Three days after the publication of the annual report of the Court of Auditors very critical of the slowness of the government to restore public finances, while the deficit should reach 5% of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2022 and the debt more than 110% , Gabriel Attal said he assumed “not to carry out brutal austerity”, Monday March 13 on France Inter. “We saw what it was like” after the economic and financial crisis of the late 2000s, he justified: “More unemployment, more taxes and more debt. »
“The deficit was 9% in 2020, in 2021 we reduced it to 6.5%. We will bring it back below 3% in 2027, we have met all the objectives we had setdefended the Minister Delegate for Public Accounts. Our goal is to stabilize the public debt in 2026 and start repaying it in 2027.” He acknowledged that it was necessary to better target support measures for the economy and households, as recommended by the Court.
“Tax haven for no one”
In its report, the Court of Auditors lists the clouds hanging over public finances: slowdown in growth, decline in tax revenue, inflation, increase in state spending. “The release of “whatever the cost” is far from done”, notes the first President of the Court, Pierre Moscovici. Not taking into account the exceptional aid linked to the health crisis and inflation, the Court estimates that public spending increased by 3.5% in 2022 and 0.7% in 2023, in particular to finance defence, the rise in the index point for civil servants and learning aids.
Asked about the advisability of a tax increase for the wealthiest taxpayers, Gabriel Attal insisted that France was not “a tax haven for no one”. “On the taxation of capital, of the wealthiest, we have absolutely nothing to envy our neighbors, we tax them more than them”he assured. “We have the second rate of compulsory levies of the thirty-eight OECD countries, we are on the job in terms of taxes”he insisted.
Guest of Franceinfo, the Minister of Economy and Finance, Bruno Le Maire, for his part promised “several billion euros in public spending savings” in the draft budget for 2024, which is due in September. “Today we have 57% of public expenditure in our national wealth; I want to reduce this figure to 54% by 2027, to bring us closer to the European average which is 52%”he detailed.
In January, Mr. Le Maire announced a review of public spending. In its report, the Court sees “a step in the right direction”while noting that previous comparable initiatives implemented by Nicolas Sarkozy, François Hollande and in the first term of Emmanuel Macron have had a capacity “limited” to consolidate public finances.