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  • Dec 18, 2014
  • Updated: 11:09pm
NewsHong Kong
POPULATION

Baby bonus to boost Hong Kong birth rate to be proposed in consultation

Steering committee set to launch consultation on ageing population crisis will raise idea of cash handouts to couples who have children

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 15 October, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 15 October, 2013, 12:58pm
 

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  • Yes: 16%
  • No: 84%
15 Oct 2013
  • Yes
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Total number of votes recorded: 348

Cash handouts to couples who have children and tax rebates for family-friendly bosses could be on the agenda as Hong Kong looks to solve the problem of its ageing population.

They are among ideas expected to be debated in a four-month public consultation due to be launched next week.

The consultation is designed to help the government's steering committee on population policy find ways to encourage more couples to have children. The committee will ask broad questions rather than make concrete recommendations.

Committee member Paul Yip Siu-fai, a demographics expert at the University of Hong Kong, said: "Women in Hong Kong do desire a child. It is the social barriers that deter them from having one."

The consultation comes amid worrying predictions that a third of Hongkongers will be aged 65 or over by the year 2041.

Committee members, who declined to be named, said they would raise the idea of financial incentives similar to those offered in Singapore and Canada.

In Singapore, parents receive a "baby bonus" of S$6,000 (HK$37,323) for their first two children and S$8,000 for their third and fourth. Working mothers also save S$3,000 in taxes if grandparents act as carers. In Canada, parents receive monthly government subsidies ranging from C$156 (HK$1,168) to C$185.

Other proposals discussed by the committee include tax incentives to employers who pay for childcare services for their workers, paid parental leave for employees to visit schools to review their children's report cards, and improved access to assisted reproductive treatment.

Yip said that last year, his research team interviewed more than 1,500 married or cohabiting women. The proportion who wanted a child or a second child rose from 12.7 per cent to 20.2 per cent - the highest figure since 1992. But the number of women who went ahead and had a child actually went down.

"That means they need more support to realise their desire," Yip said. "It would involve a great change of mindset for workers, officials and employers."

The committee would also propose that all government bureaus be required to carry out detailed family impact studies on all future policies.

Anthony Wong Kin-wai, of the Council of Social Service - which has a committee representative - said: "The assessments should be comparable to the statutory assessments conducted on environmental impact and be examined by the Family Council."

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37

This article is now closed to comments

oasis
Kids really do benefit from having one parent at home. The economic cost of that far outweighs any onetime $x,000 payment.
If the steering committee is only able to recommend small marginal changes, its a waste of time. In fact less kind words could be used to describe them.
rvto
Giving an one time cash bonus will not make any different, see the results in Singapore.
If they like spent money better is a system which will grant a monthly cash allowance to care takers of all resident children from 0 to 16 or 18, as long they not working. And free education and medical care. It will tackle also the poverty problem.
OldPeak Toad
Great Idea. Why don't you discuss the "culling criteria" with your granddad and report back. Alles Gut mein Führer!
johnyuan
It is a reasonable fact. But we still must not let Hong Kong environmentally further deteriorate by destroying countryside and urban area. It is to no interest to anyone even to China to get a broken Hong Kong except to those locals who plan to take flight after profit is extracted.
johnyuan
I believe people in Hong Kong are rational and instinctively withhold from marriage and having children because of unfavorable living and working conditions in Hong Kong. In order to be otherwise, a wholesale approach is the only viable choice. No government piecemeal approach or individual’s effort can fix this broken city.
…….
Let us ask one fundamental question: where to find land to accommodate the expanded population? Let us treat Hong Kong’s ill holistically.
lokuohsiung
Hong Kong has provided plenty of disincentives to raise a family for decades. Ridiculously high cost of living as a proportion of wages, a public education system which provides a strong argument for home-schooling, crumbling social values due to the disruption of the family unit... Attaining work-life balance in Hong Kong is only possible if you are either a high-income earner, or have no intention of raising a family.
Anything the government can do to make things a little bit easier would help. As it is, the government does little enough with its "laissez faire" attitudes. The marketplace isn't going to always provide solutions.
I'm a father of three and I have to face the likelihood that my childrens' taxes will be paying for your social security when you all are retired.
L.L.
I am a little be doubt, about this subject... I have to learn to make a baby with LOVE... not to to fill up your country??? That is not right... or get a bonus? but I love baby... they are very cute... if I get a job, i will choose for baby job...
Tips, to make healthy lovely beautiful baby... drink everyday 1 glass fresh press orange, everyday one cup warm porridge, no salt/sugar by cooking, eat more vegetable than normally, before u pregnant 3 month folic acid... sleeping/rest a lot, so quick u job... oke! U baby will be healthy and beautiful...
So spare or save a lot of money, before u want beginning with this job... it's not easier... Lady's!!! Your baby need your love, not a nanny oke... I hate this people to make a baby for a nanny... Stupid Mother!!! Dump her, if she want choose her job, not for her baby... oke!
Let's we make a LOVELY BABY... Hong Kong-People... I want to see u more smile on u face... with a baby... not a mad on u face, what I now saw in HK... looking for lover, and not for money, status, label dress or safe life... etc..., a baby don't know this, he need and feels only love if u can give him... oke lady... use u mind before u beginning, if u cannot make this job... !!!
Freedom speak...
Giwaffe
Agreed. It was implied by point 3, but could have been more clear.

If a couple is to have a child, then either the mother or father should be directly responsible for bringing up the child instead of relying on other people. Relying on other people, especially domestic helpers, is irresponsible to a degree.
daily
Cash handouts would do nothing............HK women are not gonna give more births because of this.......there's too many of them that can't even get husbands or boyfriends so how can they even think of having children..........hahahahaha........
sipsip1238
I don't want to be an advocate for Hong Kong women because I know there are some pretty terrible women out there, and the media does not skip a chance to show it when incidents arise.
But if you're a man, you've just shown why it's even harder for women to find men in Hong Kong who treats them well instead of viewing them like ****.
And if you're a women, then you're just re-enforcing your comment why women can't get men because you think you're better than everyone.

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