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Expats fuel French business boom in UK

Wednesday, April 30, 2014 - 02:20

April 30 - An influx of French expats to London, escaping President Hollande's 'super tax' is fuelling a new network of Francophone firms. Hayley Platt visits a French run medical centre and asks other French firms why Britain is the place to be.

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Anne-Lise Dieu has come to see her doctor. They're both French but this isn't France. La Maison Medicale is run by the French for the French in London's South Kensington. An epicentre for the capital's rapidly growing French population. And it's giving rise to a thriving new industry keen to target their needs. SOUNDBITE: Anne-Lise Dieu, French ex-pat, saying (English): "I'm not very articulate when it comes to the medical vocabulary so even though I can speak English, I do feel a lot more comfortable in my mother-tongue especially when you are talking to a doctor about specific things, it's easier in French." Anne-Lise is one of around 400,000 French citizens now living in London - making it the sixth-largest French populated city in the world. A number of top earners have fled France to avoid paying President Hollande's 75 percent 'supertax'. Others are unhappy that after almost two years` in power, he's failed to turn around the economy or tackle unemployment. SOUNDBITE: Dr Jean-Michael Barbeste, La Maison Medicale, saying (English): "Many of the French people are fed-up with the tax system in France and they're not very confident about the future. Every week I have 3,4,5 doctors call me and would like to come over." There are currently more than 700 French firms operating in London. That's a near 30 percent increase in 5 years. Making the move recently, French beauty chain Caudalie. They've open their first UK store in London's Covent Garden in February, when founder Bertrand Thomas said confidence in France was particularly low. SOUNDBITE: Bertrand Thomas, founder, Caudalie, saying (English): "It's becoming more and more difficult to do business in France, that's a fact. You have an international community here, you feel that there is business going on here much more than in Paris, that's what's attracting the French people." Originally from France, business partners Pierre Durand and Jonathan Cadeilhan run Vape Lab in east-London. It's a coffee shop which allows its customers to smoke electronic cigarettes. SOUNDBITE: Jonathan Cadeilhan, Co-founder of Vape Lab, saying (English): "Everything is simple over here, if you want to create a company, if you want to register the company you can do it online in less than 30 mins." Economic confidence will, it's claimed, return to a France still struggling to get to grips with labour market and economic reforms. For now, 'though, London's burgeoning community of ex-pats are happy to seek their fortunes elsewhere.

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Expats fuel French business boom in UK

Wednesday, April 30, 2014 - 02:20