Concessions add up to little for family of 3

Martin Wong

The concessions in the budget amount to an extra HK$6,000 for the Lau family to spend for the year.

The middle-class family of three has a monthly household income of HK$45,000.

'I don't think the budget will help us at all,' said Lau Au Fung-kit, 38, a toy designer. 'What we will really get from the budget will be the rates waiver, about HK$1,200 a year, and the HK$1,800 electricity subsidy.'

She said the increase in child and dependent parent allowances would see the couple's tax bills cut by a total of about HK$3,000. Her 39-year-old husband, Lau Kin, is a supervisor at a courier company. The family pays about HK$10,000 tax a year.

The HK$12,000 MPF injection to their accounts, they say, is useless.

'With soaring inflation, a poor return and high management fees, the fund will be worth almost nothing when we retire,' the working mother said.

The family lives in a flat in Holford Garden, Tai Wai, and has a monthly mortgage of HK$6,800. They are already feeling the strain of inflation.

'We no longer buy canned food because prices are going up like crazy, and I stopped eating out during my lunch break. I bring my own lunchbox instead,' she said.

The family's largest expenses are for six-year-old daughter, Ka-hei. Fees for her primary school, plus classes in dancing, piano, painting, English and mathematics, cost HK$8,000 a month.

'The government needs to provide more tax concessions if it really wants to help us,' she said.