What will President Macron's second term mean for my money in France?

Partner article: ‘There will be no austerity in France’ Christopher Davenport of Kentingtons shares his thoughts on your financial future under Mr Macron

Mr Macron’s manifesto was light on detail but experts think he will continue spending

Emmanuel Macron’s reelection manifesto was relatively light on detail, so we do not know exactly what he wants to implement.

However, we can speculate on central themes. I say ‘speculate’, but some policies are already clear.

For example, I think we can safely assume there will be no austerity in France.

Capping and subsidies to continue

In the latter half of his first mandate, President Macron, like most ruling politicians during the pandemic, turned on the spending taps.

It appears that he is not ready to switch them off just yet and is likely to authorise additional spending amounting to tens of billions of euros in the next year alone.

The bouclier tarifaire capping gas and electricity prices is expected to be extended until the end of this year.

There are also plans to continue with subsidies for petrol.

Support to offset energy inflation

Furthermore, there is talk of providing help for companies that have been particularly affected by high energy prices.

Presumably, this would be calculated based on a firm’s energy costs as a percentage of its total costs.

In both cases, be it for individual citizens or for companies, the state is likely to step in to offset the worst effects of energy inflation.

European fund for energy and defence

Indeed, France is also pushing for a new European plan de relance, to be mutually financed and concentrated in two specific areas: energy infrastructure and defence.

Given the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, one would think that a European fund to invest in these two areas is very likely to gain traction, with the question simply being how many billions to spend.

The point is, for this second mandate President Macron knows he cannot ignore the popular vote, represented by strong turnouts for Marine Le Pen and Jean-Luc Mélenchon.

French want more social spending

The only policies that all French citizens can agree on is social spending.

This means extra money for teachers, the police and nurses, to name but a few.

This is the mandate Mr Macron has been given – it is what people want and, for once, there will be no pushback from Brussels.

France needs pension reform

If we turn now to specific policies, we see more spending immediately ahead.

Mr Macron is proposing to reform pensions.

Will he succeed?

Many have tried, and failed, to increase the retirement age.

However, we do know there are likely to be significant increases to pensions (and indeed social benefits in general) in the coming months, in line with inflation.

To my mind, we must hope that President Macron’s government succeeds in some sort of pension reform.

Without this, with no tax rises on the horizon, as well as significant social spending highly likely, the debt burden for future generations is going to grow even faster.

Increase for tax-free gifts to children and step-children

Talking of future generations, there is one piece of potentially good news.

Mr Macron is proposing changes to gifting allowances, linked to inheritance planning and inheritance tax.

Currently, for example, parents can give up to €100,000 to each child tax-free every 15 years. It is proposed to raise this amount to €150,000.

Additionally, to account for the reality of family make-up today, it is proposed that people will also be allowed to give up to €100,000 tax-free to indirect descendants, such as stepchildren, or other relatives, such as brothers, sisters, nephews or nieces.

With millennials finding it harder and harder to get on the housing ladder (and now expected to work to a riper age) this may provide a welcome boost to the younger generation.

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