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LegCo FC Chairman reviews work of FC in 2012-2013 session (with photo)

The following is issued on behalf of the Legislative Council Secretariat:

     The work of the Legislative Council (LegCo) Finance Committee (FC) has become more difficult as the Administration failed to fully consult local communities and relevant panels of LegCo before submitting controversial financial proposals to the FC for scrutiny, said the FC Chairman, Mr Tommy Cheung.

    Speaking at the FC Chairman and Deputy Chairman's end-of-session media briefing today (July 18), Mr Cheung cited the introduction of Old Age Living Allowance (OALA) and the West New Territories Landfill Extension as examples of financial proposals that lacked sufficient consultations.

     "The Administration submitted the OALA proposal to FC late last year before the Panel on Welfare Services had finished hearing all the views expressed by the deputations on the proposal. Also, prior to submitting the financial proposal of the West New Territories Landfill Extension to FC for approval early this month, the Administration has not fully consulted the district council on the project," said Mr Cheung.

     The Deputy Chairman of FC, Ms Emily Lau, echoed that the heated debates on the two financial proposals reflected that the Government has failed to grasp public sentiment fully and accurately. She called on the Government to widely consult the local communities and relevant panels of LegCo before introducing any controversial proposals to FC.

     Regarding Mr Ip Kwok-him's motion seeking to amend the procedures of FC and its two subcommittees to limit the number of motions a member can move to express a view on a financial proposal item, Mr Cheung said the Clerk to FC had received nearly two million amendments from members to amend the motion. He hoped that members could continue their deliberations outside FC with a view to reaching a consensus on how to resolve their differences on this matter.

     During the 2012-2013 session, FC held 38 meetings to examine and approve 86 financial proposal items, 45 of which were related to public works projects, with an amount of $151.3 billion. FC also held eight special meetings to examine the Estimates of Expenditure 2013-2014.

     The financial proposals examined and approved by FC during the session included the introduction of OALA, an additional injection of $15 billion into the Community Care Fund, a supplementary provision of $100 million to enable an injection to be made to the Disaster Relief Fund, an additional injection of $200 million into the Community Investment and Inclusion Fund, an increase in standard payment rates under the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance Scheme and the rates of allowances under the Social Security Allowance Scheme, and an enhancement to the Work Incentive Transport Subsidy Scheme by providing the option of individual-based applications as an alternative to household-based applications.

     Mr Cheung said as FC Chairman, he has strictly followed the LegCo Rules of Procedure and the FC Procedure to preside over the meetings and discharge his duty in a fair and impartial manner. "As Chairman, I have to safeguard the right and freedom of speech of members while ensuring the meetings are proceeding efficiently and in order," he added.

Ends/Thursday, July 18, 2013
Issued at HKT 20:12


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