French President Francois Hollande said on Wednesday he would accelerate reforms to boost growth, highlighting steps to increase homebuilding and give tax breaks to poorer households as he tries to win back voter confidence.
The most unpopular French president in modern history has come under growing fire from both the opposition and ruling Socialist party lawmakers over his economic policy. His government was forced to abandon growth and fiscal targets last week.
As he prepares for tough negotiations on the 2015 budget both at home and with France’s EU partners, Hollande sought in an interview with Le Monde to explain that he would work on both fronts: reform France and help low-income households.
“We need to go faster and further,” he said in the interview. “I want to accelerate reforms to boost growth as fast as possible,” he said, starting with home construction.
He gave no concrete details beyond saying the plan would tackle taxation, regulatory and financing issues for construction.
Housing has become a major headache for the government, with housing starts in France down to a 16-year low – a serious drag on the economy. Property developers blame the problem partly on regulations that took effect this year to set rent limits in cities with more than 50,000 people.