High Tide (November 25th 2015) – Daily political round up

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Allowance for low-income working families to start application in May; Lawmakers to debate TSA abolition.

Photo: Chris Lusher


 

Gov’t & LegCo

Government announces HKD3bn annual allowance for low-income working families
– The Labour and Welfare Bureau announced that the the Low-income Working Family Allowance (LIFA) Scheme will start receiving applications from May 2016 onward
– Secretary for Labour and Welfare Matthew Cheung said the scheme will cost an annual estimate of HKD3bn and will benefit 200,000 low-income working families with a total of 700,000 people, including 170,000 children and youths
– Under the Scheme, a family of two or more members meeting the income and asset limits may apply for an allowance ranging from HKD300 to HKD1,000 per month while each eligible child in the applicant family may be granted another HKD800 (or HKD400) per month
– The Commission on Poverty, meanwhile, decided to put the issue of abolishing the MPF offsetting mechanism into the retirement protection scheme consultation (ch) which will be launched later this year

Urban Renewal Authority retracts to allow single people to buy its subsidised flats
– The Urban Renewal Authority decided to make a controversial policy U-turn to allow single people to buy its subsidised flats
– While the authority only explained that the change was made “in response to the housing need of single-person households”, a non-executive member of the quasi-governmental body suggested that the sudden announcement could be a move to avoid a possible lawsuit under the  Family Status Discrimination Ordinance

Lawmakers to debate motion on abolishing controversial primary school assessment
– Legislators will debate a motion moved by Albert Chan of People Power to urge the government to “expeditiously abolish the Primary 3 Territory-wide System Assessment (‘TSA’), and conduct full consultation on and a comprehensive review of the Primary 6 and Secondary 3 TSA”
– The pro-est BPA (ch) will likely back the motion as the party argued against the test when proposing more than 220 suggestions to CY Leung and Financial Secretary John Tsang on the upcoming Policy Address and Budget yesterday

Government considers alternative funding model for West Kowloon Cultural District
– Lawmakers were told that the government was considering an alternative financing model for the third and final stage of the West Kowloon Cultural District as the initial grant of HKD21.6bn was already soaked up
– The government proposed to transfer the development rights for part of its commercial land in the area to the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority at market price with an estimated worth of HKD40bn to HKD50bn
– The third phrase of the development would involve the constructions of the Great Theatre, Musical Theatre and a concert hall

CY Leung welcomes young candidates to join government committees
– Responding to the victory of several ‘umbrella soldiers’ in the district council elections, CY Leung said the government would welcome “all candidates, particularly young candidates in this election to join government committees and boards to continue to serve the community whether as District Council members”
– Leung, meanwhile, stressed his earlier remark of “vote them out (ch)” only implies to radical lawmakers who filibustered in the LegCo

Politics (General)

Court decision on HKU gag order postponed
– Barrister and veteran democrat Martin Lee told the High Court the controversy over the appointment of the University of Hong Kong’s pro-vice-chancellor was a matter of public interest and the press should not be barred from reporting it
– Lee is representing Apple Daily, which is applying to join the lawsuit over whether to extend the length of period of the HKU gag order as a defendant
– The Journalists Association and the HKUSU publication ‘Undergrad’ are also applying to take part as interveners
– The court postponed the decision and ruled that the gag order should remain for the time being