THE Government's contribution to the old-age pension scheme will amount to $700 million a year if each civil servant is required to contribute one per cent of his earnings, the Chief Secretary Anson Chan Fang On-sang said. In an article published in the South China Morning Post today, Mrs Chan said the level of the Government's contribution would double to $1.4 billion a year if the contribution rate was two per cent. She pointed out that, on top of that, tax forgone due to employers' contributions being tax-deductible would amount to hundreds of millions. The $3.3 billion spent on income support for the elderly every year would also go to the pension scheme. Legislators and various organisations have been urging the administration to contribute to the scheme. Mrs Chan has pledged that the level of Government contributions will be decided after the consultancy study, and the Government aimed to make a firm decision on the plan before the end of next year. Two women's groups, Yin Ngai Societies and the Association for the Advancement of Feminism, yesterday said the pension proposal deserved support because it would protect elderly housewives who devoted their whole lives to their family. But vice-chairman of the association, Tse Yuen-hing, said they had several reservations about the scheme. For example, they were worried that the monthly contributions would be a burden for people with low incomes. The Employers' Federation of Hong Kong yesterday said the pension proposal departed from the principle that social security and retirement protection should be separate issues. Its chairman, Mark Leese, said the main responsibility for ensuring adequate social security and social services for the aged should rest with the Government and its subvented agencies. He said financial protection for retirement should lie on the individual and the employer. Mr Leese said the correct way forward was a phased introduction of mandatory retirement schemes operated by the private sector.