Council meeting– I. Q1:Alleviating the financial burden on members of the public

Alleviating the financial burden on members of the public

Mr Chan Chun-ying:

Thank you, President.  Regarding whether consumption vouchers should be disbursed, while the majority of voices in the community express support, there remain a few dissenting voices mainly because of concerns about the financial burden on the Government and the actual effectiveness of disbursing consumption vouchers.  Actually, if it can be specified that consumption vouchers are to be used for specific purposes or even specific groups―for example, certain amounts may only be used for local tourism, retail or catering―consumption vouchers may become more targeted and gain Members’ support easily.

If the problems concerned can be solved technically, this will be an excellent solution.  I would like to ask whether the Government will study how to solve these technical problems, so as to avoid delays in the disbursement of consumption vouchers due to technical problems, which will deter members of the public from making this request to the Government.  In doing so, the consumption vouchers will also have a more desirable effect should they be disbursed again in the future.  Thank you.

 Secretary for Financial Services and The Treasury:

Thank you, President.  I also thank the Member for his supplementary question.  I will respond in three aspects.  First, let me talk about consumption vouchers.  The policy objective set previously was to encourage local consumption, and the two previous rounds of CVS both followed this policy objective to encourage local consumption.

As for the Member’s question on whether or in what form consumption vouchers will be disbursed in the future, I am not yet in a position to give an immediate answer as the Government is now listening to views.  However, the Financial Secretary will consider different views in preparing the Budget and announce the relevant measures when he delivers the Budget on 22 February.

In addition, the Member has made a very good point and that is, after setting a policy objective for any public policy, the Government should implement it as far as practicable in order to achieve the objective.  As for the technical details―whether in terms of technology, manpower, procedures or otherwise―the Government is surely duty bound to rationalize the relevant technical details as far as possible in the hope of maximizing the effectiveness of our policies and achieving the policy objectives.  As always, we will adopt this mindset in taking forward the Government’s measures.  Thank you, President.