2020/01/16

Ten new measures regarding people's lives

Hong Kong's social safety net is in shreds, and its welfare spending ought to be increased. In the past few years, the government has been continuously putting money into this area. Having over one trillion dollars in its fiscal reserves, it should invest more on the future with a view to improving people's lives. But it is also quite important to ensure fiscal prudence in the long term. Hong Kong has a narrow tax base, and the government's revenue is very much subject to fluctuations of the economy. In this fiscal year and the next, the public coffers are expected to be at least billions of dollars in the red. The new measures regarding people's lives will add to the government's annual recurrent expenditure around ten billion dollars, about 2% of its total spending. When it makes assessments of its future finances, it must not be overly optimistic. It ought to have alternative plans.