Public satisfaction with the latest Hong Kong budget has shot up by 23 per cent from last year after Financial Secretary Paul Chan announced a host of sweeteners, according to a survey from the Hong Kong Public Opinion Research Institute (HKPORI). The tax cuts and HK$10,000 cash handout for the public came despite the city recording a record deficit.

The findings on Thursday revealed that 46 per cent of those surveyed were satisfied with the spending blueprint, while 27 per cent were not and 23 per cent said they were “half-half.” It represented an improvement from 23 per cent for the 2019-2020 fiscal year. Chan also enjoyed a popularity boost of 16.9 per cent to 43.5 per cent from early February.

Paul Chan. Photo: GovHK.

“Our instant survey describes people’s instant reaction towards the budget, how people’s reaction will change after knowing more about the budget will be revealed by our follow-up survey,” a statement from HKPORI read.

Chan delivered his fourth budget for the upcoming fiscal year on Wednesday, which included a cash handout for all permanent residents over the age of 18 to “boost” local consumption, as well as concessionary low-interest loans of up to HK$2 million for businesses. He also revealed a deficit of HK$37.8 billion for the fiscal year until March as the economy took a battering from the US-China trade war and coronavirus outbreak.

File photo: Tom Grundy/HKFP.

HKPORI said its team conducted an instant survey over the phone and online on the night of the budget in conjunction with media sponsor Apple Daily. Samples also included a panel of randomly recruited people from HKPORI’s “Hong Kong People Representative Panel.” A total of 1,038 responses were collected.

The HKPORI, led by professor Robert Chung, launched last June after its split from the city’s oldest university, under which it was known as the Public Opinion Programme of the University of Hong Kong (HKUPOP). The city’s top pollster regularly charts the popularity of the government, chief executive and top officials.

Jennifer Creery

Jennifer Creery is a Hong Kong-born British journalist, interested in minority rights and urban planning. She holds a BA in English at King's College London and has studied Mandarin at National Taiwan University.