Carrie Lam pledges HK$10 billion in economic relief amid unrest

January 14, 2020 16:26
Chief Executive Carrie Lam unveiled the new measures targeting the elderly, unemployed and low-income residents on Tuesday. Photo: Reuters

Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor on Tuesday pledged HK$10 billion (US$1.3 billion) in relief measures to prop up the economy as it grapples with months of anti-government protests that have hurt business confidence in the global financial hub.

Hong Kong sank into recession for the first time in a decade in the third quarter as the sometimes violent protests forced businesses to shut and scared away tourists.

The proposed new spending brings the Chinese-ruled city’s total stimulus to HK$35 billion (US$4.5 billion) since this summer, when protests escalated.

The measures target the elderly, unemployed and low-income residents, with plans to provide cash handouts among other benefits.

The government said it also aims to increase statutory holidays from 12 to 17 days, subject to discussions with the business sector.

The Old Age Living Allowance and Higher Old Age Living Allowance will be combined into one subsidy and raised to HK$3,585 per month. This will give current recipients of the lower amount an extra HK$910 per month, RTHK reported.

The government will also start contributing to Mandatory Provident Fund savings for those not earning enough to contribute themselves, the public broadcaster said. The threshold is currently set at HK$7,100 per month. With Reuters

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