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Transcript of SLW's remarks at press conference on labour and welfare initiatives in 2010-11 Policy Address (with photo/video)

     Following is the transcript (English portion) of opening remarks by the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, at the press conference on the labour and welfare initiatives in the 2010-11 Policy Address today (October 14):

     This year's Policy Address attached great importance to addressing livelihood issues and has come up with a number of important measures on various fronts. It also sets out the policy directions for issues requiring long-term solutions. Let me highlight just two areas.  

     First is our effort to help and encourage employment, particularly to help grassroot workers, through specifically the Work Incentive Transport Subsidy Scheme.

     Our objective is to help all eligible employees in Hong Kong, low-paid employees, low-income employees, meeting part of their travelling expenses. The monthly allowance will be $600 per person. The new initiative will replace the current Transport Support Scheme, which is confined to only four remote districts in the New Territories. My Bureau is working on the details and implementation timetable, and will brief the Legco Manpower Panel before the end of the year.

     We hope that this measure, plus the upcoming statutory minimum wage regime, will better protect the interests and the benefits of, particularly, the low-paid employees in Hong Kong.

     On elderly care, the Policy Address outlines a series of measures to enhance elderly welfare. To provide our elderly citizens with greater flexibility in travelling out of Hong Kong for various reasons, we propose to substantially relax the limit of absence from Hong Kong for Old Age Allowance from the present 240 days to 305 days a year, thus enabling elderly recipients to receive the full-year allowance as long as they have resided in Hong Kong for 60 days in that year. The new arrangement will also apply to recipients of Disability Allowance as well.

     In the short to medium term, we will increase the supply of various subsidised elderly care services to cope with a growing elderly population. We are jointly examining at present with the Elderly Commission on developing new thinking, and also to map out how best to finance elderly care in future, and also how best to really improve community and home care support in the long term, the whole object to enhance support for the elderly to age at home.  

     In the longer term, we need to study from the perspective of regional integration ways to assist elderly people who wish to retire on the Mainland, including a study on a proposed maintenance allowance for senior citizens who wish to do so.

(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)

Ends/Thursday, October 14, 2010
Issued at HKT 18:11


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