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Commission on Poverty convenes third meeting

     The Commission on Poverty (the Commission), chaired by the Chief Secretary for Administration, Mrs Carrie Lam, held its third meeting in the afternoon today (May 2).

     Further to the last meeting held on March 28, the Commission continued to focus its discussions on how to set a "poverty line" having regard to objective data and the actual circumstances of Hong Kong. After thorough discussions, the Commission reached an in-principle agreement in respect of the framework for setting the "poverty line", including to adopt the concept of relative poverty and to make reference to half of the median household income to establish the main poverty line.  

     The next stage would be for the Government Economist and the Census and Statistics Department to analyse the data based on the above-mentioned framework so as to identify the various characteristics, including social, economic, housing conditions, and district characteristics, of households below the "poverty line". Detailed analysis on the poverty situation of specific groups such as working poor, elderly in poverty, households receiving Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA), single-parent families, and new arrivals etc. would also be conducted to facilitate the deliberations and formulation of targeted poverty alleviation measures.

     Besides, the Commission endorsed the following four funding proposals put forth by the Community Care Fund Task Force:

(1) Roll out a new 2-year assistance programme "Extra Travel Subsidy for Needy Special School Students" in the 2013/14 academic year. The total estimated expenditure for two years will be $3.27 million which is expected to benefit over 1 700 students for every academic year;

(2) Re-launch the "Subsidy for CSSA Recipients Living in Rented Private Housing" to provide a one-off subsidy to CSSA households living in rented private housing whose actual rent payment exceeds the maximum rent allowance under the CSSA Scheme. Subsidy for one-person CSSA household will be $2,000 while that for two-or-more-person household will be $4,000.  The estimated expenditure will be $56.81 million which is expected to benefit about 17 000 households. The subsidy will be disbursed at the end of this year;

(3) Continue the "First Phase Programme of the Medical Assistance Programme" starting from August 2013. Two specified self-financed cancer drugs will be introduced and the treatment duration of an existing drug will be extended. Estimated expenditure of the Programme in the third year of operation will be $97.173 million; and

(4) Adjust the eligibility criteria of the "Elderly Dental Assistance Programme" to cover elderly who are users of the "Integrated Home Care Services" and "Enhanced Home and Community Care Services" subvented by the Social Welfare Department as at December 31, 2012.

Ends/Thursday, May 2, 2013
Issued at HKT 20:19


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