Party's proposed measures in public interest

PUBLISHED : Friday, 06 February, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 06 February, 1998, 12:00am

Anthony Lee from Brisbane, Australia, in his letter to these columns (South China Morning Post, February 2) takes exception to some of my ideas in my column (Post, January 26) on cutting rates and allowing mortgage interest payment to be tax-deductible for two years to give immediate fiscal relief in the coming Budget. His reason seems to be that these measures do not help 'less privileged' people.

Mr Lee might like to note that 60 per cent of Hong Kong's population lives in private housing and some of them are finding it hard to make ends meet. The most immediate relief for poor tenants is if rates are drastically reduced since rates have to be paid quarterly. Mr Lee might not know that in Hong Kong, property owners usually pass their rates payment to tenants.

I would take Mr Lee's objections more seriously if he had suggested, for example, that property owners should not be permitted to pass their tax to tenants.

Citizens Party has just published a policy paper on the economy, Take A Fresh Look. Besides short-term fiscal measures, we also deal with increasing competition, reforming the land and housing policy, better monetary management, equipping the workforce to face the challenge of a global market, reforming education, transforming Hong Kong into a metropolitan gateway for contacts and exchange between China and the world, and also for the Government to recognise the environment as a key business asset.

I trust that Mr Lee will agree that these measures are all in the public interest.

CHRISTINE LOH Chair, Citizens Party