Traditional Chinese Simplified Chinese Email this article
FS shares wealth in Budget

     The Financial Secretary, Mr John C Tsang, in his annual Budget today (February 27) unveiled a package of measures to share the city's prosperity and provide a cushion against an uncertain economic environment.

     To assist the elderly, families, students and businesses, Mr Tsang announced over $33 billion worth of relief measures which, he said, "from a micro perspective, can help ease the community's burden, and are counter-cyclical from a macro perspective for coping with short-term economic fluctuations, maintaining spending power and supporting the employment market."

     Initiatives include:

* Waiving rates for the 2013-14 financial year subject to a ceiling of $1,500 per quarter at a cost of $11.6 billion;

* Reducing salaries tax by 75 per cent for 2012-13, subject to a ceiling of $10,000. This will benefit 1.53 million taxpayers and cost $8.4 billion;
* Granting a $1,800 electricity subsidy at a cost of $4.5 billion;

* Providing an additional allowance for recipients of Comprehensive Social Security Assistance, Old Age Allowance, Old Age Living Allowance and Disability Allowance equivalent to one month of the allowances at a cost of $2.7 billion;

* Paying two months' rent for public housing tenants who are required to pay extra rent to the Hong Kong Housing Authority. For non-elderly tenants, the Government will pay two-thirds of their rent for two months. The measure will cost a total of $2.2 billion; and

* Giving student loan borrowers who complete their studies in 2013 the option to start repaying their student loans one year after completing their studies. This will help to ease the financial burden on fresh graduates.

     To provide financial relief for families, the Financial Secretary proposed increasing the basic and additional child allowances from the current $63,000 to $70,000 for each child. This would benefit around 300,000 taxpayers and cost an estimated $410 million per year.

     Mr Tsang also proposed raising the deduction ceiling for self-education expenses from $60,000 to $80,000. This would cost about $10 million a year and benefit some 6,000 taxpayers.

     The Financial Secretary announced relief measures to assist businesses amid the uncertain external economic environment.

     These include waiving business registration fees for a year, at a cost of $2.1 billion.

     He also announced a profits tax reduction of 75 per cent for 2012-13, capped at $10,000. This would cost $1 billion and benefit 119,000 taxpayers liable for profits tax.

     To help the plight of the less well off, the Financial Secretary said the Government would start making payments for the new Old Age Living Allowance in April.

     "The new allowance, involving an additional allocation of about $8.3 billion in 2013-14, is expected to benefit more than 400,000 elderly people," he said.

     Mr Tsang also proposed injecting $15 billion into the Community Care Fund. This, in addition to the original $5 billion government injection, would generate an annual investment return of $1 billion, Mr Tsang said.

     "It has long been my steadfast belief that we can provide everyone opportunities to change his life through developing the economy, creating quality employment opportunities, investing vigorously in education and training to increase social mobility," he said.

     "I trust that this is a common value for all of us."

Ends/Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Issued at HKT 13:03


Print this page