France unveils a £5.8bn tax take from wealthy and big firms

France's new Socialist government announced a raft of tax rises worth €7.2bn (£5.8bn) yesterday, including heavy one-off levies on wealthy households and big corporations, to plug a revenue shortfall this year from feeble economic growth.

A one-off levy of €2.3bn on those with net wealth of more than €1.3m and € 1.1bn in extraordinary taxes on large banks and on energy firms holding oil stocks were central parts of an amended 2012 budget presented to parliament ahead of a vote later this month.

The measures, in line with President François Hollande's election campaign pledges, should be approved, given the Socialists' clear majority in parliament. Mr Hollande, in power since mid-May, says the rich should pay their share as France battles to cut its public deficit from 5.2 per cent of GDP last year to within 4.5 per cent this year and 3 per cent in 2013.

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