CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Sunday, 1 September 2019

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Tsang’s housing policy criticised by labour commission

HONG KONG (UCAN): The Diocesan Commission on Labour Affairs does not believe that the housing policy announced by the chief executive of Hong Kong, Donald Tsang Yam-kuen, on October 12 will do anything towards stemming the growing accommodation crisis in the territory.

The commission’s Law Pui-san said on October 13 that although Hong Kong does not have party politics, it does not have a chief executive with any vision either. 

She said that it is difficult to find any continuity in Tsang’s policies as expressed in his speech.

“The government does not offer solutions to grassroots housing problems, but speaks of some illusory, far-fetched measures, which are far from meeting the demand,” she commented.

While admitting mistakes were made during his seven-year tenure, Tsang has promised to build 75,000 public housing units, revive the subsidised homeowners’ scheme for first-time buyers and raise the qualifying household monthly income threshold to $30,000.

He further pledged that the government would guarantee a sufficient supply of land to build an additional 20,000 private units, 15,000 public units and 5,000 units for the homeowners’ scheme.

Ho Hei-wah, director of the Society for Community Organisation, said he was disappointed that while the number of homes unsuitable for living purposes have increased by nearly 30 per cent in the past two years, Tsang did not mention any concrete plans to address this problem.

“In past years, the government has built 15,000 units for the 100,000 people currently on waiting lists. The list has increased to 160,000 people, but supply remains the same,” he pointed out.

Ho, who joined other grassroots advocates in a protest in front of government headquarters, said the incumbent administration has left behind a huge housing burden that will only get worse.

He added that it has also failed to offer solutions to deep-seated social conflicts that are caused by the ever-increasing gap between rich and poor in the special administrative region.

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