Govt rolls out HK$2bn relief package amid protests - RTHK
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Govt rolls out HK$2bn relief package amid protests

2019-10-22 HKT 19:13
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  • Govt rolls out HK$2bn relief package amid protests
The government on Tuesday announced a HK$2 billion relief package for the transport, retail, and catering industries, which have all complained about being badly hit by the city's ongoing protests.

Four-plus months of almost non-stop protests have taken an especially high toll on the city's infrastructure network – with major roads blocked by anti-government protesters for hours on end on a regular basis.

Officials said they want to help by introducing a HK$1.4 billion plan to subside the fuel costs of transport operators and drivers for half a year.

Drivers of LPG taxis and minibuses will get a subsidy of HK$1 for every litre of LPG they use – or roughly one third the current cost.

Non-franchised operators will get a HK$5,000 payment, while public transport operators will be subsidised one third of their fuel costs.

Examination fees for commercial vessels will also be waived.

HK$600 million in additional subsidies will go towards rent relief for supermarkets, car parks, restaurants and shops that operate in government venues. Their rents will be halved for six months, back-dated to the first of October.

Financial Secretary Paul Chan, who had already handed out relief measures worth HK$19 billion just two months ago, said the additional measures are needed by specific industries to protect jobs.

He said if needed, even more help will be provided.

"Going forward, we will continue to monitor the situation closely and if there are areas that require further assistance, we won't hesitate to roll out additional measures," Chan said.

There have also been rumours that the government is considering a subsidy for tourists to stay in local hotels, and for locals to buy plane tickets for holidays elsewhere.

Edward Yau, the secretary for commerce and economic development, wouldn't be drawn on any details, but said the government is in the final stage of discussions with the trade on some form of aid package.

The government urged lawmakers to approve the funding as soon as possible.