"The State takes a large part in the Covid crisis," assured Tuesday Gérald Darmanin the Minister of Public Accounts during a hearing before the Finance and Social Affairs commissions of the National Assembly.
"Today to date", the deficit in the planned state budget is "220 billion" euros, 50 billion more than the figure in the amending budget presented in early April by the government. "It is more than four times the social security deficit," he said.
"Very worrying figures"
The health crisis "plunges public accounts in general and particularly the social accounts," said the minister.
"As I speak, we are at a deterioration of 52.2 billion euros (the Social Security budget in 2020), that is to say that we have a deterioration (.. .) of just over 10 billion euros ”. "Obviously these are very worrying figures," he added. At the end of April, the minister was counting on a 41 billion euro deficit in Social Security.
A decrease in the wage bill
In one month, the economic forecasts of the executive have deteriorated: Tuesday morning, the Minister of the Economy, Bruno Le Maire, announced a recession of -11% this year, against -8% previously. The payroll, on which social security contributions are deducted, should for its part experience an "attrition" of 9.7%, against 7.5% previously, said Gérald Darmanin.
Despite this new revision, the Minister of Public Accounts excluded on Tuesday from presenting a bill to finance social security (PLFSS) correction, the government's forecasts being at this stage still very dependent on the development of the situation.
"Things must stabilize, which I believe will start with deconfinement," he said, saying he wanted to wait to clarify the trajectory planned by the government for social accounts.
A return to balance within four or five years?
Asked by the chairman of the Finance Committee Eric Woerth (LR), Gérald Darmanin nevertheless mentioned a possible return to social security balance in four or five years.
"We could imagine" this return to "the horizon of the year 2024-2025, but it is not a goal for the moment totally displayed, as we do not know exactly the basis from which we will leave this year" , he explained.
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The social security deficit reached 1.9 billion euros in 2019. The government had initially announced a return to historic financial equilibrium for that year, but had to revise its copy in the fall due to the Yellow Vests crisis.