Hong Kong people are still pessimistic about their financial prospects, even though they expect a better economic outlook over the next 12 months, a survey has discovered. Raymond Cheung Man-to, vice-spokesman of the Democratic Alliance for Betterment of Hong Kong, which conducted the survey, said the results reflected the reluctance by employers to increase pay. 'The economy is actually improving but people have not enjoyed the benefits because employers at this stage are quite reluctant to increase wages,' Mr Cheung said. People aged 40 or above and earning less than $9,500 a month were the most affected group, he added. The DAB questioned 1,225 people. While about 40 per cent expected the economy to improve over the next year, only 18.5 per cent believed their financial prospects would get better. Only 5 per cent said they would buy a flat in the next six months, while 76 per cent said they would not. And only 10 per cent thought it was a good time to buy furniture and expensive electronic appliances. The survey involved three indexes - people's perception of current economic conditions, consumer confidence and overall consumption sentiment. All showed a negative outlook. Chan Kam-lam, a DAB legislator, said: 'People perceived an improvement in the economy as a whole, yet their consumption confidence is still weak.' Mr Cheung said the party was not surprised by the survey's findings. 'Hong Kong people do not have enough confidence in the local government - whether the government can implement the correct policies,' he said, adding that the administration should improve its effectiveness, efficiency and transparency. The party suggested the government focus on helping middle-aged people on low incomes and with few skills to re-enter the job market.