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Response to media enquiries about discussions at Commission on Poverty meeting concerning retirement protection
     In response to media enquiries about discussions at the Commission on Poverty (CoP) meeting yesterday (December 16) concerning retirement protection, a Government spokesman said today (December 17) that the item on the agenda of the meeting was the independent consultant's report on the collation and analysis of views during the 6-month public consultation. CoP has already fully deliberated on the matter of whether Hong Kong should have cash assistance for all elderly regardless of rich or poor, or what some concern groups termed "universal retirement protection" back in 2015 when the CoP was preparing for the consultation document entitled "Retirement Protection Forging Ahead" and it was very clear from those discussions that individual CoP members have different views and a consensus could not be reached. Thus, when one member suggested at the meeting yesterday that the subject be re-considered in the context of the independent consultant's report, other members did not agree. The allegation that the Chairman had blocked such discussion or dis-allowed members to vote on the matter is totally groundless.

     At the CoP meeting yesterday, the independent consultant explained to members the merits of a qualitative data analysis of the views expressed through written submissions, focus groups, public forums, etc. Thus, when some members asked for quantitative assessment on the opinions expressed in support of the various retirement protection options, the Chairman and other members said that the professionalism of the independent consultant should be respected. In any case, all submissions received would be disclosed for public inspection as soon as the independent consultant has completed the preparatory work. The only textual amendment made to the report was to expressly say that the 16 830 written submissions received in seven standard proformas were in support of universal retirement protection as suggested by the Chairman and endorsed by the meeting.

     The Government spokesman expressed deep regret at the misleading way that one member of CoP has chosen to disclose discussions at the meeting.

     As pointed out in the Government's press release issued yesterday after the CoP meeting, members noted that the Government is actively formulating policy recommendations and will give an overall policy response on retirement protection early next year.
Ends/Saturday, December 17, 2016
Issued at HKT 18:29
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