LIVELIHOOD issues remained a top concern for legislators throughout the three-day Special Finance Committee meetings on the expenditure estimates for 1993/94. This was despite the attendance rate at this year's 17 sessions hitting a record low. According to government figures, 16 of the 56 non-civil service legislators attended none or only one of the sessions, held from March 17 to 19. The session on education and manpower attracted 27 legislators, the highest figure for all the meetings. Following that were sessions on transport and health and welfare, which both pulled in 23 members. The session faring the worst was that of the Director of Administration, attended by only nine members. The first 15 minutes of the hour-long session was wasted as the chairman waited for sufficient legislators to make a quorum. The Standing Orders stipulate that eight non-civil service members are needed to form a quorum. The average attendance rate was 15.8. Mr Stephen Cheong Kam-chuen, who did not attend any sessions, said: ''I don't think it's necessary for me to attend.'' Dr Lam Kui-chun, who said he had attended one session although official records indicated he had not attended any, said his concerns had already been fully addressed through the written questions he had filed. He said some members just wanted to use the forum to press the Government to implement their proposals. But Dr Tang Siu-tong, who turned up at 15 sessions, and Mr Howard Young, who attended 14, said the meetings were very useful. Dr Tang claimed that as so many administration officials attended the meetings, they were a valuable opportunity for members to ask questions. Mr Young said he attended the meetings because they were a good opportunity to learn about things with which he was unfamiliar. But he said it was unnecessary for all members to turn up at all sessions, as legislators belonging to the same party could share the work between them. Chief Secretary Sir David Ford has suggested to House Committee chairwoman Mrs Elsie Tu that the sessions be absorbed into panel meetings to boost attendance. It is believed the administration was unhappy about spending hours explaining policies to only a handful of legislators.