Subsidy for elderly sustainable: Law Chi-kwong

The Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Law Chi-kwong, dismissed on Wednesday concerns that a plan to combine two old age living allowance schemes is financially unsustainable.

The plan was announced on Tuesday as part of the government’s HK$10 billion package of measures for the elderly and the poor. All eligible elderly people can receive HK$3,585 a month, giving current recipients of the lower amount an extra HK$910 per month.

Speaking on an RTHK programme, Law acknowledged that it’s a challenge for the government to spend billions of dollars as subsidies every year, but he insisted the plan would be “surmountable”.

He explained that in the long run, as people’s savings increased, with the money they could get from the Mandatory Provident Fund after they retired, less senior citizens would be eligible for the allowances.

The government proposed to raise the asset limit for recipients of the allowance to HK$500,000.

Speaking on another radio programme, Executive Councillor Lam Ching-choi said the modified allowance scheme was similar to a universal pension scheme as it would benefit more people as the asset limit has been raised.

He also said this could be implemented quickly than a universal pension plan.

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