Financial Secretary Paul Chan told lawmakers on Thursday that the government is aiming to allow people to apply for a HK$10,000 cash handout by early July.
He said payment of the handouts is expected to be made in the summer, in phases.
Chan said it will take around three months for the government to set up application and payment systems with banks. There’s little room to speed things up, he said.
The financial chief also rejected a call for more financial help for those aged under 18, who are not eligible for the cash handout he announced in the budget presented on Wednesday.
He again pointed out that the government is already offering students a HK$3,500 subsidy.
Democratic Party chairman Wu Chi-wai said it was unfair that Hong Kong permanent residents who are not living here will get the cash handout, but not those below 18 who do live here.
Opposition lawmaker Claudia Mo accused Chan of using the cash handout to stifle criticism of an increase in budget for the police. But the secretary rejected this.
Charles Mok said the government should scrap the extra police funding and distribute it among the people. This would increase the handout to HK$13,000, he said. Chan said he will not be considering this.
Some opposition lawmakers wanted the police funding to be treated as a separate item from the rest of the budget. But Alice Lau, Permanent Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, said that there was no option to split away the police funding.
She said according to the law, the budgetary heads of various expenditures in the financial year need to be included in the Appropriation Bill. She also said that each year's budget includes the resource requirements of all departments and it is common practice to ask the Legislative Council to approve the funding all in one go.
Govt to receive cash handout applications by July
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