It is now a certainty. The public deficit will be “significantly beyond 4.9%” in 2023, the objective set by the government, “due to the loss of tax revenue”, the Minister of the Economy warned on Wednesday. Bruno Le Maire insisted on wanting to reduce public spending, hence the recent announcement of 10 billion in budget cuts in 2024 which “are not a blow but an emergency brake”, he said in an interview with the newspaper Le Monde, adding to aim for “a balanced budget in 2032”. Until then, “the restoration of public finances must bring us below the 3% public deficit in 2027,” specifies the number two of the government.

“When we earn less, we spend less,” summarizes the tenant of Bercy to justify the budget cuts. With “growth [which] suffers the consequences of the new geopolitical environment and tax revenues which are decreasing”, “we simply have to cool the machine”, he explains. On Monday, Bercy published the monthly budgetary situation as of January 31, 2024, presenting a drop in tax revenue of 2.3 billion compared to January 2023. This drop is explained “by the reduction in net VAT accruing to the State due to the increase in reimbursements and reliefs, as well as larger transfers to local authorities and social security organizations,” indicates Thomas Cazenave’s office.

The reduction in state spending is “a first step” towards cleaning up public accounts, says Bruno Le Maire. A major cleaning carried out “without calling into question the major public policies defended by the President of the Republic” such as “the environment, education, health, work” which “have seen their budgets increase since 2017”. This could result in “a amending finance bill in the summer, if necessary”. Then the 2025 finance bill, “in which we will have to find at least 12 billion euros in savings”, the minister already warns, “we are not taking anyone as a traitor”.

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Two weeks after the announcement of a controversial savings plan of 10 billion euros, ministers Bruno Le Maire and Thomas Cazenave submitted this Wednesday to questions from deputies and senators on these vast cuts in the state budget . The Minister of Economy and Finance and his colleague delegate for Public Accounts are expected at 3:00 p.m. before the Finance Committee of the National Assembly, then at 5:00 p.m. before that of the Senate.