$3b-a-year renovation fund will create jobs for up to 7,000 In an attempt to speed up urban renewal, the Housing Society will launch a $3-billion-a-year scheme to rehabilitate about 8,000 buildings in the next 10 years. It is expected that those buildings constructed before 1980 and without owners' corporations will be first in line, but the scheme's starting date has yet to be announced. The scheme will provide work for 6,000 to 7,000 people a year. Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa said the scheme could complement the cash-strapped Urban Renewal Authority's (URA) rehabilitation efforts. 'Renewing old districts and rehabilitating old buildings can be a major force for economic growth. It will also increase employment for the construction and related industries,' he said. Mr Tung said the Housing Society would provide a one-stop service including technical advice, incentives and interest-free loans. About 8,000 buildings are expected to benefit over the next 10 years. He said the Hong Kong Mortgage Corporation's decision to extend its insurance scheme for 95 per cent mortgages to cover older buildings would boost demand for flats and give owners an incentive to renovate buildings. A government spokeswoman said the Housing Society's scheme would not overlap with the URA and Buildings Department improvement schemes. The spokeswoman said the part each of the organisations had to play in old building maintenance would be spelled out soon. 'The society will first target about 11,000 old buildings without owners' corporations or management companies. It will also help them set up the corporations,' she said. Not all those initially targeted will receive help. She said the URA was offering help to owners of buildings over 30 years old, while the society would target newer ones. A society spokesman said it would open more property management advisory centres to provide the one-stop service. URA chairman Edward Cheng Wai-sun said the authority would discuss areas of collaboration with the society. It would also speed up the pace of renewal in old districts such as Kwun Tong, with about $34 billion to be spent in the next five years on 50 urban renewal projects. Mr Cheng said that was a huge increase on the $15 billion spent on 19 projects in the past three years. 'We are not worried about finance, as we will recoup some investment from current projects,' he said. The government had committed to a capital injection of $10 billion, he added.