October 8, 2017 / 2:26 PM / 10 months ago

Macron's lawmakers to propose levy on yachts, gold after wealth tax uproar

PARIS (Reuters) - Lawmakers from Emmanuel Macron’s party will propose an amendment to France’s 2018 budget to tax luxury yachts, supercars and precious metals, a senior party official said, after opponents attacked the president’s move to scrap France’s wealth tax.

French President Emmanuel Macron is seen prior to his meeting with Iraqi Prime minister Haider Al-Abadi at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, October 5, 2017. REUTERS/Ludovic Marin/Pool

Macron last week made good on a campaign pledge to abolish the wealth tax, a symbol of social justice for the left but blamed by others for driving thousands of millionaires abroad.

Left-wing opponents said the move was proof Macron was a “president of the rich”, a label the former Rothschild banker has been struggling to shake off since taking office in May.

A planned nationwide strike by public workers on Tuesday will put more pressure on Macron.

The wealth tax, introduced by the Socialists in the 1980s, was levied on individuals with assets above 1.3 million euros ($1.5 million).

It was to be replaced by a real estate tax but yachts, jewellery and luxury cars were to escape, even if the finance minister left the door open to a change of heart.

“The idea of the wealth tax reform was that there should not be a brake on contributors to economic production, that we suppress taxes that deter investors,” Richard Ferrand, leader of the Republic on the Move parliamentary group, told Ouest France.

“Taxing real estate wealth is compatible with this, but goods such as yachts, luxury cars or precious metals do not contribute to the productive economy either.”

Ferrand said he had the government’s backing to introduce the amendment.

Seeking to stave off accusations of a volte-face, Ferrand said: “Re-introducing taxes on these items does not contradict the spirit of the reform.”

The 2018 budget bill is due to be studied by parliament’s finance commission this week.

($1 = 0.8523 euros)

Reporting by Sophie Louet; Writing by Richard Lough; Editing by Keith Weir

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