Wednesday, February 1, 2023

The Borne government, the most expensive of the Fifth Republic

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According to a study, the overall cost of the Borne government has increased by 4.3% compared to its predecessor. However, the number of ministers has not changed.
Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne at the National Assembly, October 18.  Behind her, on the government benches, Bruno Le Maire, Franck Riester and Eric Dupond-Moretti (from left to right)

It has become a kind of ritual, except that this time it contains something new. Like every year, therefore, René Dosière, president of the Observatory of public ethics and former PS deputy, peeled the “budgetary yellow”. In this copious document he has, as usual, assessed the overall cost of the Borne government, adding up the emoluments of the ministers, the remuneration of the advisers as well as the salaries of the drivers, cooks and gardeners (among others) of the ministries. The result is amazing. With a total amount of 174 million euros, the government of Elisabeth Borne turns out to be “the most expensive of the 43 governments of the Fifth Republic, up 4.3% compared to the Castex government”, worries René Dosière. . The government of Jean Castex was already, let us remember,

How to explain this somewhat confusing result in a period of concern about French purchasing power? Has the government grown in number? Not even: if we add the Prime Minister, it has the same number of ministers (42) as last year, under the rule of Jean Castex. Each of them, on the other hand, recruited a little more than its predecessor. René Dosière counted 565 ministerial advisers (i.e. 13.5 per minister), against 559 during the previous government.

Another explanation: not only are these advisers more numerous, but they are also better paid. The individual gross remuneration of ministerial advisers amounts to 8,495 euros per month on average, against 8,225 under Castex, i.e. an average increase of 3.3%. “We can estimate at around 20% the number of advisers who are better paid than their minister”, notes the president of the Observatory of public ethics. René Dosière observes, however, that the average remuneration of the Prime Minister’s office is down (9,979 euros gross, against 10,282 last year, or -2.9%).

The government is also made up of so-called “support” personnel, who provide stewardship to the cabinets. These are ushers, secretaries, drivers, etc. Their number has, again, increased, while their workload does not seem to have increased since last year. They number 2,257, compared to 2,234 in the previous government. In total, the Borne government includes 2,822 people, an increase of just over 1% (2,793 in 2021).

The Prime Minister’s cabinet is the most feminine of the Fifth Republic

In detail, the salary of Elisabeth Borne as well as the representation costs of Matignon amount to 2.2 million, and those of her advisers to 9.3 million. The cost of ministers is 10.3 million euros, and that of advisers 50.2 million euros. If we add support staff, Matignon’s total bill for 2022 is 32 million euros, that of the government 142 million (i.e. 174 million euros in total). But René Dosière warns: “Despite its importance, this figure must be put into perspective: for 1,000 euros of public expenditure, it counts for 12 euro cents, when the daily amount of debt interest reaches 144 million! It is true that it is a more symbolic expense, which attracts more attention. .

The president of the Observatory of public ethics also finds some reasons for satisfaction. “The cabinet of the Prime Minister is the most feminine of the governments of the Fifth Republic with 43% of women, against 26% in the previous cabinet”, he notes. Small consolation, to be honest. René Dosière regrets that many government expenditures still do not appear in the budget document which serves as a basis for his work. In 2021, in a report devoted to ministerial cabinets, the Court of Auditors made the following recommendation: “Precisely identify in the budget yellow the appropriations allocated to the operating and representation expenses of the cabinet. In vain, so far.

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