Legislators approved about $158 million yesterday to recruit 1,100 temporary staff for six departments, including Social Welfare where salaries for new recruits have been cut 30 per cent. Deputy Secretary for the Treasury Carrie Cheng Yuet-ngor said it was a fair re-allocation of resources and no further funding was needed. The Government proposal was approved by the Finance Committee by a vote of 31 to three with 11 abstentions after Democrat Lee Wing-tat's proposal to adjourn the discussion was rejected by 32 votes to 16. The Democrats had argued that the Social Welfare Department should be voted on separately. Five departments - Architectural Services, Census and Statistics, Water Supplies, Health and Education - said the level of pay was no more than the minimum salary of comparable civil service ranks, while the Social Welfare Department said the pay level depended on market demand and supply. But legislators were unhappy that the Social Welfare Department had just employed more than 60 temporary staff on salaries 30 per cent below those of existing workers. Democrat Dr Yeung Sum asked why only the Social Welfare Department needed to cut pay for new recruits.