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2017 policy address highlights

Economy 

·        Explore further with the Mainland the expansion and enhancement of framework of the Mainland and Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA), the Government expects to achieve some concrete results by the middle of 2017.

·        Hong Kong has been officially invited to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank which promotes infrastructure development in Asian countries. The Government expects the relevant procedures to be completed by the middle of 2017.


Belt and Road Initiative

·        The HK$200 million Professional Services Advancement Support Scheme announced in last year’s Policy Address was launched two months ago to support the professional sections in their exchanges, co-operation and related publicity efforts targeting overseas markets.

·        Orgainze with Trade Development Council another Belt and Road Summit in September 2017, and prepare to take part in a Belt and Road Forum for International Co-operation hosted by the Central Government in Beijing in May, the highest-level forum ever held since the introduction of the Belt and Road initiative.

·        Consider relaxing visa requirements for nationals of countries along the Belt and Road in entering Hong Kong for employment, study and visit.


Enhancing the Mandatory Provident Fund System

·        Propose to progressively abolish the “offsetting” of severance payments or long service payments with MPF contributions.

·        Follow up the launch of the Default Investment Strategy in April 2017 to address the concerns of “high fees” and “difficulty in making investment choices”.

·        The Government will strive to map out within the term of the current Government the working hours policy direction that suits Hong Kong’s socio-economic situation.


Housing and Land Use

·        The projected supply of first-hand residential properties for the coming three to four years was 94,000 units at end-December 2016.

·        For the five-year period from 2016-17, estimated public housing production by the Hong Kong Housing Authority and the Hong Kong Housing Society will be about 94,500 units, including about 71,800 public rental housing units and about 22,600 subsidized sale flats.

·        In the short to medium term, by way of changing existing land uses and increasing development intensity, a total of over 380,000 residential units can be provided.


Innovation and Technology

·        The Government and the Shenzhen Municipal Government signed a memorandum of understanding on the development of a Hong Kong/Shenzhen Innovation and Technology Park in the Lok Ma Chau Loop in Hong Kong, with a site area quadruple that of the Science Park.

·        The Government has made a substantial investment to enhance Hong Kong’s innovation and technology ecosystem by promoting reindustrialization, funding universities to conduct mid-stream and applied research projects, subsidizing industry adoption of technology to upgrade and transform, and supporting start-ups.

·        The Government supports the construction by the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation of an InnoCell adjacent to the Science Park.


Poverty Alleviation, Elderly Care and Support for the Disadvantaged

·        Optimize the Old Age Living Allowance by (i) adding a higher tier of assistance by providing a higher monthly allowance and (ii) relaxing the asset limits for the exiting allowance.

·        Increase the manpower of the Health Care Voucher Unit of the Department of Health for the implementation of the enhanced measure of lowering the eligible age for the Elderly Health Care Voucher to from 75 to 65.

·        Under the Pilot Scheme on Residential Care Service Voucher for the Elderly by adopting a “money-following-the-user” approach, with a view to offering elderly persons in need of residential care service with an additional choice. A total of 3,000 service vouchers will be issued from 2017 to 2019.

Extend the Pilot Residential Care Services Scheme in Guangdong for three yearsto provide elderly persons waiting for subsidized care-and-attention places with an option to live in the two elderly homes located respectively in Shenzhen and Zhaoqing