Traditional Chinese Simplified Chinese Email this article
CE lays out blueprint to tackle poverty, support the needy

     The Chief Executive, Mr C Y Leung, in his annual Policy Address today (January 15) set out a comprehensive strategy to tackle poverty and support people in need.

     He said Hong Kong's first-ever official poverty line set last September would be updated annually to monitor the poverty situation and gauge the effectiveness of government policies.

     Priority would be given to working families who live below the poverty line but do not receive Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA), he said.

     The Chief Executive unveiled plans to establish a Low-income Working Family Allowance premised on three basic principles:

* The allowance will be granted on a family basis and tied to employment and working hours to encourage self-reliance;

* An income test and an asset test with a lower threshold to ensure effective use of resources; and

* The scheme will be easy to understand with appropriate safeguards against abuse.

     "The annual expenditure involved is estimated to be around $3 billion," said Mr Leung.

     "More than 200 000 low-income families with 710 000 members, including 180 000 eligible children and young people, will benefit from the allowance."

     From April, the Government will also progressively regualarise seven programmes under the Community Care Fund (CCF) that will benefit primary and secondary students in need, underprivileged students pursuing eligible programmes below sub-degree level, CSSA recipients who are Tenants Purchase Scheme flat owners, eligible children on the waiting list for subvented pre-school rehabilitation services and persons with severe physical disabilities living in the community and requiring constant care.

     To support the elderly, the Chief Executive said he would ask the Elderly Commission to prepare an Elderly Services Programme Plan within two years.

     He said the Government would inject $10 billion into the Lotteries Fund to support the smooth running of the Special Scheme on Privately Owned Sites for Welfare Uses.

     The Scheme encourages social welfare organisations to make better use of their land, especially to provide additional facilities for elderly and rehabilitation services.

     "Based on the rough estimates of these organisations, the Scheme will provide about 17 000 additional service places for the elderly and persons with disabilities," said Mr Leung.

     Another initiative is to incorporate the Elderly Health Care Voucher Pilot Scheme into the regular assistance programme and to double the annual voucher amount to $2,000 within this year.

     The Government has also earmarked about $800 million for a total of 3 000 vouchers for the elderly for residential care services to be introduced in phases. The Elderly Commission will conduct a study on the proposed voucher scheme this year.

     The Chief Executive said the Government will explore the feasibility of extending the Old Age Living Allowance to eligible Hong Kong people residing in Guangdong, having regard to the operating experience gained from the implementation of the Guangdong Scheme which covers the Old Age Allowance.

     The Government will also purchase residential care places from an elderly home run by a Hong Kong non-governmental organisation (NGO) in Shenzhen to provide an option for the elderly on the Central Waiting List for subsidised residential care places.

     "We are also discussing similar arrangements with another elderly home in Zhaoqing run by a Hong Kong NGO," Mr Leung said.

     A new service centre to support the ethnic minority community will also be established in Kwai Tsing by the Home Affairs Department.

     The Chief Executive also unveiled a list of 12 proposals to support persons with disabilities.

     These include measures to strengthen co-operation between relevant bureaux and departments, regularise the Pilot Bought Place Scheme for Private Residential Care Homes for Persons with Disabilities, promote employment and internship opportunities for persons with disabilities, inject $200 million into the Hong Kong Paralympians Fund and extend the Public Transport Fare Concession Scheme for the Elderly and Eligible Persons with Disabilities to include eligible children under the age of 12 starting from the first half of this year.

Ends/Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Issued at HKT 13:14


Print this page