Government leads way with 300 jobs created for social enterprises About HK$170 million worth of cleaning contracts will be awarded by the government next year to help social enterprises, the chief executive announced yesterday. Speaking at the summit on social enterprises yesterday, Donald Tsang Yam-kuen said the business sector should be more active in helping them and the government would lead the way in tendering more contracts to them. The focus of social enterprises is providing jobs and services, rather than making profits. 'We will give 38 cleaning work contracts to social enterprises next year,' he said. 'The contracts, by 19 government departments, will create about 300 jobs.' The contracts would be worth about HK$170 million, he said. Secretary for Home Affairs Tsang Tak-sing said the pilot scheme would involve contracts throughout Hong Kong's 18 districts. 'We will see how the social enterprises respond to cleaning work first,' Mr Tsang said. 'If the reaction is positive, we may contract out more work.' Salvation Army community relations director Wong Kwok-ching welcomed the government move but said he hoped the tendering process would be monitored closely. 'Some contracts have been described as giving priority to social enterprises but we always lose those tenders,' Mr Wong said. 'Our bid price is very high because we give minimum wage to our labour and then the company will tell us that we have lost [the bid] as our price is the highest.' Mr Wong said the new government cleaning contracts would be for registered social enterprises only. The Secretary for Home Affairs said the government would keep an eye on jobs created under the new contracts and ensure they did not duplicate existing jobs in small and medium-sized enterprises. 'The new contract jobs will be cleaning in government departments,' he said. 'They should not compete with SMEs.' Meanwhile, the chief executive said a concessionary public transport fare for disabled people would be announced in next year's budget. 'The Financial Secretary and the Secretary for Labour and Welfare are working on the concessionary fare and there will be more particulars in the budget next February,' Mr Tsang said. Secretary for Labour and Welfare Matthew Cheung Kin-chung said he had no more details on the fare plan because it was still under discussion. He also said the government was determined to develop Tin Shui Wai and, to that end, two plots of land near the wetland park would be developed. 'We have received some suggestions for the Tin Shui Wai development like an elderly home or outlets for brand products,' Mr Cheung said. 'The Development Bureau is looking into them and inviting suggestions.'