Half of Leung's election pledges on welfare missing in policy address

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 19 January, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 19 January, 2013, 3:23am

Nearly half of Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying's 36 election pledges on welfare and labour were absent from his five-year blueprint, and have not been raised since he took office in July.

He avoided giving a timetable for a slew of policies in these areas in his address this week.

There has been no mention of about 15 of his 32 election pledges on welfare over the past seven months, and two of his four labour pledges have been ignored.

But Leung said that just because a promise had not been mentioned "did not mean we will not do it in the coming … years".

In his election platform on retirement protection, Leung said he would set up a fund for the ageing population. He said ministers would consider combining benefits under the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance and old-age allowance schemes. But he failed to mention the fund or benefits in his address, though the recently revived government-appointed Commission on Poverty pledged to review social security and retirement protection.

His election pledge to consider providing tax concessions to employers hiring people with disabilities was also absent from Wednesday's speech.

Leung had promised during the election to extend the eligibility of the disability allowance to those who had lost a limb. But in his address he said the Labour and Welfare Bureau was preparing to set up an interdepartmental group to "study" this idea.

Leung and Secretary for Labour and Welfare Matthew Cheung Kin-chung did not say when the extension could be rolled out. Cheung appeared to lower expectations that legislation on standard working hours would be introduced soon. A committee will study the issue, but he said a new law would be only one of its concerns.

A poll of 765 people found the average approval rating on poverty relief measures mentioned in the policy speech was 51.5 points out of 100 - 1.3 points lower than Donald Tsang Yam-kuen got in his final address in 2011.