The government has publicized its newest Poverty Situation Report. Last year the size of the poor population was 1,352,000 persons which is the highest figure in the past 8 years. After recurrent cash policy intervention, the size of the poor population is 996,000 persons and the poverty rate is 14.7%, which is an increase of 0.4% from the previous year.
We believe that the government has invested considerable sums in recurrent cash policy intervention to alleviate poverty. The past three financial years have seen a total of $110.7 billion being invested into the recurrent cash policy intervention. It has not successfully lowered the Hong Kong poverty rate, which is a disappointing situation. This shows that the government’s poverty alleviation lacks focus and are unable to effectively help people get rid of poverty.
Therefore, the DAB proposes that the government should target the problem of elderly poverty by quickly lower the threshold for applying the OALA. We propose that the government should separately set upper asset limits for the OALA and the Higher OALA to $800,000 and $300,000 respectively. This will qualify more elderly for these programs. At the same time, lower the current age threshold for receiving the OAA to 65 and allow more elderly to receive the OAA without any asset or financial reviews.
Also, in terms of Chief Secretary for Administration Matthew Cheung encouraging elderly to re-enter the labour market to alleviate poverty, we hope that the government will formulate policies for assisting the re-employment of the retired elderly , such as subsidizing businesses to employ the elderly and offering labour insurance products for elderly employees. This will allow seniors who are “young at heart” to once again return to the workforce.
Media inquiries: Legislative Councilor Leung Che-Cheung (9016-8088)