A new round of consumption vouchers amounting to HK$10,000, double the amount of last year’s scheme, will be given to Hong Kong permanent residents and new arrivals to the city aged 18 and over, Financial Secretary Paul Chan announced in the 2022 Budget address on Wednesday. Chan also announced a series of one-off measures to support small businesses and individuals affected by the fifth wave, which has seen 50,000 new infections since it began in December.
An estimated 6.6 million people will benefit from the scheme, which will cost the government HK$66.4 billion. Domestic workers will not be eligible to receive the stimulus money.
As with last year’s consumption voucher scheme, the money will be limited to use for leisure spending, unconvertible to cash to be used for government bill payments or investments.
How the consumption vouchers will work
The HK$10,000 will be distributed in two instalments. The first, in April, will be given to the over 6.3 million applicants of the first round, whose registration details have been stored. The second instalment will be given to previous applicants and new applicants mid-year.
Some new electronic wallet platforms may be used. If you wish to use to receive the money through the same platform as last time, you do not need to register again. However, if you want to receive it through a new platform, you will have to. More details will be announced on this process.
People who want to receive the vouchers on their Octopus cards will receive the money in instalments of HK$4,000 and then HK$1,000 due to the system’s maximum storage limit.
Other financial perks
Chan also announced a series of measures to support individuals as well as small and medium enterprises affected by the epidemic, which include:
- A residential electricity bill subsidy of HK$1,000
- Covering examination fees for HKDSE takers
- Transport subsidy scheme threshold decreased from HK$400 to HK$200, so commuters will receive one-third of public transport expenses over HK$200 back
- Salaries tax and tax under personal assessment reduced by 100%, to a ceiling of HK$10,000
- Allowance of half month of standard rate for social security recipients
- Three-year program which will provide subsidies for schools to purchase computers and portable wi-fi devices to loan underprivileged students
- Waiving business registration fees
- Continuation of 75% rental concession for tenants of government premises and short-term tenancies
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