Administrative simplification: where do the 3.3 billion euros in announced savings come from?

THE ECO SCAN – The “simplification shock” in the administration would have generated 3.3 billion euros in gross earnings, but the government does not communicate much on the details of the calculations. And for good reason: to date, simplification would have actually cost companies 50 million euros.

Two years after the launch of “” by François Hollande, where are we? On June 1, around a hundred new measures were announced to “make procedures more fluid between the administration and citizens or businesses”. Of the target of 11 billion euros in savings programmed by 2016, no less than 3.3 billion euros have already been reached, according to the calculations of the Secretary of State for State Reform and to Simplification. “There is little doubt that we can expect the shock of simplifying significant economies, recognizes Hélène Baudchon, France economist at BNP Paribas Economic Research. But quantifying them precisely, as the government seems to be achieving, while we still have little perspective, seems more hazardous to me ”. It should already be noted that the 3.3 billion euros in earnings are gross: by removing the costs incurred over the same period (from September 2013 to May 2015), we actually obtain 1.6 billion euros in real earnings. , according to a note from the cabinet of Thierry Mandon.

“Simplification creates a theoretical gain. The time freed up must be used to do something else ”

Olivier Salesse, Strategy Director of PwC

Each ministry, when it proposes a regulatory text (ordinance, decree, decree), provides the General Secretariat of the Government (SGG) with an estimate of the gains and administrative costs, calculated according to the standard cost method, “the classic method used in European level ”, explains Olivier Salesse, Strategy Director of PwC. Only “direct and comparable” costs are taken into account: administrative costs (“paper tax”), compliance costs (investments to agree to a new rule) and possibly other costs. , like financial ones. Thus for companies, this “consists in evaluating the time required to carry out administrative declarations, multiplying this time by the number of times the task is carried out, then by the hourly cost of the staff who carry it out”. It is therefore a “theoretical gain: there is no direct transformation into. The simplification shock is a tool to free up time, which must be used by companies to do other things ”.

A cost for businesses

However, to date, simplification represents a net cost for companies, according to SGG calculations, of the order of 50 million euros. Surprising, considering that in September 2014, there was a net gain of 600 million. Since that date, “around 600 million euros in additional costs have not been compensated, because they are largely outside the scope of the moratorium,” explains Thierry Mandon’s office. More specifically, “three texts relating to energy saving certificates have been identified as generating a significant administrative burden”, and “other texts recently passed have generated costs exceeding 10 million euros”. But in general, “the upward trend in earnings is stronger than that of costs” is reassured, noting that has made it possible to gain 300 million euros in net earnings. It is ultimately to individuals who benefit the most from simplification (1 billion euros in net gains), as well as to local authorities (600 million). It also brings in nearly 600 million net to the State.

As for the method of calculation, during the press conference on June 1, Thierry Mandon underlined that he planned to resort to “an evaluation by an independent body to cross the figures, to improve them”. Today, to know the details, we need 1,100 texts controlled by the SGG since September 2013. “We could wish that the calculation and explanation of the gains be made public”, comments Agnès Verdier-Molinié, director of the iFRAP foundation. “It is one thing to post gains, but these are forecast gains, achieved over a given time window, a limited number of measurements,” explains Olivier Salesse. To monitor how the simplification shock will have a positive effect on the economy, it would require systematic monitoring over long periods at regular frequencies, to be able to compare over time and against other European countries ”.