Budget 2019/20

Policy Address 19/20: Internships and exchanges on the mainland for Hong Kong's disenchanted youth

  • 2019-10-16
  • The Young Reporter
  • By: 談 巧童、Carol Mang、Sunny Sun、HaywoodManEdited by: Stephanie Ma、King Woo、Vimvam Tong、Cara Li、Rachel Yeo
  • 2019-10-16

For 22-year-old Eleanor Pang, a recent graduate from Chinese University of Hong Kong, her internship in mainland China last year was meaningful.After working in Beijing for 1.5 months at the State Development and Investment Corporation - the largest state-owned investment holding company in China, she now understands mainland business and social cultures and Chinese history.  This year's policy address offer Hong Kong students and university graduates like Ms. Pang, more opportunities to work and visit the mainland as part of a slew of measures aimed at connecting with young people. The government plans to spend $1 billion on the measures. "The current-term government will strive to do its best in youth development work by addressing young people's concerns about education, career pursuit and home ownership, and encouraging their participation in politics as well as public policy discussion and debate," said chief executive, Carrie Lam in her policy address supplement. Exchange and internship programmes, managed by the Youth Development Council are expected to benefit about 19,300 and 3,800 local youths respectively this year. Students can join internships at the Palace Museum in Beijing, Wolong National Nature Reserves in Yunnan, and the Beijing Organising Committee for the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. The government will also continue to provide subsidies for post-secondary students who wish to go on exchange in the "Belt and Road" region. Apple Poon, 20, a third year student at the University of Hong Kong, joined an exchange programme organised by Hong Kong United Youth Association last year. She spent 1.5 months living in Beijing working at a state run online firm. "To be honest, the time of the internship is so limited that we can only do some basic work. It’s hard for us to learn about working culture in the mainland. But my boss and colleagues …

Politics

Budget 2019/20: Tax reduction and financial relief measures not to be compromised despite lower revenue

  • The Young Reporter
  • By: Vimvam Tong、Jo Ng、King Woo、Yetta LamEdited by: Rachel Yeo
  • 2019-02-27

The government announced a number of financial relief measures in the budget speech today, despite a significant drop in the city's annual surplus. Salaries tax, tax under personal assessment and profits tax will be reduced by 75% with a ceiling of $20,000 this year, Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po said. Mr. Chan said he is "very concerned about the tax burden on salary earners", adding that tax bands will be widened and marginal tax rates will be adjusted. "These measures aim to relieve the long-term tax burden of citizens through a structural approach and increase taxpayers' disposable income, so that they can take better care of their personal as well as family needs," he said. The government will be waiving rates for four quarters of 2019-20, subject to a ceiling of $1,500 per quarter for each rateable property, wheres last year's ceiling was $2,500. One-off relief measures from the government this year are projected to be lesser because of the reduced surplus. Mr. Chan announced the expected surplus of $58.7 billion for 2018-2019, but the government will be spending approximately $42.9 billion for 2019-2020, which is 73% of the surplus for one-off relief measures. This figure is higher than last year, when they allocated around 40% of the $138 billion surplus for relief measures. "We consider that the external environment is not very favorable, so the surplus is lower. But we do not want to scale down our commitment (towards relief measures) too much," said Mr. Chan in the press conference after the budget speech. Financial relief measures are introduced with the objectives to “support enterprises, preserve employment, stabilise economy, and alleviate the burden of citizens", in reaction to the slow economy performance caused by the US-China trade war. As for allowances, the government will also be providing extra allowances …