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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

Legality of DC election upheld

The Court of First Instance dismissed the judicial review application on the legality of the District Council election on December 1, holding that the three District Committees’ nomination requirement is consistent with the Basic Law.
 
In a statement, the Government said the court accepted its viewpoints, including confirming that members of the three District Committees come from various walks of life in society and are important stakeholders of district affairs, and that there are no other entities or individuals which are more suitable than the members of three District Committees to exercise the nomination rights.
 
The court expressly accepted the legitimate aims of the three District Committees’ nomination requirement, namely to fully implement the guiding principle of "patriots administering Hong Kong" in the system; to ensure the candidates are recognised by people conversant with district affairs and the relevant district electors; and to enhance stability across the political spectrum and better reflect the opinions of the majority of people, the Government pointed out.
 
The court also held that the three District Committees’ nomination requirement is a proportionate restriction to the rights to vote and agreed that members of the three District Committees will not exercise the nomination rights arbitrarily, it added.
 
The Government reiterated that the election for the 7th-term District Council is lawful and reasonable, and an important poll which fully takes into account the interest of the people of each district, which was passed by the Legislative Council unanimously and is popularly supported by people.
 
It stressed that the election on December 10 is highly meaningful and will return passionate, capable and responsible District Council members who love the country and Hong Kong and will fully serve people in the district with handling issues of public concern such as district hygiene, transportation, and cultural and leisure issues.
 
The Government stated that it urges the people to actively cast their votes in an effort to build a beautiful home.


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