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HA to consider Budget for 2015/16

The following is issued on behalf of the Hong Kong Housing Authority:

     The Finance Committee (FC) of the Hong Kong Housing Authority (HA) has projected in its proposed budgets and forecasts for the period 2014/15 to 2018/19 that it will have sufficient financial resources to meet its recurrent expenditure and implement its current public housing construction and maintenance programmes in the period.

     Based on the new Long Term Housing Strategy (LTHS) announced by the Government last month, the public housing target for the coming 10-year period will be 290 000 units, including 200 000 public rental housing (PRH) units and 90 000 subsidised sale flats.

     After the meeting of the FC held today (January 6) on the HA's 2015/16 Proposed Budget, the FC Chairman, Professor Raymond So, said, "On the basis of the latest projection, the HA's cash and investment balance is projected to decrease significantly over the years mainly due to the projected increase in construction costs and operating costs while no rent adjustment for PRH is assumed. The HA is the primary provider of public housing in Hong Kong. To achieve the new public housing production target, it is clear that the HA will come under increasing fiscal pressure in the longer term and that the Government's funding support to the HA will become necessary. The LTHS has reaffirmed the Government's commitment to financially support the HA to meet the public housing supply target, and the setting up of the Housing Reserve as announced by the Financial Secretary recently further demonstrates this support."

     He added, "On the whole, the HA will face various challenges in the coming years, including projected increase in construction costs, manpower supply in the construction industry, increasing fiscal pressure, etc. The HA will consolidate all efforts and resources for overcoming the challenges and hurdles to achieve the new public housing construction target. The HA will continue to conduct the annual rolling five-year Budgets and Forecasts exercise and assess its medium-term financial projections, and will seek Government funding closer to the time of need so that the assessment could reflect the most-up-to-date situation."

     Today, the FC endorsed the Revised Budget for 2014/15 and the Proposed Budget for 2015/16. The FC has also noted the Financial Forecasts for 2016/17 to 2018/19.

     The Budget will be tabled at the HA meeting for endorsement on January 19.

Ends/Tuesday, January 6, 2015
Issued at HKT 11:53


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