Give us truth and lower taxes, says France

After a nationwide debate, the French government is ready to move towards reforms.


After a "nationwide debate" organised by President Macron, billed "as one of the greatest advances in democracy since Athens", the French government is "poised to begin a second wave of reforms", says Adam Sage in The Times. The results of the consultation, which included 1.9 million posts on a website, as well as suggestions from books placed in 16,337 town and village halls, seem to indicate that voters want "honesty and lower taxes". Prime Minister Edouard Philippe acknowledged frustration at tax rates that are "the highest of any developed country" and promised to "lower taxes and lower them faster".

But it'll take more than that, says Pauline Bock in The New Statesman. The results suggest that the French want any reductions focused on sales tax, which disproportionately affects the poor. They also want some taxes to rise, with a large amount of support for "the reintroduction of the wealth tax that Macron abolished in 2017". Despite this, the French government has said that any tax cuts will be balanced by cuts in public spending, and have already vowed not to "change course" on several core policies, suggesting that "Macron's great debate" was "just for show".

Subscribe to MoneyWeek

Become a smarter, better informed investor with MoneyWeek.

Yet that show "more successfully bludgeoned the yellow vests into submission than any number of riot police", says Adam Nossiter in The New York Times. Only 22,300 people marched in a protest across France on Saturday; support for the movement has fallen to 35%. Macron also "clawed back some of the popularity he lost" at the height of the protests, overtaking Marine Le Pen's far-right party in the polls for the European elections.




How long can the good times roll?

Despite all the doom and gloom that has dominated our headlines for most of 2019, Britain and most of the rest of the developing world is currently en…
19 Dec 2019
EU Economy

Investors needn’t fear the rise of Europe’s green parties

Green parties across Europe are finding the centre-right to be natural allies. That will be great for business, says Matthew Lynn.
12 Jan 2020

Sweden ditches negative interest rates

Sweden has ended its experiment with negative interest rates. The Sveriges Riksbank, the world’s oldest central bank, has raised the main interest rat…
26 Dec 2019

What's behind the great French pensions revolt?

Workers in France are on strike and taking to the streets to protest against President Macron’s reforms. We’ve seen this play before – but this time t…
21 Dec 2019

Most Popular

Share tips

Class acts going cheap: buy into Europe’s best bargains

Value investing appears to be making a comeback, while shares on this side of the Atlantic are more appealing on metrics such as price/earnings ratios…
16 Jan 2020

Currency Corner: how is the New Zealand dollar doing against its US counterpart?

The New Zealand dollar has been doing well against the US dollar in recent months, but has started to wobble a little. Is it still a buy? Dominic Fris…
20 Jan 2020
Share tips

Share tips of the week

MoneyWeek’s comprehensive guide to the best of this week’s share tips from the rest of the UK's financial pages.
17 Jan 2020
House prices

UK house prices may be heading for a Boris bounce

The latest survey of estate agents and surveyors from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors is "unambiguously positive" – suggesting house pric…
16 Jan 2020