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Silver Bond to aid the elderly

February 24, 2016

The Government will launch the Silver Bond pilot scheme this year, targeting Hong Kong residents aged 65 or above.


Delivering his 2016-17 Budget today, Financial Secretary John Tsang said the Silver Bond will have a maturity of three years for the first issuance.


As many senior citizens are looking for investment products with steady returns, Mr Tsang urged the financial sector to tap into the immense potential of this silver market by introducing a larger spectrum of appropriate products.


"Government will launch a pilot scheme to issue Silver Bond this year and next year. HKMA (Hong Kong Monetary Authority) will announce the details in due course."


More elderly aid

He said the ageing population will have far-reaching implications for Hong Kong's future public finances, so the Government has earmarked $50 billion to improve retirement protection.


The Commission on Poverty is conducting a public engagement exercise on how retirement protection can be improved.


"Any retirement protection scheme must be financially sustainable to avoid shifting the significant retirement protection expenses to future generations. I hope that all sectors of the community will keep an open mind and work together to explore sustainable proposals that meet the needs of Hong Kong."


Care services

Mr Tsang said the Government has increased recurrent expenditure by $170 million to provide 1,600 additional places for the Enhanced Home & Community Care Services. From 2016-17 a recurrent provision of $17 million will be allocated to provide 160 additional day care places for the elderly.


It will expedite the provision and quality improvement of residential care places for the elderly. It will allocate a recurrent provision of $140 million from 2016-17 to provide more subsidised residential care places, enhance existing residential care services and progressively upgrade 1,200 places under the Enhanced Bought Place Scheme.


It has reserved space in 15 development projects or vacant buildings to convert it into residential care homes and day care centres for the elderly.


"We are pressing ahead with the Special Scheme on Privately Owned Sites for Welfare Uses to provide additional places for elderly services through the redevelopment or expansion of existing service facilities."


Voucher extensions

The Government is also piloting a new model of elderly services. Since September 2013 the Government has launched, with $1 billion from the Lotteries Fund, the Pilot Scheme on Community Care Service Voucher for the Elderly which adopts the “money-following-the-user” and “co-payment” approaches.


The pilot scheme will be extended to all 18 districts this year and the number of service vouchers will be increased to 3,000.


The implementation of the Pilot Scheme on Residential Care Service Voucher for the Elderly is also being studied. The Government has earmarked $800 million for providing 3,000 service vouchers under the three-year pilot scheme.


The Government will also boost publicity for the Reverse Mortgage Programme so more eligible senior citizens can receive a stable monthly income under the programme.


"To allow more elderly owners of subsidised housing units to join the programme, I propose that HKMC (Hong Kong Mortgage Corporation) should explore with relevant organisations the feasibility of extending the programme to cover subsidised sale flats with premium not yet paid."