SLW visits Guangzhou (with photos)

     The Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, visited Guangzhou today (June 28) to exchange views with Guangdong officials and visit an elderly care facility there.

     Upon arrival in the morning, Mr Cheung called on Mr Liu Hong, the Director-General of the Department of Civil Affairs of Guangdong Province, to exchange views on issues of mutual interest and introduce the latest progress of the Guangdong Scheme, which will be implemented no later than November this year. Mr Cheung also paid a courtesy call on the Deputy Director-General of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the Guangdong Provincial People's Government, Mr Lu Xingzhou.

     Mr Cheung then visited a private residential care home for the elderly in the Yuexiu District of Guangzhou City in the afternoon where he was briefed on the operation of the home, which was the first Hong Kong-run elderly care facility under the Mainland and Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement. He toured the home to learn about the services provided. He also briefed the elderly home operators on the new Guangdong Scheme.

     "The Guangdong Scheme seeks to facilitate Hong Kong elderly citizens who have settled in or are prepared to reside in Guangdong, by providing them with the Old Age Allowance without requiring them to return to Hong Kong each year. The Social Welfare Department is pressing ahead with the preparatory work of the Scheme with an aim of launching it no later than November this year," Mr Cheung said.

     "We have assumed that about 30 000 elderly people will join the scheme initially. On this basis, the Old Age Allowance payment to them is estimated at about $395 million each year.

     "For the next step, we will seriously explore the feasibility of allowing eligible elderly people in Guangdong to receive the Old Age Living Allowance. We are also prepared to explore any other possible facilitation measures," Mr Cheung added.

     Officials accompanying Mr Cheung on the visit included acting Director of Social Welfare, Mr Fung Pak-yan, and Deputy Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Donald Chen.

     The delegation returned to Hong Kong this evening.

Ends/Friday, June 28, 2013
Issued at HKT 17:55