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Helping the Disadvantaged Groups

63.   The Government is committed to helping the needy. We have made enormous investments in education, medical care, public housing and provision of a basic safety net.  To put into practice the Chief Executive's policy objective that government should be for the people, I will increase the recurrent funding to help disadvantaged groups by about $100 million, starting from 2006?7. New and improved services will be funded by:

  • an additional $27 million to strengthen convalescent and continuing rehabilitation day services for discharged disabled and psychiatric patients, and to enhance services for the disabled living in residential rehabilitation service centres;

  • an additional $30 million to strengthen family support, including enhanced out-reach services from Integrated Family Services Centres;

  • an additional $20 million to strengthen home care services for the elderly to realise our vision of 弌geing in place? and

  • an additional $20 million to improve the pilot Comprehensive Child Development Service and gradually extend its coverage for early identification of children and their families with special needs, such as single-parent and low-income families, and provision of appropriate services for them.

64.   Jobs are the best way of helping the unemployed restore their confidence and achieve self-reliance. To assist those in need who are capable of working, our focus is not only on providing welfare, but also on enhancing their capability through education and training, and giving them proper employment assistance and support. Over the next five years, I will provide additional funding of about $230 million to strengthen our efforts to help the needy. New and improved services will be funded by:

  • an additional $60 million over the next two years to continue the Intensive Employment Assistance Projects, to help unemployed CSSA recipients rejoin the workforce;

  • an additional $20 million next year to strengthen our employment assistance measures, which include:

    • introducing the pilot My STEP ?Special Training and Enhancement Programme to motivate unemployed young CSSA recipients to rejoin the workforce;

    • strengthening employment assistance at the district level for long-term CSSA recipients by providing a one-off incentive of $1,500 on a trial basis to help them settle into their new jobs;

    • providing short-term travel support on a trial basis for Tin Shui Wai, Tung Chung and North District residents who are financially needy and have completed full-time courses with the Employees Retraining Board. This will encourage unemployed people in districts further afield who are not receiving CSSA to take up employment; and

    • training the staff who run social enterprises; and
  • an additional $150 million over the next five years earmarked to strengthen district-based poverty alleviation work, including support for social enterprises.

65.   The Government will assist further in the development of social enterprises. We propose to relax the existing requirement, under the Enhancing Employment of People with Disabilities through Small Enterprise Project, for an applicant's workforce to comprise more than 60 per cent of disabled people before qualifying for a grant. This relaxation will enable social enterprises to expand their business activities and allow more unemployed and disabled persons to benefit. Social enterprises will also be able to enjoy the support services now generally available to SMEs. Subject to the principles of transparency, fairness and value for money in government procurement, we will facilitate participation by social enterprises in tenders for government contracts.

66.   Last year, we established the Commission on Poverty in order to review current policies with the ultimate aim of enhancing their effectiveness. In the coming year, the Commission will continue to study how to help the poor and disadvantaged and co-ordinate the implementation of the foregoing initiatives.

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2005 © | Important notices Last revision date : 22 February, 2006