PARIS (Reuters) – The French government is accelerating the rollout of its economic stimulus plan by ploughing an extra billion euros into support for the industrial sector, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Monday.
The recovery plan aims to pull France out of crisis by injecting 100 billion euros ($120.5 billion) of public money into the euro zone’s second-biggest economy by the end of 2022.
Le Maire said there was no need to increase the overall amount of stimulus funds as the extra money for the industrial sector would be redirected from other programmes within the recovery plan where take-up was slower.
The wide-ranging plan gives a special focus to boosting the industrial sector, which has long struggled to be competitive and is heavily dependent on a handful industries such as aerospace, food processing, pharmaceuticals and luxury brands.
He said the extra billion euros was made up primarily of an additional 600 million euros in tax credits to encourage industrial firms to invest in digital technologies.
The ministry would also make available an additional 150 million euros in subsidies for industrial firms considering extending existing plants and a further 250 million euros in subsidies for industrial companies which relocate factories abroad to France.
Le Maire said that the stimulus money was being deployed faster than planned with 11 billion euros spent last year and a further 16 billion euros already this year in addition to 10 billion euros in tax cuts on a myriad of levies which French businesses have to pay.
He said the government was on course to meet a target of 40 billion euros in 2021 and to reach 6% economic growth despite restrictions to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
“My aim is to accelerate the deployment of the recovery plan no matter what the health conditions are,” Le Maire told journalists.
($1 = 0.8297 euros)
(Reporting by Leigh Thomas; editing by Jason Neely)