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France slashes 2011 budget

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France slashes 2011 budget
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French Economy Minister Christine Lagarde has unveiled plans for nearly 40 billion euros of spending cuts next year to slash France’s budget deficit.

They include curbs on civil service spending and the scrapping of tax breaks

Lagarde said she hoped this would reassure financial markets worries about European government debt levels.

The budget bill was presented to parliament and did not impress the opposition.

Socialist Jérôme Cahuzac, Chairman of the Parliamentary Finance Committee said: “The bottom line is: the middle classes are going to pay, that is one of the plan’s characteristics. This is unfair, because never since 1995 have they (the middle classes) been asked to make such vast sacrifices.”

There will be cuts to a wide range of public services including health, education and policing.

Next year, at almost 47 billion euros, paying for the national debt will become the largest single item in the budget, more than spending on education, as the government tries to cut the deficit to six percent of gross domestic product from this year’s 7.7 percent.

France’s trade unions plan more protests and strikes against the budget bill which they have described as an austerity package.