BPA Gives Proposals on the 2014 Policy Address and Budget
“Creativity and Upward Mobility – Brightening Hong Kong’s Future”


At a meeting today (13 November), the Business and Professionals Alliance for Hong Kong (BPA) presented the Chief Executive, Mr Leung Chun-ying, and the Financial Secretary, Mr John Tsang, with more than 200 proposals that were centred around the theme of “promoting upward social mobility”. These included, among other, expanding the middle-class, encouraging creativity, enhancing skills , raising competitiveness and developing green infrastructure, all of which are critical to  a better and brighter future in Hong Kong.

Over the past three months, the BPA met with representatives from trade and industry, professional sectors and the local community to gather input based on their invaluable experience and expert comments. These were subsequently collated into  policy suggestions and vision, which were then submitted to the Chief Executive. Mr Andrew Leung, BPA Chairman, said, “The middle-class are the pillars of society, but they account for only 30% of the population here in Hong Kong a ratio that is significantly lower than that in Europe, North America and our Asian neighbours. The situation is expected to deteriorate further fueled by the risk of downward mobility. The BPA urges the Government to introduce concrete policies and measures that would have the positive effect of expanding the middle-class to 50% or more of the population within the next decade. We would also  like to see the forthcoming Budget include such relief measures as tax breaks on housing, healthcare and child-related expenses that are geared towards alleviating the burden on the middle-class.”

Our youth represents Hong Kong’s future. The BPA proposes the establishment of a HK$400 million scholarship scheme to support 1,000 outstanding students to study in local tertiary institutions, as well as to participate in student exchanges and internship programmes. To encourage business start-ups, the BPA suggests the creation of a HK$2 billion funding scheme that offers low-interest loans for young people starting a new business. Mr Jeffrey Lam, BPA Vice Chairman, pointed out that comprehensive planning for youth support was badly needed in Hong Kong. It is envisaged that the two proposed schemes would have the benefits of strengthening participation from business and industry through such means as mentoring scholarship awardees and young entrepreneurs, as well as building support networks and promoting business matching opportunities between new and existing enterprises. The BPA would also contribute by leveraging on its extensive networks with the Government, academia and enterprises to drive all-rounded support for our youths. .

Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are another pivotal force for enhancing creativity. Although they are small in size, their flexibility is conducive to promoting innovation and diversification in industries. As such, the BPA calls on the Government to create a more accommodating environment for SMEs to conduct business and to encourage investment, and research and development (R&D) activities. A vibrant society can only be sustained through advancing economic diversification, promoting upward mobility, providing all levels of society with a clear objective while holding out the prospects of hope. The BPA urges the Government to adopt our suggestions in the upcoming Policy Address and Budget when drawing up policies and allocating resources.


Proposal Highlights:

1. Expanding the middle-class

– Increase Hong Kong’s middle class population up to 50% of the total within the next 10 years

-Relieve the burden on the middle class by providing tax allowance for private housing tenants and extending the number of years of home loan interest deduction from 15 years of assessment to the entire mortgage period

-Raise the child allowances including that for year of birth, and to implement a sliding scale of progressively higherconcessions with each additional child in a household

– Provide tax concession for families that have bought health insurance plans

– Set up a HK$1 billion loan fund for the unemployed to encourage self-employment or business start-ups

-Improve accessibility to  the Legal Aid Schemes by raising the financial eligibility limit for the Ordinary Legal Aid Scheme and Supplementary Legal Aid Scheme respectively to HK$ 500,000 and up to HK$ 3,000,000.


2. Enhancing upward mobility of youth

– Launch a scholarship scheme with funds of HK$400 million to support 1,000 outstanding

students to study at local tertiary institutions and participate in student exchange programmes

– Arrange senior managers from different sectors to become mentors for scholarship recipients while providing internship opportunities,

– Establish a HK$2 billion funding scheme offering low-interest loans to young people

for starting businesses. Encourage participation from trade and industry in organizing support networks and promoting business matching opportunities between new and existing enterprises.

– Expedite the construction of youth hostels and studio flats to cater for the housing demand among Hong Kong youths,


3. Support to SMEs

– Provide SMES with a broader range of tax allowances that mirror those for individuals

– Introduce a lower profits tax rate of 10% for SMEs with an annual income of less than HK$ 3 million

– Provide 300% tax deduction for R&D expenditure to encourage more investment 

– Extend the“SME Financing Guarantee Scheme” and re-launch“the Special Loan Guarantee Scheme”


4. Skill enhancement

– Provide professional training programmes for persons aged 40 and below with the objective of upgrading the education level in Hong Kong’s entire  working population to at least level 3 of the“Generic Level Descriptors”under the Qualification Framework within 10 years

– Improve the quality of Hong Kong’s working population by attracting talent from around the world

– Ease labour shortage in certain sectors by importing labour in limited numbers and over a defined period provided that job opportunities for local workers are not affected.


5. Financial development

– Evaluate the current system to ensure that market regulation and efficiency

are well-balanced while protecting the interests and operations of smaller brokerages

– Improve communication between supervisory bodies and the financial industry

– Enhance development of reminbi offshore business and relax the individual

limit for renminbi exchange

– Help small to medium sized securities companies to explore new markets on

Mainland China under the policy framework of QDII2 and CEPA

– Contribute more proactively to promoting Guangdong-Hong Kong economic cooperation, particularly, in lobbying for the creation of a pilot free-trade zone in the Pearl River Delta


6. Tourism development

– Increase the number of new tourist attractions, spread out visitors with different interests, and 

enhance overall tourism capacity; Develop tourist complexes in North Lantau and North New Territoriesto provide new hospitality, retail, entertainment and exhibition facilities

– Build large scale“border outlets”and develop underground commercial  complexes in the Kai Tak Development Area, West Kowloon Cultural District and Victoria Park

– Actively consider building large scale exhibition facilities in the CBD


7. Environmental initiatives

– Provide financial initiatives for enterprises to set up advanced recycling facilities

– Improve recycling facilities before the introduction of a waste charging scheme

– Subsidize half the cost of setting up food waste disposers in residential

estates and shopping malls

– Promote low-carbon transportation by providing bus-minibus interchange  


– Extend tax exemption for the purchase of electric vehicles by  a further 2 years


8. Support for the underprivileged

– Increase the annual subsidy under Elderly Health Care Voucher Scheme to $2000 for those aged 70 and above

– Extend the Public Transport Fare Concession Scheme for the Elderly and Eligible Persons with Disabilities to include public minibuses

– Offer tax allowances for those who have bought a health insurance plan. This will have the twin benefits of easing demands on the public healthcare system and providing relief to the middle class on medical expenses for their family

– Subsidize persons with intellectual disabilities to reside in private nursing homes to shorten waiting times

– Provide a one-month extension of the rent waiver for households in public rental estates, as well as other one-off relief measures including government electricity subsidy and reduction in rates


9. Green Infrastructure

– Increase both industrial and commercial land supply, raise plot ratio for commercial land use and expedite urban development

– Evaluate current tender system with public projects to explore the possibility of sub-dividing large-scale projects into smaller ones to facilitate SME participation

– Explore the feasibility of building columbarium in green belts or outlying islands that are easily accessible to ease the shortage of niches


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