Cigarette tax still failing to meet international standard

Lisa Lau Man-man warns that cigarette manufacturers "ride on tax increases to make their price increases less obvious". Photo: Jonathan Wong

Tax on cigarettes is still failing to meet levels recommended by the World Health Organisation, despite the increase announced in last week’s budget, the Council on Smoking and Health has warned.

Thursday, 6 March, 2014, 12:13pm 3 comments

Deficit in 15 years if status quo maintained in education, social welfare and health spending

Education is one area that is threatened. Photo:SCMP

A government task force has warned of a structural deficit within 15 years even if policies for the education, social welfare and health sectors are maintained at the existing level and expenditure grows merely with price and demographic changes.

3 Mar 2014 - 6:54pm 1 comment

Future fund could create 'white elephants', lawmaker warns Tsang

Labour Party lawmaker Cyd Ho Sau-lan, left, has warned the Finance Minister against building "too many infrastructure projects". Photo: Felix Wong/SCMP

Lawmakers have questioned the use of a “future fund” for infrastructure projects – as outlined in John Tsang Chun-wah’s budget speech yesterday – with one fearing it could be used to create “white elephants”.

27 Feb 2014 - 5:13pm 1 comment

Experts' views on Tsang’s budget

Tsang backed the housing policy, but Wu Boxiong says it is stiffling the market. Above, the Wah Fu Estate in Po Fu Lam, which Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying marked for redevelopment in his 2014 address.

Wu Boxiong, associate professor of economics at Hong Kong Baptist University.


Q: What do you make of Tsang’s decision to trim sweeteners by at least 30 per cent from the HK$33 billion doled out last year, and his warning that the city’s more than HK$700 billion financial reserves could dry up due to the ageing population?

26 Feb 2014 - 4:20pm 2 comments

Britain takes knife to 2015 public spending to tame deficit

UK Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne will give details on where the axe will fall as he announces 11.5 billion pounds (HK$137.7 billion) of spending cuts in the 2015/16 fiscal year. Photo: AFP

Britain’s finance minister George Osborne will unveil on Wednesday his plans for another round of government spending cuts as he tries to keep his deficit-reduction drive on track and free up cash for fresh investment.

26 Jun 2013 - 1:56pm

Australia budget blues in land of mining boom

Australian Treasurer Wayne Swan economic stewardship through the global downturn earned him Euromoney’s Finance Minister of the Year in 2011. Photo: EPA

As China’s economy slows and Australia begins its painful transition away from a decade-long mining boom, Treasurer Wayne Swan will have little to offer voters seeking an election-year spending spree Tuesday.

13 May 2013 - 11:14am

Talking Points

Budget filibuster efforts resume

Budget filibuster efforts resume

2 May 2013 - 1:23am

Legco head calls meeting on budget filibustering

Lawmaker Leung Kwok-hung at the debate. Photo: Edward Wong

Filibustering over the budget bill could soon come to an end after Legislative Council president Jasper Tsang Yok-sing holds a closed-door meeting with lawmakers on Friday.

30 Apr 2013 - 3:53am

Grabbing a cab can put you on a road to ruin

'Discount taxis' may operate on the wrong side of the law, but they offer their customers a significant saving over cabbies that charge on the meter. Photo: AFP

Hong Kong may have one of the cheapest transport systems of any major, developed-world metropolis, but the temptation of another quick cab ride always beckons - and, added up, it can eat away at your bank account.

15 Apr 2013 - 3:11am 1 comment

Central government public security budget grows 9pc

Policeman and paramilitary policeman stand guard in front of portrait of Mao in Tiananmen Square in Beijing. Photo: Reuters

China’s Ministry of Finance released the central government’s 2013 budget on Monday, a week after the annual national parliamentary convention. The budget for internal security was set at 128.9 billion yuan (HK$161 billion), up 10.6 billion yuan or 9 per cent from a year before.

28 Mar 2013 - 6:47pm

Are US Navy's super carriers a relic of wars past?

A fleet of US aircraft carriers in a Virginia port. Photo: Reuters

Budget pressures at the Pentagon have renewed a debate about the value of the United States Navy's giant aircraft carriers, with critics arguing the warships are fast becoming costly relics in a new era of warfare.

25 Mar 2013 - 5:07am

John Tsang likely to trim size of budget handouts

John Tsang. Photo: Dickson Lee

Taxpayers and property owners will be granted another package of relief measures by Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah today, as the government is expected to pocket a fiscal surplus of more than HK$60 billion in the current 2012-13 financial year.

27 Feb 2013 - 9:31am

Tax rebate ceiling likely to be cut to just HK$10,000

John Tsang Chun-wah. Photo: May Tse

Financial secretary John Tsang Chun-wah will announce in next Wednesday's budget that more than HK$10 billion will be injected into the Community Care Fund to finance initiatives to help the underprivileged and alleviate the poverty gap.

27 Feb 2013 - 9:36am 1 comment

Residents who slip through the cracks have little hope in new budget

A rent subsidy is at the top of mother-of-two Yeung San-hung's budget wish list. "HK$1,000 - a thousand would make a huge difference for us," said the 36-year-old. It would mean more money to improve her children's welfare, she said.

21 Feb 2013 - 5:42am

Time to review Hong Kong tax system, say accountants

John Tsang Chun-wah. Photo: May Tse

Leading accountancy firms have suggested the government consider broadening the tax base given its growing expenditure and possible budget deficit in the coming years. The top firms agree the city will record a hefty budget surplus worth tens of billions of dollars for the current financial year. But they are divided, to the tune of HK$100 billion, on the projection for 2013-14. 

20 Feb 2013 - 5:32am 6 comments