In 2015, the public deficit reached 3.5% of GDP, the compulsory levies ratio decreased by 0.3 points at 44.5% of GDPGeneral government national accounts - first results - year 2015

In 2015, public deficit reached -€77.4 bn, accounting for -3.5% of GDP after -4.0% of GDP in 2014. As a share of GDP, revenue decreased from 53.4% to 53.2%. Expenditure went down from 57.3% to 56.8%. The compulsory levies ratio decreased by 0.3 points at 44.5% of GDP.

Erratum: this Informations rapides replaces and supersedes the issue published on 25 March 2016 at 7:30 am, as the figures in the raws “current taxes on income and wealth” and “taxes on products and production” were reversed in the table on expenditures and revenues of general government.

Warning : each year at the end of March, Insee publishes preliminary results of the national accounts of general government. They match the estimates notified at the European Commission on public debt and deficit. Data may be revised in the complete publication of the 2015 provisional national accounts, on May 30th 2016.

In 2015, public deficit reached −€77.4 bn, accounting for −3.5% of GDP after −4.0% of GDP in 2014. As a share of GDP, revenue decreased from 53.4% to 53.2%. Expenditure went down from 57.3% to 56.8%. The compulsory levies ratio decreased by 0.3 points at 44.5% of GDP.

TableauA – Ratios of public finances

Ratios of public finances
(in % of GDP) 2012 2013 2014 2015
Public deficit –4.8 –4.0 –4.0 –3.5
Public debt (gross, according to the Maastricht definition) 89.6 92.4 95.3 95.7
Public net debt* 80.6 83.6 86.5 86.9
Public revenues 52.0 52.9 53.4 53.2
Public expenditures 56.8 57.0 57.3 56.8
Compulsory levies 43.8 44.8 44.8 44.5
(Variation in %)
Total expenditure 3.0 1.6 1.8 1.4
Expenditure excluding interest charges 2.9 2.1 1.9 1.6
Expenditure excluding tax credit 3.1 1.7 1.0 0.9
  • * The public net debt is equal to the gross public debt according to the Maastricht definition minus deposits, loans and negotiable debt securities owned by general governement on other sectors of the economy.
  • Sources : Insee, DGFiP, DGTrésor, March 2016 notification.

Expenditure increased by 1.4% in 2015 after +1.8% in 2014

Operating expenditure rose by 1.2% in 2015 like in 2014. Intermediate consumption went up anew (+1.5% after –1.1% in 2014) whereas wage compensation decelerated (+1.0% after +2.0%). The interest charges went down sharply (−4.5%) due to a further lowering in interest rates.

Social benefits slowed down: +1.8% after +2.2% in 2014. Benefits in kind decelerated (+2.1% after +2.7%) thanks to a smaller growth in health care expenditure. As well, social benefits in cash decelerated (+1.7% after +2.1%) due to family allowances decline. Conversely, unemployment benefits accelerated in 2015 (+3.2% after +1.3% in 2014).

TableauB – Expenditures and revenues of general government

(in billions of Euros)
Expenditures and revenues of general government
2014 2015 15/14 (%)
Operating expenditures** 394.4 399.0 1.2
of which intermediate consumption** 105.2 106.7 1.5
of which compensation of employees 278.6 281.5 1.0
Interests** 50.9 48.6 –4.5
Social benefits 557.3 567.4 1.8
Other transfers and subsidies 141.9 150.5 6.0
Acquisitions less disposals of non-financial assets 82.2 77.9 –5.2
of which gross fixed capital formation 79.4 75.3 –5.1
Total expenditures 1226.6 1243.4 1.4
Sales and other revenues 86.5 88.3 2.1
Property income 14.9 15.3 2.6
Taxes 611.4 629.2 2.9
of which current taxes on income and wealth 270.8 274.6 1.4
of which taxes on products and production 336.8 347.7 3.2
Effective social contributions 366.3 370.1 1.0
Other receipts* 62.7 63.1 0.7
Total revenues 1141.8 1166.0 2.1
Net lending (+) or net borrowing (−) –84.8 –77.4
  • * including imputed social contributions.
  • ** excluding financial intermediation services indirectly measured (FISIM).
  • Sources:INSEE, DGFiP, DGTrésor, March 2016 notification.

Other transfers and subsidies rose by +6.0% (+8.2% in 2014), increasing by +€8.6 bn. In particular, subsidies on wages due to the new tax credit for competitiveness and jobs (crédit d'impôt pour la compétitivité et l'emploi, CICE) amounted to €16.5 bn, +€6.3 bn compared with 2014. This rise is explained by the increase of the tax credit rate from 4% to 6% of wages.

