Tung sorry for buyers

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 19 July, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 19 July, 1998, 12:00am

THE Chief Executive sympathises with property buyers who have not secured mortgages because of the property slump.

Tung Chee-hwa, however, said the Home Starter Loan Scheme was not set up to help them, but to aid eligible families buying their first flats.

The Legislative Council on Friday blocked the Government's request for extra money to allow a further 6,000 loans of up to $600,000 to be granted under plans to stimulate the economy.

Legislators vetoed the request because the Government would not extend the scheme to include first-time buyers who had been unable to arrange a mortgage loan for flats which had fallen in value since they were bought while under construction.

'We announced a package of relief measures on June 22. Increasing the quota under the home starter scheme is one of the measures seeking to stabilise property prices,' he said during talks with the Liberal Party.

Secretary for Treasury, Denise Yue Chung-yee, also expressed disappointment at Legco's decision.

She said the Government should not be spending public money to help those caught by falling property prices. Nor should the administration withdraw the request.

'It is irresponsible if the Government did so. We don't want to mislead the property owners and let them have false hopes,' she told a radio programme.

Ms Yue received support from callers who criticised legislators, claiming they wanted to please voters at the expense of those in need.

Meanwhile, Ms Yue said the Government had no money for further rescue packages for the remaining part of the financial year.

The June 22 proposals had eaten up the figure the Government had budgeted to spend for the entire year.

Ms Yue urged people not to have high hopes for the Government to turn the tide.

'I hope the people don't think the Government is God. We cannot turn the trend round. That's impossible,' she said.