The economic crisis may force the Government to go into the red for next year's Budget, according to Executive Councillor Tam Yiu-chung. Mr Tam issued the warning yesterday as he toured villages in Yuen Long and Lau Fau Shan districts hit by floods on polling day. A further contraction of the economy could throw out Budget forecasts, he said. 'If the situation continues, some difficulties may arise in drawing up next year's Budget because normally we need to look at economic growth to decide on the size of increase in our public expenditure. With those things in mind, a Budget deficit may be on the cards.' Mr Tam said the size of the deficit would depend upon the severity of the economic slowdown. 'At the moment, we don't see clear signs of the start of a recovery,' he said. 'The situation still looks pretty gloomy.' He said he believed the Government would attempt to boost confidence by pouring resources into infrastructure programmes. On unemployment, Mr Tam insisted there were still vacancies. He also urged the unemployed to enrol in courses offered by the Employees Retraining Board, which on Tuesday decided to relax its basic requirement for new classes. His Exco colleague Antony Leung Kam-chung said he hoped negative growth would only last for another two or three quarters. 'It is hard to predict how much time it will take for the economy to adjust. But I hope the economic adjustment will be sharp,' Mr Leung said. 'The sharper the adjustment, the quicker the economy will recover.' After that, he said he hoped the economy would bounce back slowly, something he saw taking between six and eight quarters.