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Transcript of remarks by CE at media session before ExCo meeting (with video)
     Following is the transcript of remarks by the Chief Executive, Mrs Carrie Lam, at a media session before the Executive Council meeting this morning (October 31):
Reporter: Mrs Lam, can you please explain again how did you come up with the figure 800 000 public housing units would be enough for these tenants?
Chief Executive: Well, I'll try to summarise it in English because it does need a little bit of articulation to explain. First of all, I want to make it very clear that the figure of 800 000 public rental units is not a target in terms of construction of public rental housing targets. It is definitely not a ceiling on what the Government is willing to produce for the people of Hong Kong, but in my housing philosophy, I did make it very clear in the Policy Address on four points and I just want to highlight two of those points.
     One is housing is not just a simple commercial product or commodity, so it is the responsibility of the Government to look after the housing needs of the people of Hong Kong. That’s point number one. Point number two is, in the course of meeting the needs of the people of Hong Kong, I said in my Policy Address that I will continue to build on top of what has been promised in the Long Term Housing Strategy. So looking ahead, it could only increase and certainly will not decrease, but the ultimate solution lies in the supply of land. If there’s enough land, the Government has the capacity and the needed resources to continue to build with a view to help the people and families in need. And as far as my stance on the public rental housing that is also very clearly stated in the Policy Address, that this is, in terms of housing, the safety net for the grass roots and the less-advantaged families and so I will attach a lot of importance to try to shorten the waiting time for public rental housing units. So the idea of building more green form subsidised housing for sale is to meet the aspirations of those relatively more well-off tenants in the public rental housing who want to buy their own flat instead of continue living in a rental flat, and by design, every single unit of GSH (Green Form Subsidised Home Ownership Scheme) being sold will produce a vacant public rental housing unit for allocation to other families on the housing waiting list or will take care of one of those families in the queuing for the public rental housing. So that by itself will not reduce the amount of units that we could allocate to families in need of public rental housing.
     The 800 000 figure is no more than a stocktaking of what we already have, which is 756 000, plus what are already in the pipeline that clearly will be kept as public rental housing, and whether this will be enough will depend on a lot of factors. So I’m not talking about putting a cap on the public rental housing programme. I’m sharing with the community my housing philosophy, but that of course is dependent on a number of other factors before we could decide on the split in the newly constructed public housing units between public rental housing, the green form and perhaps even the Home Ownership Scheme flats.
Reporter: Mrs Lam, so are you suggesting that you will launch the “Three-step Process” before LegCo passes the motion?
Chief Executive: No, I am appealing to the Legislative Council to use the next two days of the Legislative Council meeting to discuss and debate, and then vote on the Government’s motion. That will fit in with our timetable and also will show our utmost respect for the Legislative Council on such an important matter.
(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)
Ends/Tuesday, October 31, 2017
Issued at HKT 12:27
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CE meets the media