Proposal to increase income and asset limits is criticised as being too modest Housing Authority chiefs are considering raising the income and asset ceilings for public housing tenants to make more households eligible for government-subsidised flats. But the proposal, which would allow an additional 2,700 families to apply, was criticised yesterday by one authority member as too modest. The proposed increase would follow cuts which have reduced income limits by 35 per cent, said Wong Kwan. Releasing the results of a brainstorming session yesterday, the authority said it was proposing to raise family income limits by between $200 and $300 because of inflation and rising private-sector rents. The income limit is calculated as the sum of housing and other expenses plus 5 per cent of total income. Under this formula, the maximum monthly income a family of two in public housing would be allowed to earn would rise from $10,000 to $10,200. A family of four would be allowed to earn $14,300 a month, up from $14,000. Asset limits would also be relaxed, meaning a family of four would be allowed assets of $360,000, an increase of $10,000. To allow more families with elderly members to apply for public housing, the asset limit for a family of two, at least one of whom is elderly, would go up from $230,000 to $350,000 and that for a family of three by $50,000, to $350,000. These proposals would produce an average increase in tenants' income limits of 1.7 per cent, and a 0.7 per cent average rise in asset limits. The number of households eligible for public housing would rise to 119,100. The authority is also considering a further increase in income limits by changing the way it calculates them. The proposed formula would comprise housing and other expenses plus 10 per cent of total income. The proposals will be discussed at an authority meeting in March. An authority spokesman said: 'We are just brainstorming today. We have to consult the public if they are willing to put more resources into building more flats for the needy. If public opinion tells us that we should build more, then we have to ask for more resources and funding from the government.' Authority member Mr Wong said the proposals would not achieve much. 'The government used to provide loans for the public to buy private flats and sell subsidised Home Ownership Scheme flats to public tenants. We do not have those now. We now only have public housing to take care of only about 30 per cent of the households in the city,' he said. He called the 1.7 per cent increase in average income limit too small, and said the proposal to raise asset limits for the elderly did not go far enough. 'I think they should further increase the assets limit for elderly people who live alone. It is no use relaxing the limits for those who are living with their families.'