PARIS (Reuters) - French President Francois Hollande flagged plans to ease the tax burden on middle class voters and small companies while also making Paris a more attractive financial center after Britain's referendum to leave the European Union.
In a wide-ranging interview with Les Echos business newspaper released on Wednesday, Hollande said households would see their taxes trimmed by a further two billion euros ($2.2 billion) if growth proved to be at least 1.7 percent next year.
Hollande, who has pledged not to run for a second term in a presidential election next April unless unemployment falls convincingly, said that French growth would top 1.6 percent this year, allowing for 200,000 jobs to be created.
He said the fiscal burden on firms would also keep easing with a further five billion euros in tax cuts already planned to be focused on increasing an existing payroll tax relief scheme and cutting taxes for small and mid-sized firms.
The French Socialist leader, who once called the financial sector his main enemy during his 2012 election campaign, also hinted that it could benefit from tax relief to lure banking business from London.
"We need to adapt our regulations including for taxes to make Paris a more attractive financial center," Hollande said, adding that with Brexit, British financial institutions should lose their EU passport to sell their services on the continent.
Tax hikes at the start of his presidency sent Hollande's popularity plummeting to record lows, from which he has struggled to recover despite trimming some taxes since then.
He has also grappled with four months of protests and strikes by hardline unions enraged by a proposed labor reform to make hiring and firing easier while devolving decisions on pay and working conditions from the sector to the company level.
Hollande has refused to back down on the reform despite the standoff with unions and opposition from leftists in his party, threatening to use special constitutional powers to push it through parliament in the absence of a majority.
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(Reporting by Jean-Baptiste Vey and Leigh Thomas; Editing by Mark Heinrich)