Net acquisition of non-financial assets – fixed assets, stocks and lands – shrunk by 5.2% in 2015 (−€4.3 bn) after a 6.4% decrease in 2014. Indeed, local government investment fell (–€4.6 bn), as a repercussion of electoral cycle in municipalities. Investment of the social security funds also declined (−€0.9 bn of which ○€0.7 bn came from hospitals). These decreases were partially offset by an increase from State Government (+€1.4 bn).

All in all, expenditure excluding interest charges went up by 1.6% (after +1.9% in 2014), significantly faster than inflation (zero growth in 2015). Expenditure excluding tax credit increased by 0.9% in 2015 after 1.0% in 2014.

Revenue increased by +2.1% after +2.0% in 2014

Taxes on income and wealth rose by +1.4% after +0.5% in 2014, an increase partly explained by the growth in the contribution sociale généralisée (CSG) and in the contribution pour le remboursement de la dette sociale (CRDS - social debt repayment contribution) (+€3.4 bn). Personal income tax increased by +€0.3 bn in 2015 (after +€1.1 bn in 2014). Corporate tax (before impact of tax credits) increased by +€4.8 bn after +€9.3 bn in 2014. Conversely, the tax on systemic risks of the banks decreased by −€0.4 bn because of a gradual abolition of this tax.

Taxes on product and production accelerated (+3.2% after +2.4% in 2014). VAT increased by €3.2 bn after €3.7 bn in 2014. Other taxes contributed to the buoyancy of revenue: the droits de mutation à titre onéreux (tax on real estate transactions) for +€1.5bn, the contribution au service public de l'électricité (electricity bill tax) for +€1.3bn, the taxe foncière sur les propriétés bâties (land tax) for +€1,0bn.

Social contributions slowed down (+1.0% after + 2.6%). The employees contributions decelerated (+2.0% after +3.2%) as pension contribution rates increased less in 2015 than in 2014. The reduction of the family contribution rate for independent workers caused the decrease in their contributions (−1.0% after +2.7% in 2014). Employers contributions slowed too (+0.6% after +2.4%) due to the reduction of family contribution rates for low wages.

TableauC – Net lending (+) or net borrowing (-) by sub-sectors

(in billions of euros)
Net lending (+) or net borrowing (-) by sub-sectors
2012 2013 2014 2015
The State –81.6 –69.6 –75.3 –71.3
Central agencies –2.6 1.4 2.9 –1.1
Local governement –3.5 –8.3 –4.6 0.7
Social security funds –12.7 –8.8 –7.9 –5.7
  • Sources : Insee, DGFiP, DGTrésor, March 2016 notification.

The reduction in general government net borrowing in 2015 was mainly due to local government. The latter recorded a net lending of €0.7 bn (after a €4.6 bn deficit in 2014) mostly due to the decrease in fixed capital formation (−€ 4.6 bn, i.e. −10%).

The deficit of social security funds also improved by €2.2 bn, the losses caused by the decrease in social contributions rates being offset by less expenditure (especially housing benefits which are transferred in State expenditure).

The State deficit decreased by €4.0 bn, in particular because of the end of the second program “Investing for the future”. Symetrically, the deficit of Central agencies, that benefited from this program in 2014, increased by €4.0 bn.

The Maastricht debt grew by 0.4 points of GDP

At the end of 2015, the Maastricht debt accounted for €2,096.9 bn, a €56.6 bn year-on-year growth after a €85.9 bn increase in 2014. Maastricht debt is the gross consolidated debt of the general government, measured at face value. It reached 95.7% of GDP at the end of 2015, after 95.3% at the end of 2014. The net public debt had a similar growth, reaching 86.9% of GDP after 86.5% at the end of 2014.

The State contribution to debt rose by €49.8 bn, a variation lower than its net borrowing (€71.3 bn). The contribution of central agencies (central government units other than the State) decreased by -€3.8 bn, of which –€2.1 bn from the Fonds de garantie des dépôts et de résolution exiting the general government perimeter.

Local governement debt reached €196.5 bn at the end of 2015 compared to € 189.5 bn at the end of 2014, an increase of €7.0 bn, despite a net lending of €0.7 bn. Local governement increased their deposits at the French Treasury by €5.1bn.

Social security funds contribution to debt grew by €3.6 bn to stand at €220.3 bn at the end of 2015.

TableauD – Maastricht debt and net debt

(in billions of euros)
Maastricht debt and net debt
Maastricht debt Net debt
2014 2015 2014 2015
General government 2040.3 2096.9 1850.6 1904.1
Of which
The State 1611.4 1661.2 1510.3 1556.7
Central agencies 22.7 18.9 6.3 2.9
Local governement 189.5 196.5 177.3 184.0
Social security funds 216.7 220.3 156.7 160.5
  • Sources : Insee, DGFiP, DGTrésor, March 2016 notification.