Exco convenor says policy address must have solutions, not sweeteners
Leung Chun-ying must use this week's policy address to lay down concrete solutions to the pressing problems confronting Hong Kong, instead of "wasting" resources by handing out allowances to residents, Executive Council convenor Lam Woon-kwong said yesterday.
Leung's maiden policy speech on Wednesday is seen as a crucial opportunity for him to revive his flagging popularity.
"He must absolutely not waste resources by handing out HK$1,000 or HK$2,000 worth of electricity subsidies or other small favours to try to please the people," Lam said.
"I am strongly opposed to this because our resources are limited, and they must be used on long-term problems that have persisted and need to be solved."
Lam's remarks may be seen as an attempt to lower the public's expectation of sweeteners.
Lam expects Leung will explain his strategies in four key areas - housing, caring for the elderly, poverty reduction and the environment.
But delivering a speech laden with specifics may be difficult, because many advisory bodies such as the Commission on Poverty and the Long-Term Housing Strategy Committee have only recently begun their discussions.
On Friday, a source said Leung was expected to raise the target for the construction of public housing flats by a third, from the current 15,000 units per year, to 20,000 for the duration of his five-year term.
Michael Choi Ngai-min, a member of the housing strategy committee, said reclamation and the construction of new towns were good ways to increase land supply.
Leung is also likely to announce on Wednesday that a levy on employers of foreign domestic helpers will be scrapped. In 2008, the government suspended the monthly HK$400 levy for five years to ease the burden on middle-class families. The five-year suspension is due to end in July.