Government critics said a HK$19 billion proposal aimed at helping people and businesses weather the economic storm would not ease tensions in society.

Labour Party lawmaker Fernando Cheung told RTHK officials still need to tackle the extradition bill saga that has led to protests for more than two months.

“Without dealing with the political issue, that is the extradition bill, [head on], I don’t think people or the society would come back to business as normal,” he said.

“The government cannot simply hide behind these other measures, they have to confront it and face up to the responsibility of resolving the major political crisis in front of them.”

Cheung also said “fundamental policy change” is needed to improve people’s livelihoods, insisting the package unveiled on Thursday is far from adequate.

“This is really no solution to the deep-rooted inequality problem, or the lack of retirement protection, the lack of medical care and long-term care and social services,” he said.

“If the government is intending to use these sweeteners to appease or to subdue the resistance movement that’s going on, I don’t think that’s going to work.”

Another pan-democrat, Democratic Party lawmaker Helena Wong, said the government did not try to resolve the current political crisis but opted to hand out money instead.

She pointed out that the government has so far refused to address the five major demands by anti-extradition protesters, such as the setting up of an independent inquiry and the bill’s complete withdrawal.

As for the pro-establishment camp, DAB chairwoman Starry Lee welcomed the relief measures, saying they would help people in the short term.

Lee said domestic consumption has dropped because of the protests.

“People prefer to stay at home and don’t want to go out because of the conflicts that happened in different districts” and businesses have been feeling the pinch, she said.