Highlights on Carrie Lam's First Policy Address

Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor kicked off her first Policy Address of 2017-2018 by emphasising "one country two systems" this morning in the Legislative Council.

 

She quoted President Xi Jin-ping's remarks during his visit to the city in July, that the framework of "one country two systems" is the best path for Hong Kong.

 

Pinpointing on her maiden policy, she introduced the two-tier taxation system in which the profit tax rate is lowered from 16.5% to 8.25% for the first $2 million. Rate beyond $2 million remains unchanged. The government will set limits to big corporations, so that only one of the subsidiaries can be benefited.

 

For housing, Lam put emphasis on the "Green Form Subsidised Home Ownership Pilot Scheme" which is expected to offer more than 4000 public housing flats by the end of 2018.

 

Lam detailed the "Starter Homes" plan in cooperation with private developers to help young families with the income capped by about 30% higher than the home ownership ownership limits get onto the housing ladder.  

 

To alleviate the existing pressure on housing, Lam suggested several measures to increase transitional housing supply, such as utilising idle governmental premises to provide rental housings, and converting industrial building into transitional housing with land premium wavering.

 

Lam suggests providing a maximum of $300 monthly travelling allowance to each Octopus user who spends over $400 on commuting by MTR, franchised buses, green minibuses and ferries. The policy using the dividends from MTR Corporation is expected to benefit 2 million citizens territory-wide.

 

In order to encourage the youth's voices in policy discussion, she said the government will increase the ratio of teenagers within her government to 15%.  In addition, the government will recruit more than 20 young people to take part in public administration on a non-civil service contract basis.  

 

Lam also proposed to establish the first-ever civil service college in the city to enhance training for civil servants in several aspects including understanding China's development and relationship across the border.

 

For the education sector, the government will provide public schools with air-conditioner subsidies.

 

She will also increase financial assistance for patients with uncommon disorders.  The government will also double the number of internships within government departments for disabled students to 100 to increase their competitiveness in society.

 

As for improving labour rights, Lam suggested increasing paternity leave from the existing three days to five days, while the current 10-week statutory maternity leave will also be extended.

 

In order to promote the sustainability of countryside environment, the Countryside Conservation Office will be set up to revitalise remote areas by cooperating with non-governmental organisations on conservation projects.

 

"The best is yet to come," said Lam when ending her 40-minute speech. Being different from the past, the Chief Executive opted for not announcing the full policy address word-by-word this year.

《The Young Reporter》

The Young Reporter (TYR) is an English news publication produced by international journalism students at Hong Kong Baptist University. It started as a printed magazine in 1969. Today, TYR is produced across different platforms.

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