The YoungDAB ran a survey from 19th June to 18th July and successfully interviewed 415 members of the general public. This was to investigate whether locals registered for the LIFA and the CFA and to research ways to improve these subsidized schemes in order that more people can receive these funds.
Analysis of the Survey Results
1) Residents are unaware of the CEF
The survey discovered that the number of residents applying for LIFA and the CEF are very low. Only 27.4% and 31% of respondents interviewed said that they have applied for LIFA and the CEF respectively. Also, the situation of the CEF is more critical, as the majority of our respondents did not know of its existence and only 31% of them have applied for it. This proves that the majority of local residents are completely unaware of the CEF and are unsure of its exact contents. Even residents who qualify for the CEF do not apply for it and make the numbers applying for the CEF lower than it should have been.
2) Procedures to apply for the funds are complex
Around 56% of our respondents felt that the reason why applicants to the LIFA and the CEF are low is that the procedures to apply for the LIFA and the CEF are too complex. Overly complicated procedures for application mean that many people who are eligible for the funds balk at applying for them.
3) The eligibility threshold is unreasonable
Around 70% of respondents feel that if they know of the schemes and are eligible for them would register for the LIFA and/or the CEF. Around 26% of respondents felt that the eligibility threshold is too narrow and therefore decide not to apply for the subsidies.
4) Relatively few people are able to acquire information on these schemes through regular channels
Only 30 or 40% of respondents learned about LIFA and/or the CEF through television, government websites or through friends. This shows that relatively few people are able to learn about LIFA and the CEF through regular channels.
The DAB proposes that the government should strengthen communication channels in order that more people can learn about the LIFA and the CEF. Then they can understand the advantages of these subsidies and will help those in need. The government should investigate the application procedures in place and simplify them, for example cutting down on the number of identification documents required and to loosen the eligibility for application. The government should look into the CEF and increase the upper limit for each recipient to $20,000 and lengthen the window for recipients to use CEF funds for their education higher than the current four years in order to encourage more young people to apply. The government should enable more eligible organizations to hold more kinds of classes and provide more choices for the people of Hong Kong and to meet the different needs of our diverse populace. Also, the DAB requests a further simplification of the LIFA application form, a lowering the eligibility threshold and increase the Child Allowance in order to provide more financial aid to working class families.