Threshold for handout splits community fund

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 23 March, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 23 March, 2011, 12:00am

Members of the government-run Community Care Fund have agreed to give HK$6,000 to each new migrant in need but are divided over how to set the maximum income threshold for recipients.

At a subcommittee meeting yesterday fund members endorsed a proposal to give a HK$6,000 handout to all low-income new migrants.

The move comes after new migrants protested that they had been excluded from the government's budget giveaway, which promises same amount of for every adult permanent resident.

Under the proposal, the fund will pay out HK$1.5 billion to 237,000 adult new migrants with a household income below 75 per cent of the median household income of the same-size Hong Kong family. A typical four-person family would qualify if their combined household income falls below HK$18,000.

The total number of adult new migrants is estimated at more than 300,000.

Almost all members yesterday agreed the income threshold should be adjusted so that more migrants could benefit.

However, fund members were divided over what the exact household income ceiling should be, the sub-committee's chairman Bunny Chan Chung-bun said.

Peter Cheung Kwok-che, another member, said one camp believed it should be set at 80 per cent, while the other camp believed 90 per cent would be more reasonable.

The subcommittee has opted to put a decision on hold to give its members time to gather more data for the two different scenarios.

Members will meet again today and on Monday to discuss the proposal further. They are hopeful that they can come up with a final proposal for lawmakers to approve by May.