HK financial chief announces 6 one-off relief measures

17:46, February 24, 2010      

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Hong Kong's financial chief John Tsang announced six one-off measures on Wednesday to alleviate people's burdens.

Some people have yet to enjoy a salary rise in line with the economic recovery, Tsang said in his 2010-11 Budget, and they still faced inflationary pressure, particularly rises in food prices.

After taking into account Hong Kong's financial position, he proposed six measures to help the most needy, including paying two month's rent for about 700,000 public housing tenants at a cost of 1.8 billion HK dollars, providing one more month of Comprehensive Social Security Allowance payment, Old Age Allowance and Disability Allowance at a cost of 1.8 billion HK dollars, as well as reducing 75 percent of salaries tax and tax under personal assessment for 2009-10, capped at 6,000 HK dollars, which will cost 4.5 billion HK dollars and benefit 1.4 million taxpayers.

The government will also waive rates for 2010-11, capped at 1, 500 HK dollars per quarter. Ninty percent of domestic properties and 60 percent of non-domestic properties will not need to pay rates. This will cost 8.6 billion HK dollars.

Business registration fees will be waived for one year, costing the government about 1.8 billion HK dollars.

Students in kindergartens, primary and secondary schools and tertiary institutions receiving CSSA or student financial assistance will get a 1,000 HK dollars allowance in the next school year, involving an additional expenditure of about 570 million HK dollars.

Since 2008, he noted, the government has introduced fiscal stimulus, job creation and relief measures amounting to 87.6 billion HK dollars. This will rise to nearly 110 billion HK dollars with this year's measures. On top of the current spending on health, housing, education and social welfare, these measures are effective in stimulating the economy and safeguarding social stability and people's livelihood.

"These exceptional means employed at exceptional times cannot continue for long. Otherwise, they will affect the health of our public finances and dampen the enthusiasm for economic progress. I hope that these temporary measures will help our citizens tide over their present difficulties, assist our economy to regain its footing, and safeguard people's livelihood," Tsang said.

Source: Xinhua
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