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News

2014
The 2014-2015 Budget

Enhance Competitiveness

  • Launch “e-cheque service” in the latter half of 2015
  • Assist the Airport Authority Hong Kong in pressing ahead with the planning for a third runway
  • Announce the blueprint for railway development beyond 2020 shortly
  • Phase out all pre-Euro IV diesel commercial vehicles Applications for ex-gratia payment open from 1 March
  • Government actively introduces new and enhanced services while adhering to the principle of keeping expenditure within the limits of revenue
  • Recurrent expenditure has kept increasing in recent years, constituting about 80%-95% of the operating expenditure

 

Economic Outlook for 2014

  • Forecast GDP growth of 3% to 4%
  • Forecast headline inflation of 4.6% and underlying inflation of 3.7%

 

Key to Development

  • The Vocational Training Council (VTC) will launch a pilot training and support scheme to attract new blood for industries with keen demand for labour.
  • 2 000 apprentices will receive an allowance from the Government and the industries
  • Allocate $130 million to enhance productivity of the retail industry. VTC will strengthen its corresponding vocational education and training measures
  • Include elite training programmes in some secondary schools which are outstanding in IT education to cultivate young IT professionals and entrepreneurs
  • Reserve a recurrent provision of $436 million to increase the intake of senior-year undergraduate places in UGC-funded institutions by 1 000 places
  • 150 sites are identified for residential use. If their statutory plans are successfully amended, this initiative will make available about 210 000 public and private units in the next five years
  • 2014-15 Land Sale Programme will include 34 residential sites, capable of accommodating about 15 500 units. Among these sites, 24 are new ones
  • 2014-15 Land Sale Programme will include seven sites for commercial/business use and one for “hotel only”, providing a total floor area of about 230 000 square metres and about 1 100 hotel rooms
  • Allocate $176 million annually for extending the Public Transport Fare Concession Scheme for the Elderly and Eligible Persons with Disabilities to cover green minibus trips
  • Allocate $172 million for 1 500 additional places for the Enhanced Home and Community Care Services
  • Reserve $164 million to upgrade 51 social centres for the elderly to neighbourhood elderly centres
  • Reserve about $200 million to raise the subsidy levels for places under theEnhanced Bought Place Scheme and places under the Nursing Home Place Purchase Scheme
  • Allocate $120 million for 950 additional subsidised residential care places for the elderly
  • Reserve $800 million for residential care services vouchers
  • Invest $55 billion to build Tin Shui Wai Hospital and Hong Kong Children’s Hospital, redevelop Kwong Wah Hospital, Queen Mary Hospital and Kwai Chung Hospital, and expand United Christian Hospital and Hong Kong Red Cross Blood Transfusion Service Headquarters
  • Conduct strategic studies on the construction of an acute general hospital in the Kai Tak Development Area
  • Plan for the redevelopment of Queen Elizabeth Hospital and the Phase 2 redevelopment of Prince of Wales Hospital
  • Conduct study on the voluntary health protection scheme and consider tax concession for subscribers of regulated insurance products
  • Reserve $422 million to study and implement a pilot programme to subsidise colorectal cancer screening for specific age groups
  • Increase duty on cigarettes to protect the health of the people
  • Allocate $600 million per year for regularising the Elderly Health Care Voucher Scheme and increasing the annual voucher value to $2,000

 

Relief Measures

  • Increase the allowance for maintaining a dependent parent or grandparent
  • Reduce salaries tax and tax under personal assessment for 2013-14 by 75%, subject to a ceiling of $10,000
  • Waive rates for the first two quarters of 2014-15, subject to a ceiling of $1,500 per quarter
  • Provide an extra allowance to CSSA recipients, Old Age Allowance, Old Age Living Allowance and Disability Allowance recipients, equal to one month of the respective allowances
  • Pay one month’s rent on behalf of public housing tenants

 

Development of Industries

  • Set up an Enterprise Support Programme under the Innovation and Technology Fund (ITF) to support R&D activities in private companies, subject to a ceiling of $10 million
  • Extend the scope of ITF to fund development work and system integration, industrial design, compliance testing and clinical trials, etc
  • Grant $24 million each year to six designated universities to provide seed money for R&D projects and encourage their students and teachers to start up businesses
  • Develop an interactive portal to pool all stakeholders in the startup community to promote inventions and innovations as well as attract funding
  • Waive stamp duty on the trading of all ETFs to lower transaction costs
  • Issue iBond worth up to $10 billion
  • Review requirements under Inland Revenue Ordinance for interest deduction in the taxation of treasury activities to draw more of these activities to Hong Kong
  • Release six sites within the “hotel belt” adjacent to the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal to develop a distinctive hotel cluster
  • Reserve $45 million for providing services and concessions for conventions and exhibitions in the coming three years
  • Reserve $50 million for strengthening popular tourist events in the next two years by, for example, introducing 3D projection mapping technology to help showcase the magnificent night view of the Victoria Harbour
  • Complete the midfield development of Hong Kong International Airport in 2015
  • Work with Guangdong Province for early achievement of liberalisation of trade in services between Hong Kong and Guangdong this year
  • Extend application period for special concessionary measures under SME Financing Guarantee Scheme for one year
  • Support retailers on a matching fund basis for the use of IT applications and other technologies
  • Promote cloud computing applications among SMEs and

 

Provide them with relevant training

  • Reduce profits tax for 2013-14 by 75%, subject to a ceiling of $10,000