The Financial Secretary warned last night against expecting tax cuts in next month's Budget in the face of a deficit estimated at more than $30 billion this year. Donald Tsang Yam-kuen said relief for taxpayers would reach a peak in the next 12 months following $43.6 billion in concessions that have been granted in the past year. But lawmakers were unimpressed, and carried a motion calling for further tax rebates and aid for businesses and training. At the end of a two-hour debate, Mr Tsang said that the public was sympathetic to the Government's difficulties in formulating the Budget. 'The 1999-2000 Budget is widely regarded as the most difficult in history. Opinion polls have shown the public is aware of the possibilities of spending cuts or higher taxation,' he said. 'I am greatly moved by the public sympathy and prudence. 'The latest figures have shown the deficit will exceed $30 billion, and government revenue in the coming years is not optimistic. There is little room for further tax cuts. 'The Government can't easily cut spending or increase taxation. We are facing a dilemma,' he told legislators. The finance chief is reviewing the economic outlook and the budgetary measures for a final decision in the Budget, which will be presented to Legco on March 3. He said the Budget was aimed at reducing public pain in the course of economic restructuring. Mr Tsang said: 'The year 1999-2000 will be the peak for the public benefiting from tax concessions. 'Personal and business tax burdens will be much relieved in the period up to March next year.' Democratic Party legislator Sin Chung-kai, who sponsored the motion, urged Mr Tsang to stimulate consumption, encourage innovative enterprise development and strengthen training. He suggested setting up a capital loan fund for innovative enterprises, and rebates in salary and profits tax of up to $10.6 billion. Citizens Party chairwoman Christine Loh Kung-wai said the Government should not rely on land sales as its main source of income. But her amendment calling for tax reforms was scuttled by a cross-party front. Liberal Party leader James Tien Pei-chun said: 'We are plagued with many problems such as the economy and the Court of Final Appeal's ruling. We would not support such a review at this stage.' Chan Kam-lam of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong suggested a tax rebate in the form of 'purchase vouchers', and a reduction in fuel duty. But his amendment was also rejected. Mr Tsang pledged to maintain fiscal prudence under the Basic Law. 'We should stick to the principle of fiscal prudence. We can't sacrifice long-term development strength through short-term relief.'