CE Admits Budget Fell Short Amid Handout Reports

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2018-03-21 HKT 17:24

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  • CE admits budget fell short amid handout reports

The Chief Executive Carrie Lam on Wednesday admitted that this year's budget failed to cover all sections of society, lending credence to reports that the government is planning cash handouts to some groups.

Lam said the budget failed to cover needy households which miss out welfare payments and don't benefit from tax relief measures.

This came as media reports said the government may give payments of HK$2,000 to such people.

After Financial Secretary Paul Chan presented the budget on February 28, Lam hailed the blueprint as one that incorporates the vision of her new administration. However, speaking during the opening of the new Gleneagles Hospital, the CE said the government wants more people to benefit from the relief measures.

But she insisted there will not be any across-the-board cash handouts.

Parties across the political spectrum had urged Chan to give cash handouts, saying the budget benefited the haves more than the have-nots. Chan has rejected all such calls so far.

But according to reports, Chan may now announce a HK$2,000 one-off payment to those between 18 and 65, who don't get any other financial assistance, and earn less than HK$15,500.

Democratic Party legislator James To said the amount suggested is too low.

He pointed out that those who earn HK$35,000 a month stand to get around HK$8,500 as a tax refund, while those with higher salaries may get up to HK$30,000.