Government to consider rolling out proposals for elderly The government will consider consulting the public on a few options for revamping the old-age allowance system by the end of the year, a minister said yesterday. At a Legislative Council's welfare services panel special meeting, Secretary for Labour and Welfare Matthew Cheung Kin-chung accepted lawmaker Wong Kwok-hing's demand that the government consider rolling out a few proposals on revamping the scheme when the review was completed. The government had earlier said it would complete the review on the allowance scheme by the end of this year. But it had yet to decide whether the report of the review would be open for public consultation or would be presented to the welfare services panel for discussion, he said. Mr Cheung also said the government's Central Policy Unit was carrying out a study on the city's future universal retirement protection and he was looking forward to some innovative ideas emerging on the issue. But legislators continued to attack the government's intention of attaching a means test to an increase in the old-age allowance. Currently, people aged 70 and above can get a higher old age allowance of HK$705 a month without a means test. Those aged 65 to 69 whose assets and income do not exceed stipulated limits can get a normal old age allowance of HK$625 a month. Lawmaker Lee Cheuk-yan said even if the government raised the rate to HK$1,000 a month and expanded the means test to the older age group, it would still be disrespectful to the elderly and the amount would be insufficient to the poor. Meanwhile, lawmaker Ip Wai-ming, who represents the labour sector, said he had received two pay complaints from Tung Chung nannies who had joined a government-subsidised child-care scheme launched this month. The scheme covers six districts. A charity was selected to manage the scheme in each district, providing both centre-based and home-based care. The charity sets the per-hour charge and arranges jobs for nannies. The scheme in Tung Chung is run by the Hong Kong Outlying Islands Women's Association. Mr Ip said the complainants were dissatisfied that the association charged parents HK$20 an hour for the home-based service but only paid HK$18 an hour to the nannies. The remaining HK$2 was said to be used for buying insurance for nannies. He criticised the government for not setting a wage level for nannies. Mr Cheung said the scheme was to promote a mutual-aid culture in the community and it might not work if a wage level was set. Rita Lau Suk-han, project manager of Tung Chung's scheme, admitted that its group deducted HK$2 an hour from the hourly charge for insurance premiums and would tell nannies about that when asked.