Govt must help with 'outrageous' hikes: economist - RTHK
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Govt must help with 'outrageous' hikes: economist

2022-11-28 HKT 09:37
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  • Govt must help with 'outrageous' hikes: economist
An economist on Monday dubbed increases in electricity bills "outrageous" and said proposed higher public transport fares would hurt with the economy in recession, adding that the government should provide subsidies to help people deal with the costs.

Andy Kwan made the comments on RTHK's Hong Kong Today programme in response to news that the SAR's four franchised bus firms had asked for fare increases of between 10 and 20 percent, while the two electricity suppliers said tariffs would go up in January.

"If you really raise such a high increase in the electricity price or even for the bus fares it will increase the burden on lower- or middle-income households. You don't want to see that," Kwan, the director of the ACE Centre for Business and Economic Research, told RTHK's Janice Wong.

"So in this case I think the government has a responsibility to find ways to lower such an increase. The government has to think about a subsidy, some kind of public transport subsidy, or some kind of subsidy on the electricity outlet.

"If you pay more for the basics, other discretionary consumption will also lower. That will hurt the overall performance of the economy."

The two electricity companies both announced tariff increases on Tuesday that will take effect in January. For HK Electric customers, bills will be 45 per cent higher than a year earlier, while CLP customers will face charges that are 20 percent higher. The companies cited higher fuel costs and decarbonisation expenses.

The Transport and Logistics Bureau said on Wednesday said it had received applications for fare increases of between 10 and 20 percent from the four franchised bus operators. They cited higher commodity prices and the need to increase staff salaries.

Meanwhile the Hong Kong Taxi and Public Light Bus Association on Friday submitted an application to the Transport Department for a HK$6 increase in the flag fall for urban taxis, to HK$33. Fares last increased in July.