BUSINESS confidence was given a boost when Lu Ping made the first official statement that land leases granted or renewed after 1997 could go beyond 2047. He said all contracts and agreements 'can, according to needs, go beyond' 2047. Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands Bowen Leung Po-wing said the Government welcomed Mr Lu's remarks, which would increase confidence in Hong Kong's future. Mr Lu said: 'If all land leases granted or renewed after 1997 have a year 2047 limit, land leases will have periods starting with 50 years and then decrease each year thereafter. 'At the end, there may be situations where land leases cannot be granted anymore.' According to the Basic Law, the period of land leases granted or renewed before 1997 cannot go beyond 30 June, 2047. However, there is no clear guideline on whether that will be the case for land granted after 1997. Mr Lu said although the Basic Law had a provision for 50 years, it merely referred to the capitalist system and way of life in Hong Kong. It did not necessarily mean everything had a 50-year limitation.