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HP job cuts: France wants its subsidies back

Grenoble demands €1.2m

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HP's job-cutting scheme has hit a snag - French politicians are claiming the firm owes more than a million euros in subsidies. The company is looking to cut 6,000 jobs in Europe - just under a thousand in the UK and 1,240 in France.

The mayor of Grenoble, where HP labs are based, flew to California to try and convince HP bigwigs to think again. If they do not he is calling for the return of €1.2m he claims was given to HP to help it set up in Grenoble in the first place.

But Patrick Starck, president of HP France, told Le Figaro newspaper that HP had never received any money from the French government, adding that the firm had paid €700m in taxes during the period. More details en Francais içi.

French prime minister Dominque de Villepin told AP late last week: "When there is public aid, it is normal that there is a minimum of return, of recognition." But Villepin said the intention was not to put up barriers to international investment and he hoped for constructive talks with HP, an indication that he is under pressure to cut French unemployment which is currently over 10 per cent.

After a meeting with HP execs on Monday, French employment minister Gerard Larcher said the figure of 1,240 job cuts was not set in stone and could come down. More from AP here. ®

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