August start for budget handout
The government will start registering permanent residents for its HK$6,000 cash handout in late August. The first of 6.1 million recipients are expected to receive their windfall before district council elections in November.
Announcing the proposal to start the controversial HK$37.9 billion giveaway, a government spokesman said yesterday that registration would start on August 28 with permanent residents aged 65 or above. The cut-off date for them to qualify is March 31.
Other age groups will be invited to register in four subsequent phases. Those registering after March 31 will get a HK$200 bonus. The registration process will end on December 31 next year.
The government expects to start distributing the first cheques or cash payments 10 weeks after registration. The first payments are expected in early November.
The district council elections will be held on November 6 and subsector elections for the Election Committee, which will select the next chief executive in March, will be held on December 11.
'We didn't account for the district council elections when we worked out the plan. We are just doing our best to distribute the cash as soon as possible to meet public expectations,' the spokesman said.
That distribution will cost HK$207 million, including HK$81 million in bank fees and HK$75.8 million going towards hiring staff.
The windfall for the more than six million adult permanent residents was announced after a budget reversal in March by Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah, who had initially proposed that the money be paid into pension accounts.
Permanent residents with a personal bank account in Hong Kong can submit their registration forms to their bank, or through e-banking if the service is provided.
Those without a Hong Kong bank account can leave forms in drop boxes at post offices or send them by post; cheques can be collected at specified post offices.
Permanent residents who have emigrated must have an account opened at a Hong Kong-based bank or collect cheques in person after submitting forms to post offices.
people registered for permanent residency in the four weeks after the HK$6,000 handout was announced, double the usual rate