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Commission on Poverty convenes fourth meeting in its second term

     The Commission on Poverty (CoP) convened the fourth meeting in its second term this afternoon (May 4). As the Chief Secretary for Administration, Mrs Carrie Lam, is currently on an overseas duty visit, the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, chaired the meeting to discuss topics relevant to retirement protection.

     After hearing a presentation on the Mandatory Provident Fund Scheme which is Pillar 2 under the World Bank's multi-pillar retirement protection model at the last meeting, the CoP deliberated on the retirement protection functions of Pillar 4 (covering various public services, including medical services, public housing, long-term care services and public transportation etc) at today's meeting.

     Members agreed that Pillar 4 in retirement protection is as important as other pillars. In 2014-15, government spending on this pillar amounted to $30 billion (excluding public housing expenditure), which exceeded the total expenditure of $26 billion on social security schemes for the elderly under Pillar 0.

     Ageing population will lead to a significant increase in demand for public services. Given that these services are funded by the public coffer, and that most of them are non-means tested, they will impose huge pressure on public finances in the long run. In view of the constraints in finances, manpower and land etc, members considered that while the Government should continue to increase the supply of services based on the current modes, it should also enhance the long-term planning of both infrastructure and manpower provision. On family support, members noted that 76 per cent of the elderly were currently living with their spouse, children or relatives, reflecting the importance of family values in society. There are also various policy initiatives in place to encourage families and children to take care of their elderly family members.
     Apart from public services and family support, Pillar 4 also covers the assets of the elderly. Members were briefed at the meeting on the Reverse Mortgage Programme by representatives from the Hong Kong Mortgage Corporation Limited. A total of 814 cases have been approved under the Programme since its launch in July 2011.

     In addition, members noted that the Government would commission two independent consultancy teams to prepare for the public consultation on retirement protection in the fourth quarter of this year. The teams will assist in arranging different consultation events, consolidating and analysing the views collected, as well as conducting surveys etc. The recruitment of the independent consultancy teams will be carried out later.

Ends/Monday, May 4, 2015
Issued at HKT 20:26


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