“It is always a question of helping our country to cope with the increase in energy prices”, insisted the Minister of Public Accounts Gabriel Attal, heard in the middle of the day by the Finance Committee of the Assembly. national.

In the “direct lineage” of the first amending finance bill, the text “translates a desire to support and protect in a context where inflation remains at a high level” (6.2% over one year in October according to the provisional estimate from INSEE), he added.

To cushion the shock of rising prices, the government therefore provides for the payment of a new energy check for the most modest, in the amount of 1.5 billion euros, but also the extension of the rebate at the pump. until November 15, for 440 million euros. It adds an envelope of 275 million euros to help universities and research organizations cope with soaring energy costs and another of 200 million euros for the fuel expenses of the Ministry of the Armed Forces.

Aid “punctual and not able to cope with the decline in purchasing power”, regretted the chairman of the Finance Commission Eric Coquerel (La France insoumise).

– Less deficit –

On the side of the National Rally, the deputy Jean-Philippe Tanguy was indignant at the absence of aid for wood heating and the renunciation of the government to set up a “food voucher”, several times mentioned but never materialized in because of its complexity.

Several Finance Commissioners also protested the very short time between sending the text to the committee on Tuesday evening and the hearing.

Faced with requests for additional expenditure, the government has shown its concern to control the public accounts. The executive also anticipates a deficit reduced to 4.9% of GDP in 2022, against 5% in its previous estimate.

At the end of the third quarter, net tax revenue stood at 227.9 billion euros, up around 17% over one year (195 billion euros in 2021), according to data published Wednesday by Bercy .

The state will also recover two billion euros from the sums it had planned under state-guaranteed loans (PGE) to deal with possible unpaid debts, thanks to lower payment defaults.

On the other hand, the government is not modifying its other macroeconomic forecasts for 2022, with GDP (gross domestic product) growth of 2.7% and inflation at 5.4%, not including tobacco prices (5.3% in taking into account).

– ‘Plausible’ –

Expectations that the High Council of Public Finances (HCFP) considers “credible” and “plausible” despite “uncertainties”.

Hearing Wednesday afternoon at the Assembly, its president Pierre Moscovici lamented that the HCFP did not have third quarter growth figures when delivering its opinion.

According to data published by INSEE, GDP rose by 0.2% this summer. Given this information, “in the absence of revision, growth of 0.5% would be necessary in the 4th quarter to reach 2.7% for the year as a whole”, explained Pierre Moscovici.

Which makes the president of the HCFP say that “the government’s growth forecast remains achievable, but that it is now a little bit high”.

Examination of the draft amending budget will begin in the National Assembly on November 7, then on November 14 in the Senate.

His presentation comes as a parliamentary battle has been underway for several days in the Assembly around the vote on the 2023 budget for the State and Social Security.

Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne has already drawn three times the constitutional weapon of 49.3, which allows a text to be passed without a vote by engaging the responsibility of the government. A fourth appeal to 49.3 could be decided in the coming days to have the entire finance bill adopted at first reading.