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The eco decryption. Will the businesses helped have to return the money?


The Minister of Economy and Recovery Bruno Le Maire in Rome (Italy) on March 19, 2021 (PIERO TENAGLI / IPA / MAXPPP)

It is not a question of returning all the aid received. But to make a gesture, to participate in the effort, when the crisis is over, when growth will return. And this is only one track put forward by Bruno Le Maire: to ensure that part of the income from corporate tax – once growth has returned – is mobilized to pay the exploding Covid-19 debt. , and that the accumulated surplus contributes to its reimbursement.

Corporate tax is 14% of state tax revenue. Suffice to say that it will not be enough to pay the Covid-19 bill but, for Bruno Le Maire, “It would be fair for companies to return what they have managed to obtain thanks to state protection.” The minister avoids however to specify the modalities, and he takes care to reassure the economic circles: the idea is not really to increase the tax on the companies. No question of doing as in the United Kingdom, a country yet reputed liberal, which has planned, within two years, to raise taxes on its companies – only large, not small – to finance its public deficit.

In France, the government is also awaiting commitments from companies on employment. The government but also the unions! After “whatever the cost”, they promise to ensure that companies, and in particular groups, do not lay off in full force once the state cuts aid, such as partial unemployment for example. In 2020 alone, the executive spent 27 billion euros for partial unemployment. The same goes for maintaining factories and industrial sites in France. Undoubtedly, citizens will accept relocations even less than before.

The government’s 100 billion euro stimulus plan includes a whole package of aid to accelerate the energy transition by developing sectors such as hydrogen or electric batteries. This fight for the counterparts of companies has long been a workhorse of the opposition, associations, unions… For them, this state support is a gift. On the right, and in the management ranks, on the contrary, the subject is irrelevant, insofar as in this Covid-19 crisis, it is not the companies that have chosen to reduce their activity, or to close shop. It is the state that imposes these restrictions on them. In short, it is a showdown and the subject promises to animate the future presidential campaign.

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