Lawmakers approve HK$30bn virus relief fund - RTHK
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Lawmakers approve HK$30bn virus relief fund

2020-02-21 HKT 21:39
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  • Lawmakers approve HK$30bn virus relief fund
Legislators approved HK$30 billion in funding for the government's coronavirus relief package on Friday night.

In a rare show of solidarity, there was near-unanimous support for the package of sweeping subsidies for a range of virus-affected industries from restaurants to travel agents and property management firms, with 59 votes for and just three against.

However, lawmakers voted against a variety of motions moved by members suggesting additional measures during a lengthy debate in Legco’s Finance Committee – such as a HK$10,000 handout for all adult residents, and subsidies for those who've lost their jobs or have been made to take unpaid leave.

The Chief Secretary, Matthew Cheung had explained that the fund is aimed at helping specific industries, while labour minister Law Chi-kwong said this is an urgent package, and subsidies for the jobless would have required a lot of paper work and extra manpower.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam said in a statement that she welcomes the committee’s vote.

"I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to LegCo Members for their support and approval of the funding application for the $30 billion Anti-epidemic Fund to achieve the objective of fighting the disease together to ride out these difficult times", she said.

Lam added that the Financial Secretary Paul Chan will be introducing more measures to "support the economy and relieve people's burden" in his upcoming budget on Wednesday, and the government will continue to assess the impact of the Covid-19 epidemic and listen to comments from all sectors.

Last updated: 2020-02-21 HKT 22:11