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LCQ10: Guangdong Scheme
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     Following is a question by the Hon Chan Hak-kan and a written reply by the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, in the Legislative Council today (November 2):

Question:

     In the 2011-2012 Policy Address, the Chief Executive announced the introduction of a new "Guangdong Scheme" under the Social Security Allowance Scheme to allow eligible elderly people who take up long-term residence in Guangdong Province to receive an old age allowance without the need to come back to Hong Kong. Yet, some members of the public have relayed to me that apart from residing in Guangdong Province, more and more elderly people have chosen to reside in the neighbouring Fujian Province in recent years. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) whether it knows the respective numbers of Hong Kong elderly people who resided in various cities in Guangdong Province and Fujian Province in the past three years;

(b) whether it will consider extending the arrangements of the "Guangdong Scheme" to Fujian Province, so as to facilitate eligible elderly people residing in that province to also receive the aforesaid allowance without the need to come back to Hong Kong;

(c) what difficulties it will encounter in extending the aforesaid arrangements to Fujian Province; and

(d) whether it has assessed the additional financial commitment involved in extending the Scheme to Fujian Province?

Reply:

President,

     My reply to the Hon Chan Hak-kan's questions is as follows:

(a) We do not have information on the exact numbers of Hong Kong elderly people who reside in various cities in Guangdong Province and Fujian Province on a year by year basis. But according to a survey conducted by the Census and Statistics Department in early 2011, around 46 000 Hong Kong residents who were aged 65 or above at that time resided in Guangdong or stayed there substantially (ie staying for a period of at least one month in the past six months before the time of enumeration). The cities they usually resided in are listed below:

Usual city    No. of persons (Percentage)
of residence

Zhongshan     9 500(20.7%)
Guangzhou     7 300(15.9%)
Dongguan      6 600 (14.3%)
Shenzhen      6 100(13.2%)
Huizhou       3 400(7.5%)
Jiangmen      3 300(7.1%)
Foshan        3 100 (6.7%)
Shanwei       2 600(5.6%)
Others        4 100 (9%)
Total         46 000(100%)

     Meanwhile, around 15 600 Hong Kong residents who were aged 65 or above resided or stayed substantially in Fujian. However, a breakdown of the number of elders by their usual city of residence was not available from this survey.

(b) and (c) As the Chief Executive has stated in the recently published 2011íV12 Policy Address, allowing Hong Kong elderly people who choose to move to Guangdong to receive Old Age Allowance under the "Guangdong Scheme" is based on four special considerations. First, currently Hong Kong elderly people settled on the Mainland mostly live in Guangdong. Second, there are unique and close ties between Guangdong and Hong Kong in geographical, economic and social terms. Third, given the Hong Kong/Guangdong Co-operation Framework and with a number of major transport infrastructure projects coming on stream, travelling between the two places will be more convenient and they will become more closely integrated.  Lastly, Hong Kong elderly people who have moved to Guangdong can still maintain close contact with their relatives and friends here and obtain family support easily.

     At this stage, we are of the view that only Guangdong Province has the right conditions for implementing this scheme. This is a decision made after fully considering the legal, financial and technical issues.

(d) Given the above considerations, we have not assessed the financial implications of extending the Guangdong Scheme to Fujian Province.

Ends/Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Issued at HKT 12:47

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