Posted Jul 22, 2022, 10:06 AMUpdated on Jul 22, 2022 at 10:46 am
Agitated for weeks, but each time dismissed, the threat of an exceptional tax on companies that profit from the crisis has regained strength in recent days. Faced with the specter of this contribution and just before the Assembly’s examination of the amending budget from this Friday afternoon, the two groups particularly targeted – Total and CMA-CGM – have just announced new measures against inflation.
“TotalEnergies will apply a discount at the pump of 20 cents per liter between September and November in all its service stations, then at 10 cents per liter for the rest of the year”, indicates a press release from the oil group this Friday. This rebate is in addition to the aid of 18 centimes per liter granted by the government to deal with soaring fuel prices.
The French champion of maritime transport CMA CGM indicated this Friday also in a press release new discounts on its tariffs, stressing that it “intensifies its effort to support the purchasing power of French households and the economy”.
The group, which has made colossal profits of 18 billion euros, will lower prices by 750 euros per container for imports from Asia from August. The carrier had already announced discounts for some of its customers at the end of June, but the government considered this effort insufficient.
The idea of a tax on “surplus profits” that has long been demanded by the left has gained strength in recent days, as Spain has joined the European countries adopting this solution. Some elected Republicans have shown themselves open to this proposal. And even within the presidential majority, voices have openly called for this measure to be taken so that companies which have benefited from a situational annuity since the war in Ukraine show solidarity with the French.
During his interview on July 14, Emmanuel Macron remained evasive on this subject. “There will be a contribution but it will not be in demagogy,” he said, leaving the debate open.
Bercy, he has never hidden his hostility to the principle of a new tax which, in his eyes, would risk annihilating the psychological effect of the massive tax cuts granted to companies since the first five-year term of Emmanuel Macron. “I prefer money directly in the pocket of the French rather than the Pavlovian reflex of yet another tax in a country which is full of so many,” repeated the Minister of the Economy, Bruno Le Maire this Friday morning, on BFMTV.
In the end, the government’s strategy consisted in brandishing this threat of a tax, which could be envisaged at the end of the year, to force the hand of businesses.
“The president of Total has understood that the French need purchasing power right away,” continued the tenant of Bercy, this Friday on BFMTV. Bruno Le Maire spoke of “intense negotiations”. On the subject of the term “crisis profiteers”, heard a lot in recent days, the minister called for a certain moderation: “Let’s avoid these somewhat brutal words”.
Fuels: Elisabeth Borne for a doubling of the tax-exempt aid
Elisabeth Borne opened the door this Friday to a doubling of the tax-free aid that companies can pay to employees to cover their fuel costs.
“The philosophy is to protect the purchasing power of all French people on fuel at the start of the school year, and that companies then take over,” said the Prime Minister, in an interview with the newspapers of the regional press group Ebra. “They could pay tax-free aid of up to 400 euros to their employees who have a high consumption, the equivalent of a discount of nearly 50 cents at the pump for an employee who travels 12,000 kilometers per year”, a she added.
This new measure could be integrated into the amending finance bill, the examination of which in the National Assembly begins this Friday afternoon.