Welfare benefits for the jobless should be no more than the salary from their last jobs, an academic has suggested. To discourage people from giving up their jobs for the dole, a recipient should be given either the amount of his last salary or the standard rate - whichever is less, said Professor Nelson Chow Wing-sun of the social work and social administration department at the University of Hong Kong. For example, the standard rate under the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA) scheme for a couple with two young children is now $11,680 a month, including $4,320 for rent. But if the husband formerly made $6,000 a month, the family should only get $6,000 in aid instead of $11,680. The amount would not take the number of dependents into account. 'The method has been practised in many countries providing cash assistance for the unemployed,' said Professor Chow. 'Hong Kong has not thought of such a way because not until the last one to two years have we seen wages dropping below CSSA rates. 'Pay rises for low-income earners have been frozen, but CSSA rates have increased quite a lot over the years,' he added. But Sze Lai-shan of the Society for Community Organisation disagreed. 'If a family is making so little, that means it is living in inhumane conditions,' she said. 'The assistance should be enough to sustain their daily needs.' Professor Chow's suggestion came as the Government is reviewing the CSSA scheme to make it less attractive to low-income and jobless people. Secretary for Health and Welfare Katherine Fok Lo Shiu-ching said the Government was seeking ways to cut its expenditure on public assistance. Up to $13 billion will be spent on CSSA this budget year.