In the next two financial years, the Government will reduce the recurrent expenditure of each of the bureaux and departments by 1% so that they can be redeployed to implement new policy initiatives. Mr Dick Chi-yuen, a member of the Legislative Council for the social welfare sector, is concerned that the overall recurrent expenditure of the Government has been cut by 1% in the last financial year, and the 164 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) receiving lump sum grant subventions have been subvented by an average of nearly $122.1 million each, which has seriously affected the operation of these organisations. If recurrent expenditure is cut by <>% in each of the next two financial years, the impact may be even wider and the disadvantaged groups will not be able to access appropriate services.

Di Zhiyuan is concerned about the government's successive cuts in recurrent expenditure, worrying about the impact on social welfare services (Photo by Huang Haoqian)

In response to Dick's concerns, the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Chris Sun, said in writing that in the face of pressure on public finances, the Government needs to cut expenditure. Therefore, bureaux and departments are required to work together to implement the Resource Efficiency Optimisation Programme to reduce their recurrent expenditure resources by 1% in 1-<> and an additional <>% in <>-<>, and the saved resources will be redeployed to implement new policy initiatives. The Resource Efficiency Optimisation Programme aims to control the growth of overall government expenditure and encourage bureaux and departments to re-engineer or reprioritize their work to free up more resources for internal reallocation, improvement of existing services or implementation of new services, so as to make more efficient use of resources.

Mr Sun also pointed out that the Financial Secretary proposed in the 2021-22 Budget to implement a cost-saving plan applicable to all bureaux and departments to reduce government recurrent expenditure by 2022% in the previous year, i.e. 23-1.

The social welfare sector reduced its expenditure by 2 million yuan last year due to the action of reducing expenditure

Mr Sun emphasised that the Government has been committed to building a caring community and catering for the disadvantaged, and the recurrent expenditure on social welfare increased by 2018.19% from $794.52 billion in 2-1 to $210 billion in the current estimate, accounting for about 21.6% of the total Government's recurrent estimate. In the previous year, the expenditure of the social welfare sector was reduced by about $2 million as a result of the expenditure reduction programme. At the same time, the Government's expenditure on social welfare increased by about $8 billion in the previous year.

He also pointed out that the Government has not reduced the cash assistance under the social welfare security system, including the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance Scheme and the Social Security Allowance Scheme, etc., in implementing the Expenditure Reduction Scheme, and some expenditure items such as foster family allowance, rent and rates of subvented service units, food expenses for short-term food assistance services, etc. have also been waived.

Chan Ho-lim: The government will cut recurrent expenditure by 1% in the next two years and reallocate Kwan Ho-ming urged the expansion of the tax base, and the government instructed departments to cut expenditure by at least 1% and reallocate manpower to new projects