|Commitment to Society
My first principle is that fiscal policies should demonstrate the
Government's commitment to society.
I am aware that recent inflation has brought pressure to bear on the public. We must understand that inflation is partly driven by our strong economic growth and that a vibrant economy is beneficial to our people. Our declining unemployment rate is one of the indicators reflecting this situation. Nonetheless, I am deeply concerned about the fact that some disadvantaged groups have not yet been able to enjoy the fruits of economic growth. I believe that, through proper revenue and expenditure proposals, this Budget can help improve their lives.
It is the duty of the Government to provide a final safety net for those who cannot help themselves. Concern over the livelihood of low-income families has now become a consensus in our community. In line with this consensus, I will propose measures to help them.
The Chief Executive has clearly stated in his Policy Address that the Government should not attempt to narrow the wealth gap by redistributing wealth through high levels of tax and welfare. Such a measure would only inhibit
people's incentive to work hard and, in turn, undermine the productivity and competitiveness of the community as a whole.
We will create favourable conditions, such as strengthening education and training, to help people enhance their skills. By helping people to help themselves, we will enable them to contribute to the economic development of Hong Kong. Education provides an opportunity for the next generation of low-income families to move up the social ladder, thereby reducing cross-generational poverty. The Government will continue to invest heavily in the community by making long-term commitments to education, retraining and health care.