Single people under 35 would be banned from applying for public housing under a new government proposal, according to sources. It is understood the Housing Department also wants to ban singles who already live in public housing with their families from getting a separate subsidised flat of their own. The Housing Authority, chaired by Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands Michael Suen Ming-yeung, will discuss the government proposal later. The Housing Department has been concerned for more than a year about young single people abusing the system. Figures showed that in 1998-99, of 26,400 new applicants waiting to be assigned public housing, 21 per cent were single. By 2004-05, 44 per cent of 32,300 new applicants on the waiting list were single. Of these, 42 per cent were under 34. Officials maintain that being single is a stage of life that is not permanent, so it is more economical for the department to provide bigger units for families rather than small flats for singles. But Anthony Cheung Bing-leung, professor of social administration at City University and a member of the Housing Authority, said the department should not discriminate against young singles. 'It is both age and family status discrimination.' He said it was natural for there to be an increase in young singles applying for public housing because many wanted to remain single or marry later. 'The government has to recognise society has been changing and the housing needs of young singles is as important as those of families. 'I understand the resources to build a large amount of units for singles is pretty tight. But it is unfair,' he said. In Singapore, single people aged under 35 are barred from buying a subsidised flat because of a policy of promoting family cohesion.