Macron on welfare
Mr Macron said: “Look at our social policy. We plough crazy amounts of cash into minimum social benefits and yet people are still poor.
“There’s no way out. People who are born poor stay poor. We need something that will help lift people out of poverty,” Mr Macron can be heard saying in a video clip posted on Twitter by his communications chief, Sibeth Ndiaye.
“To sum things up: we’re putting too much cash into a welfare system that’s focused on corrective treatment and allowing people to shirk their responsibilities,” he continued as he discussed his ideas for overhauling the welfare state with his communications team hours before a speech he was due to give on social benefit reform.
“We need to prevent poverty and make people more accountable if we are to lift them out of poverty,” he added, before advocating full reimbursements on healthcare that focuses on preventing illness, a move he said would save costs further down the line.
“That’s why we’re doing it (the reforms). It’s about the smaller things, basics like dental care, eye glasses – those things carry a cost socially. And it’s politically dishonourable.”
“But spending more money isn’t always the solution,” he said later that day.
Mr Macron was propelled to power a year ago on a promise to transform France both economically and socially, but is facing growing criticism from members of the opposition, who have repeatedly accused him of pushing through tough policies that favour the rich over the poor.
The video clip released by Mr Macron’s office shows that the government is uncaring, his critics said.
“Mr Macron strokes egos and surfs on clichés – the poor are lazy, get too much help – in a bid to promote a liberal policy that only serves to exacerbate distress and poverty,” the Socialist party’s First Secretary, Olivier Faure, said on Twitter.
“Mr Macron, there is a simple solution to ending poverty: it’s called the redistribution of wealth. And yet you’re doing the exact opposite,” Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the firebrand leader of the far-left La France Insoumise (France Unbowed) party, tweeted.
Far-right chief Marine Le Pen, for her part, slammed the president’s “sickening ultra-liberal views,” telling France’s BFM TV news channel that Mr Macron was making the poor and the unemployed “bear the brunt of poverty”.