Still Trying to Pay the Cent

In: Social Issues

Submitted By mrwu1016
Words 1745
Pages 7
In a city where basic rent is beyond the means of many working families, conditions for the working poor have become a blight on society. Now the government proposes bold new remedies to address the issue. Are the new measures the solution? Ming Yeung asks.

There can be no doubt that the administration of Leung Chun-ying is determined to tackle acute poverty — almost certainly the greatest blight, and the greatest potential threat to the sustainability of Hong Kong’s standing in the global community. And to demonstrate that determination, the chief executive, in his January 15 policy address, announced bold new initiatives to help those who always have been overlooked in the fight against poverty — the working poor.

One of the most important measures, and surely the most widely applauded, is the proposed Low-Income Working Family Allowance for working families earning only subsistence incomes despite their gainful employment. The program will cost taxpayers HK$3 billion in its first year — 2015. Details will be coming in the next month or so and then will come the public discussion. Even before the complete details are revealed, however, experts already are saying the government has not gone far enough to assist society’s most vulnerable.

About 710,000 people fall under the scope of the latest proposals aimed at ameliorating poverty. Among them are 180,000 children, living in 200,000 households. Nearly half of those households, some 92,400, show earnings falling below the poverty line, which is set at half the city’s median income.

Means test

The entitlement entails a formula including family income, working hours and the number of children in a family. There will be a means test. A household comprising only two adults — whose income between 50-60 percent of the medium income figure — likely would receive no more than HK$300 a month, while a…...

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