Tue. Jan 26th, 2021

Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung chaired the first meeting of the fourth-term Commission on Poverty today, in which the extension of six Community Care Fund programmes was endorsed.

The commission agreed to extend four carers-related programmes to the end of September 2023.

They include the Pilot Scheme on Living Allowance for Carers of Elderly Persons from Low-income Families, the Pilot Scheme on Living Allowance for Low-income Carers of Persons with Disabilities, the Pilot Scheme on Providing Subsidy for Higher Disability Allowance Recipients in Paid Employment to Hire Carers and the Special Care Subsidy for the Severely Disabled programme.

The commission also agreed to extend the Pilot Scheme on Home Care & Support for Elderly Persons with Mild Impairment for 25 months until December 2022.

The Pilot Scheme on Raising the Maximum Level of Disregarded Earnings for Recipients with Disabilities under the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance Scheme will be extended for four months until January 2021.

At the meeting, the Labour & Welfare Bureau and the Education Bureau briefed members on the welfare, employment and learning support provided to families and students in need amid the COVID-19 epidemic.

On welfare support, measures included the provision of a time-limited unemployment support scheme through the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance system.

Meanwhile, the Government has begun payment of the one-off special allowance under the Anti-epidemic Fund to eligible Working Family Allowance households & Student Financial Assistance households since June 2020.

On employment support, the Labour Department raised the ceiling of the on-the-job training allowance payable to employers under the Employment Programme for the Elderly & Middle-aged, the Youth Employment & Training Programme and the Work Orientation & Placement Scheme in September.

The department also launched a pilot scheme in September to encourage eligible employees to undergo and complete on-the-job training under the above employment programmes through the provision of a retention allowance.

On learning support, the Community Care Fund has implemented an assistance programme since the 2018-19 school year to subsidise needy students studying in schools that implement the Bring Your Own Device policy to purchase mobile computer devices to facilitate e-learning.

The members discussed the support measures and gave suggestions on how further support could be rendered to those in need.

By Bureau