Pilot Transport Support Scheme
The pilot Transport Support Scheme introduced last June aimed at encouraging the unemployed and low-income employees with financial difficulties living in Tuen Mun, Yuen Long, the North District and outlying islands to seek employment across districts. Under the Scheme, eligible applicants are allowed to claim a Job Search Allowance of $600 and a Cross-district Transport Allowance of $600 a month for up to six months.
After reviewing the Scheme, the Government considers that its objective should remain unchanged. However, the eligibility criteria of applicants and the subsidy period can be suitably relaxed. The ceiling for monthly income should be raised from $5,600 to $6,500, while the subsidy period should be extended from six months to 12 months. Having regard to the large area covered by these four districts, we will also allow eligible people working and living in the same district to apply for the allowance.
However, I must emphasise that the objective of the Scheme is to provide a time-limited allowance as an incentive for people in districts further afield to seek jobs across districts. It is not a long-term measure to subsidise the transport costs of the low-income group with public money. I believe that a better way to help lower-skilled people to seek jobs with higher value and wages is to raise their education level and enhance their skills. Through this, the productivity of the community as a whole can also be enhanced.