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Youth Exchange Session discusses retirement protection (with photos)

The following is issued on behalf of the Commission on Youth:

     The Commission on Youth (CoY) organised a Youth Exchange Session at the Kowloon Tong Education Services Centre today (March 7). The Chief Secretary for Administration, Mrs Carrie Lam, attended the session and exchanged views with young people on the topic of retirement protection.

     Mrs Lam said that although the current-term Government has done much work in poverty alleviation, elderly care and support for the disadvantaged, there is still room for further enhancing the current four retirement protection pillars, and that the community should put in more public resources to provide more comprehensive retirement protection for the elderly. Different stakeholders should, however, take heed of our future demographic changes, including population ageing and the shrinking labour force. Any enhancement proposal has to be financially affordable and sustainable in terms of public finance.

     She further pointed out that most of the discussion in society so far has focused on the two principles of "regardless of rich or poor" and "those with financial needs". Yet income protection is only part of retirement protection. Comprehensive protection should also cover a range of public services, such as public housing, medical services and long-term care services to attend to the practical needs of the elderly on a day-to-day basis. The demand for these tax-financed services will substantially increase along with the ageing population. She, therefore, stressed that a balance has to be struck between income protection, medical care and other aspects of protection when considering how best to allocate limited resources.

     In addition to income protection, she encouraged young people to discuss other issues in the consultation document. These include how to address the "offsetting" issue to strengthen the retirement protection function of the Mandatory Provident Fund (MPF) system; exploring whether tax incentives should be provided to encourage working people to make voluntary MPF contributions for themselves and their spouses; considering the development of other financial instruments, such as a public annuity scheme and a longer-term bond to assist elderly people in transforming their assets into a regular income; and exploring how to encourage more family support for the elderly through public policies.

     In her concluding remarks, Mrs Lam said she was glad to hear that young people are willing to commit more in taking care of the elderly. She encouraged young people to voice their views through different channels before the consultation ends in June this year, in the same manner as the title of the consultation suggests - "Retirement Protection  Forging Ahead".

     The Chairman of the CoY, Mr Lau Ming-wai, said the CoY will continue to organise exchange sessions to provide young people with opportunities to exchange views with representatives from the Government or advisory bodies or speakers from various sectors of the community on topics of concern.

Ends/Monday, March 7, 2016
Issued at HKT 19:49


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