Budget has responded to people's voice: govt allies - RTHK
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Budget has responded to people's voice: govt allies

2020-02-26 HKT 14:34
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  • Budget has responded to people's voice: govt allies
  • The Liberal Party says the budget will help businesses stay afloat. Photo: RTHK
    The Liberal Party says the budget will help businesses stay afloat. Photo: RTHK
Pro-government parties on Wednesday welcomed Financial Secretary Paul Chan's budget for the next year, saying it has offered much needed aid to the people and businesses, as the city reels under an economic slump.

Chan presented a budget that offer many support measures, including HK$10,000 for all permanent residents and tax relief for individuals and businesses.

The biggest pro-Beijing party, the DAB, said Chan’s budget has responded to the people’s voice. The party's chairwoman, Starry Lee, said the cash handout will help the common people while other measures will help firms avoid lay-offs.

But Lee said her party doesn't see that any of these moves will boost the government's overall popularity.

The Business and Professionals Alliance for Hong Kong (BPA), another pro-Beijing ally of the government, said the budget has handed a lifeline to struggling small and medium enterprises.

BPA vice-chairman Jeffrey Lam said the low interest loan guarantee announced by Chan means businesses can pay their rents and salaries to survive the Covid-19 outbreak.

But Abraham Shek said he's disappointed the Financial Secretary didn't withdraw its "spicy measures" relating to the property market.

The business-friendly Liberal Party, meanwhile, said the budget offered much needed help to small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

The party's chairman, Tommy Cheung, said a loan guarantee plan unveiled by Chan, that will enable businesses to get up to HK$2 million as a loan from a bank, will help them stay afloat for the next few months.

Lawmaker Kwok Wai-keung from another pro-Beijing party, the Federation of Trade Unions (FTU) said ideally there should be cash coupons on top of the handout to help boost the economy.

His party member Alice Mak added there are not enough measures in the budget to support the working class, as it expects many more people going out of work soon during the Covid-19 epidemic.