A request for more cash for the Provisional Urban Council was rejected. Secretary for Treasury Denise Yue Chung-yee was asked why the Government had reduced the allocation of revenue for the council from the rates by $389 million. 'We are asking to have $18.7 billion, which the Government undertook to allocate to the council in 1997, instead of $18.3 billion. We are not begging for extra funds,' said Ambrose Cheung Wing-sum, representing the council. Ms Yue said the Government saw no reason why it had to pay the money back to the council. 'With the high financial autonomy of the council, the Government cannot accept we are asked to fill the shortfall without the power to control the council's budget,' she said. Ms Yue said the council had to prepare for both the best and the worst-case scenarios. 'They should have learned about the shortfall a long time ago. Even if they found it today, they would have 18 months to deal with it. They have enough time to strike a balance if they adopt a prudent approach,' she said. Noting the shortfall stood for only two per cent of the council's budget, Ms Yue said the Government had not asked the council to pay the additional revenue back when the economy was sound.