Wealthy French people are making plans to leave the country in the event that the Socialist candidate wins the country’s Presidential election.
The astonishing claim emerged after the left-wing candidate for President stepped up his “soak the rich” rhetoric after voting in the first round of the election.
Socialist leader Francois Hollande is the current favourite to win the campaign with incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy trailing in second place but hoping to pick up votes from the far right candidatewho withdrew after the first round of balloting.
M.Hollande has gone down well with supporters by announcing that he would raise income tax to 45 per cent for the better off and introduce a special levy that would scoop up to 75 per cent of the income from anyone earning more than one million Euros ($1.3million).
The latest dash abroad by the wealthy began last year after President Sarkozy announced a crackdown on the wealthy but what was a trickle is now, apparently, turning into a potential flood with footballers, chief executives, financial traders and rock stars checking their passports.
The three key destinations are expected to be Belgium, Switzerland and London.
In fact London has already attracted a thriving community of French expats who mainly live in the upmarket areas of South West London, leading to the area being dubbed the “21st arrondissement of Paris.”
Much of the appeal lies in that the UK capital is one of the most multicultural in the world plus excellent transport links including the Eurostar which can take people from the heart of London to the heart of Paris in just a few hours.
One of the biggest estate agents in the capital,, says there has been a 20 per cent jump in the number of online inquiries from France about the most expensive areas of the city.
Other agents report that they have hired extra French speakers just to deal with the increased amount of interest. They are likely to find stiff competition for the most expensive homes as London has seen a huge jump in demand for super prime properties over the last few years. Overseas buyers have been competing to snap up homes because the UK is seen as a safe haven for investment.
The last major exodus of wealthy French people occurred back in 1981 when socialist Francois Mitterrand won the Presidency in alliance with the communists and imposed a wealth tax.