French model is working

While I find Simon Heffer’s column a good read, his habitual jaundiced view of France can be wearisome. He clearly belongs to the Anglo-Saxon school of French bashing: taxes and social charges too high; labour laws over-protective; a sclerotic economy handicapped by too short a working week, and so on. France needs to learn from the UK model.

So how does France look at the start of 2018? Productivity is substantially higher than the UK, and the economy is growing faster (as is the whole Eurozone). True, the debt is still very high but unemployment is falling which will increase receipts.

Apart from the obvious benefits of high taxation: attractive town centres and well-preserved buildings, an excellent road and rail network and a world-class health system, there may be economic benefits as well.

What the low tax and deregulation brigade have to answer is whether it is always good to have more money in one’s pocket so, for example, one can buy a more expensive car, while suffering the consequences of an underfunded health service and a deteriorating social fabric?

R. N. Thorpe, Morbihan