Financial Secretary Paul Chan stated on 8 January that distributing cash handouts would result in a several hundred billion budget deficit, and questioned whether citizens would agree with such an action. However, Chan stated in his 2020 – 21 budget that all citizens over the age of eighteen would be applicable for a cash handout on February 26.
When asked about his sudden change in stance, Chan responded that the circumstances faced by Hong Kong society had become exceptionally extraordinary. He stated that the policy was to revitalize Hong Kong’s stagnating economy.
Editor Note: The Hong Kong government has distributed cash handouts to citizens before. The first time was in 2011 when the government distributed $6000 to all citizens aged above 18. Last year, the government distributed $4000 to citizens via the Caring and Sharing Scheme. However, the second cash handout did not include all citizens. Furthermore, the arrangements for application were chaotic and required applicants to get through layers of red tape before they were deemed eligible for receiving the $4000. This not only added unnecessary financial burden for administration, but it also lengthened the application process to more than a year. This miscalculation and mismanagement angered many citizens.