Highlights from the Policy Address 2019

On 16 October 2019, Mrs Carrie Lam delivered her 3rd Policy Address as Chief Executive of the HKSAR Government.

In her speech, the Chief Executive noted that the economy had slipped into technical recession and that the Government would monitor the situation in order to introduce any additional measures to help business and the public when necessary.

This is our recap of the full highlights from the speech.

For further information, please visit the official Policy Address portal.

Housing and Land Supply

Housing Policy

  • HK$5 billion set aside to provide 10,000 units of transitional housing within the next three years
  • The sale of the existing 42,000 unsold flats to be accelerated under the Tenants Purchase Scheme
  • 12,000 flats to be put up for pre-sale next year under the Home Ownership Scheme and Green Form Subsidised Home Ownership Scheme  
  • Cap raised on the value of the properties eligible for a mortgage loan of maximum cover of 90% loan-to-value ratio from HK$4 million to HK$8 million for first-time home buyers under the Mortgage Insurance Programme of the HKMC Insurance Limited

Land Supply

  • Planning work to be expedited and the Lands Resumption Ordinance to be invoked to resume three types of private land for developing public housing and Starter Homes:
    • Privately-owned brownfield sites in the New Territories that may have development potential;
    • private land which has been zoned for high-density housing development in statutory outline zoning plans, but without any development plans yet; and
    • the urban private land located in Chai Kwo Ling Village, Ngau Chi Wan Village and Chuk Yuen United Village

Diversified Economy

Innovation and Technology

  • Coverage of the Technology Talent Admission Scheme to be extended to companies outside the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation and Cyberport and to cover new technology areas
  • Coverage of the Researcher Programme, Postdoctoral Hub and Public Sector Trial Scheme extended to all technology companies conducting research and development
  • HK$500 million into the Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development Fund

Trade and Investment

  • Tax concession for ship lessors and leasing managers to develop ship leasing business
  • HK$1 billion into the Dedicated Fund on Branding, Upgrading and Domestic Sales and significantly increase the funding ceiling per enterprise under its Mainland Programme and Free Trade Agreement Programme to HK$2 million
  • HK$1 billion into the Export Marketing and Trade and Industrial Organisation Support Fund to double the cumulative funding ceiling for each enterprise under the SME Export Marketing Fund to HK$800,000
  • 90% guarantee to be provided under the SME Financing Guarantee Scheme for approved loans
  • Application period extended for the special concessionary measures under the SME Financing Guarantee Scheme and the validity period of the three enhancement measures to 30 June 2022
  • Relief measure to be introduced under the SME Financing Guarantee Scheme and the SME Loan Guarantee Scheme where enterprises may apply for principal moratorium of up to 6 months, during which only interest repayments have to be made
  • Setting up of a third InnoHK research cluster to be examined
  • Smart City Blueprint for Hong Kong 2.0 to be released
  • Tax concessions and streamlining of the approval process for Hong Kong enterprises looking to tap into the mainland market
  • Plan to extend the operating hours of the Shenzhen Bay Port to 24 hours
  • Optimisation of the 144-hour Facilitation Visa measure to be pursued to facilitate overseas visitors’ travel to the Guangdong Province via Hong Kong

Improving People’s Livelihood

Medical and Healthcare

  • District Health Centres (DHC) to be established in six districts and DHC Express in the remaining 11 districts
  • Quota of more than 600,000 subsidised Chinese medicine out-patient, acupuncture and tui-na services to be provided at Chinese Medicine Centres for Training and Research
  • HK$500 million for the Community Investment and Inclusion Fund to support social capital development projects and build mutual help networks in the community

Labour and Welfare

  • Provision of student grant regularised with each secondary day school, primary school and kindergarten student receiving an annual allowance of HK$2,500
  • Improvement of the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance to encourage employment, including raising the maximum amount of disregarded earnings per month by 60% to HK$4,000

 

Liveable City

Transport

  • Detailed planning and design for MTR developments: Tung Chung Line Extension, Tuen Mun South Extension and Northern Link in order to commence construction early
  • Fourteen outlying island ferry routes to be subsidised to reduce the pressure on fare increases; and provide subsidy to replace the fleets of 11 ferry routes and introduce greener vessels
  • Subsidy rate increased under the Public Transport Fare Subsidy Scheme from one-fourth to one-third of the monthly public transport expenses in excess of HK$400, and subsidy cap raised from HK$300 to HK$400
  • Upon commissioning of the Tuen Mun-Chek Lap Kok Link Subsea Tunnel and the Tseung Kwan O–Lam Tin Tunnel, tolls will be waived for the Lantau Link, Tseung Kwan O Tunnel and the two new tunnels
  • HK$2 billion pilot subsidy scheme to promote installation of electric vehicle charging-enabling infrastructure in car parks of existing private residential buildings
  • Cleaner Production Partnership Programme extended to March 2025 with funding of HK$300 million to encourage factories to improve regional environmental quality

Nurturing Talent

  • Enhancement and Start-up Grant Scheme to be introduced for self-financing post-secondary education to support self-financing institutions in offering designated sub-degree or undergraduate programmes that meet market needs
  • HK$1 billion reserved to support simple minor internal conversion works to be carried out at some 600 aided schools

Useful links

Key highlights from the 2018 Policy Address