France Doubles Budget Deficit In 2020, Debt Tops 2 Trillion Euros - Court Of Audit

MOSCOW (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 13th April, 2021) France's spending deficit has doubled over the past pandemic year, with government debt reaching more than 2 trillion Euros, the national Court of Audit, responsible for public accounts, said on Tuesday.

"The deficit increased considerably (+ 85bn) compared to 2019, reaching 178bn in 2020. As a result, the state debt experienced a very strong increase (+ 178bn) and has reached 2,001 billion," the court said in a report on the state budget in 2020.

According to the court, the pandemic cost the state budget some 93 billion euros. Additional expenditure linked to the coronavirus amounted to 49.7 billion euros, while revenue losses reached 37.3 billion euros, of which 32.3 billion were tax revenue losses.

However, the body went on, besides the health crisis, the rates of state deficit and debt resulted from "a sustained increase in other government spending," noting that it amounts to 90.5 billion euros, or 27.8 percent over the period from 2018-2021.

The audit court also voiced uncertainties about state expenses for the current year, taking into account the duration of support measures for businesses. The latter include state-guaranteed loans and a special solidarity fund providing aid payments for COVID-19-hit companies, and the so-called partial unemployment scheme, under which companies receive state payments to partly cover the wages of their employees.

France has entered the third nationwide lockdown to curb the pandemic in early April, which entails closures of non-essential shops, public places, cultural venues, and other businesses among other restrictions.