Major political parties generally found Mr Leung's Budget acceptable and commended the Government for heeding their calls to launch relief measures and for not introducing new taxes this year. But some said the plan to reduce public expenditure would hurt the poor in the long run and criticised the lack of action to address the problem of unemployment. Tsang Yok-sing, leader of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong, said that overall he welcomed the Budget. 'We are satisfied with the relief measures and reduction in fees and charges, and believe the proposals have met the expectations and demands of the general public,' he said. His colleague, Chan Kam-lam, said: 'The Budget clearly gave us a view of the long-term direction the Government is heading in . . . it is overall acceptable and could provide relief.' James Tien Pei-chun, leader of the Liberal Party, said the proposals could help both the public and businesses. 'Although some of the proposals by the eight-party coalition [of Legco factions seeking economic relief] have not been implemented, the Government nonetheless froze fees and charges and provided other relief measures. 'We hope all the measures to curb spending can be implemented because if that is done, the books could be balanced and a sales tax need not be introduced.' Democratic Party chairman Martin Lee Chu-ming said the Budget represented a 'success' for the coalition's effort. 'We welcome what the Government has done.' But he criticised the Government for not raising the old age allowance and for ignoring calls to cut rent for all public housing tenants by 30 per cent. His colleague, Sin Chung-kai, praised the Government for fixing the reserve level at 12 months of public expenditure. Mr Sin said this could relieve pressure to raise taxes and would benefit the public. Non-affiliated legislator Eric Li Ka-cheung said the Budget was a 'long-term diet menu'. But he warned expenditure cuts could go well beyond 2007. Unionist legislators criticised the Budget for having 'hidden killers' because of the gradual reduction of government expenditure, which could lead to cuts in social services. Lee Cheuk-yan, of the Confederation of Trade Unions, said: 'Short-term relief measures are not enough, and in the long term poor people will become poorer. It brings no help to the underprivileged. 'People are most concerned with unemployment, but it was not even mentioned in the Budget. We fear the Government will speed up outsourcing, sack a lot of civil servants and cut services in order to save money.' Executive Councillors rallied behind Mr Leung and praised the Budget as 'progressive'.