Lawmakers meet FS to push for budget changes

Pro-government legislators put their budget ideas to Financial Secretary Paul Chan on Wednesday. Photo: RTHK

Pro-government legislators put their budget ideas to Financial Secretary Paul Chan on Wednesday. Photo: RTHK

The pro-democracy camp says it's still hoping to see cash handouts for all permanent residents. Photo: RTHK

The pro-democracy camp says it’s still hoping to see cash handouts for all permanent residents. Photo: RTHK

The DAB on Wednesday called for electricity subsidies and public flat rent waivers as it put suggestions to Financial Secretary Paul Chan, two weeks after his budget announcement. Meanwhile, the pro-democracy camp said it still wants to see cash handouts for everyone.

Chan has been looking at ways to improve his financial blueprint after critics accused him of failing to spread out a record high budget surplus fairly. To this end, he has held talks with both pro-establishment and pro-democracy figures to find out what they would like to see. 

As well as the electricity subsidies and rent waivers, the pro-government DAB told Chan he should waive university student loans, up to a maximum of HK$20,000 per person

The party also said that if the Community Care Fund is to be used to help low-income groups, as Chan has suggested, the application procedures must be kept simple.

DAB lawmaker Elizabeth Quat said all of their ideas are pragmatic.

“It’s all been done before. The procedures are already there, and it will be more easy and more practical for the government to do it immediately”, Quat said. 

The pro-democracy camp also spent half an hour talking to the financial secretary on Wednesday. Even though he has repeatedly said he doesn’t want to give a universal cash handout, camp convenor Charles Mok says this is precisely what he and his colleagues are calling for.

“If we don’t continue to make the right demands, we’re never going to be able to get what the citizens of Hong Kong would consider to be a fair deal. Because we fight for what the people really want and we will not give up simply because the government tell us that this is not what they’re going to do”, said Mok.

Democratic Party chairman Wu Chi-wai, meanwhile, said the relief measures in this year’s budget have split society and the government needs to make changes to ensure that everyone gets a slice of the cake.

http://news.rthk.hk/rthk/en/component/k2/1385810-20180314.htm

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