From around 1970s, Hong Kong authorities has sustained anti-poverty. The aims of anti-poverty policy have changed in different decennaries. Why did the authorities alteration the aims of anti-poverty policy? How does the policy reflect the aims of anti- poorness policy? What are the existent impacts to different sectors by the aims? Are at that place any options to the authorities besides the aims? In this paper, we will first present some basic constructs of poorness and current state of affairs of poorness in Hong Kong. Then, we will speak about the aims and policy of the authorities in anti-poverty with historical development. Third, we will concentrate on the existent impacts of anti-poverty political relations, on these public and commercialism. Furthermore, we will do the decision of this paper and depict a tendency of anti-poverty in Hong Kong.

Basic constructs of “ poorness ” and current state of affairs of poorness in Hong Kong

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To understand “ anti-poverty ” , we have to cognize what “ poorness ” is and how do us individuality people in hapless phase. Besides, we should cognize the current state of affairs of poorness in Hong Kong. Poverty can be divided chiefly into 2 categories: the absolute poorness and the comparative poorness ( Mo, 1993 ; Mo, 1999 ) .

Absolute poorness

Absolute poorness indicates the certain minimal criterion of life such as nutrition, wellness and shelter. It refers to a set of standard consistent with clip and between states, pretermiting the difference in civilization and societal construction. It normally happened in many developing states such as India, Africa and Latin America.

Relative poorness

However, people in the province of comparative poorness may non be enduring from hungriness and unwellness. It is a step of income inequality from the rich and the hapless. It has different sort of methods to mensurate. Poverty line is of import to work out the job of comparative poorness. It is minimal income which is necessary for a household or single to accomplish an equal criterion of life. It happened in both development and developed states, such as America and Japan. And this is the chief concern in Hong Kong these old ages.

Specifying poorness line

There are chiefly four international attacks to specify people in hapless province ( Mo, 1993 ; Mo, 1999 ) . First, the thought of market basket refers to a fixed list of points including the consumer goods and services. These sorts of goods and services are considered as necessities for the receiving system ‘s day-to-day life. Second, the ratio of the nutrient ingestion over the entire outgo is defined as the Engel ratio method. Third, the life manner method is an thought based on the construct of the big proportional of the people in the society. For illustration, the ownership of a icebox and telecasting can be considered as one of the index of this life manner method. Last, the international poorness line is based on the mean income from a household monthly. If the income is lower than this mean, this household is considered as the hapless. And this income is besides a sort of index of CSSA.

Current state of affairs of poorness in Hong Kong

Figure 1: Number of instances and sum paid from 1971-2008

Beginning: Census and Statistics Department ( 2008 )

Figure 2 – Number of CSSA instances by class, 1999-2009

Beginning: Census and Statistics Department ( 2010a )

Over the past few decennaries, the figure of CSSA instances increased significantly. From figure 1, there were about 50 1000s to 80 1000s instances each twelvemonth from 1975 to 1992. However, the instances increased aggressively to about 300 1000s in 2003 to 2008. The instances have increased approximately 5 times in this period. Besides, figure 2 shows that the figure of CSSA instances in all types of class increased. Therefore, the job of poorness is still a serious job in Hong Kong and there is non much betterment in the past few decennaries.

In add-on,

“ harmonizing to the Human Development Report released by the United Nations Development Programme ( UNDP ) in 2009, Hong Kong had a comparatively high Gini coefficient of 43.4, the highest among developed economic systems. Comparing the monthly family average income of the richest 10 % of Hong Kong families with the poorest 10 % in 2010 Q1, it is found that the former is 27 times that of the latter ” . ( Oxfam, 2010a, parity. 6-7 )

From these informations, it clearly shows that the job of comparative poorness in Hong Kong is serious. The authorities should concentrate on this of import issue.

From the above information, we understand two categories of “ poorness ” , four methods to identity hapless people and the current state of affairs of poorness in Hong Kong. In the following portion, we will seek to get the hang the alterations in aims and policy of anti-poverty policy from past to now.

Historical Development in aims and its policy of anti-poverty

Aims of anti-poverty policy from historical development

There are three chief alterations in aims of anti-poverty policy from 1970s to now.


Hong Kong authorities has led the construct “ societal security ” in work outing anti-poverty since 1970s ( Mo, 1993 ; Mo, 1999 ) . The aim of societal security is to carry through the basic demands of the occupants who were poorness in the community by supplying the fiscal or material aid. So the authorities provides a batch of encouragements to guarantee hapless people carry throughing basic demands in day-to-day life measure by measure. Harmonizing to Mo ( 1993 ) , the authorities protects the basic demand of hapless people in instruction, lodging, medical specialty, public assistance service and other facets in the demand. Many of them still continue to utilize presents as CSSA.


