By Simon Miller

France has slapped €1.1bn (£0.88bn) of extraordinary taxes on large banks and energy firms holding oil stocks in a bid to cut its deficit and plug a revenue shortfall due to its weak economy.

The socialist government will also hit individuals with a net wealth of more than €1.3m with a one-off levy of €2.3bn as part of a raft of tax rises worth around €7.2bn in its 2012 budget to be presented later this month.

France is battling to cut its deficit from 5.2% of GDP to within 4.5% this year and 3% in 2013 in light of a struggling economy and rising debt.

The state auditor warned on Monday that €6bn to €10bn were needed in 2012 and €33bn in 2013 if France was going to hit its deficit goals.

Budget minister Jerome Cahuzac told reporters: "The immediate effort will come from tax revenues but there will be an effort on spending during the rest of the government's term. Cutting spending is like slowing down a supertanker: it takes time."

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