Financial Secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen yesterday defended his economic strategy, saying he was not waiting for luck to revive the economy. Mr Tang was responding to criticism from Frontier legislator Emily Lau Wai-hing that he had just thrown out a few ideas and was 'waiting for fortune' to improve Hong Kong's economic prospects. He was attending a special meeting of the financial affairs panel, where he explained the fiscal management philosophy that he unveiled last Wednesday. Ms Lau also criticised him for failing to convene meetings to gauge the public's views, as promised. 'You have to seek consensus among legislators and the public. Please [do] not just wait for fortune. In fact, fortune may not [work out],' she added. Rejecting her criticism, Mr Tang said: 'I don't think I'm waiting for fortune ... After being in office for two months, my top priority is to prepare the financial 'envelopes'. Only then can various departments and policy bureaus operate normally.' Some legislators yesterday voiced concern that cuts in welfare and education spending would adversely affect educational development and the livelihood of the unprivileged. Mr Tang stressed the spending cuts would not be carried out across the board, and that chiefs of policy bureaus have discretion on how the money was apportioned. He said he was holding discussions with Secretary for Education and Manpower Arthur Li Kwok-cheung on the allocation of resources. Last week Mr Tang announced the target of balancing the budget by 2006-2007 would be delayed for two years and that starting from 2004-2005 government spending would be cut by 11 per cent over five years, at an average of 2.5 per cent a year. Meanwhile, Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa said yesterday that education was an investment, and the government had an obligation to ensure that every dollar was spent wisely.