Budget Speech

Cash Payout

34. The social incidents in the past months and the novel coronavirus epidemic have dealt a heavy blow to Hong Kong's economy. 

35. In the face of an economic downturn, we expect a decline in government revenue in the coming year.  The Government must exercise fiscal prudence to ensure healthy public finance.  That said, I believe that the Government should also do a bit more, notwithstanding the fiscal deficit, when we are facing an economic setback and overwhelmed by a heavy atmosphere.

36. After careful consideration, I have decided to disburse $10,000 to Hong Kong permanent residents aged 18 or above, with a view to encouraging and boosting local consumption on the one hand, and relieving people's financial burden on the other.  This measure, which involves an expenditure of about $71 billion, is expected to benefit about seven million people.  The Government will announce the details of the scheme as soon as possible after obtaining funding approval from the Legislative Council (LegCo).

37. I have to emphasise that, although the cash payout scheme involves a huge sum of public money, it is an exceptional measure taken in light of the current unique circumstances and will not, therefore, impose a burden on our long-term fiscal position.  I consider that, with ample fiscal reserves, the Government has to increase public expenditure amid an economic downturn to stimulate the economy and ride out the difficult times with members of the public.



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