CE's statement on 2011-12 Budget

     The Chief Executive, Mr Donald Tsang, today (February 23) issued the following statement on the 2011-12 Budget:

     The Financial Secretary has just delivered the 2011-12 Budget speech.  It is a thoughtful and responsive budget, with targeted initiatives to alleviate the impact of rising inflation. It has also taken advantage of our relatively healthy fiscal situation to make sustained investments in some key policy areas, while adhering to the principle of prudent management of public finances.

     The Financial Secretary recognises the toll inflation is taking on people's livelihood.  The higher-than-expected revenues have allowed us to return wealth to the people through a number of one-off measures that will help stave off the effects of rising inflation in the short term, without adding to inflationary pressure.  As an additional way to neutralise the impact of inflation, inflation-linked bonds will be issued for the first time in Hong Kong.

     The Budget also contains major decisions on long-term public expenditure.  Recurrent spending has increased by 8 per cent over 2010-11, the highest percentage increase in a decade and above our GDP growth rate of 6.8 per cent last year.  Spending on the key areas of education, health care and welfare will all increase in the coming year.

     On education, the Financial Secretary puts particular emphasis on the need of students from low-income families.  This is a worthwhile investment in the future of our society.

     The welfare spending will provide more assistance to the aged and infirm in particular.  The proposed tax breaks encourage better support for our senior citizens within their families.

     To echo the Government's pledge to enhance support for sports development, a new $7 billion commitment has been made, providing a more stable and predictable source of funding for the Hong Kong Sports Institute and our elite athletes.

     The Budget also focuses on the long-term vitality of Hong Kong's economy, with concrete measures to strengthen our edges in the traditional economic pillars and support the development of other sectors where Hong Kong enjoys clear advantages.

     As he did a number of times last year, the Financial Secretary has unveiled additional measures to stabilise the property market to make available more land in the medium to long term to help our people realise their home ownership goals.

     Overall, the Budget has responded to community aspirations for the surplus to benefit as many people as possible.  The surplus is used responsibly to finance short term measures to help people meet rising living costs. It is also used for long-term investments in key areas related to the living quality of those most in need, as well as education, medical services, and sports and cultural developments.

     I hope that the public and legislators will give the Budget their full support.

Ends/Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Issued at HKT 13:31