Government Spending

Lawmakers' HK$74m footbridge to get their lunch is a misuse of public funds

External view of the Legislative Council Complex in Tamar. Photo: David Wong

The relocation of the central government offices and the Legislative Council to the relatively isolated Tamar area has left people who work there with little choice when it comes to lunchtime dining.

Friday, 14 June, 2013, 2:50am 4 comments

Lawmakers' poverty fact-finding trip to Europe is scrapped

Frederick Fung Kin-kee

Lawmakers have scrapped plans for a week-long poverty fact-finding trip to Sweden and Finland, which could cost taxpayers HK$565,000. They decided the money would be better spent visiting Taiwan and Japan, which are more akin to Hong Kong.

26 May 2013 - 6:40am 11 comments

State Council orders probe into pricey buildings

The Jinan city government building. Photos: SCMP

According to its "urgent notification", the State Council ordered thorough checks to see whether central or local government agencies had used public funds to build extravagant offices, halls or guest houses.

19 May 2013 - 6:30am

Pan-dems get a taste of their own medicine over costly poverty trip

Dr Fernando Cheung Chiu-hung. Photo: Gary Mak

When you spend too much time fighting an enemy, you become like him. That may be why a group of lawmakers led by prominent pan-democrats have decided to spend up to HK$560,000 of taxpayers' money to study poverty relief in Finland and Sweden, just about the most expensive countries you can visit.

13 May 2013 - 1:52am 19 comments

Lawmakers plan trip costing up to HK$560,000 to study poverty

Dr Fernando Cheung Chiu-hung. Photo: Gary Mak

Lawmakers are considering spending up to HK$560,000 of public money on a week-long trip to find ways to deal with one of Hong Kong's most pressing problems - poverty.

12 May 2013 - 6:05am 20 comments

Guangzhou district town governments in spending spree on receptions

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang. Photo: Reuters

Quite a few eyebrows were raised in Guangzhou this week at the news that three town-level governments - two in relatively poor rural areas - spent more than 4 million yuan (HK$5 million) a year between them on official receptions.

11 May 2013 - 4:34am

Giant butterfly sculpture causes flap in Tsuen Wan district

An artist's impression of the statue in Mongkok. Photo: SCMP

The preparation work for building two contentious district landmarks has started, despite widespread public criticism of them being too costly and even becoming eyesores.

6 May 2013 - 7:17am 3 comments

Bill delay may force bodies to raid their own reserves

John Tsang Chun-wah. Photo: Nora Tam

Some government department and publicly funded bodies may have to dip into their own reserves to maintain necessary services next month if the Legislative Council fails to pass the budget bill by the middle of this month.

2 May 2013 - 5:09am 1 comment

Councils to stay pragmatic on HK$100m after goose fiasco

Councillors are keen to avoid the criticism provoked by a costly goose statue that was put up in Sham Tseng, Tsuen Wan. Photo: May Tse

At least 12 district councils are planning projects to improve local facilities and health care using their HK$100 million from Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying. Councillors say they are taking a more pragmatic approach after criticism of district bodies spending millions on building statues.

29 Apr 2013 - 8:18am

China needs bold reform to counter slowdown in fiscal revenue growth

Chinese Minister of Finance Lou Jiwei. Photo: Reuters

The days of belt-tightening are finally here. China's latest fiscal data shows that, in the first quarter of this year, public revenue grew by only 6.9 per cent, down 7.8 percentage points from a year earlier. In March, central government revenue even fell by 5.2 per cent year on year, a dip after five months of growth. By contrast, China's public expenditure increased by 12.1 per cent in the first quarter. The growth in spending is outstripping the rise in revenue.

25 Apr 2013 - 3:03am

Underground clubs trigger calls for greater transparency on official spending

Chinese president Xi Jinping's austerity drive could not curb officials' lavish feast held in underground private clubs. Photo: AFP

State-run China Central Television (CCTV) has exposed widespread underground wining and dining by government officials, prompting calls for greater transparency on sangong expenditure – spending by government officials on overseas visits, the purchase and maintenance of government vehicles, and receptions and meetings.

16 Apr 2013 - 5:31pm

Spend HK$100m cash wisely

The allocation of HK$100 million to district councils is viewed as payback by Leung Chun-ying for support during the chief executive election and a way to retain the councillors' loyalty. Photo: Sam Tsang

Correspondents have expressed the hope that the HK$100 million allocated to each of Hong Kong's district councils will be spent wisely and be used to develop signature projects.

7 Apr 2013 - 1:42am

Anti-corruption drive targets off-budget spending

Li Keqiang

Premier Li Keqiang told the State Council's first meeting on fighting corruption that curbs would be gradually introduced at all levels of government to curb off-budget spending.

27 Mar 2013 - 5:31am

Letters to the Editor, March 14, 2013

Calcium is very important for young children. Photo: AP

I would not be in favour of land on which underused sports facilities, yacht clubs and camp sites are located being turned into sites for new flats.

14 Mar 2013 - 2:59am

Defending arts hub spending

Model of Xiqu Centre at the arts hub. Photo: Sam Tsang

West Kowloon Cultural District is an ambitious project. Each of the elements is being prudently budgeted and the capital costs are at an equivalent cost per square metre to other major cultural facilities being built worldwide, notwithstanding the escalating construction costs in Hong Kong in the last six years.

7 Mar 2013 - 2:35am 1 comment