More relief measures for the needy

(To watch the full media session with sign language interpretation, click here.)   The Government has proposed to lower the working hour requirement of the Working Family Allowance from 144 hours to 72 hours and ease the eligibility requirements for the short-term food assistance programme to further help the needy.   Meeting the media this afternoon, Secretary for Labour & Welfare Dr Law Chi-kwong explained the rationale behind lowering the threshold for the Working Family Allowance.   “The major purpose of this is to address the concern during these days when a lot of people cannot work full-time and have to take no pay leave.   “Under these circumstances, a lot of families or individuals because of this situation, apart from a reduction in income, they may have lost the eligibility to apply for the Working Family Allowance and therefore, we consider it is timely to propose a lowering of that basic Working Family Allowance working hour requirement to 72 hours.”   Dr Law noted that with a higher asset level, the food bank programme will benefit more families faced with unemployment or underemployment.   “Again, many individuals who have lost their income would hope to have some kind of short-term relief for their food costs. But that is partly because their own asset level may have exceeded the current eligibility standard and therefore, they are not able to receive such a temporary assistance.   “And so we propose to increase the asset limit for the eligibility of the food bank programme, basically it is more than double for different cases. The whole idea really hopes that this food bank programme can provide temporary relief for those families who may be affected by unemployment or underemployment.”   The Government will brief legislators about the two initiatives on Monday.   It will submit a funding proposal to the Legislative Council Finance Committee as soon as possible so that the initiatives can be implemented in June, Dr Law added.
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