To face the Covid-19 crisis, some elected officials are asking the executive to take control of part of the French savings surplus, which has mainly focused on the richest. An option for the moment rejected by the government.
(Photo d’illustration) ( AFP / FRED TANNEAU )
Deprived of outings and a good number of leisure activities for nearly a year because of the Covid-19 health crisis, the French have saved massively. According to the latest figures from the Banque de France published on Friday, February 19, the savings rate, in other words the unconsumed disposable income, of the French climbed in the third quarter of 2020 to 18.8%, against 14.4% in 201, relate The echoes . This surplus could reach 130 billion euros over the whole year. , or more than the government’s recovery plan of 100 billion euros, underlines the economic daily.
While the government calls on the French to spend this money to revive the economy, some elected officials are calling for an increase in taxation on this surplus placed mainly in regulated savings accounts or current accounts.
Savings as a “war fund”?
“Everyone agrees on the observation and the need, but there is a real ideological blockage to mobilize this savings more usefully than on simple liquid investments “, estimates from Echos Rémi Féraud, Socialist senator and member of the Finance Committee, recalling that Nicolas Sarkozy had implemented a financial tax system after the 2008 crisis. “Shouldn’t this savings be considered a war fund?” , ironically emphasizes his socialist colleague Thierry Cozic, in reference to the statements of Emmanuel Macron who had assured at the beginning of the crisis that France was at war.
A request motivated in particular by the profile of savers. “20% of the wealthiest households have accumulated 70% of this savings “, recalls Thierry Cozic, citing figures from the Economic Analysis Council (CAE).” The worsening of inequalities lends itself to an exceptional contribution from the better-off and from the winning activities of the crisis “, insists Rémi Féraud.
Last Wednesday, Senator LR Emmanuel Capus, for his part, declared during a hearing entitled “How to better orient and mobilize the financial savings of households linked to the health crisis to support the recovery?” that “the State has a role to play” so that this “available savings” is “invested in the future”.
“We must not consider the savings of the French as a pot to draw from”, considers Valérie Plagnol, president of the Cercle des Epargnants, who explains that if savers are also “wait-and-see” with their savings, it is because of uncertainty about the future.
The government rejects for the moment any increase in taxation.