Hong Kong Budget 2013

Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah delivered his sixth budget speech on February 27, 2013, in which he unveiled HK$33 billion worth of relief measures and forecasted a surplus of about HK$64.9 billion for the 2012-13 financial year. Economic growth was expected to come in 1.5 to 3.5 per cent in 2013.

Meeting budget deadline impossible, Jasper Tsang warns

Jasper Tsang

The budget bill could not be passed by Wednesday even if the weeks-long filibuster ended, Legislative Council president Jasper Tsang Yok-sing said. Officials have warned that funding for public services would be disrupted the next day.

Monday, 13 May, 2013, 5:24am 5 comments

The missing debate on universal pension

Pro-establishment lawmakers display banners denouncing the filibuster in Legco. Photo: K. Y. Cheng

There are many reasons why the filibuster by some legislators over the 2013 budget was a very bad idea, but the most important one is that it brought into disrepute the very policy they claimed to be fighting for: a universal pension.

7 Jun 2013 - 11:37am 4 comments

Public will be consulted on pension, say ministers

Matthew Cheung Kin-chung. Photo: Edward Wong

With radical lawmakers mounting a filibuster of the budget bill to press the case for a universal pension scheme, government ministers yesterday said the public would be consulted soon on a retirement protection scheme.

12 May 2013 - 5:57am

CY Leung rules out deal with radicals to end filibuster

Pro-establishment lawmakers display banners denouncing the filibuster in Legco. Photo: K. Y. Cheng

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said meeting radical lawmakers' demands in exchange for an end to their filibustering of the budget bill was "extremely inadvisable".

10 May 2013 - 3:47am

Lawmakers inch ahead on budget amid bargaining

Chan Wai-yip. Photo: Sam Tsang

Proceedings in the Legislative Council were a little faster yesterday, with filibustering lawmakers getting through seven debate sessions - almost double the number they managed over the six previous days - as deliberations over the budget bill dragged on.

9 May 2013 - 5:45am

Tsang agrees to ask radicals to stop filibustering

Chan Kin-por, Lam Kin-fung, and Leung Chun-ying at the reception

Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah will meet four radical pan-democrats on Friday to convince them to stop the filibustering that is blocking the passage of the budget bill, as it edges closer to the government's self-imposed deadline in mid-May.

8 May 2013 - 5:13am 1 comment

Legco should stop the farce and get to work

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

The public can be excused for being outraged as the legislature degenerates into a political circus. Just a week into the tiring tactic of filibustering, mounted by a handful of rebel lawmakers, the scrutiny of bills has been suspended, panel sessions disrupted and meetings aborted due to insufficient attendance, while hours are spent counting quorums and some play pranks in lifts to delay attendance.

5 May 2013 - 2:51am 11 comments

Budget delays could hit funds for the poor

Professor Chan Ka-keung, financial services and treasury secretary

Professor Chan Ka-keung, the financial services and treasury secretary, stepped up his rhetoric against filibustering attempts over the bill as the Legislative Council's meeting was adjourned in the morning, causing more delay and further piling pressure on Legco president Jasper Tsang Yok-sing to stop the filibustering.

3 May 2013 - 5:40am

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

Hong Kong tops the class in confused policymaking

The millions to be spent on overseas education for the few won't meet our need for a cohort of good pre-school teachers. Photo: Edward Wong

In Hong Kong's more recent history, there is no better illustration of bureaucratic myopia and confusion of policy objectives than the government's proposal, announced by the financial secretary in his budget speech in February, to inject HK$480 million into the Government Scholarship Fund to enable outstanding students to pursue degree or teacher-training programmes in prestigious overseas universities, on condition that they come back to teach for at least two years.

28 Apr 2013 - 5:02am 5 comments

Legco head approves budget amendments made in filibustering bid

Jasper Tsang Yok-sing

Legislative Council president Jasper Tsang Yok-sing has - against government advice - approved more than 700 amendments tabled in the pan-democrats' filibustering bid on the budget bill.

11 Jun 2015 - 3:50pm

Letters to the Editor, March 24, 2013

It is time to stop keeping birds as pets in cages. Photo: Xinhua

The superb award-winning film Amour now showing here made me think of two things. First, that life for too many of Hong Kong's elderly is no bed of roses because, despite being one of the richest places in Asia, the government here is not doing enough to care properly for its aged and ageing population.

24 Mar 2013 - 4:49am 13 comments

Public interest must come first in deals with power companies

The Secretary for the Environment, Wong Kam-sing. Photo: Sam Tsang

The financial secretary's latest budget responded, as usual, to public sentiment by offering various "candies" to the people, including another round of electricity subsidies.

19 Mar 2013 - 4:25am

John Tsang lacks budgetary vision for better education in Hong Kong

US President Barack Obama's state-of-the-union address shows vision. Photo: EPA

For policymakers, the question often arises, should policy dictate budgets or should budgets dictate policy? For natural-born political leaders, the former is axiomatic. For Hong Kong policymakers, the yoke of "keeping the expenditure within the limits of revenue in drawing up its budget, and striving to achieve a fiscal balance, avoid deficits and keep the budget commensurate with the growth rate of its gross domestic product", as dictated in Basic Law article 107, seems too overpowering to allow new thinking.

29 Jan 2014 - 8:14am

Schoolgirl dares to cross the line at budget forum

John Tsang Chun-wah was well prepared but was caught off-guard by some curly questions from students. Photo: Sam Tsang

Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah took 20 questions, many of which were about his plan to award scholarships to 20 students every year to study at universities overseas, and the city's record of underestimating expenditure which has led to years of budget surpluses.

16 Mar 2013 - 4:53am