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Hollande will set 75% top tax rate

Socialist candidate attacked for a programme of "fiscal inflation" without any equivalent savings

SOCIALIST presidential candidate François Hollande says he would introduce a top tax band of 75% for incomes of more than e1 million a year.

Speaking on TF1's news programme Parole de Candidat he said he did not "accept excessive wealth" and planned to sweep away tax breaks introduced by President Sarkozy.

He was not against people getting fair reward: "I appreciate talent, work, merit, of those who create and enable France to move forward. I do not agree with excessive wealth - and compensation that has no connection with talent, intelligence or effort.

Noting the "considerable growth" in the salaries of CAC-40 executives he said he did not agree with the "scandalous number of stock options" awarded.

Hollande added: "How can we accept that? It's not possible to have this level of remuneration" he favoured a "simple rule: income from capital should be taxed like the income from work".

The 75% tax rate would be the top band, with an additional slice of 45% on incomes above e150,000 a year.

However, his budget adviser Jérôme Cahuzac, the president of the National Assembly finance committee, appeared surprised by the new top rate, saying: "I'll wait to see just what it really is."

Finance Minister Valérie Pécresse denounced the "fiscal inflation" of Hollande's programme, adding: "Each week he invents a new tax without ever proposing the smallest saving."

For former socialist candidate Ségolène Royal the announcement was a "strong signal". She said: "It is one of our traditions, the mission of the Left to bring fiscal justice and to push back inequality. I think that plenty of wealthy taxpayers do not understand why they have been getting e15 billion of tax gifts every year for the past five years. It's time for a better distribution of wealth: it's one of the keys to economic recovery."

Elsewhere, Hollande said that if he was elected the nuclear power station at Fessenheim in Haut-Rhin would be closed down. He said: "It's the oldest reactor, it is in a seismic zone and their have been incidents." But, he said, the workers would not be laid off: "No, we will need to dismantle the reactor. And we will need to make it an exemplary project."

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