Ten billion euros in savings: this is what the first review of public spending, conducted at the start of the year, will have identified. Hence a salvo of decisions announced by the Minister of Finance, Bruno Le Maire, Monday, June 19 on the occasion of the foundations of public finances gathered in Bercy.
From this year, the end of the energy shield on gas will sign the first savings. “We are coming out of exceptional times. We need to get back to normal when it comes to public spending”recalled the minister who hopes to contain the budget deficit this year to 4.9% of GDP, the objective promised under the European stability plan, before 4.4% next year and 2.7% in 2027 .
“Focusing our spending on measures with concrete results”
Bercy also wants to limit spending in the field of employment and training. “We continue to massively support employment: it was legitimate when it was necessary to facilitate the return to employment, explains Bruno Le Maire. But when the unemployment rate decreases, the cost of employment assistance must decrease. » The government will therefore lower apprenticeship aid and introduce a “co-payment” on the personal training account.
“We must focus our spending on measures with concrete results, which have an impact on the lives of our fellow citizens, and contribute directly to achieving our objectives, particularly in terms of ecological transition”added the Prime Minister, Elisabeth Borne.
Hence the scheduled end of certain expenses known as « brunes ». “We cannot, on the one hand, continue to spend public money to finance the energy transition and, on the other, maintain tax advantages for fossil fuels”, recognized Bruno Le Maire, before announcing the gradual end, by 2030, of the tax advantages on fuels enjoyed by certain professions such as truck drivers, farmers and construction companies. A measure repeatedly postponed in the face of opposition from the professionals in question.
“Axe policy would kill our growth”
Other savings have also been announced to limit the surge in sick leave (16 billion euros in cost in 2022) and health expenditure (each doctor prescribing for €730,000 per year, or €450 per patient). However, the objective is not quantified here and will depend on negotiations between the various players.
If the 10 billion announced seem little compared to the 1,500 billion in public spending in 2022, Bercy ensures that this is only a first effort. Another review of public expenditure is already about to start concerning other budget lines and a third is already announced for 2024. But Bruno Le Maire expressly refuses “the policy of the ax which would kill our growth and discourage goodwill by cutting blindly in expenses”.
It is therefore rather a question of inaugurating a new method, involving a kind of “permanent review” of expenditure. “We must assume that we have to save money when we find that devices do not achieve their results or not sufficiently”insisted the Prime Minister.
“Systematically” involve local elected officials
But it is above all towards local authorities that Elisabeth Borne has turned, several associations of elected officials having refused to participate in these public finance meetings. “I would like local elected representatives to be involved in a systematic and formal way in all budgetary decisions that have an impact on them”she therefore insisted, acknowledging not having “not sufficiently involving local authorities upstream” during the recent announcement of the increase in the index point of civil servants.
These have not been forgotten either: they “cannot be an adjustment variable” budgetary, she acknowledged, recalling the strong demand of the French in terms of public service. This will nevertheless have to be articulated with the request made to the ministries to identify 5% savings. “It will not necessarily translate into a net reduction in their budget, However, we explain to Bercy. It will rather be a question of reallocating these savings, for example to meet the expenses for the ecological transition. »
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