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Budget Speech


Enhancing Social Welfare

111.    We have been investing heavily in regular welfare programmes and services, covering major areas such as the provision of social security assistance, support for the elderly, persons with disabilities, families, children and young people, and the promotion of women's interests.  In 2013-14, our recurrent expenditure on social welfare is estimated to reach $56 billion, an increase of 31 per cent over that for last year.

Elderly Services

112.    The elderly are the major beneficiaries of social security payments.  To enhance the quality of life for elderly people aged 65 or above who are in need of financial support, we shall start making payments for the Old Age Living Allowance this April.  The new allowance, involving an additional allocation of about $8.3 billion Note1 in 2013-14, is expected to benefit more than 400 000 elderly people.

113.    On elderly care services, the five new or improved measures coming on stream in 2013-14 include:

(a) allocating $380 million from the Lotteries Fund to launch the first phase of the Pilot Scheme on Community Care Service Voucher for the Elderly this September.  By adopting the "money follows the user" approach in the provision of assistance, eligible elderly people under the Pilot Scheme can choose the community care services that suit their individual needs;
(b) allocating additional recurrent funding of $9 million to add 100 day care places and extend the service hours of new day care centres and units for the elderly;
(c) increasing recurrent funding by $73 million for the additional provision of some 600 subsidised residential care places for the elderly through the construction of three contract residential care homes for the elderly (RCHEs), purchase of additional EA1 places under the Enhanced Bought Places Scheme and making better use of space in subvented homes.  Together with those subsidised residential care places with funding earmarked earlier, 2 300 additional subsidised residential care places will be provided from 2012-13 to 2015-16;
(d) allocating additional recurrent funding of $164 million to increase the subvention for 7 000 residential care places with continuum of care by ten per cent, so that RCHEs can provide more targeted services for the elderly, and to upgrade 7 850 ordinary residential care places in subvented RCHEs to places with continuum of care; and
(e) allocating $160 million in the five-year period from 2013-14 for the Social Welfare Department to organise ten more classes of two-year full-time Enrolled Nurse Training Programmes for the welfare sector to cope with the expansion of residential care services.  The Programmes will provide more than 1 200 training places to augment the enrolled nurses supply to meet manpower demand in the welfare sector.

Rehabilitation Services for Persons with Disabilities

114.    Recurrent expenditure on rehabilitation services for persons with disabilities in the coming year will reach $4.4 billion.  New services will be introduced in 2013-14 in the following five areas:

(a) allocating additional recurrent funding of $35.6 million to strengthen the care and training for persons with disabilities by providing 145 new places each for residential and day training services;
(b) allocating additional recurrent funding of $67.9 million to increase the manpower of residential care homes and day training centres for persons with disabilities to meet the needs of ageing service users;
(c) allocating additional recurrent funding of $203 million to regularise the home care service for persons with severe disabilities and extend the home-based care services to all districts to cover persons with severe disabilities who are living in the community, regardless of whether they are on the waiting lists for places in subsidised residential care homes;
(d) allocating additional recurrent funding of $4.8 million to enhance vocational rehabilitation services and employment support by increasing the job attachment allowance and wage subsidy under the "On the Job Training Programme for People with Disabilities" and the "Sunnyway - On the Job Training Programme for Young People with Disabilities"; and
(e) allocating an additional funding of $5.9 million to acquire six additional buses, thereby increasing the fleet size of Rehabus to 135, to better meet the special transport needs of persons with disabilities.

Note 1

The additional allocation covers the allowance payments from December last year to March this year.



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