On Wednesday, as the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in Hong Kong approached a thousand, Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced a second round of relief packages, worth HK$137.5 billion, to save jobs and businesses. The first relief package, the HK$30 billion Anti-epidemic Fund, launched in February, was criticised for its bureaucratic nature and showing too little understanding of people’s real problems.
The new measures, announced this week include subsidising half the salary of individual workers, up to a maximum of HK$9,000, for six months. That means an estimated 1.5 million workers will continue to be paid during this tough time but it remains unclear whether the widespread practise of unpaid leave will be allowed. The government also says it will create 30,000 jobs in the coming two years. Other moves include providing HK$21 billion to help 16 business sectors that weren’t covered previously, lowering MTR fares, introducing concessions on rents, and raising loans for SMEs. Carrie Lam and her officials have also agreed to take a 10% pay cut for the coming year.
With me to talk about these new measures are Liberal Party leader Felix Chung, and Kenneth Leung, the Vice-Chairman of The Professional Commons.