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HK Unveils Relief Measures Worth US$2.5 Bln

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The HKSAR government on Wednesday unveils a new relief package which will cost 19.07 billion HK dollars (about US$2.5 billion).

The city's top financial official John Tsang said the relief measures are aimed at alleviating the burdens for Hong Kong residents and consolidating the economic recovery which has not yet gained a firm ground.

The measures include paying two months' rent for around 700,000 public housing tenants, providing an extra allowance to recipients of social security assistance, and a 75 percent cut of salary tax, among others.

Since 2008, the HKSAR government introduced fiscal stimulus, job creation and relief measures amounting to 87.6 billion HK dollars. Added up the new package, the figure will rise to nearly 110 billion HK dollars.

"Such measures, introduced on top of the current expenditure on health, housing, education and social welfare, are effective in stimulating the economy and safeguarding social stability and people's livelihood during the exceptional times of the financial tsunami," Tsang said.

However, he stressed that these "exceptional means" can't continue for long otherwise they will affect the health of Hong Kong's public finances and dampen the enthusiasm for economic progress.

(Xinhua News Agency February 24, 2010)