But in 1990s, Hong Kong authorities needed to cut the budgets of societal public assistance because of 1997 Asiatic Financial Crisis and international tendency of new public direction. The NPM references that authoritiess should cut down their cost of societal public assistance because of the immense outgo ( Hughes, 2003 ) . So, Hong Kong authorities followed the international tendency by cut downing the cost of societal public assistance, such as Lump Sum Grant, in order to cut the human service budget.


After 2000, authorities introduces the rule of “ large market, little authorities ” . Based on this rule, the authorities emphasizes the importance of the cooperation between three sectors, authorities, public and commercialism, on work outing poorness. Harmonizing to Policy Address 2010-11 ( HKSAR, 2010 ) , Community Care Fund shows the authorities ‘s step to collaborate with public and commercialism. It can besides cut down the authorities ‘s cost on societal public assistance.

From 1970s-2000s, the function of authorities seems a pendulum in anti-poverty. In different periods, its function changed from active to relative passive. It started to cut the budget and cooperated with other sectors. From another position, the authorities tried to go through duty to the sectors.

Policy reflecting the alterations in the aims of anti-poverty policy

Hong Kong authorities promotes different anti-poverty policy based on the aims of anti-poverty policy from historical development. We will name some of the policy to demo out the alterations of policy from the historical development on the aims of the policy. Then, we besides list different instruments and expected impacts on the policy that authorities uses in anti-poverty.

Policy that established in 1970s and are improved afterwards

Hong Kong authorities has protected basic demand of hapless people in instruction, lodging, medical specialty, public assistance service and other facets with permanent betterment ( Mo, 1993 ; GARC & A ; SynergyNet, 2008 ) .

For illustration, subsidized instruction and old age allowance are some of the steps that Hong Kong authorities insists. For the former, it is because bettering the instruction for the kids is a direct method to work out intergenerational poorness job. In the 1970s, the authorities foremost increases the 9 old ages subsidised instruction, in order to guarantee every kid get their opportunity to analyze. And so the authorities increases different subsidies to back up the pupils from poorness households as text editions aid and transit aid. Nowadays, subsidised instruction ascents to 12 old ages and there are more allowances as internet entree charges for pupils to acquire better surveies. For the latter, the purpose of the allowance is to care aged ‘s particular demands in day-to-day life. It created in 1973 and now the amount of money in the allowance is $ 1000, which increased from 2007.

Some policies are cut down to reflect the state of affairs in 1990s

Due to the international tendency on new public direction, some steps of anti-poverty had been cut down for cut downing authorities outgo.

Figure 3 Comprehensive societal security aid instances by type

Beginning: Census and Statistics Department ( 2010b )

CSSA is one of the steps that are affected by the above state of affairs. The authorities conducted the strategy of public aid in 1970s and so changed into Comprehensive Social Security Assistance ( CSSA ) in 1990s. Because of 1997 Asiatic Financial Crisis and international tendency on new public direction, authorities had reduced twice in the sum of money in CSSA. But the strategy has still continued because it is a portion of the basic cyberspace that protects basic demand of poorness, particularly the aged. Therefore, the job had no purpose to be solved by CSSA and became worsen from figure 3. One of the grounds is that occupants acquiring the CSSA may lose their motives to happen a occupation ( Society for Community Organization, 2005 ) . Therefore, the authorities concerns about the jobs on population ripening and unemployment from the strategy.

Some policies affecting the rule of “ large market, little authorities ”

Besides cutting budget, the authorities besides emphasizes the duties of the three sectors. Therefore, the authorities focuses on autonomy and cooperation with three sectors.

For illustrations, the authorities created Employees Retraining Board ( ERB in the short signifier ) in 1992. ERB provides different plans for unemployed people and labours in low income to better their accomplishments. Another illustration is societal endeavor, which was introduced in 2005. Social enterprises create employment chances for the disadvantaged to be autonomous. It fosters a new lovingness civilization and heighten societal harmoniousness. The Chief Executive stated the Government ‘s ongoing enterprise in advancing the farther development of SEs to further a new lovingness civilization in Hong Kong ( HKSAR, 2007 ) .

However, when market failure happens in our society, the authorities will advance some steps that violate the rule of “ large market, little authorities ” , such as minimal pay. The low pay workers is one of the obstructions that impeding them to work. These old ages, working poorness becomes more and more serious. The legislative council suggested the statute law of lower limit pay since 2000 ( “ Lee Cheuk-yan Use ” , 2010 ) . There are legion sentiments form different representatives. Our authorities integrated the sentiments and hoped to derive the satisfaction of the whole society at Policy Address 2010 ( HKSAR, 2010 ) . However, there are still many objecting voices after the determination of making minimal pay.

Other steps that authorities had conducted

Besides the above policies, the authorities besides promotes other steps to anti-poverty.

For illustration, the authorities had set up Commission on Poverty to carry on all-rounded research on anti-poverty. The committee ended in 30th June 2007 with a study to demo out ratings on understanding poorness, assisting different people in poorness and work outing poorness in the community facet. However, until now, some people or organisations as HKCSS still hope the committee to be rebuilt because it has the maps in planning, organizing and oversing on anti-poverty. ( HKCSS, 2010 ) .

