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Commission on Poverty convenes eighth meeting

     The Chief Secretary for Administration, Mrs Carrie Lam, chaired the eighth meeting of the Commission on Poverty (CoP) this afternoon (November 11).

     Following on the previous discussion in May and the general consensus reached after the CoP Summit in September that poor working households warranted priority attention, the Government listened to views expressed by members on the design of several broad parameters of the proposed Low-income Family Supplement (Low-income Supplement).

     Members first reviewed the socio-economic characteristics of poor working households in the "Report on the Poverty Situation in Hong Kong 2012". It was noted that after the Government's recurrent cash policy intervention, those non-Comprehensive Social Security Assistance working households below the poverty line usually had a greater number of household members (with 84 per cent being households with three persons or more) and the average number of working members was 1.1 per household. This showed that the sole breadwinner in most of these households was supporting at least two other family members. Among the working members in these households, about 80 per cent were full-time workers, with most of them engaged in low-skilled jobs. In addition, over 31 per cent of members in these households were children.

     Members agreed that the design of the Low-income Supplement should be structured in such a way as to encourage employment and support upward mobility of children in poor working households. It was also agreed that there should be means test to ensure that limited resources were devoted to the most needy groups. Members noted that the Government had received submissions with detailed proposals from over 10 organisations, groups and individuals. Members had in-depth discussions on how to devise the eligibility criteria for the Low-income Supplement and its interface with other cash assistance programmes.

     Mrs Lam said that the Government would take into account views expressed by the CoP and pursue the initiative vigorously. As it would take time to devise and finalise the operational details of the Low-income Supplement, it would be difficult to implement the scheme in the near future. The Government would report on progress in the upcoming Policy Address next year.

Ends/Monday, November 11, 2013
Issued at HKT 20:05


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