The Government has turned a blind eye to the plight of the poor in the community and should take action to eradicate poverty, legislators agreed yesterday. A motion, approved by a vote of 40 to six, said new immigrants, the impoverished elderly and recipients of public assistance had been left behind despite the spectacular economic growth of the territory. Frederick Fung Kin-kee, moving the motion, said different policies including employment services, education and welfare policies should be reviewed to see how best to get people out of the poverty trap. 'It is a shame that an affluent city like Hong Kong could tolerate so many of its citizens living in such humble conditions.' Frontline legislator Leung Yiu-chung said a democratic system was needed to enable the poor to share the wealth and the fruits of growth. He said: 'If we continue to allow businessmen and business groups to dominate, any discussion on eradicating poverty will be fruitless.' Unionist Lee Cheuk-yan put forward a seven-point amendment. He proposed to raise subsidies for the elderly, students and the disabled, to set up assistance funds for the unemployed and to limit the public housing rent increases below the inflation rate. Mr Lee's amendment, however, failed to secure the support of major parties including the Democrats and the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong. The business sector asked why this widely debated question had come up again. Henry Tang Ying-yen, of the Liberal Party, said the crusade against poverty had turned to ideology which would not help the poor. 'I think this empty motion serves the Government best as it does not commit it to do anything concrete.' But officials rejected the criticisms and said the Government and welfare agencies had done a lot to accommodate the needs of the poor. Katherine Fok Lo Shiu-ching, Secretary for Health and Welfare, said: 'It would be totally unfair to suggest that the Government had turned a blind eye to the plight of the poor.'