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Transcript of remarks by CS at press conference on Commission on Poverty (with photos/video)

     Following is the transcript of remarks at a press conference on Commission on Poverty by the Chief Secretary for Administration and Chairman of the Commission on Poverty, Mrs Carrie Lam, at the Central Government Offices, Tamar, today (July 22):

Reporter: Mrs Lam, isn't it quite ironic to exclude people living in industrial buildings from applying your subsidy? And after all your aim was to help those inadequately housed, but what you are doing now is quite different from your policy objective.

Chief Secretary for Administration: Let me emphasise again that at this afternoon's meeting the Commission on Poverty (CoP) is very, very sympathetic to the situation of low-income families living in subdivided units in industrial buildings. We all feel that perhaps, to this group of low-income families, they don't have another alternative. But we are facing a major difficulty in terms of policy because it has been repeated time and again that the Government will not tolerate the use for residential purposes in industrial buildings. So how to reconcile these two, sort of, contradicting situations? On one hand we said that you should not live in industrial buildings because of the fire risk and so on. On the other hand we said that we are giving you a grant for your continued occupation of those premises. So we need to find a very creative way to get out of this apparent contradiction and try to offer help.

     Let me stress again that we do want to help these families, because, as you rightly pointed out, the purpose of the Community Care Fund (CCF) is really to help people who, sometimes or somehow, they fall outside of the government safety net. So we are trying very hard to identify ways and means to help these people.

     This afternoon's CoP meeting is the first meeting that we received a recommendation from the Task Force on CCF chaired by Dr Law (Chi-kwong), which recommended that we should not extend the grant to these people. But we are not endorsing the Task Force recommendation of not to help these people. We want to have more time to find ways and means to help these people.

(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)

Ends/Monday, July 22, 2013
Issued at HKT 22:27


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