– Embattled Hollande defends his 75% tax rate to a disillusioned France (Daily Mail, Sep 9, 2012):
Francois Hollande last night tried to justify his plans for multi-billion-pound tax rises to an increasingly disillusioned France.
The Socialist president, whose popularity has slumped, appeared on live television to convince the public his policies could help turn the country’s economy around.
During the 25-minute appearance, he unveiled plans for tax increases of ‘between 15 to 20 billion euros’ (£12billion to £16billion), targeting wealthy households, savings and firms.
The money raised will be used for public services, including thousands of new civil servant jobs.
He confirmed that ‘all earnings over one million euros will be taxed at 75 per cent’, adding: ‘It’s symbolic, it will show an example.’
Mr Hollande said he would also tax businesses to the tune of 10 billion euros while trying to ‘preserve investment’ in small companies. He said the 75 per cent rate could be dropped once the country’s economy recovers, which he expects to take two years.
Mr Hollande has increasingly fallen out of favour with the public since he took office in May. His popularity dropped by 22 per cent in just four months, with many claiming he is out of his depth.
In last night’s interview, he said: ‘I can’t do in four months what my predecessors took five or ten years to achieve. I’m in a battle. The past weighs heavily on me, but I must engage the future.’
Le Monde newspaper has used the English term ‘Hollande bashing’ to describe the widespread criticism he is receiving. According to a poll in le Parisien newspaper yesterday, Mr Hollande’s rating has fallen 22 points to 40 per cent from a previous poll two weeks after he took up office.