Wednesday, October 13, 2010

New government benefits for the poor in Hong Kong

Hong Kong's wealth cap continues to spread even after the global recession. To combat the gap, Hong Kong Chief Executive David Tsang has announced some new government benefits for the poor.

From Bloomberg, writer Frederik Balfour details the announcement.

Responding to the widening wealth gap in Hong Kong, the government will provide transport subsidies for commuters, expanded medical services for the elderly, and will make housing ownership more affordable, Tsang said in his annual policy address broadcast live on local television.

“Social tension in Hong Kong stems partly from the wealth gap,” Tsang said. “The wages of some low-educated and low- skilled workers have continued to lag behind economic growth.”

The number of people living in poverty rose to a record 1.26 million, or about 18.1 percent of the total population, in the first half of 2010 from 1.2 million last year, the Hong Kong Council of Social Service said in an Oct. 3 report.

Inequality is rising even as the city with a population of 7.15 million recovers from its deepest recession in more than a decade. Hong Kong’s gross domestic product climbed 6.5 percent in the second quarter from a year earlier. The wealth divide is the most pressing social problem in Hong Kong, a July survey of 894 residents by the Chinese University of Hong Kong found.

No comments: