Traditional Chinese Simplified Chinese Email this article
FS uses Budget to promote a caring community

     The Financial Secretary, Mr John Tsang, today (February 25) announced in his annual Budget plans to promote a more caring community and support social harmony.

     "I will propose budget measures to assist the disadvantaged groups, enhance their quality of life and promote social harmony," Mr Tsang said.

     The Financial Secretary set out his plans to improve healthcare and care for the elderly as well as for other vulnerable groups.

     "The Government will honour its pledge to increase healthcare expenditure to 17% of recurrent expenditure by 2012," Mr Tsang said.

     "We will increase the recurrent subvention for the Hospital Authority over the next three financial years by about $870 million a year."

     The Financial Secretary also set aside about $840 million over the next three years to strengthen primary care services and support to chronic patients, promote public-private partnership, and develop an electronic health record system.

     "Separately, for public health reasons, I propose to increase tobacco duty by 50% with immediate effect," Mr Tsang said. "We will also continue to step up our efforts on smoking cessation, as well as on publicity and enforcement in tobacco control."

     The duty on cigarettes will increase from about $0.80 to $1.20 per cigarette.

     To help relieve pressure on working parents, Mr Tsang said a Neighbourhood Support Child Care Project that had been successfully implemented in six locations since last October would be extended to cover other districts to meet the needs of more families.

     The Financial Secretary also announced a series of measures to enhance care for the elderly.

     They include:

*   Allocating $5 million to the Neighbourhood Active Ageing Project to expand networks aimed at encouraging senior citizens to play a more active role in the community.

*   $10 million to establish an Elder Academy Development Foundation. The foundation will ensure the sustainable development of the Elder Academy Scheme, which promotes lifelong learning through interaction between students and the elderly.

*   Additional recurrent funding of $37 million for residential care homes and $55 million to provide 650 additional subsidised residential care places.

     The Financial Secretary also allocated $20 million over the next three years to expand the Capacity Building Mileage Programme to encourage more women to pursue lifelong learning and self-development.

     To help victims of domestic violence, Mr Tsang earmarked $25 million to increase the number of social workers and clinical psychologists dealing with domestic violence cases.

     "I understand that some families face great pressure as a result of the economic downturn," he said.

     The Financial Secretary also provided an additional $19 million to enhance care for the disabled and provide more training and residential places for people with disabilities.

Ends/Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Issued at HKT 13:27


Print this page