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Thursday, Jun 13, 2024

(Budget 2023-24) "Moderately liberal” fiscal stance taken this year as Paul Chan begins Budget address

(Budget 2023-24) "Moderately liberal” fiscal stance taken this year as Paul Chan begins Budget address

Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po is delivering his budget to the Legislative Council this morning.
He said the budget theme is “Leaping Forward Steadily, Together We Bolster Prosperity under Our New Vision,” adding that the government will take a “moderately liberal” fiscal stance this year.

Chan added that this year’s budget is still a deficit budget.

He stated that private consumption will increase as overall economic sentiment improves in tandem with the revival of economic activities and the rapid return of Hong Kong’s exchanges with the mainland and the world to normalcy.

The better economic prospects will also be conducive to fixed asset investment, though tightened financial conditions will remain a constraint. “Having regard to the above factors, I forecast that the Hong Kong economy will see a visible rebound this year with growth of 3.5 to 5.5 percent for the year as a whole,” he said.

Following are the key statements:

Consumption Vouchers
- issue e-vouchers with a total value of HK$5,000 to each eligible Hong Kong permanent resident and new arrival aged 18 or above in two instalments
- first batch of consumption vouchers valued at HK$3,000 will be disburse in April this year
- eligible persons who have come to live in Hong Kong through different admission schemes or to study in Hong Kong will receive vouchers in half value

- reducing salaries tax and tax under personal assessment for the year of assessment 2022/23 by 100 per cent, subject to a ceiling of HK$6,000
- propose to increase the basic child allowance and the additional child allowance from the current HK$120,000 to HK$130,000 starting from the year of assessment 2023/24
- reducing profits tax for the year of assessment 2022/23 by 100 per cent, subject to a ceiling of HK$6,000
- providing rates concession for domestic properties for the first two quarters of 2023 24, subject to a ceiling of HK$1,000 per quarter for each rateable property
- providing rates concession for non domestic properties for the first two quarters of 2023 24, subject to a ceiling of HK$1,000 per quarter for each rateable property

Allowances and subsidies
- providing one half of a month of the standard rate Comprehensive Social Security Assistance payments, Old Age Allowance, Old Age Living Allowance or Disability Allowance to eligible social security recipients
- extending the Public Transport Fare Subsidy Scheme for six months till October 2023 to provide commuters with a subsidy amounting to one third of their actual monthly public transport expenses in excess of HK$200
- granting a HK$1,000 subsidy for each eligible residential electricity account
- current arrangement of distributing electricity charges relief of HK$50 a month will be extended to the end of 2025
- paying the examination fees for school candidates sitting for the 2024 HKDSE Examination

Land Sale
- 2023-24 Land Sale Programme will cover a total of 12 residential sites
- potential land supply for the whole year is expected to have a capacity of providing about 20,550 units
- make the land available to the market for the production of no less than 72,000 private housing units in the coming five years
- Land Sale Programme also includes 3 commercial sites and 3 industrial sites, capable of providing about 200,000 square metres of commercial floor area and 170,000 square metres of industrial floor area

Tobacco Control
- propose to increase the duty on cigarettes by 60 cents per stick with immediate effect.
- duties on other tobacco products will also be increased by the same proportion under the proposal
- target is to bring the smoking prevalence rate down from the current 9.5 per cent to 7.8 per cent

Betting Duty
- propose to impose an annual special football betting duty of HK$2.4 billion on the Jockey Club for five years starting from 2023 - 24
- current betting duty rates remain unchanged

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