The government submitted a paper to the Legislative Council outlining the details of the “Lift Modernisation Subsidy Scheme” (LIMSS). The government will be accepting the first round of applications in the first quarter of 2019 and the second round of applications in late 2019. Participating residential flats whose rateable values should not exceed the prescribed level, where a flat in the urban area is worth $162,000/year and one in the New Territories $124,000/year. The funding ceiling for each apartment building will be $500,000. The government estimates that there are around 13,000 lifts that qualify for the LIMSS, but the government will only subsidise the modernisation works of 5,000 lifts in a 6-year period.
In his response, DAB Legislative Councilor Vincent Cheng pointed out that the threshold to apply for funding is rather high. He said that the government has taken the Operation Building Bright 2.0 (OBB 2.0) as reference when setting the application threshold at $162,000. But OBB 2.0 was targeted at buildings that are 50 years or older while buildings qualified for the LIMSS range from 25 to over 40 years of age. The rateable values of these buildings are higher. Vincent Cheng urges the government to lower the threshold of the new scheme and raise the rateable value limit for the buildings in question.
Also, Vincent feels that only subsidising 5,000 lifts out of 13,000 lifts — which makes out to be only one third — under the scheme in a six-year period is insufficient. We understand that the government is worried about funding too many projects in a short period of time will push up repair costs, and given manpower shortage and insufficient market capacity, therefore the scheme will take place over six years to avoid these issues. But we feel that the goal of this scheme should be set at subsidising all 13,000 lifts in order to improve their level of safety. The government should launch training programmes to increase the number of persons qualified for lift repair. Vincent also hopes that the government and the Urban Renewal Authorit will support “three nil” buildings to apply for and receive funding from this scheme.
Media Inquiries: Vincent Cheng (6373 1979)