OFFICIALS will try to put Chinese minds at ease on Hong Kong's welfare spending in an informal meeting on Thursday. The mainland official who attacked the Government for raising welfare spending over the past five years, warning that it was a recipe for disaster, will come face to face with the Director of Social Welfare at the session, which was announced yesterday. The leader of China's budget team on the Joint Liaison Group, Chen Zuo'er, will meet Ian Strachan, who became the target for Mr Chen's criticism after vowing to bring welfare to 'First World' levels in five years. Chief Secretary Anson Chan Fang On-sang yesterday said it would be a good opportunity for Mr Strachan and Secretary for Health and Welfare Katherine Fok Lo Shiu-ching 'to put Chinese minds and hearts at ease in so far as expenditure on welfare side is concerned'. She said: 'I stress again we adopt very prudent financial management. 'Expenditure on the welfare side is well within economic growth.' The meeting would be a good time to explain how the Government formulated policies and fixed expenditure, she added. China should have no cause for concern. Mrs Chan hoped this session at the Jockey Club's Happy Valley clubhouse would, like the first, be conducted in an informal, relaxed atmosphere that encouraged a frank exchange of views between officials from the two sides. A spokesman for Mr Strachan said he would alleviate mainland concerns over welfare spending when the opportunity arose.