Money from the sale of personalised car number plates will be used in poverty-alleviation schemes, Financial Secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen said yesterday. Social welfare agencies had expressed fears when the scheme was announced last year that it would eat into income derived from the separate auction of lucky number plates. Mr Tang, who is also chairman of the Commission on Poverty, said: 'The personalised car number-plate scheme yields income every year, so it is suitable to be used in anti-poverty [schemes].' Concrete plans will be announced later, but the funds would first be directed towards poor districts such as Kwun Tong, Shamshuipo and Tin Shui Wai, he said. The personalised number-plate scheme, introduced by Mr Tang and still under Legco discussion, will enable car owners to apply to the Transport Department for a car plate of any combination of up to eight numerals or letters. Upon approval, the plate will be put to public auction. The scheme is expected to bring in $70 million every year, on top of the annual 'lucky plate' auctions that raise money for the Lottery Fund and have been used to subsidise hundreds of projects for social welfare agencies. Yesterday's announcement was welcomed by legislators, but they had reservations about how big an impact the scheme would have on the poverty problem. Frederick Fung Kin-kee, chairman of the Association for Democracy and People's Livelihood, said such income would be unstable, with the annual estimate of $70 million far from certain. Fernando Cheung Chiu-hung, legislator for the social welfare sector and a Poverty Commission member, urged the government to draw up full-scale anti-poverty plans instead of injecting an unstable income idea into the cause.