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Commission on Poverty convenes 21st meeting in its second term
     The Chief Secretary for Administration, Mrs Carrie Lam, chaired the 21st meeting of the Commission on Poverty (CoP) in its second term this afternoon (December 16). The meeting discussed the consultation report on the public engagement exercise on retirement protection and reviewed the implementation of the Low-income Working Family Allowance (LIFA) Scheme.
     In December 2015, the CoP launched the six-month "Retirement Protection, Forging Ahead" public engagement exercise. Over 18 000 submissions were received during the consultation period. The independent consultant commissioned by the Labour and Welfare Bureau (LWB) has consolidated the views collected and submitted a report for the CoP’s consideration. The consultation report summarised and analysed public views on various important issues on retirement protection, including views on whether the "regardless of rich or poor" principle or the "those with financial needs" principle should be adopted to improve the retirement protection system, and how to strengthen the Mandatory Provident Fund (MPF) and other retirement protection pillars including views of employers and employees on the MPF “offsetting” arrangement.
     Members noted that the independent consultant submitted the first draft consultation report to the LWB in September 2016. As a normal procedure, the LWB exchanged views on the draft report with the consultant. The representative of the consultant emphasised that the conclusion in the consultation report was drawn up independently. At the meeting, the independent consultant briefed members on the content of the consultation report. Members noted the analysis in the report after discussion. The report was uploaded to the CoP's dedicated website (www.povertyrelief.gov.hk/eng/archives.html) for public viewing after the meeting, and all submissions received during the consultation period will also be uploaded to the CoP's website as soon as possible. Members also noted that the Government is actively formulating policy recommendations and will give an overall policy response on retirement protection early next year.
     In addition, members noted the implementation of the LIFA Scheme. As at December 9, 46 506 applications had been received, with 29 897 applications approved and allowance payments amounting to about $350 million granted. Having considered comments from applicants and concern groups, the LWB announced on December 6 the immediate abolition of the absence rule under the LIFA Scheme, with a view to benefiting more low-income working families. The LWB will continue to step up publicity, explore ways to simplify the application form and offer assistance to applicants in completing the form and submitting the required documentary proof. A comprehensive policy review will be conducted in mid-2017 to further refine various arrangements under the LIFA Scheme.
Ends/Friday, December 16, 2016
Issued at HKT 20:46
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