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In a typical Hong Kong Budget speech, the Financial Secretary announces a big surplus, proposes a few new spending projects, then adds the surplus to reserves. Today’s Budget speech was no exception. Having another year of healthy fiscal surplus gave the Financial Secretary, Paul MP Chan, additional room to spend a bit more than usual on ‘giveaways’ this year of over HKD 50 billion.

Overall, this was a ‘safe’ Budget. Although it may represent ‘more of the same’, it gives a big win to the Innovation and Technology sector. The Budget is difficult to object to. It is directionally safe. Some people would have wanted higher expenditure on social and community initiatives, and it is they who might be disappointed. The Budget did not tangibly address some core issues the population faces such as housing affordability and pollution (despite the green initiatives mentioned). The Financial Secretary did mention that financial resources alone would not solve Hong Kong’s housing problem and that the Task Force on Land Supply was considering matters in further detail; his solution for now appears to be that increasing land supply and the coming increases in interest rates will help dampen real estate prices over time.

The projections for the future indicate that the government’s fiscal policy of conservative prudence is unlikely to change in the coming years.

The information contained in the Hong Kong Budget Summary 2018-2019 is of a general nature and is not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. Although we endeavour to provide accurate and timely information, there can be no guarantee that such information is accurate as of the date it is received or that it will continue to be accurate in the future. No one should act on such information without appropriate professional advice after a thorough examination of the particular situation.

Legislative proposals do not generally become law until their enactment and may be modified by the Legislative Council before enactment.

It should be noted that the information is presented in summary form and readers are advised to seek professional advice before formulating business decisions.

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