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LCQ18: Review of and planning for a sustainable population policy for Hong Kong

    Following is a question by the Hon Ronny Tong Ka-wah and a written reply by the Chief Secretary for Administration, Mr Stephen Lam, in the Legislative Council today (December 21):


     Being an open international city, Hong Kong can attract inflows of capital and talents from different places, thereby facilitating Hong Kong's development. There have been comments that in view of the limited land and resources in Hong Kong, it is necessary to ensure that there are appropriate supporting facilities for members of the public to maintain their good quality of living while attracting the inflow of foreign immigrants, and it is most important for the Government to review the population policy and make projections. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the growth in Hong Kong's overall population, resident population and individual community groups according to the last five population census and by-census (list in Table 1);

(b) of the rate of increase in government expenditures on healthcare, housing, education and welfare facilities in the years in which the last five population census and by-census were conducted (list in Table 2);

(c) in considering the annual expenditures, whether it has concurrently conducted planning for the next five years; if it has, of the basis to which the Government has made reference; if not, the reasons for that; and

(d) whether the Government has formulated a population policy for the whole society for the next 10 and 20 years; if it has, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?



(a) Based on the results of the 1991, 1996, 2001 and 2006 Population Census/By-census conducted by the Census and Statistics Department, the figures of the overall population, mobile residents and usual residents in Hong Kong are listed in Table 3.

     Breakdowns on the number of "Usual Residents" as requested in the question are not available in the above population censuses/by-censuses.

(b) Recurrent government expenditure on health, education, social welfare, housing and infrastructure and their percentage shares of recurrent government expenditure are listed in Table 4.
     We do not readily have the requested figure for every individual item.

(c) The Administration will consult various sectors of the community (including Members of the Legislative Council) in drawing up the annual Budget. Views and suggestions received will be passed to relevant bureaux for consideration and follow-up.  With the Budget we will also release a medium range forecast (MRF) on the financial position of the Government for the Budget year and the subsequent four financial years (i.e. a total of five years). The MRF uses a wide range of assumptions on factors affecting Government's revenue and expenditure. Some assumptions are economic in nature, such as real growth in gross domestic product and price change.  Others are related to changes in expenditure and revenue of the Government, including the estimated cash flow of capital projects, forecast completion dates of these capital projects and their related recurrent consequences in terms of staffing and running costs, estimated cash flow for commitments, the trend in yield from individual revenue sources and the impact of new initiatives in the Budget on expenditure and revenue, etc.

(d) The key objectives of the population policy of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) are to attract and nurture talents, to enhance the population quality so as to develop Hong Kong into knowledge-based economy, and to achieve a balanced demographic structure to sustain Hong Kong's development. The Census and Statistics Department compiles projections of the population of Hong Kong around every two years, which include the breakdown of population by different age groups for the next 30 years. In 2010, the Department released a set of projections covering the period of 2010 to 2039 which included, inter alia, the number of elderly and the number of babies born locally to Mainland women who are expected to return to Hong Kong. The above projections have provided a common basis for the Government's long-term planning in the areas of education, housing, transport, social services and health services, etc. Looking ahead, we will continue to enhance the quality and quantity of our youth population by nurturing and attracting talents, and to prepare for the challenges brought by an ageing population.

Ends/Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Issued at HKT 12:48


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