Carrie Lam promises more funding for students and housing, and new safeguards for public health in 2018 policy address

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Education, health and housing were the focus this year

Nicola ChanKelly Ho |
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This was Lam’s second policy address since being appointed as chief executive last July.

Hong Kong’s leader Carrie Lam Yuet-ngor made education, health and housing the focus of her 2018 Policy Address.

The annual address, during which Hong Kong’s chief executive laid out the government’s policy plans for the next year, took place at the Legislative Council this morning.

Lam promised students will receive more funding and opportunities to pursue post-secondary education. The Vocational Training Council will provide 1,200 places for students to join industries requiring specialised skills under the Earn & Learn model.

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Additional funding will be available each year for students undertaking self-financed degree programmes.

Moreover, public sector schools and schools under the Direct Subsidy Scheme will receive the Life-wide Learning Grant worth HK$900 million. The government also plans to improve administrative support at these schools.

There will also be more support for students with special education needs thanks to an increase in educational psychologists in schools. Speech therapists will also be introduced to public schools.

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To further the development of elite sports in Hong Kong, the government pledged to improve facilities at the Hong Kong Sports Institute, where many student athletes train. It wants to better equip local athletes for major international sports competitions like the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

The government also plans to implement a total ban on e-cigarettes. It will be illegal to import, make, sell, distribute or advertise e-cigarettes and other similar new smoking products.

In the 2019/20 school year, the government will introduce free cervical cancer vaccinations in school for female students. Breast cancer prevention strategies will be reviewed as well.

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To tackle the city’s housing problem, the government will launch Lantau Tomorrow Vision, a plan to increase land supply in Hong Kong, drive economic development and improve quality of life in the city. The long-term project will result in 260,000 to 400,000 new residential units, 70 per cent of which will be public housing, to accommodate 700,000 to 1.1 million people. It will also create 340 000 jobs over the next 20-30 years.

More land will be allocated for public housing, including 70 per cent of housing units on Government’s new developed land. The pricing of subsidised sale flats (SSF) will be revised as well, so that their sale prices are no longer linked to ordinary market prices, but determined by applicants’ means.

Edited by Charlotte Ames-Ettridge

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