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SLW visits LD's Work Incentive Transport Subsidy Division and SWD's Kwun Tong Social Security Field Unit (with photos)

     The Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, visited the Work Incentive Transport Subsidy (WITS) Division of the Labour Department and the Kwun Tong Social Security Field Unit of the Social Welfare Department (SWD) this afternoon (July 29) to see for himself the daily operation of the two offices.

     Mr Cheung first visited the WITS Division office at Kowloonbay International Trade & Exhibition Centre. Accompanied by the Assistant Commissioner for Labour (Development), Miss Mabel Li, Mr Cheung was briefed on the latest application situation of the WITS.

     The WITS Scheme was introduced in October 2011 to help low-income earners reduce their cost of travelling to and from work and encourage them to secure or stay in employment. Enhancement measures were introduced in 2013 to give applicants of the WITS Scheme the choice of applying on a household or individual basis (commonly known as the "dual track" approach). As at July 24 this year, a total subsidy payment of about $1,065 million had been made to 93 952 applicants, of whom 45 259 were individual-based applicants.

     When touring the office to see different stages of application processing, Mr Cheung particularly thanked the front-line staff for answering public enquiries with patience to assist eligible low-income applicants to receive the subsidy as soon as possible.

     Mr Cheung then proceeded to the Kwun Tong Social Security Field Unit. Accompanied by the District Social Welfare Officer (Kwun Tong), Ms Ip Siu-ming, Mr Cheung was briefed on the profile of social security recipients in the district and the Unit's daily operation.

     Mr Cheung noted that the total Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA) caseload in Kwun Tong is the highest among the 18 districts in Hong Kong. The number of low-earnings cases and unemployment cases in the district accounted for 14.2 per cent and 10.9 per cent respectively out of the territory-wide total. The Unit has commissioned Po Leung Kuk's Employment Services Centre in Kwun Tong to operate the Integrated Employment Assistance Programme for Self-reliance, through which able-bodied CSSA recipients are provided with one-stop integrated employment assistance services to enhance their employability.

     Noting that the overall CSSA caseload has dropped for 58 consecutive months to the current figure of 248 916 and the numbers of unemployment cases and low-earnings cases have decreased for 70 and 76 consecutive months to 17 505 and 7 012 respectively, Mr Cheung said it showed that most CSSA recipients have opted for self-reliance amidst the improved economy and labour market. He encouraged the SWD staff to keep up their good work in supporting those with genuine need.

Ends/Wednesday, July 29, 2015
Issued at HKT 20:07


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