Financial Secretary Antony Leung Kam-chung faced a barrage of public criticism yesterday a day after the Government slashed its forecast for annual economic growth. Mr Leung, a guest on the RTHK show Accountability - his first phone-in programme since he took up his post in May - was grilled by listeners who said the Government should be doing more to help people during the economic downturn. Mr Leung said the Government was exploring short-term measures to create jobs, but it would not 'distribute rice' to people, referring to the $400 billion in fiscal reserves. The Government revealed on Friday that it had cut its growth forecast from three per cent to one per cent. Yesterday Mr Leung asked the public not to blame the Government for their plight. But callers said it could do more to help. Suggestions ranged from setting up flea markets to the Housing Authority freeing up vacant shops in housing estates to create job opportunities. One caller said: 'We need pain-relief pills immediately.' Mr Leung said the Government was looking at short-term measures to create job opportunities. 'Some of the ways mentioned by the audience are being considered by us,' he said, without elaborating. He urged people to set up their own businesses, saying the Government would simplify licensing procedures to facilitate this. Speeding up government construction projects was also a way of creating jobs, Mr Leung said. There are at present 200 such projects. 'I hope the public know that their plight is not brought about by the SAR Government but is a global trend,' he said. He admitted that land prices and rents were high. 'Is it the fault of the SAR Government? No. You may say it's the fault of the former government, but it's no use complaining.' He said public handouts would only bring temporary relief. The Government preferred to attract investment to create jobs. He favoured investing in education, infrastructure and tourism.