LCQ12: Population policy

     Following is a question by the Hon Lau Kong-wah and a written reply by the Chief Secretary for Administration, Mr Stephen Lam, in the Legislative Council today (April 25):


     The Government published in 2003 the Report of the Task Force on Population Policy (the Report) which recommended the dedication of resources to take forward the population policy and review annually the implementation of relevant decisions and programmes, with a view to publishing a report every two to three years.  In addition, the Government established in 2007 the Steering Committee on Population Policy (SCPP) which is led by the Chief Secretary for Administration (CS), with a view to facilitating the planning and coordination of efforts on population policy.  In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) whether the authorities follow the recommendations made in the Report to publish a review report on population policy every two to three years; if so, of the respective years when the review reports were published; if not, the reasons for that;

(b) of the total number of formal meetings held by SCPP since its establishment, and the policy recommendations put forth by it; and

(c) given that in the 2010-2011 Policy Address, the Chief Executive indicated that he had asked SCPP to focus its study on two topics, namely "ways to facilitate and support our elderly people to settle in the Mainland after retirement if they so wish" and "the ramifications of children born in Hong Kong to Mainland women returning to Hong Kong to study and live", and CS's Office pointed out in its paper submitted to this Council in December 2010 that "[t]he SCPP will study the above two topics in detail in the coming months and aims at working out initial proposals in about a year's time", when the relevant study will be completed and when the proposals will be published?



     In 2003, the Government published the Report of the Task Force on Population Policy which put forward a range of recommendations having taken into account the prevailing population characteristics and profile as well as the projected population trends.  The recommendations were implemented and followed up by various bureaux.  From time to time, the relevant bureaux have, in accordance with the existing mechanisms of the Government, examined and reviewed the population-related measures under their purview.  They have considered if such measures should be updated in the light of the latest population projections.  In addition, a total of over 3 000 public responses were received through the Public Engagement Process on Population Policy conducted by the Council for Sustainable Development (SDC) from June to October 2006.  The SDC made a number of recommendations in its Report on the Public Engagement Process on Population Policy published in June 2007.  In response to these recommendations, the Administration examined the measures in question and subsequently released a report in December 2007.

     Since its establishment in 2007, the Steering Committee on Population Policy (SCPP) has held ten meetings.  Over the past few years, SCPP has discussed various issues, including encouraging births and attracting talents, etc.  SCPP has also focused its study on two specific topics as stated in the 2010-11 Policy Address, namely, ways to facilitate elderly people to reside in the Mainland after retirement, and major issues and challenges in relation to the trend of Mainland women giving birth in Hong Kong.  The outcome of the review was elaborated in the 2011-12 Policy Address.  Various long-term and short-term measures were put forward therein, for example, the "Guangdong Scheme" which would enable eligible Hong Kong elderly people, who choose to reside in Guangdong, to receive a full-year payment of Old Age Allowance in Guangdong without the need to come back to Hong Kong.  As population policy covers a number of policy areas, SCPP, in addition to the above-mentioned work, is studying the relevant issues, such as manpower projection and admission of talents, and collection of the related data.  We plan to give a further account on the review of the overall population policy in the second quarter of this year.

Ends/Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Issued at HKT 12:18