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France’s top 100 earn €2.8bn a year

Biggest households make more than the budget of the ministry of culture every year

THE top 100 households in France made more than €2.8 billion in 2008, each earning more in one year than the average household could make in 300 lifetimes.

Figures revealed in a confidential document given to some MPs by the Treasury backed up the old saying that money makes money; the richest families get 94 per cent of their earnings coming from income on their fortunes.

Earning an average €28.7 million each in 2008, the income for the top 100 exceeds the budget for the ministry of culture.

In 2008, the average annual income across France stood at €22,202, with 85 per cent of people’s earnings coming from wages, pensions or other savings. Wages made up only four per cent of the top 100 earners’ incomes, with the bulk coming from stocks and shares and other financial actions.

The Bercy document was sent to 20 MPs in advance of moves to reform the Impôt de Solidarité sur la Fortune ISF and the bouclier fiscal tax shield which says you cannot pay more than 50 per cent of your income in tax.

It gives strong support for scrapping the ISF as it revealed that the 100 largest fortunes taxed under the ISF earned much less than the 100 biggest taxpayers; because of how they earned their money, the truly rich were not paying the ISF.

Further support for reform was furnished by the case of the L’Oréal heiress Liliane de Bettencourt, who has a fortune of €15 billion, mainly in shares, but whose taxable income for the ISF barely scrapes €2bn.

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