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Wealthy French citizens 'moving to London'

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Many wealthy people in France are opting to leave the country to escape upcoming changes to its tax regime, an expert has noted.

Francois Hollande, the French president, intends to hike the tax rate for those who earn more than €1 million a year in order to help tackle the nation's budget deficit.

However, the introduction of a 75 per cent tax rate has not been warmly welcomed among high earners and is prompting some to look at moving to places such as the UK.

Francois Tripet, a tax lawyer based in Paris, told BBC News: "They have already taken the decision to quit France, to reside either in London because of its attractive tax regime, or in Brussels and to a lesser extent Geneva."

He stressed it is not unusual for French nationals to live and work in another country, as it is a popular lifestyle choice among "ambitious and well qualified" people.

However, Mr Tripet said the concern at the moment is that many of these people may choose not to come back.

He noted that in the past, French people living abroad have been encouraged to go home when they "settle down and start a family" by the country's excellent tax breaks for families, generous benefits and good quality education system.

"The danger is that very high tax rates make it less likely that they will return," Mr Tripet remarked.

France's business community is also concerned about the likely impact of the new tax rate for top earners.

According to the Paris Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the move targets many of the country's "talented entrepreneurs" who are needed to drive economic development.

However, president of the body Pierre-Antoine Gailly acknowledged the 75 per cent tax rate will only be in place temporarily until France's budget deficit drops below three per cent.

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