14 JAN 2015
Oxfam’s Response to Policy Address 2015
In its Policy Address today, the government proposed that it would set up a reserve fund of HK$50 billion for future retirement protection, and begin a public consultation based on the report ‘Future Development of Retirement Protection in Hong Kong’, which was issued by the Commission on Poverty in 2014. Oxfam welcomes this decision and hopes that the government will propose concrete and feasible ways to implement retirement protection and related financing solutions as soon as possible. By doing so, it will be able to fill in the gaps in the existing retirement protection system and ensure that the elderly who are in need can benefit from it. Oxfam believes that the proposed scheme stating in the report is generally acceptable, however, it must take into account the principle of fairness so that the pension scheme can help those in genuine need, and resources can be used wisely. Oxfam will continue researching issues in the report, and explore the feasibility of different solutions.
Oxfam is also continuing to push for the implementation of the Low-income Working Family Allowance and expects the government to communicate with various parties. It also expects the government to come up with an appropriate way to address this issue so that the scheme can be approved by the Legislative Council as soon as possible. In doing so, both the pressures these families face and intergenerational poverty can be alleviated.
Besides these issues, Oxfam has continually expressed concern about the issue of intergenerational poverty within ethnic minority communities. To increase their competitiveness and thus end this vicious cycle, learning Chinese is crucial. Although the government introduced the Chinese Language Curriculum Second Language Learning Framework in their 2014 Policy Address, the initiative only applies to Primary 1 through Secondary 6, and does not cover kindergarten education. Without the government’s support, kindergartens do not have the resources to provide ethnic minority students with assistance, such as self-contained Chinese language classes. As a result, students miss out on a crucial opportunity to learn when they learn best. Oxfam is disappointed that the government has not announced any further support for ethnic minority students’ pre-school education this year, and so it urges the government to strengthen its Chinese language learning support in this regard.
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Oxfam is a worldwide development organisation that mobilises the power of people against poverty.
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