CE's statement on 2010-11 Budget

     The Chief Executive, Mr Donald Tsang, today (February 24) issued the following statement on the 2010-11 Budget:

     The Financial Secretary has just delivered his Budget speech. I believe that the Budget has responded positively to the immediate concerns about people's livelihood and will consolidate our economic recovery and contribute to Hong Kong's long-term economic growth.

     Hong Kong weathered the financial tsunami last year.  Our economy is recovering. However, the foundations of the recovery are not yet firm. And the full benefits of the recovery have yet to trickle down to the grass-roots and the middle-class. To help them tide over this economic uncertainty, I fully support the one-off relief measures introduced by the Financial Secretary.

     As a responsible Government, we accord priority to funding the most pressing needs in the community while "living within our means". Support for the elderly, persons with disabilities, victims of domestic violence, mental patients, and job seekers and school children in need are areas deserving priority treatment. The Financial Secretary has thus allocated additional resources to help them.

     To sustain long-term development, it is essential to invest for the future. Apart from further developing established and new economic pillars, the Budget has made proper commitments for education, medical services, cultural and arts activities, sports and environment to enhance our competitiveness.

     To the many who call Hong Kong our home, the continuous rise in property prices may have put off aspirations to home ownership. The Government understands. We will take measures to increase supply in the residential market, particularly flats of small to medium size. There are some other initiatives in the Budget to help ensure a stable development of the property market and proper building repairs and maintenance. The Government will continue to closely monitor the real estate market and, where necessary, introduce further concrete measures to address the difficulty of home purchase and the risk of a property bubble.

     Another area of some public concern is travelling expenses. The Secretary for Labour and Welfare will complete a study by the end of this year on ways to ease the burden of travelling expenses borne by the working poor. The Financial Secretary has also pledged to make suitable financial provisions for that purpose.  

     I understand public expectations about proper use of government resources. The Government has formulated the Budget carefully and responsibly, having balanced both the immediate and long-term needs of Hong Kong. I hope that it will have the support of the Legislative Council and the general public.

Ends/Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Issued at HKT 14:53