Build more old people's homes

PUBLISHED : Monday, 07 February, 1994, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 07 February, 1994, 12:00am

I REFER to the interesting discussions that have taken place regarding the proposed tax which will be used to help the elderly population in Hong Kong.

It is a moral duty for everyone living in Hong Kong to pay such a tax.

However, it is important to note the objections which some people have made.

They have argued that it will be an added financial burden with heavier income tax and that not all the elderly in Hong Kong need financial assistance from the Government.

I would suggest that the Government should seriously consider the position before implementing this extra tax.

I would support a nominal tax of say 0.5 per cent (no more) if the entire revenue from such tax was to be used solely for the purpose of building and paying for government-operated old people's homes, so that all elderly people would be able to have peace of mind when they retired, if they could not afford a decent private home for the elderly.

The government-funded old people's homes should be supervised by a government department.

Staff could be employed from mainland China.

There would be a qualified doctor and nurse in each home so that the elderly residents could receive proper medical treatment free of charge.

Free accommodation would only be given to those old people who were not able to financially support themselves.

Those old people who were deemed to be financially well-off but who wanted to stay in one of the homes, would be charged at the current ''market rates''.

Because of these homes, it would not be necessary to increase the present subsidies the Government pays to the elderly.

Those payments would cease as soon as an individual went to stay in one of the homes.

Those old folk who decided to remain outside the government-funded homes would receive the payments they presently get from the Government.

However, decisions on who was entitled to payments would depend on how financially well-off that person was.

A person's financial status would depend on annual income and available capital assets.

Before giving out any subsidised payments, the Government should make it mandatory that elderly people making a claim should provide all details of their income and capital assets.

This should be done on an annual basis and it should be stressed to the elderly, that any false declaration would mean that that person was no longer able to receive any subsidy from the Government.