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Hong Kong emphasises long-term planning and people's welfare

     In response to media enquiries, a Government spokesman said today (March 14) that it has always been the Government's priorities and objectives to plan for the future, improve people's livelihood and take good care of the elderly and infirmed.

     The Government has been constantly improving the social security system and providing heavy subsidies to various social services to help people in need.

     In its Policy Address last year, the Government introduced measures to enhance support for the underprivileged, including autistic children and mental patients. Public health, elderly and child care services were also strengthened.

     The Government has also set up a Community Care Fund to provide more flexible and effective assistance to those in need on top of the social security system.  

     The relief measures in the Budget this year will benefit various sectors and return wealth to the people.

     On housing, the Government is committed to increasing land supply. It has introduced the My Home Purchase Plan to help potential sandwich class home buyers. Measures were also taken to enhance market transparency, regulate speculative activities and ensure a steady supply of public housing.

     The operating expenditure for 2011-12 will reach $298 billion, including recurrent expenditure of more than $242 billion, representing an eight per cent increase on the previous financial year.  The increase, which is higher than GDP growth, reflects the Government's on-going commitment to improving people's livelihood.  

     In 2011-12, 56 per cent of the recurrent expenditure will be spent on education, health care and social welfare. In fact, since 2007-08, government expenditure has increased by more than $136 billion, or 58 per cent, far exceeding the 15.8 per cent growth in GDP over the same period.

     On long-term planning, the Government has formulated a clear and achievable plan for Hong Kong's future development. In addition to strengthening and upgrading the traditional pillar industries, the Government has been promoting the development of six industries where Hong Kong enjoys clear advantages. We have also been strengthening regional co-operation and expanding into new markets for new business opportunities.

     The Government is committed to education and manpower training which hold the key to Hong Kong's long-term competitiveness.  Education is always the biggest recurrent government expenditure item among all policy areas. In the 2011-12 Budget, recurrent expenditure on education represents a six per cent increase over the last year.

Ends/Monday, March 14, 2011
Issued at HKT 20:17


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