China / Society

Hong Kong surplus allows for $4.4 bln relief measures

(ECNS) Updated: 2015-02-28 08:49

Hong Kong's Financial Secretary John Tsang forecast a surplus of HK$63.8 billion ($82.3 billion) for 2014-15 and announced six once-off relief measures costing of HK$34 billion ($4.4 billion), Southern Metropolis Daily reported on Thursday.

Government revenue for 2014-15 will be HK$470.7 billion, 9.4 percent or HK$40.6 billion higher than the original estimate; and by March 31, 2015, fiscal revenues are expected to reach HK$819.5 billion, Tsang said.

As for government expenditure, he forecast a revised estimate of HK$397 billion, 3.4 percent or HK$14 billion lower than original figures.

Tsang also said that public expenditure would increase in a prudent manner according to the principle of committing resources as and when justified and needed.

Therefore, he brought up six once-off relief measures, including reducing income tax, tax under personal assessment, and tax on business profits.

These sweeteners also include waiving rates for the first two quarters of 2015-16, subject to a ceiling of HK$2,500 per quarter for each ratable property; increasing Comprehensive Social Security Assistance, Old Age Allowance, Old Age Living Allowance and Disability Allowance by two months of their respective standard payment; and also paying one month's rent for lower income tenants living under the Hong Kong Housing Authority and the Hong Kong Housing Society.

On Wednesday, Hong Kong's Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying stated that the 2015-16 budget carried out his government's ideal of developing the economy and improving people's livelihoods. He also called for Hong Kong's Legislative Council and citizens to support the budget.

Carrie Lam, Hong Kong's Chief Secretary for Administration, also expressed her opinion of the budget as being comprehensive, practical and forward looking, and as taking care of both economic development and the interests of all social classes.

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