It is a measure of how much the ideological climate has changed over the last thirty years that Francois Hollande’s announcement today – that he would increase France’s top rate of income tax to 75% – seems so outlandish.
Even by European standards, a top-rate of tax at this level would make France a real outlier. Currently, Sweden has the highest top-rate of tax in Europe at 56.5%. Germany’s top rate is 47.5% and France is at just 41%. The fact that Britain has a top-rate of 50% – currently significantly higher than France – is a source of considerable embarrassment to George Osborne, the UK chancellor. He, for one, would be delighted if Mr Hollande is elected president of France in May, and makes good on his promise. Read more