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UK’s economic situation ‘worrying’, says French finance minister

His comments come after a week in which the pound crashed to its lowest level against the euro in around two years

French finance minister Bruno Le Maire

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire Pic: Alexandros Michailidis / Shutterstock

French finance minister Bruno Le Maire has said that he is worried about the UK’s economic situation after the country’s new government announced a £45bn package of tax cuts that set global markets into panic. 

The British pound fell to its lowest level against the euro in around two years earlier this week and also reached record low levels against the US dollar on Monday after the UK’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, Kwasi Kwarteng, unveiled the mini-budget on September 23. 

Mr Le Maire, asked about the budget on radio station Europe 1 yesterday (September 30), said that “spectacular announcements” such as the one made by the British government can “disturb the markets and lead to a veritable disaster”. 

“I am not worried about the eurozone, I am worried about the situation in the UK,” he said. 

“In France, we are keeping interest rates reasonable and fairly close to German rates  because there is consistency in France's economic and financial policy,” he added.

He also criticised the UK’s move to withdraw from the European Union, saying that it comes with a “considerable cost”. 

“Europe is a protection,” he said. 

“The eurozone protected us during the Covid crisis, which saved our economy,” he said. 

“Without Europe and the eurozone, we would not have been able to save our economy in the way that we did.”

The pound has since recovered somewhat against the dollar and the euro after Mr Kwarteng and British Prime Minister Liz Truss met officials at the Office for Budget Responsibility on Friday (September 30), an act that has had a reassuring effect on market speculation. 

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