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No extra tax Hollande pledges

Promises on tax and a bid for the Olympics were among the president’s key points in a mid-term television appearance

THERE will be “no extra tax for anybody at all” up until the end of his term as president, Mr Hollande promised in a televised live question and answer session on TF1.

No more nasty surprises from tax – and a bid for the Olympics in 2024, were among his main pledges for France last night, responding to questions from selected members of the public at his presidency’s mid-point.

Mr Hollande also admitted “errors” with regard to unemployment – which he had promised would start lowering by the end of 2013 whereas it has just reached a new high at 3.7million out of work.

Refusing to say if he would stand again in 2017, he implied he would only do so if he got this under control. “Have you seen what my popularity ratings are like?” he said.

A YouGov poll has just shown him at just 12%, while a recent Ifop poll said Marine Le Pen would beat him if the elections were held today.

Even so, Hollande said he deplored the way some people “denigrated” France, claiming that it is “admired abroad” and “the most respected country in the world”. “Each time there’s a difficult situation in the world, it’s to France that people turn,” he said.

Although he admitted “the results are not there yet”, he said he intends that France will “rejoin the first ranks in world competitivity” by 2017 and pledged to “completely reform the country”.

Here are some of his main promises for the years to come:

• Government spending to reduce next year and from next year and until the end of the presidency (2017) there will be no extra tax.

• France to bid for the 2024 Olympics for Paris and for the 2025 Universal Exhibition. The last time France hosted one of these five-yearly events, which showcase achievements and innovations, was in 1937 and the most famous was in 1889, when the Eiffel Tower was built. As for the Olympics, Mr Hollande dismissed Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo’s hesitancy, saying “she doesn’t want to take risks”. He added: “We need big events, we’ve got to put ourselves out there.”

• Job agency Pôle Emploi to prioritise offering training to older jobseekers. A new benefit to help those over-60 who have paid in enough for a pension, but are not yet old enough to be pensioners.

• The CICE tax credit that helps businesses claim back some of the money paid in social charges to be simply changed to a “permanent lowering” of charges by 2017.

• A “big digital plan” for schools, with children learning to programme.

• A “second chance plan” to allow young people who dropped out of school to try again.

• A new, shorter, version of the “civic service” scheme for young people consisting of “two or three months”, unpaid, for example helping in a school or old people’s home or with children’s activities, possibly with a referendum on making it obligatory.

Photo: Screen capture from TF1

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