Socialists propose tax incentives for Amiens
The town of Amiens in northern France has never seen so many politicians outside of an election period. After last week's riots the Interior Minister Emmanuel Walls visited the town. Then yesterday it was the turn of François Lamy, the minister in charge of urban development, to pay a visit. The latter brings hope to disappointed residents with new measures for employment.
The clashes between a hundred of young people and police, which cost millions of euros
worth of damage, provoked strong reactions from politicians. The Interior Minister raised
security issues. He announced he would track the offenders down, during his visit to the town which disappointed the residents from Amiens. Seven years after riots engulfed deprived areas across France, residents are still waiting for a change. For them, the problem is that nothing has been done to tackle with the causes of the violence.
“I agree with Emmanuel Walls, we need more safety in our neighbourhood. But this is not
enough to address the causes of the violence,” says Vladimir Mendes Borges, a 28 year old resident, socially active in the area.
“My dream would have been to see the Ministers for the Interior, Education, Industry and
Urban Development come all together immediately after the riots. This is because the
problem is multi-faceted,” Mendes Borges told RFI.
Part of his dream has been fulfilled as the Amiens’ residents not only received a reply to
improve safety, but François Lamy, the Minister for Urban Development, came one week
later with a proposition. He wants to implement tax-free jobs for people who are living in the most deprived areas.
The proposal is part of François Hollande’s political programme, a measure that has yet to be tested, to address the increasing unemployment in these areas. The previous government tried to encourage companies to set up in deprived neighbourhoods by giving them tax incentives. In Amiens, companies do have this advantage, but two out of three people under 25 are still out of work.
“It is not working,” says Vladimir Mendes Borges. “Only the big companies are forced to
recruit a third of their staff locally to qualify for tax breaks. For smaller companies they are
not bound by this rule relating to staffing. But if they do become bigger then they often just
leave the area."
This latest tax incentive proposed by the Socialists is part of a bigger scheme which aims to change urban development policies. Lamy will present his guidelines during a ministerial meeting on Wednesday. With one goal in mind: remain focused on the neediest areas.