French gov't to reconsider wealth tax as social roar mounts

Source: Xinhua| 2018-12-05 21:20:28|Editor: Shi Yinglun
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PARIS, Dec. 5 (Xinhua) -- The French government would look at reimposing wealth tax on the rich if the measure deemed not to be working, government spokesperson Benjamin Griveaux said on Wednesday, as France is bracing for nationwide blockades and protests on Saturday, for the fourth weekend in a row.

"We have heard (public anger), we will correct, and above all we will talk to each other. If we do not find good solutions, we will accept the consequences. We're not in politics to be right. We're in politics so that things work out," Griveaux told RTL radio.

Asked whether the government would go back on the cancellation of wealth tax, known as ISF, Griveaux suggested it was possible. But "the issue is not on the table for now."

"If a measure that we have taken, which is costing the public money, turns out not to be working, if it's not going well, we're not stupid - we would change it," he said.

"We are evaluating it, we are controlling it. This money was to be invested in our small and medium enterprises for them to develop, innovate and hire. If that is not the case, if the evaluation is not good, then we can reopen it for discussion," he added.

Shortly after his inauguration in May 2017, President Emmanuel Macron amended the tax on profits above 1 million euros (1.135 million U.S. dollars) imposed by his predecessor Francois Hollande.

Eyeing to encourage investment in real economy and create jobs, he maintained only the tax on real estate and cancelled that covering other assets including jewelry to yachts, a move that ignited critics, describing him as "president of the rich."

Over the past three weeks, people angry at Macron's policy staged country-wide blockades and demonstrations, exerting more pressure on the former investment banker whose public support reached record low.

Taking their name from the high visibility vests drivers keep in their cars, the "Yellow Vests" is spontaneous action created on social media to oppose planned increase in tax fuel and diesel's price, the most commonly used car fuel in France.

For three weeks, the movement has blocked highways in many regions, obstructed access to fuel depots, shopping centers and some factories. Protests turned violent notably in Paris, forcing the government to shift its course.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced six-month suspension of the carbon-tax, the time to launch talks "to identify and implement fair and effective measures," to help the working-class citizens to switch to environment-friendly vehicles.

However, the government's financial aid fell short to tread water on people's disenchantment as "Yellow Vests" supporters have already been coordinating on social media to stage more nationwide blockades on Saturday.