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France's new radical left coalition vows to giveaway £242bn and slap huge tax on the rich


The New Popular Front (NFP), the leftist coalition that came out on top of the French parliamentary election, has pledged to apply its tax and spend programme to the letter.

But the whirlwind of changes wanted by the group, which encompasses Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s hard-left France Unbowed as well as the Communist, Green and Socialist parties, would cost the French taxpayer several billion euros.

Emmanuel Macron’s Renaissance party claimed the NFP’s radical plan would require taxpayers to fork out £242billion (€287bn), while French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said a similar plan might cost around £84.50bn (€100bn) a year.

The Left coalition said its measures could cost at least £126bn (€150bn) over the next three years – that could be paid in part by the wealthiest French if the NFP manages to push through the inheritance tax it wants.

The measures the NFP has vowed to implement include raising the wages of civil servants in France by 10 percent, increasing the number of civil servants in the health and education sectors, more housing, more holidays and free organic school meals.

Moreover, the NFP programme backed a rise of the minimum wage by 14 percent, which would bring the rate from £1352 to £1690 (€1600 to €2000). The coalition also wants to lower the retirement age from 64 to 60 and freeze the prices of energy and essential goods.

Criticising the plan, Mr Le Maire said its application could spark a “financial crisis” and the “economic decline of France”.

He added: “This project is exorbitant, ineffective and dated. Its legitimacy is weak and circumstantial. It should not be applied.”

Mr Mélenchon said the NFP wants to apply the tax and spend programme it has campaigned on or not at all.

But while the NFP won the most seats on July 7, it is still 102 MPs short of an absolute majority that would allow it to govern alone – which means it will need to strike an alliance and water down its pledges if it wants to lead France at all.

The results of the second turn of the French election surprised many after the far-right National Rally appeared set for a victory after taking the lead in the first turn on June 30.

On Sunday, the NFP won 1587 seats out of the 577 in the National Assembly. Mr Macron’s centrist coalition, which on June 30 performed poorly, came in second with 159 seats, while Marine Le Pen’s National Rally won 142 seats.

The poor performance of Ms Le Pen’s party on the second turn could be attributed to the centrist and leftist forces striking deals across France to create a cordon sanitaire against the rise of the National Rally, which saw candidates of either the NFP or Mr Macron’s group drop out of the race to avoid splitting the anti-right votes.

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