Government to provide Financial Support to URA



The Secretary for Planning and Lands, Mr John C Tsang, announced today (May 8) that the Government will provide financial support to the Urban Renewal Authority (URA) to facilitate the implementation of the urban renewal programme, including the provision of land for its new projects and to meet its rehousing needs at nominal premium.


In this connection, the Government will seek the approval of the Finance Committee of Legislative Council for the injection of $10 billion into the URA.


"Urban renewal is an integral part of the Government's efforts to strengthen Hong Kong's position as a world class city. The Chief Executive in Council has now approved in principle that land required for the URA's new projects and rehousing needs be granted at nominal premium," Mr Tsang said.


"This concession would help to enhance the financial viability of URA's urban renewal projects. The premium foregone will be reflected in the capital of the URA for carrying out its projects."


He said that the URA required the Government's financial support in its initial years. The Government therefore proposes to seek the approval of the Finance Committee of the Legislative Council to inject $10 billion into the URA in the coming years.


"With the Government's financial support and the finances that the URA will raise from the market, the URA estimates that it will achieve a break-even situation at the end of the development period of its first corporate plan projects," said Mr Tsang.


"This is in line with our policy intention that the urban renewal programme should be self-financing in the long run."


"The Government will consult the relevant Legislative Council Panel and seek approval from the Finance Committee on the $10 billion injection before the summer recess," he added.


The URA is tasked to carry out a 20-year urban renewal programme of 225 projects. The programme seeks to bring about significant community benefits through a comprehensive approach of redevelopment, rehabilitation and preservation. Extensive areas in the older urban core will be revitalized.


The urban renewal programme will improve the living conditions of the residents and the environment of the older urban areas as a whole, generating economic benefits in the process.


End/Wednesday, May 8, 2002