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LCQ4: Civil Service Public Housing Quota Scheme
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     Following is a question by the Hon Chan Kam-lam and a written reply by the Secretary for the Civil Service, Mr Clement Cheung, in the Legislative Council today (February 24):

Question:

     Under the Civil Service Public Housing Quota Scheme (CSPHQ Scheme), the Civil Service Bureau issues circulars memorandum annually to invite eligible civil servants to apply for civil service public housing (CSPH) quotas for that year. The quotas are divided into general quota and special quota, with the latter earmarked mainly for junior police officers as well as other rank and file officers in the disciplined services who will retire within 10 years. Recently, some retired disciplined services staff members have relayed to me that CSPHQ Scheme cannot address their housing needs. Although they had applied for special quota under CSPHQ Scheme before retirement for allocation of public housing (PH) flats, they had yet to be allocated a PH flat upon retirement and up to the time when they were required to move out of their departmental quarters. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(1) of the number of applications for special quota received from retired and retiring disciplined services staff members in each of the past five years and, among such cases, the number of those in which the applicants were allocated a PH flat; whether the authorities adjusted the relevant quota according to the number of disciplined services staff members eligible for applying for PH flats under CSPHQ Scheme each year;

(2) as I have learnt that some retired disciplined services staff members now residing in departmental quarters, who had applied twice for special quota but in vain, were rejected when they submitted applications again, of the maximum number of times for which each disciplined services staff member may make such an application; the current number of eligible retired disciplined services staff members who are not allowed to submit applications again because the number of times for which they made such an application has reached the upper limit; as it has been reported that the number of retired disciplined services staff members will peak in the coming few years, whether the authorities will consider relaxing the restriction on the number of times for which that they may make such an application;

(3) given that the disciplined services staff members who have submitted applications under CSPHQ Scheme before retirement but have yet to be allocated a PH flat may be granted, while their applications are still being processed, concessions whereby they do not have to move out of the quarters immediately upon retirement, of the current number of such staff members who are residing in departmental quarters, as well as the number of such staff members in each of the next three years as anticipated by the authorities; whether the authorities will require such kind of staff members who have yet to be allocated a PH flat to move out of their departmental quarters; and

(4) whether the authorities have studied ways to address the increasing demand for PH flats from retired disciplined services staff?

Reply:

President,

     The Government set up the Civil Service Public Housing Quota Scheme (the Scheme) to provide, on a discretionary basis, a better opportunity for lower-rank civil servants to obtain public housing. It is not related to terms of appointment or fringe benefits. Whether an eligible applicant under the Scheme will be allocated a unit will be affected by changes in the demand for and supply of public housing, the estate or district that the applicant chooses and the priority of the other applicants vis-j-vis his/hers.

     There are a General Quota and a Special Quota (SQ) under the Scheme. The former is for civilian and disciplined services staff who are not eligible for the SQ while the latter is designed for eligible disciplined services staff. Separately, under the established policy of the disciplined services departments (DSDs), they provide their married officers with disciplined services departmental quarters subject to the availability of resources as a benefit outside their conditions of service. Officers occupying the departmental quarters shall move out of the units within two months from the date of their departure from service or upon commencement of pre-retirement leave. The heads of departments may extend the time limit by a month having regard to the justifications put forward by the officers concerned. In addition, an officer who has made an application under the Scheme may be allowed to stay in the quarters while the application is being processed. Notwithstanding that, the applicant would be required to vacate the quarters within two months of the announcement of the result of the application regardless of whether it is successful.

     Our reply to the four parts of the question is as follows, seriatim:

(1) The number of applications and the allocation progress under the SQ in the past five years are set out below:

      No. of applications     Allocation progress
       PRH    HOS  Total      PRH          HOS
                             (as at       (170 odd
Scheme                     31.12.2015)    quota
Year                                      places)
------ ----- --- -----   -------------  ---------
2010/ 1 072  237 1 309   305 quota      All quota
2011                     places         places
                         have been      have been
                         allocated      allocated

2011/ 1 428  179 1 607   230 quota      All quota
2012                     places         places
                         have been      have been
                         allocated      allocated

2012/  2 175  119 2 294  Allocation of  All quota
2013                     new flats      places
                         has been       have been
                         completed      allocated
                         while
                         allocation
                         of refurbished
                         flats is ongoing

2013/ 2 813   120  2 933 Allocation of  103 quota
2014                     new flats      places
                         has been       have been
                         completed      allocated
                         while
                         allocation of
                         refurbished
                         flats is ongoing

2014/ 3 017   218  3 235 Allocation of  106 quota
2015                     new and        places
                         refurbished    have been
                         flats is       allocated
                         ongoing

PRH - Public Rental Housing quota
HOS - Home Ownership Scheme quota

     The quota and categories of PRH available for allocation each year are subject to approval of the Hong Kong Housing Authority (HA) taking into account the actual circumstances. The HA has endorsed the increase of 100 units for the quota each year beginning from the 2015/16 Financial Year to the 2018/19 Financial Year, i.e. making available a total of 1 000 additional quota places in the four years. Moreover, we have also started to improve the allocation arrangements under the Scheme with the objective of optimising utilisation of the limited resources.

(2) No upper limit on the number of times of applications is set under the Scheme. Serving officers with at least two years of continuous service and fulfilling other eligibility criteria can start applying. In the relevant annual circular memorandum, we clearly set out the timing for submission of applications and the relevant eligibility criteria under the Scheme for retired disciplined services officers occupying departmental quarters.

(3) According to the information provided by the Security Bureau, as at January 1 this year, a total of 1 283 DSD retirees from the Hong Kong Police Force, Fire Services Department, Correctional Services Department, Customs and Excise Department, Government Flying Service and Immigration Department were still occupying departmental quarters. Since the family circumstances and individual preferences vary from one officer to another, at present we are unable to make an accurate estimate of the number of disciplined services officers who will apply for the PRH quota and continue to occupy departmental quarters when their applications are being processed in the coming three years.

(4) Other than implementing the Scheme, the Government has introduced other measures like the Home Purchase Scheme, Housing Loan Scheme and Non-accountable Cash Allowance to meet the housing needs of civil servants. We will continue to maintain liaison with the staff sides with whom we will cooperate to improve the operational efficiency of the Scheme.

Ends/Wednesday, February 24, 2016
Issued at HKT 16:02

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