Ministers argue on auto-entrepreneurs

Government split on plans to change simplified regime for self-employed

2 June 2013

SENIOR ministers have sparked new doubts over planned changes to the auto-entrepreneur regime as they came up with completely different views of how and who the moves would affect.

After the launch of a new protest group – Les Poussins (Chicks), that called on the government not to “kill our projects in the egg” – Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault and Budget Minister Bernard Cazeneuve denied that the changes would be widespread.

But they were contradicted yesterday by the minister piloting the reforms, Trades Minister Sylvia Pinel, who said they were aimed at every sector of industry and would affect many aspects of the current self-employed regime.

Mr Ayrault had said on Friday the main target was the building industry where many tradespeople on full business regimes, paying full taxes, social charges and insurance say they are being undercut by auto-entrepreneurs who do not have the same costs.

“All the others” he said “can be reassured. They have nothing to fear.”

And Mr Cazeneuve went further, saying there “was no reason to be worried” the changes would “be only marginal”.

However, Pinel replied that her reforms would not be restricted to the building industry and cited particular examples of hairdressing and car repair as being included.

She also said there would be other changes, including auto-entrepreneurs facing a qualification requirement, compulsory insurance, a possible €10,000 earnings limit and a time-limit for using the regime.

The two leading auto-entrepreneur groups have joined forces to set up the “Defend Poussins” website (www.defensepoussins.fr) – harking back to the “Pigeons” who caused a government U-turn over capital gains tax on business sales.

The site has a petition to Pinel calling on her to think again. It has 65,000 signatures so far.

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