A cross section of political parties will press the government to increase the old-age allowance. A pan-democrat lawmaker said parties would push the chief executive to increase the payment, known as 'fruit money', to HK$1,000 a month for those 70 and above. They now receive HK$705 a month, while those aged 65 to 69 get HK$625 a month if they pass a means test. It had been widely expected that Donald Tsang Yam-kuen would announce an increase in the allowance in his policy address last week. Instead, the chief executive proposed giving the elderly vouchers worth HK$250 a year towards the cost of private health care, drawing criticism that he had offered them too little. Alliance legislator Patrick Lau Sau-shing said the Liberal Party, the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, the Civic Party and the Democratic Party were preparing to join hands to press the government to increase the allowance in next year's budget. But the DAB chief said his party would go it alone. Dr Lau said: 'I would support [a joint] move, since Mr Tsang said there was a need to return the wealth to the people.' Democratic Party chairman Albert Ho Chun-yan said the idea was initiated by pan-democrats, but they would like to have the support of other political parties. The pan-democrats will hold a meeting tomorrow to discuss a plan of action. Mr Ho said they had not decided how to apply pressure on the government, but suggestions included issuing a joint statement or persuading other parties to support a Legislative Council motion. He said it was too early to say if pan-democrats would seek to vote down the legislature's motion of thanks on the policy address because of the failure to raise the allowance. DAB chairman Tam Yiu-chung said he was aware that some were planning to press the government over the old-age allowance but that the party would like to pursue the issue through its own efforts. He said the party had conveyed to labour and welfare chief Matthew Cheung Kin-chung its views about the need for the budget to contain an increase in the allowance. Mr Tam said Mr Cheung had told them that he was open-minded about the issue and had asked the party to give the government more time. Mr Tam believed there was little chance the administration would announce an increase in the allowance in the next few months. But he thought the budget speech might contain good news about it. Members of the party will meet Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah to express their concerns.