World

Lam vows to tackle HK's housing costs

HONG KONG: Hong Kong leader-elect Carrie Lam said yesterday she was "very determined" to tackle the high cost of housing in the densely populated city.

Ms Lam, the Chinese-controlled financial hub's former chief secretary, was chosen on Sunday by a 1,200-person committee to lead the city, pledging in her victory speech to unite political divisions, illustrated by huge pro-democracy protests in 2014, that have hindered policy-making and legislative work.

Speaking at a Credit Suisse investment conference, the Beijing-backed Ms Lam also said the former British colony faces tough competition not only from the region but also from mainland Chinese cities which are "becoming very powerful".

BIGGEST SOCIAL ISSUE

The cost of housing is one of Hong Kong's biggest social issues and making homes more affordable was among outgoing leader Leung Chun-ying's top priorities, something he failed to achieve.

Ms Lam said land and labour were two "major bottlenecks" for Hong Kong's development.

"On the land issue, I am very determined to tackle that in the next term of government in a big way," she told an audience of 200 financial and business professionals.

"It's not just looking at the annual land sale programme but really, the long-term supply of land, or better still, a land bank for Hong Kong."

Ms Lam had pledged during her campaign to tackle the problem by increasing land supply.

The city also had a lot of catching up to do in terms of comprehensive double tax agreements, she said.

In her victory speech on Sunday, she pledged to follow through on her promise to introduce a two-tier profits tax. - REUTERS

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