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Hong Kong Budget 2018-2019

Paul Chan’s rethink on Hong Kong budget handouts is a short-term fix that must not be repeated

PUBLISHED : Friday, 06 April, 2018, 12:56pm
UPDATED : Friday, 06 April, 2018, 2:58pm

Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po went back to the drawing board on the budget, and now about 2.8 million eligible Hongkongers will be getting up to HK$4,000.

This came after calls for better use of the HK$138 billion budget surplus, to lay a better foundation for Hong Kong’s future through the reallocation of income and wealth, to alleviate the lot of the poor.

However, it seems the government is forking out the HK$11 billion under public pressure. Also, this handout will not be across the board, and administrative fees will be involved in deciding who is eligible.

Cash handouts from budget should never be taken for granted

Handing out money is just a short-term policy. Such welfare can only comfort some for some time. The deep social inequities will remain unresolved. The government should tackle problems such as the wealth disparity, the lack of social mobility among youth, and gaps in medical care.

Handouts also create another problem. When the government starts giving out money, people tend to ask for more the next time. The principle behind the allocation of public funds is destroyed and this affects long-term development. The government shouldn’t bow to public pressure every time.

Mandy Li, Kowloon Tong