The arms race to attract financial sector jobs post-Brexit has been escalated this week. The recently re-appointed French prime minister Edouard Philippe delivered a speech underlining the attractions of Paris to potential immigrants.
The phrase level playing field (or rather its French equivalent : afin d'assurer des regles due jeu équitables pour tous) enjoys a rare outing. This writer has studied the language since August 1968 without ever encountering it before today.
The most relevant sections are to be found on pages eight and nine of the speech transcript. They touch upon the easing of work permit regulation and reform of salary taxation, reducing the cost of labour and promoting higher employment.
Cutting redundancy costs
This will involve eliminating a tranche of taxation first levied in 1948 as a temporary measure to finance healthcare and the social and financial sectors. Another move is to reduce the cost of making people redundant.
This will be achieved, inter alia, by allowing employers to deduct bonuses and other additional payments when calculating redundancy payment entitlements. This is aimed very specifically at the financial sector.
The prime minister's speech emphasises the importance of the financial sector to France. It represents 4.5% of French value added tax revenues, the financial sector plays an essential role in financing companies and their development.
GDP contribution 10x automobile industry
The French language document adds that the contribution of the financial industry to gross domestic product is thus 10 times more than that of the automobile industry.
The sector employs some 800,000 people directly and an estimated similar number indirectly such as lawyers, accountants and data service providers. On average, one job in the financial sector creates up to three other jobs indirectly.
The banking sector alone hired 35,000 new recruits in 2014, says the prime minister in his speech. Insurance, asset and wealth management hired a further 30,000 new recruits in that year.
Generating €40bn a year
The financial sector is a significant contributor to the state budget and to the financing of public services such as education, transport and infrastructure. Taxes and levies on the banking and insurance industry generate €40bn a year.
This represents almost 5% of total state income and 11% of that generated by businesses. The development of the financial industry has positive effects on growth, employment, innovation and research.