Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa has been urged to ask banks to lengthen the loan repayment period for homeowners with negative equity. In a meeting with Mr Tung, conducting a consultation on his fifth Policy Address - to be revealed in a fortnight - chairmen of the 18 district councils said such a move would reduce the financial burden on homeowners during the economic downturn. Daniel Lam Wai-keung, chairman of the Islands District Council, said other recommendations made by them included freezing property rates and the Mandatory Provident Fund (MPF) for one year. Both employers and employees have to contribute a minimum of five per cent of the monthly salary of staff into MPF schemes. The councils also urged the Government to speed up infrastructure projects, including those passed by the disbanded municipal councils, and to strengthen tourism promotion. Public utilities should also look to freeze charges to ease the burden on households, Mr Lam said. Information Co-ordinator Stephen Lam Sui-lung said the Government was considering the suggestions while also having to deal with the problem of a budget deficit. He added that the Government was trying to promote economic activities with limited resources while following the principle of a free market.