Hong Kong announced measures totalling HK$290m (£23.85m, $37m) on 25 February to help businesses hit by more than two months of pro-democracy protests as the government seeks to rebuild confidence in the Asia financial centre.

Financial Secretary John Tsang, speaking in his budget address, said the measures included waiving licence fees for 26,000 restaurants and other food outlet operators, and running events to promote Hong Kong to investors and tourists.

The government has warned that the Chinese-controlled city must make economic stability a top priority after the Occupy Central demonstrations to demand free elections paralysed parts of Hong Kong and unnerved authorities in Beijing.

Tsang said the protests had affected several industries, including tourism, retail and transport, and that it was important to rebuild international investors' and tourists' confidence in Hong Kong.

But legislator Albert Ho, speaking at a protest demanding a universal pension scheme right before the budget address, said measures to help businesses affected by the protests would not alleviate the city's political tensions because the movement "arose out of the strong aspirations and demands of Hong Kong for democracy".

Tens of thousands joined at the peak of the protests, which blocked several major roads for over two months.

Tsang said the economy grew 2.2% in the fourth quarter of last year, when the protests took place.

That was slightly better than expectations for growth of 2.1%, according to six analysts polled by Reuters, but marked a slowdown from annual growth of 2.7% in the third quarter. The economy grew 2.3% last year compared with a 2.9% expansion in 2013 and the government forecast growth of 1% - 3% this year.