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France to reduce growth in public spending from 2011

FRANCE plans to cut growth in public spending to less than 1 per cent a year from 2011 to cut the country’s ballooning budget deficit, the French prime minister said at the weekend.

Paris plans the cuts to reduce the deficit to 3 per cent of gross domestic product by 2013 from this year’s level of 8.2 per cent of gross domestic product, Francois Fillon said.

Fillon said a “national mobilisation” of unprecedented scale would be needed at state and regional level to achieve the savings plan, which he will present to Brussels this week.

The prime minister told French daily Le Figaro that the cuts would involve freezing ministerial budgets and similar action at local level.

Growth in spending on health insurance is targeted to fall below 3 per cent from 5-6 per cent a few years ago and the government will cut the country’s army of civil servants by not replacing one of every two who leave over a five year period.

Fillon said no government had ever matched the proposals drawn up by the right of centre administration led by President Nicolas Sarkozy.

“With the president of the Republic, we are determined to make unprecedented efforts which (will) require a national mobilisation,”