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Deficit, “slow economic activity”, social VAT… The boss of Medef castigates the government

“It is very worrying (.

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Deficit, “slow economic activity”, social VAT… The boss of Medef castigates the government

“It is very worrying (...) Economic activity is slowing down,” said Patrick Martin on the subject of France's public deficit, which reached 5.5% in 2023. In an interview granted at the JDD this Sunday, March 31, the president of Medef believes that “the widening of the deficit very accurately reflects the economic slowdown”, while according to him, “VAT produces less revenue, a sign of a drop in consumption, ditto for corporate tax, a symptom of the crisis in the construction sector in particular.” At the head of the first organization representing employers, the business leader called for “rapidly addressing” this public finance problem “which has continued to worsen for decades”.

“But it should not be treated in a classic “budgetary annual” logic. However, this is what is emerging,” he fears. The solution according to him? Go “look for savings, but (...) in the right place, that is to say on the operating expenses of public functions”, he launched, saying he was satisfied that the Prime Minister had done so. parallel “committed not to weaken businesses through tax or social measures which would alter their competitiveness”. However, the boss of Medef was cautious, because according to him, “in the strange governmental semantics, not increasing taxes does not exclude reducing aid”.

He was also very critical of the idea of ​​creating a “social VAT”, which would transfer part of the burden on salaries to VAT. “French companies still bear 60 billion more in production taxes and as much in social charges as the average European company. If we want to be competitive and attractive, this is what we must tackle,” he said, judging “illogical and even unfair” the fact that companies, and therefore their employees, “bear most of the cost of French social protection”. “Companies cannot simultaneously invest (...), devote 40 billion euros per year more to decarbonize, massively increase the qualification level of their employees and increase salaries. “It’s arithmetically impossible,” he concluded.

And Patrick Martin does not hesitate to look at what is practiced abroad. “If we look at energy costs or the support that States give to their companies, we are falling behind the Chinese who have very predatory practices, and on the other hand, by the Americans,” he explained. He ultimately regrets that in France, “the processing times for requests and the payment terms” of aid are too long, compared to what is happening across the Atlantic, where there is “a speed of deployment which is absolutely incredible.

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