Around 2.8 million Hongkongers are set to get a cash handout of HK$4,000 from the government.
The handout, which was announced by Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po on Friday, aims to help people who did not benefit from the budget that was announced last month.
Only Hong Kong residents who are 18 years and above before December 31 this year will be eligible for this handout. To qualify for the handout, your tax rebates under last month’s budget address must be less than HK$4,000. You must also not own property, and not be receiving Compressive Social Security Assistance, old age living allowances, or disability allowances. The handout is expected to cost the government HK$11 billion.
The financial secretary has been under pressure to spend the HK$138 billion surplus announced in last year’s budget. Some people had argued government spending in the budget had been unfairly distributed. They said it ignored the so-called “N-nothings” – those who cannot afford a home and don’t earn enough to receive tax breaks, but also who do not qualify for government welfare.
Chan said the government took action after listening to views from the public, but several Young Post readers expressed concerns that the plan was not the best use of government money.
“Cash handouts don’t work, especially if it’s a small amount like HK$4,000,” said Suleman Siddiqui, 18. The CMA Choi Cheung Kok Secondary School student said he thinks the government should spend more of the surplus on the environment and housing.
“The government should fully subsidise university education. That would help everyone to study further either in Hong Kong or overseas,” he said.
Siddiqui also said he thinks the government doesn’t spend enough money on supporting young people. “This year I had to pay around HK$4,000 just to take HKDSE,” he said.
Likewise, Taylor Lam, 18, from Tang King Po School, said the handout won’t help to improve the living standards of Hongkongers.
“I think the government should spend more money on infrastructure, like hospitals,” Taylor said, adding that many hospitals, like the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Kowloon, frequently have too many patients and not enough beds. “It’s really important that the government do more about that, not just giving money.”