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Commission on Poverty convenes ninth meeting in its second term

     The Chief Secretary for Administration, Mrs Carrie Lam, chaired the ninth meeting of the Commission on Poverty (CoP) in its second term this afternoon (September 23).

     To prepare for the public consultation on retirement protection to be launched in December this year, today's meeting mainly discussed the work plan for promoting public awareness of retirement protection and the upcoming public engagement exercise.  As the discussions on retirement protection will have far-reaching impact on the community of Hong Kong, members agreed that the public consultation period should last for six months, running from December this year till June next year, to allow sufficient time for the community to have in-depth discussions and build consensus on issues concerned. The CoP will be heavily engaged in preparatory work in the coming few months before the launch of the public consultation. Apart from drafting and finalising the consultation document, the CoP will also make use of the updated population and labour force projections to update the financial assessments of relevant proposals based on the methodology adopted in the report submitted by the consultancy team led by Professor Nelson Chow. The Census and Statistics Department will release the updated population and labour force projections 2015-2064 later this month.  

     Members agreed to deploy various channels, including Announcements in the Public Interest on television and radio, posters and leaflets, as well as a dedicated website, to raise public awareness of the public engagement exercise and encourage people to send in submissions. Furthermore, members agreed to use creative means such as micro-films or video clips to facilitate the public to understand issues concerned and grasp key figures. Members also agreed to consider using social media to reach out to the younger generation to encourage them to take part in the discussions on retirement protection.
     At the meeting, the CoP also endorsed two proposals for the assistance programmes under the Community Care Fund (CCF).  Details are as follows:

(1) The Special Care Subsidy for the Severely Disabled programme will be extended for 12 months again to provide a special care subsidy for persons with severe disability aged below 60 who are living in the community, requiring constant attendance and not receiving Comprehensive Social Security Assistance. The extension involves an additional provision of $57.02 million and is expected to benefit some 3 000 persons with severe disability.  The estimated total provision for the programme will be increased to $236.37 million; and

(2) Making use of the unspent $52 million from the originally approved provision, the Subsidy for Owners' Corporations (OCs) of Old Buildings programme will be extended for three years with several enhancements. Eligible OCs can continue to apply for the subsidy on a reimbursement basis in respect of designated items. The scope of designated items will be expanded and the programme will also be aligned with other building maintenance financial assistance schemes. The enhanced programme is expected to benefit some 2 200 eligible OCs.

     In addition, members noted that the CCF-funded Elderly Dental Assistance Expanded Programme launched on September 1 this year has met with good response. By now more than 4 000 applications have been received. The CoP will closely monitor the implementation of the programme and consider further expanding the programme to eligible elders of other age groups having regard to the capacity of participating dentists.

Ends/Wednesday, September 23, 2015
Issued at HKT 20:02


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