Chief Executive of China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Carrie Lam on Tuesday unveiled 10 new livelihood initiatives to benefit over a million grassroots and underprivileged locals.
The livelihood measures which would cost 10 billion Hong Kong dollars (1.3 billion U.S. dollars) aimed to support the elderly, workers, the unemployed or underemployed, low-income households not living in public housing and not receiving local social security assistance, and people who were inadequately housed, Lam announced at a press conference.
Noting that the SAR government is ready to provide diversified services and suitable support for the elderly to enjoy their golden years in face of an aging population, Lam suggested to combine the Normal Old Age Living Allowance Scheme (OALA) with Higher OALA, so that qualified elderly people aged 65 or above would receive a standard payment rate of 3,585 Hong Kong dollars (491 U.S. dollars) per month.
Apart from the elderly, eligible low-income households, unemployed and underemployed would also receive cash allowances under the initiatives.
On housing issues, one of the most pressing problems for Hong Kong, Lam said the SAR government will further increase transitional housing for residents.
Lam stressed that the SAR government attached great importance to supporting the underprivileged.
"The recurrent expenditure on social welfare has increased from 65.3 billion Hong Kong dollars (8.4 billion U.S. dollars) in 2017-18 to 84.3 billion (10.8 billion U.S. dollars) in 2019-20, representing a 29 percent rise, the largest among all policy areas," Lam said.