Plea for 40pc rate cut turned down

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 09 July, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 09 July, 1997, 12:00am

The Government yesterday rejected a demand from the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong (DAB) for a 40 per cent cut in rates.

Senior Treasury officials warned that a reduction in rates would disrupt a 'very longstanding and stable' source of revenue.

'If we reduce the rates by three percentage points, we would wipe out a large chunk of government revenue, something like $6 billion,' Deputy Secretary for the Treasury Martin Glass said.

The DAB urged Exco to 'return wealth to the people' in view of the huge reserves.

The DAB argued that with a $300 billion accumulative surplus and $2 billion additional income from new government rents, the Government was able to relieve the burden on ratepayers.

Mr Glass said municipal councils would be hardest hit by a rates reduction.

Of the five per cent levied in rates in the regional council area, as much as 4.2 per cent went to the Regional Council for activities. The Government took only 0.8 per cent, he said.