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FS speaks on Budget consultation


Following is a transcript of the remarks (English portion) by the Financial Secretary, Mr Henry Tang, at a stand-up media session after attending a radio programme today (November 27):

Reporter: Given that your next Budget will only be effective in the current administration for three months does it mean there are some constraints in your work in drawing up the next Budget? My second question is some ... have said want income tax level to be referred back to old… What do you think about such suggestions?

Financial Secretary: There have been suggestions that the Salaries Tax should revert to the 2002-03 level. I think it is just a convenient way of giving me an opinion. In Salaries Tax, there is a host of different elements such as whether the personal allowance should be adjusted, whether the tax bands should be adjusted, whether the tax rates should be adjusted and whether the standard rates should be adjusted. So all of these elements comprise the Salaries Tax and I urge people to look at them individually and not just to give me a slogan kind of suggestion and say revert back to 2002-03 level.

As far as this Budget is concerned, there is a certain uniqueness in that the next term of government will start on July 1, 2007, so I believe we should allow the next government to have the maximum flexibility in terms of how they wish to initiate programmes or policies that will require the fiscal support of the Financial Secretary.

(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript)

Ends/Monday, November 27, 2006
Issued at HKT 15:02