France more than doubles the crisis budget to 100 billion euros

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FILE PHOTO: French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire addresses French economic actors and the press at the Bercy Finance Ministry in Paris, France, on January 7, 2020 during his New Year’s speech. REUTERS / Charles Platiau / File Photo

PARIS (Reuters) – The French government more than doubled on Thursday the cost of its crisis response measures to cope with the worst recession since at least the Second World War, pushing the budget deficit and public debt to levels record.

Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told Les Echos that the government now expects its crisis program to cost 100 billion euros (108.6 billion dollars), or more than 4% of GDP and up from expectations by 45 billion euros less than a month ago.

“These figures may change further as the economic situation and the needs for support of businesses evolve rapidly. We will do everything to save our businesses, ”said Le Maire.

Next Wednesday, the government will release its second update to the 2020 budget, according to the Mayor’s forecast, that the economy should contract by 6% – the most since 1945.

With free economic activity and burgeoning crisis spending, the public sector budget deficit would reach 7.6% of economic output this year, said Minister of Budget Gerald Darmanin in a joint interview with Le Mayor.

Leigh Thomas report, edited by William Maclean

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