‘Consumption vouchers won’t boost economy’

A business and economics professor said it would be better to give Hong Kong residents a HK$10,000 cash handout, rather than in the form of electronic consumption vouchers, as the vouchers would not substantially stimulate the economy.

According to the Financial Secretary, Paul Chan, the vouchers will be dished out in two HK$5,000-dollar installments into people’s electronic payment accounts.

Vera Yuen, an assistant lecturer from the Faculty of Business and Economics at the University of Hong Kong, told RTHK’s Backchat programme that most people will just use the vouchers on their daily necessities, adding that they are an “inferior currencyā€¯ to cash because they have a time limit, and there are limitations on where people can spend them.

Also appearing on the same programme was David Webb, an activist-investor. He said the government missed an opportunity to link the handouts to vaccinations, to boost the local vaccine take-up rate.

“They could have provided all sorts of incentives along the way, instead of leaving this problem for two years to fester; they could have introduced the vaccine pass earlier, they could have linked all the cash handouts to vaccination, they could have even looked at non-means tested benefits, the extra money that you don’t have to be poor to collect, like the over-70s fruit money,” he said.