Cut profits tax, boost welfare, say Liberals

PUBLISHED : Monday, 08 October, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 08 October, 2007, 12:00am

The Liberal Party called on the government to cut profits tax rates and raise welfare payments when it unveiled its district council election platform yesterday.

The party plans to field 60 candidates in the November 18 elections but will not announce the list until next Sunday, the day before the two-week nomination period closes.

'The list of candidates has been approved by our executive committee ... but our candidates want us to announce the lineup later,' deputy party chairwoman Selina Chow Liang Shuk-yee said.

With the robust economy, the party has urged the government to cut profits tax rates by 1 to 1.5 percentage points, taking rates back to the 2002-03 level.

In 2002-03, the company profits tax rate was 16 per cent, but it was raised to 17.5 per cent in 2003-04. For unincorporated businesses, the rate increased from 15 per cent in 2002-03 to 16 per cent from 2004-05.

'The middle class is not asking for more welfare. They just want the government to take less money out of their pockets ... it will help small and medium-sized enterprises invest more,' Mrs Chow said.

The party also called on the government to cut property rates by 0.5 percentage points to 4.5 per cent. Rates are charged at a percentage of the rateable value which is the estimated annual rental value of a property.

The government was also urged to scrap the HK$400-a-month levy on employers of foreign domestic helpers introduced in October 2003. Maids' wages were cut by HK$400 at the same time, and the levy was to provide vocational training and retraining for local workers.

The party also called on the government to increase the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance payments and the Old Age Allowance by at least 5 per cent. 'Our party has had closer ties with grass-roots people [in recent years]. We wish to win more seats this time,' said Mrs Chow, hoping their district-level work would gain recognition.