The Policy Address 2000

Measures to Address Specific Problems

93. Apart from creating more jobs and supporting employment, we will provide the poor elderly, children and the disadvantaged with focused assistance.

94. We will direct our efforts to helping the poor elderly in two ways. First, we will speed up their re-housing. At present, over 17 000 low-income elderly families live in non-self-contained private flats or temporary structures. We are very concerned about this, and will step up efforts to encourage and help eligible elderly people to apply for public housing within the next few months. For applications submitted by the end of March next year, we are committed to providing all the eligible applicants with public rental flats by the end of 2003. Second, for those elderly who, because of meagre savings and lack of family support, have to depend largely on their old age allowances for a living, we intend to provide them with additional assistance. We will complete within one year a review of the old age allowance scheme to see if we can further improve their livelihood.

95. For needy students we will add to the various types of financial assistance currently available to them. In a bid to help remove the "digital divide" faced by children of the poor, the Quality Education Fund has agreed to allocate $200 million for public sector secondary schools to purchase notebook computers for needy students to borrow. And, I would like to take this opportunity to thank those computer companies, software suppliers and Internet service providers for their generous support in providing free or discounted products or services.

96. In addressing the special needs of the disadvantaged, we will design more specific training programmes to ensure better matching between the programmes and the jobs available. The existing training programmes for older workers and people with disabilities, and various other tailor-made programmes will also be enhanced.

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