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FS outlines fiscal consolidation plan

In the 2024-25 Budget announced today, Financial Secretary Paul Chan proposed a number of measures to increase revenue and outlined a fiscal consolidation programme which aims to restore fiscal balance in a few years’ time.   Mr Chan said even though the Government strived to reduce expenditure as the COVID-19 pandemic had subsided, the total expenditure for 2023-24 reached $727.9 billion, representing an increase of 36.9% compared with 2018-19, of which operating expenditure rose substantially by 40.2% whereas operating revenue increased only 13.1%.   On capital works, owing to the fact that the Government has been pressing ahead with land and housing supply projects, along with other infrastructure works for improving the environment and people’s livelihood, the average annual expenditure has increased from about $76 billion over the past five years to about $85 billion in 2023-24.   Fiscal reserves have dropped to the current level of $733.2 billion.   Fiscal consoli

Tropical cyclone video updates issued

The Hong Kong Observatory (HKO) and the Drainage Services Department (DSD) today started sending videos to the media during a tropical cyclone to update the public on the latest typhoon and flooding situation.


The Government enhanced the dissemination of information during a tropical cyclone after consolidating its experience from dealing with a typhoon and rainstorm last month.


Under the new arrangement, the HKO will send videos to the media hourly about the latest weather conditions, while the DSD will issue video updates every two hours on the latest information such as flooding in different districts.


Acting Chief Secretary Cheuk Wing-hing said the new arrangement can keep the public posted on the latest information concerning tropical cyclones, adding that the same arrangement will be adopted when the Black Rainstorm Signal is in force.


Mr Cheuk visited the Emergency Monitoring & Support Centre with Acting Secretary for Security Michael Cheuk this afternoon, where they were briefed on the preparation work and latest assessments in response to the threat of the typhoon.


The DSD has dispatched over 70 emergency teams to conduct inspections and be stationed in various districts across the city.


The Home Affairs Department’s (HAD) District Offices have closely collaborated with the Food & Environmental Hygiene Department, the DSD, and the Highways Department to finish cleaning drains in flood-prone areas before the typhoon arrived. They also took flood prevention measures such as laying sandbags and water barriers.


Apart from operating 29 temporary shelters for those in need, the HAD is also co-ordinating with various departments to provide assistance to citizens.


The Social Welfare Department has distributed emergency relief supplies, food and beverages to the temporary shelters.


The Highways Department has arranged road maintenance contractors to prepare for emergencies during the typhoon. Around 500 personnel with the necessary equipment are stationed in 50 maintenance depots across the city, ready to turn out to clear roads promptly.


The Acting Chief Secretary said the Government is making comprehensive preparation work in advance and taking early prevention measures.


“We will respond quickly to the situation and observe the protection of lives and property of citizens as well as public safety as the highest principle.


“We will spare no effort in minimising the impacts brought by the typhoon and helping the city to resume normal as soon as possible after the typhoon,” Mr Cheuk added.

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