Covid-19: Hong Kong conglomerates biggest beneficiaries of record-breaking handout that went HK$10bn over budget

Hong Kong’s biggest conglomerates and chains were among the top beneficiaries of the government’s largest-ever corporate Covid-19 handout of over HK$90.2 billion. Including subsidies given to self-employed individuals, the scheme disbursed HK$10.1 billion over budget.

First announced in April 2020, the Employment Support Scheme (ESS) provided financial support to employers who promised to retain a fixed number of employees, proportionate to each employee’s payroll. It was aimed at preventing or delaying lay-offs as the city was buffeted by the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic.

File Photo: Wikicommons.

The amount the government granted to employers, according to data released by the ESS Secretariat last Friday and analysed by activist investor David Webb, was HK$90.5 billion, paid in two phases.

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