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Hong Kong's 2019 Policy Address sets out principles for restoring calm, enhancing peoples’ livelihoods and boosting the economy

18 Oct, 2019

Hong Kong's 2019 Policy Address sets out principles for restoring calm, enhancing peoples’ livelihoods and boosting the economy
Hong Kong's 2019 Policy Address sets out principles for restoring calm, enhancing peoples’ livelihoods and boosting the economy

Hong Kong Chief Executive, Mrs Carrie Lam, delivered her third Policy Address on 16 October 2019.

Entitled "Treasure Hong Kong: Our Home", this year’s Policy Address tackles head on housing and land supply, and focuses on propelling Hong Kong forward through improving people’s livelihooddiversifying the economynurturing talent and making Hong Kong a more liveable city. .

Reiterating the government’s commitment and confidence to overcome Hong Kong’s current social and economic challenges, the Policy Address also sets out three principles for discharging governance responsibilities:

  1. The government will adhere to 'One Country, Two Systems' and safeguard the rights and freedoms protected by the Basic Law;
  2. The government will make every effort to safeguard the rule of law, a core value of paramount importance to Hong Kong and the cornerstone of Hong Kong’s success, and;
  3. Hong Kong's institutional strengths are built up over time by different bodies and organisations including the executive authorities, the legislature, the judiciary, the civil service, law enforcement and regulatory agencies, public service bodies, media organisations, etc. Each and every one of us has the responsibility to protect these strengths and prevent them from being eroded.

Acknowledging that housing and land are the toughest livelihood issues facing Hong Kong society and a source of public grievances, the Government will, among other initiatives:

  • Propose legislation to levy “Special Rates” on vacant first-hand private residential units to encourage developers to expedite the supply of completed flats, in order to reduce hoarding
  • Increase flat supply, by setting aside HK$5 billion (around GBP 500 million) to build 10,000 transitional housing units within the next three years; putting up 12,000 subsidised flats for pre-sale next year; accelerating the sale of 42,000 unsold units under the Tenants Purchase Scheme; and exploring redevelopment of Housing Authority factory estates for public housing
  • Raise the cap from HK$4m to HK$8m for a 90% loan-to-value mortgage for first-time home buyers
  • Invoke the Lands Resumption Ordinance to develop public housing and Starter Homes, and explore development of brownfield sites

Noting that Hong Kong’s economy is being severely buffeted by external forces, including the trade tension between Mainland China and the United States, as well as the impact of months of local disturbances, Mrs Lam announced a host of initiatives  to safeguard jobs, help enterprises to withstand the economic downturn, and diversify the economy.  They include:

  • Extending the coverage of Technology Talent Admission Scheme to cover new technology areas
  • Injecting HK$2 billion (around GBP 200 million) injection into the Dedicated Fund on Branding, Upgrading and Domestic Sales(BUD Fund)
  • Doubling the funding ceiling of the BUD Fund to HK$2 million (around GBP 20 million)  per enterprise under its Mainland Programme and FTA Programme
  • Injecting another HK$1 billion (around GBP 100 million) into the SME Export Marketing Fund
  • Injecting HK$500 million (around GBP 50 million) into the Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development Fund
  • Introducing tax concessions for ship lessors and leasing managers
  • Enhancing the SME Financing Guarantee Scheme

To improve people’s livelihood, Mrs Lam also announced a number of pro-childpro-family, and pro-work initiatives, and a series of measures to ease the financial burden on commuters, and to improve services and facilities.

Further details can be found at the following links:

Policy Address

https://www.policyaddress.gov.hk/2019/eng/index.html

Highlights leaflet

https://www.policyaddress.gov.hk/2019/eng/highlights.html