Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying will today unveil a HK$3 billion scheme to provide an annual financial boost to 700,000 people from low-income households.
The initiative will be a key component of Leung's second policy address, which will focus on poverty alleviation, housing, health care, education and economic development.
A source with knowledge of the scheme said working poor families whose monthly household income was below 60 per cent of median household income - which stood at HK$22,500 in the third quarter of last year - could apply for the subsidy. A family with at least one member who works for at least 208 hours a month will receive HK$1,000 per month, while a family with someone working for at least 144 hours a month will get HK$600.
"A working poor household will be offered a monthly supplement of HK$800 for each non-working child, aged 18 or under, and another HK$800 for the second child," the source said. "There is no cap on the number of children eligible."
A four-member family with two children could receive a supplement of HK$2,600 a month. To qualify, a family of four must have net assets totalling no more than HK$436,000. But families without children would also be eligible to receive the subsidy.
The scheme is more generous than one proposed by Oxfam, where a family would receive HK$800 a month for the first two children aged 18 or under, adjusted downwards from the third child onwards to reflect the family's decreasing costs.
In September, the government arrived at a figure of 1.31 million poor by drawing the poverty line at half the median household income.
The number of working poor households - using a definition identical to the new poverty line - rose by 6,000 in 2012, bringing the total to 191,000.
Leung will give an update on progress being made in areas such as housing, poverty alleviation and care for the elderly.