French lawmakers back extra savings and tax relief in 2014 budget

PARIS, July 1 Tue Jul 1, 2014 10:57am EDT

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PARIS, July 1 (Reuters) - France's lower house of parliament backed on Tuesday a supplementary budget for 2014 by 307 votes to 232, as the government managed to contain opposition within its own ruling Socialist party ranks.

Together with the social security budget on which lawmakers will vote next week, the updated budget plans an extra 4 billion euros in public spending cuts and tax relief for nearly 4 million households as Paris tries to meet deficit targets while assuaging concerns of angry voters.

A number of Socialist party lawmakers - about 30 out of 292 - had criticised the budget bills, saying President Francois Hollande was doing too much to cut tax on business and not enough to help low and middle-income households.

The extra budget aims to keep France on track with its plan to bring its public deficit down to 3.8 percent of GDP this year and 3 percent next year. The European Commission warned last month it considered France's forecasts were too optimistic and that it needed to do more to meet EU deadlines in 2015.

Some 3.7 million households will benefit from tax relief measures at a total cost of 1.1 billion euros for the budget.

The supplementary budget bill will now go to the upper house of parliament, before a final vote in the lower house of parliament on July 15. (Reporting by Emile Picy and Ingrid Melander; editing by Mark John)

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