The 2015-2016 Budget: Reactions

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Here are how various individuals and parties responded to the 2015-2016 Budget:


 

Government Officials

Chief Executive CY Leung

– The CE said the Budget is a complement to the Government’s objective in policymaking

– Leung urged the community and LegCo members to support the Budget and not to filibuster it

Chief Secretary Carrie Lam

– The CS welcomed increase in Child allowance tax deduction, saying that the policy can encourage childbearing

– Lam also described the Budget as a “timely birthday gift” (7th day of the Lunar New Year is considered a birthday to all) in another occasion

Lam Woon-Kwong, Convenor of Executive Council

– The Convenor said the Budget has appeased everyone from grassroots to middle class and from SMEs to common business sector

– Lam praised the section on manpower training in particular, noting several creative investments in the section

 

Legislators

You can read what they had to say in detail here (Chinese)

Democratic Party

– Emily Lau described the Budget as “outrageous” for not investing more on social well being when having surplus

– Albert Ho criticised the Budget for overlooking long-term investments

Civic Party

– Alan Leong blasted Tsang for miscalculation in every year’s Budget

– Leong welcomed the measures to “help sectors adversely affected” but Tsang should not put the blame on Occupy Movement

Lam Tai-fai (FC – Industrial Second)

– Lam worried that miscalculated fiscal estimations will become a regular phenomenon leading to suboptimal allocation of resources

– Lam meanwhile did not oppose to the setting up of a Future Fund, but requested the release of further details as soon as possible

Charles Mok, (FC – Information & Technology)

– Mok was disappointed that the Budget overlooked investments in education even though it did put focus on manpower training

– Mok meanwhile welcomed the arrangement to make Budget data more open to public

 

Market Sectors

Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce

– Chairman Y K Pang said he was “pleased to see a broad collection of focused measures aimed at reducing the operating costs of companies seriously affected by the Occupy Movement”

– Pang also welcomed one-off measures that will directly address SME’s short-term cash-flow problems

Federation of Hong Kong Industries

– The FHKI welcomed “the continuation of supportive measures for SMEs” and “the support measures targeted at those industries that are most affected by the Occupy movement”

– Chairman Stanley Lau meanwhile was concerned that the Budget mentioned little on industrial development, saying that it is “illogical to push forward R&D activities while overlooking the need for concrete support measures for the development of high value-added industries”

Travel Industry Council of Hong Kong

– Chairman Michael Wu said the licence fee waiver was actually not as valuable as  than the proposed HK$80 million injection into the Tourism Board

Jacinto Tong, CEO of Gale Well Group Ltd.

– Tong said that the estimated HOS housing vacancy rate is about 20%, in which case providing HOS flat owners with cheap loans can encourage them to pay the land premium and sell their flats in the housing market

– This also implies, as Tong suggested, that the Government is showing a signal to bring the “Extending the HOS Secondary Market to White Form Buyers” to an end

 

Scholars and Interest Groups

Gary Wong, Co-Founder of Community HK

– Wong described the Budget as “fair to middling”, noting greater financial allocation to the society but lacking substantial long-term measures

– By substantial long-term measures, Wong meant policies such as increasing the number of places for medical students in universities and supporting start-up enterprises with affordable rent, which the Budget did not address

Bill Stacey, Chairman of Lion Rock Institute

– Stacey said the “strong focus on facilitating small business” is “laudable but marred by subsidies for elite fashion, film and cultural industries” as these industries are highly competitive, leading to intervention in “our vibrant free and open culture”

– Stacey worried that reviewing the proposal of introducing consumption tax to tie in the possible universal pension scheme would move the city away from its comparative advantage

– Read his contribution here

Raymond So, Dean, Hang Seng Management College School of Business

– So said that giving ‘candies’ every year without a long-term plan is suboptimal

– So also suggested that it was not appropriate to support SMEs in the name of handling the Occupy movement