Hong Kong’s government confirmed today it would pay the rent of more than 700,000 families in August, in a bid to ease financial pressures facing the less well-off.

The measure was announced by Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah in his February budget.

A statement released by Hong Kong’s Housing Authority today said: “Public rental housing tenants (including interim housing licencees) of the Hong Kong Housing Authority (HA) paying normal rent will not be required to pay rent/licence fees for the month of August 2015.

John Tsang housing
Photo: Wikicommons.

“The Financial Secretary proposed in his 2015-16 Budget a number of one-off relief measures, including paying one month’s rent for lower income tenants living in public rental units of the HA. Funding for the rent payment was approved by the Finance Committee of the Legislative Council in June. About 710 000 HA tenants will benefit from the measure.

“The Government will pay the rent for August for tenants and licencees of the HA paying normal rent. The HA will notify all relevant tenants and licencees of the arrangement.”

The move to pay the rent of hundreds of thousand of needy families was one of a package of sweeteners offered by Tsang in his budget announcement at the beginning of the year.

Other measures included handing an extra two months worth of benefits to recipients of certain allowances, including Old Age Living Allowance and Disability Allowance, mirroring a similar handout in 2008/09, following the financial crisis.

The government was left with a budget surplus at the end of 2014 of almost HK$64 billion.

Vicky Wong

Vicky Wong

Vicky is a British-born Chinese journalist with three years of experience covering UK politics. She previously worked for PoliticsHome and has interned at Sky News and CNN International. She also co-produced and filmed a documentary about the Hong Kong protests for MSNBC, which won the grand student prize at the 2015 Human Rights Press Awards. She has a BA in Politics and International Relations from the University of Reading and moved to Hong Kong in 2014 to complete a journalism masters at the University of Hong Kong.