Third of births at public hospitals to mainlanders Nearly a third of births at public hospitals in Hong Kong last year were to mainland mothers, who together left unpaid bills of $15.8 million. In the year to April, 12,293 mainland mothers gave birth, up from the 8,727 in the previous 12 months. At United Christian Hospital, 40 per cent of new mothers were from over the border. Mainland mothers were responsible for 13 per cent of the total sum in unpaid hospital bills last year, Secretary for Health, Welfare and Food York Chow Yat-ngok told legislators yesterday. He said mainland authorities would not deny women exit permits just because they are pregnant. No review of civil service pensions, says henry tang The government has no plan to review the present pension scheme for civil servants nor does it intend to introduce a mechanism to adjust the scheme, Financial Secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen said. He told legislators any such changes might trigger radical action from civil servants. He also said civil service pay consumed one third of the government's $65 billion-a-year budget. legco passes tax allowance increases The Legislative Council passed proposals to increase tax allowances for children and to extend the allowance for looking after elderly parents or grandparents to cover those caring for seniors aged between 55 and 59. About 300,000 taxpayers will benefit from the increase in child allowance, which will cost the government $620 million a year. The measure, proposed by the financial secretary in his budget speech in March, will see the annual allowance for each child raised from $30,000 to $40,000 in the 2005-06 financial year. Taxpayers taking care of parents or grandparents aged between 55 and 59 will be able to claim a $50,000 allowance.