. “The economic situation of the country is catastrophic … if France was a company, it would be going bankrupt.”

Mr Gattaz conceded that the Socialist government had taken some steps to make France more competitive, but said they were insufficient and state expenditure needed to be drastically cut. “It’s time to turn the page for the sake of the image and the attractiveness of our country,” he said.

President Francoise Hollande has promised to reduce public spending by €50bn (£39.5bn) by 2017, although many commentators are doubtful that he will make the necessary cuts.

Even if he does, Mr Gattaz said it would still not be enough. “It’s half of what needs to be done to make us competitive with our neighbours,” he said. “France must reduce its running costs without cutting investment, which would lead to recessionary pressure.”

He welcomed Mr Hollande’s “responsibility pact”, which reduces payroll taxes in the hope of encouraging companies to hire more employees. Joblessness is now more than 10pc, a record level.

Anger at the president’s failure to kickstart growth led to historic inroads for the far-right Front National in local and European elections in May.

French economy 'catastrophic?, says business federation - Telegraph

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