10 new measures unveiled in HK to improve lives

By Hu Yuwei Source:Globaltimes.cn Published: 2020/1/15 0:47:58

Photo: VCG

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam unveiled 10 new measures on Tuesday to support the local society, including housing, public welfare and poverty alleviation policies, and said the government would spend 10 billion HK dollars ($1.45 billion) to benefit an estimated 1 million people.

A local analyst says the new measures are welcome and are seen as an important way to ease current social tensions and reassure people amid the unrest.

Lam said that since her policy address last year, she continued to listen to the views of all sectors of society and realized that she had not responded to problems related to grassroots society, retirement arrangements for the elderly and public rent applications.

The economic recession in Hong Kong has brought a cold winter to local people. The government launching new policies now to improve people’s wellbeing before the upcoming Chinese New Year is heartwarming for residents, Tang Fei, a member of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macao Studies, told the Global Times.

Lam also announced that the number of legal holidays will gradually increase from 12 to 17, to synchronize with bank holidays.

"Society always welcomes such moves. The main goal is to bail people out of their current plight, but the role in boosting the economy should not be overestimated. Hong Kong's economic progress has always needed to be integrated into the overall development of the country," Tang said.

Lam said the government would spend 5 billion HK dollars to improve the subsistence allowance for the elderly. An allowance of 3,585 HK dollars is payable for all people with assets not exceeding 500,000 HK dollars.

Regarding housing, the Hong Kong government will provide a cash allowance for non-PRH (Public Renting House) and non-CSSA (Comprehensive Social Security Assistance) low-income households. In the future, eligible people waiting for PRH for more than three years can also get the allowance until the first allocation is made.

Lam also said that the target of providing 10,000 transitional housing units had been met, so the target will be expanded to 15,000 in the future.

She said the new measures proposed this time can be seen as a sequel to her policy address, and the new measures were agreed to by the legislative council.

She said that the 7 expenditures of the government will increase by HK dollars 10 billion accounting for a 2 percent increase in overall spending. The government believes that Hong Kong's financial position will remain sound after the current difficult situation passes.

Lam also pointed out that in policy addresses in 2017 and 2018, there were a lot of chapters on youth and that future efforts would be made to develop programs that would benefit young people.

She said it was not a "one-off" improvement for existing measures and policies, stressing that the new measures show the government has broken away from traditional thinking.


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