Transcript of remarks by FS (with photos/video)

     Following is the transcript of remarks by the Financial Secretary, Mr Paul Chan, at a media session after attending radio programmes this morning (March 3):
Reporter: During the radio shows (you said) that this year, the Budget, the latest Budget, there are some groups that were not covered in the Budget, and you are hoping that the Community Care Fund can cover them, could you explain how are you planning to extend that coverage, because earlier you are saying, in your Budget, you are saying that you are hoping to cover those who don’t get any subsidies from the Government and any benefit from the Budget. And also, any estimate on how much that will cost? Because you are going to draw money from the Budget surplus, any timetable at all? And also you mentioned that you are concerned about flats that were built but not released to the market, I understand that the Transport and Housing Bureau is studying ways to look into how to improve the situation, but again any timetable, when are we going to hear more about the details, the details about it?
Financial Secretary: Well, on the invitation to the Community Care Fund, to explore possible avenues to help us to share our economic success with those groups which have not been covered by the Budget, I have asked them to look at it carefully and to remove some of the current restrictions, as you may know under the current, I mean in the last round of initiatives by the Community Care Fund for the "N have-nots", people living in public housing estates are excluded, but in this particular time round, this restriction can be uplifted. We are focusing more on those who are working very hard, earning not much, not seeking any subsidies from the Government say for example, and also another group, say, retired people, young retired living in public housing estates without any social securities. The Community Care Fund will be looking at it very carefully. I have asked them to expedite the process as quickly as possible, but they need to think thoroughly, so please do allow some time. It is difficult to estimate the exact amount (of the cost of Community Care Fund’s initiative) at this stage, but I would imagine it would be in the order of billions of dollars.
     As to your question about completed units in development projects that have not been put to the market, we have observed that there is a rising trend. We are looking at it, and we have invited the Transport and Housing Bureau to look at it to see whether we need to do something, and if so, what the measures are.  So this is being studied.

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

Ends/Saturday, March 3, 2018
Issued at HKT 12:13