Spend less on large infrastructure projects in Hong Kong and more on needy

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 16 November, 2016, 4:57pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 16 November, 2016, 8:47pm

I believe the government should be cutting back on some of its large infrastructure projects so that it can use more of its budget to help the needy in Hong Kong.

Officials keep saying that all these projects are essential in order for society to move forward and operate efficiently, but they usually cost a lot of taxpayers’ money. The combined cost of mega developments such as the West Kowloon Cultural District, the Kai Tak development and the Lok Ma Chau Loop are enormous.

Even though Hong Kong is an advanced city, like all governments, it has a limited budget and when a lot of money is spent on mega projects, there is less to help those citizens who are living in poverty and departments dealing with social welfare do not get the funds they really need.

I appreciate that the government has provided a lot of subsidies, through such programmes as the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance, the Old Age Living Allowance and the Social Security Allowance. Some subsidies have been available for decades and yet the lot of the needy in the city does not appear to have improved. So it is clear that the subsidies are not high enough and should be increased.

In the short term, for example, we do not need any more large bridges. While in the long term, it will be necessary to have large-scale infrastructural expansion to ensure Hong Kong’s prosperity, the poor require more help now and their needs are being neglected. The welfare of citizens should always be the government’s priority.

How ironic it will be if the government builds a large bridge, and some people are so poor that they cannot afford to pay rent, lose their homes and have to sleep under the bridge with other homeless people.

The government has a responsibility to look after the needy in society.

Xenia Yip, Sham Shui Po