Views on CSSA and TSS to be studied
January 16, 2013
Chief Executive CY Leung says the Commission on Poverty will study the views on whether the existing Comprehensive Social Security Assistance plan has struck a proper balance between providing a safety net and encouraging people capable of working to join the workforce.
Retirement protection in focus
In his 2013 Policy Address today, Mr Leung said the Social Security & Retirement Protection Task Force under the commission will conduct the review. It will also study the views on a proposal to turn the Work Incentive Transport Subsidy Scheme into a subsidy for low-income families, but warned that these suggestions involve major policy considerations and may have far-reaching implications on our social security system and public finance.
He said the commission has identified setting a poverty line in light of the actual situation in Hong Kong as a priority, to enable more effective poverty-alleviation efforts.
On the introduction of universal retirement protection, he said there are concerns universal retirement protection would impose a heavy burden on the public coffers over time, and would be impractical without tax hikes. Another option based on contributions from employers, employees and the Government is equally controversial, involving issues such as affordability and sustainability.
The task force will study retirement protection in depth in an open, pragmatic and prudent manner and work towards a consensus in the community on how to take forward retirement protection in Hong Kong, he said.
The Government will also work with the Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Authority to bring down fees and charges.
The Community Care Fund has launched a total of 18 assistance programmes, benefiting more than 100,000 people, he said. The fund will determine which programmes need to be revised or extended, or recommend incorporating effective measures into the Government’s regular assistance programme.
Help for disabled
He said the Social Welfare Department is studying the feasibility of redeveloping the former sites of Siu Lam Hospital in Tuen Mun and Kai Nang Sheltered Workshop and Hostel in Kwun Tong into integrated rehabilitation services centres, providing 2,000 day training and residential care services places for disabled people.
Starting from the next financial year, he said the Government will increase job attachment allowance and wage subsidy under the On the Job Training Programme for People with Disabilities and the Sunnyway - On the Job Training Programme for Young People with Disabilities.
Standard working hours to be explored
Mr Leung said employees in Hong Kong work relatively long hours and the Government hopes the community can make use of the platform the Special Committee on Standard Working Hours provided to build consensus and identify the way forward.
The Government has proposed enhancing support measures in schools for ethnic minority students to learn Chinese more effectively.
On anti-discrimination law to protect people of different sexual orientation, Mr Leung said the Government will continue to listen to different views, though there is no plan to conduct consultation.