Otmane El Rhazi from news.gov.hk – Business & Finance.
Financial Secretary John Tsang said today that he would not hesitate to introduce new measures to maintain a stable property market and safeguard the financial system.
Mr Tsang made that statement during a radio phone-in programme this morning, during which he answered people’s questions on the Budget 2015-16.
He said there was currently an imbalance in housing supply, but that the Government was “working very hard” to create more land for housing. He noted that in the Land Sale Programme the Secretary for Development unveiled yesterday, about 20,000 private sector flats would come into the market this year, while in the coming three to four years that number would jump to 74,000 flats, which would help the Government redress that imbalance.
Mr Tsang stressed that the fundamental way to solve high property prices was to increase land supply, adding that he was aware of a recent pick up in prices and vowed to take the necessary cooling steps at an appropriate time.
“I would not hesitate to introduce new measures in order to maintain the healthy and stable development of the property market, but more importantly, we need to safeguard the stability of our financial system and that is an important aspect. So, when we think that this situation has gone to a stage that we have to do something, the measures will come hot and fast,” he stressed.
Mr Tsang reiterated his call to citizens not to focus solely on concessions – which he noted only take up a small part of the entire Budget – but on overall Government spending, as it works to raise living standards in areas such as healthcare and education.
“What we need to look at is how much we are spending in all the different sectors in terms of education, health and social welfare. That takes up about 60% of our expenditure and that is for everyone in the community and that is considerable, and I think we need to put more focus on the amount of money that we are spending,” he said.
The finance chief added that total Government expenditure was estimated to reach $440.8 billion in the next financial year, which has doubled since 1997.
“It is a considerable increase since this period and I think we need to give some recognition to that,” Mr Tsang said.