Published: Tue, December 11, 2018
Markets | By Otis Pena

Macron to speed up tax cuts, raise wages after protests

Macron to speed up tax cuts, raise wages after protests

French President Emmanuel Macron has pledged to cut taxes for pensioners and raise the minimum wage in January - but refused to reinstate a wealth tax, as he sought to respond to a wave of protests that have challenged his authority.

Speaking with a soft voice and gentle tone, Macron pleaded during a brief televised address for a return to calm after nearly four weeks of protests that started in neglected provinces to oppose fuel tax increases and progressed to rioting in Paris.

The 40-year-old leader said his government will also ask private employers to pay their workers year-end bonuses if they're able to.

The first concrete proposal from the French leader was a 100 euro per month increase in the minimum inter-professional growth wage (SMIC) formally known as the guaranteed minimum wage, which will begin in the new year.

The French leader also said an unpopular tax hike for pensioners, introduced by his government, would be scrapped.

"I know that I have hurt some of you with my statements".

(AAP) Yellow vests protesters listening french president Emmanuel Macron speaking during a special address to the nation.

He said that the protests by mostly low-income people in rural France were the result of long-term problems.

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Nicolas Sarkozy, the former French president who quit the political stage two years ago, did not rule out a comeback to politics in the event of a national crisis.

"We want a France where one can live in dignity through one's work and on this we have gone too slowly", Macron said on primetime television. We have ended up getting used to it.

Fallout from the protests so far could cost France 0.1 percent of gross domestic product in the last quarter of the year, Le Maire warned.

President Emmanuel Macron has acknowledged he's partially responsible for the anger that has fueled weeks of protests in France, an unusual admission for the leader elected previous year.

"Our country is deeply divided, between those who see that globalization has benefited them and others who can't make ends meet, who say. globalization is not an opportunity but a threat", Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told RTL.

Named after the fluorescent yellow safety vests French motorists must carry, the protests erupted on November 17.

Nationwide, an estimated 136,000 people turned out for protests - the same number as a week previously.

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