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ExCo Convenor speaks on Budget

The following is issued on behalf of the Executive Council Secretariat:

     Following is a transcript of remarks by the Convenor of the Non-official Members of the Executive Council (ExCo), Mr Lam Woon-kwong, at a media session on the 2015-16 Budget in the Legislative Council Complex this afternoon (February 25):

Reporter: Mr Lam, a lot of relief measures have exceeded expectations. Do you think it would help the Government boost popularity as it is not quite high right now? And how would you rate this Budget generally?

Convenor of the ExCo Non-official Members: The surplus is more than expectation, which is of course good news. Especially when you look around the world, very, very few governments managed to have such a healthy surplus like Hong Kong. But of course these are our surplus, so we should make good use of them. And I think the Financial Secretary has struck a reasonable balance between distributing some of the surplus as immediate benefits and at the same time not forgetting investing in the future.

Reporter: But do you think that he wasn't really doing a good job in predicting the surplus?

Convenor of the ExCo Non-official Members: I think some of the items are really beyond his expectation. There are also of course other items, due to technical reasons, such as the tax from the property, that he could not properly put in before the bill was passed. But taking everything into account, it remains a good sign for Hong Kong that we are still prosperous, that we are still growing, and that we are really setting a good example around the world for being careful with our finance and yet at the same time we manage to invest for the future.

Reporter: Many groups are hoping that the Government would announce the universal pension scheme and Long Hair is very upset ....

Convenor of the ExCo Non-official Members: Well, Mr Leung should know very well that the whole idea of a universal pension scheme remains subject to public consultation later in the year by the Poverty Commission. That has been announced by the Chief Executive in his Policy Address. I think that has generally been accepted by the community because the subject is controversial and you should not rush into it. He should know the position well.

(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)

Ends/Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Issued at HKT 17:06


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