Different instruments and expected impacts on anti-poverty policy

Harmonizing to Hughes ( 1998 ) , many authoritiess use four instruments – proviso, subsidy production and ordinance to demo out authorities actions in different issues. We have adopted the four instruments in figure 4 to demo out how Hong Kong authorities had done on anti-poverty in some authorities actions. Besides, we make figure 5 to concentrate on allotment, distribution and stabilisation through some authorities actions to demo out the impacts from the actions.






Employees retraining Board

societal endeavor

Textbooks Assistance

Subsidized instruction for 12 old ages

Commission on poorness

Old age allowance

Legislation of lower limit pay

Figure 4 Different Instruments that HK Government used





Employees retraining Board

societal endeavor

Textbooks Assistance

Subsidized instruction for 12 old ages

Commission on poorness

Old age allowance

Legislation of lower limit pay

Figure 5 Different Impacts that different policy brought

From figure 4, we find out that Hong Kong authorities has used 4 instruments in anti-poverty. It shows out that the authorities still participates in many steps of anti-poverty although the changed aims in 1990s and 2000s. From figure 5, it shows that authorities did a batch in stabilisation that fulfills the demands of populace. Relatively, the authorities did less in allotment and distribution.

From the above, we understand how the authorities changed in its aims and policy on anti-poverty. Besides, the authorities has applied 4 instruments and expected 3 impacts in anti-poverty. In the following portion, we will concentrate on the existent impacts to public and commercialism from the aims in anti-poverty policy

Actual impacts to public and commercialism from the aims in anti-poverty policy

Government has changed its aims over the recent decennaries. It affects both public and commercialism. First, we will exemplify the influences on public, concentrating on the safety cyberspace and autonomy of the hapless. Then, we will analyze the influences on commercialism, refering the struggles between the three sectors and the function of commercialism in anti-poverty.

Public – safety cyberspace

The safety cyberspace in Hong Kong can protect basic demands of hapless people. However, it may non be plenty since there are still jobs in the whole anti-poverty policy. Hong Kong authorities has protected basic demand of hapless people in instruction, lodging, medical specialty, public assistance service and other facets with permanent betterment ( Mo, 1993 ; GARC & A ; SynergyNet, 2008 ) . For illustration, hapless kids have more educational chances due to 12 old ages subsidised instruction. Paupers in Hong Kong can fulfill their basic demands under the safety cyberspace provided by the authorities.

However, the anti-poverty policy in Hong Kong is non comprehensive. For illustration, when a non-elderly individual applied public rental lodging, he is required to carry through makings and bounds in income and plus. Then, his application enters the point system. And these perplexing procedure extend the waiting clip. Merely around 2000 of the individual can come in the lodging each twelvemonth. And this state of affairs acquire worse as the singles need over 7 old ages to come in the lodging ( “ LegCo member suggests to ” , 2010 ) . This makes many hapless, non-elderly singles suffered from high lodging rent, hapless life conditions or even no adjustment.

The above description reflects that Hong Kong authorities had tried to carry through hapless people in basic need through the safety cyberspace. However, some policies are failed as they can non acquire the resources. So, they are still enduring in their day-to-day life.

Public – autonomy

It is really hard for the hapless in Hong Kong to be self-rely or get away from poorness. Hong Kong authorities suggests that economic development and autonomy is the cardinal to work out the poorness job, as the job of public lodging mentioned above.

Failure in anti-poverty policies caused two chief jobs to the hapless. First, they can non get away from poorness. Furthermore, it increases their load on life. This makes hapless people more hard to get away from poorness because they have to afford the heavy burden in day-to-day life.

Economic development, economic construction and labour market affect hapless people ‘s autonomy. Hong Kong authorities emphasized economic development and it tries to profit commercialism in different ways to do occupation chances. For illustration, a research from the Democratic Party reflects that the authorities tends to concern more on commercial involvement than public involvement as utilizing public exchequer to profit business communities ( Cyber Office of Gray Fan, 2006 ) . This advantages economic development in Hong Kong as raising GDP at current market monetary values from $ 1291.9 billion in 2004 to $ 1633.5 billion in 2009 ( Census and Statistics Department, 2009 ) . But public does non derive excessively much benefits from the development because many occupations in service professions are short contracts, twenty-four hours labour or necessitate professional makings that affect hapless people to finish the occupations or be stable in a occupation ( Society for Community Organization, 2005 ) .

Besides, “ four traditional pillar industries and six preponderant industries ” becomes new economic construction of Hong Kong ( HKSAR, 2009 ) . Many occupations coming from the new construction require high academic background and professional makings. But many of unemployed people are in in-between age, low academic background and no professional making ( Society for Community Organization, 2005 ) . Although Hong Kong authorities provides retraining plans to those unemployed people, it can non upgrade their academic background and the background makes barriers to come in the retraining classs of correlate professions and even completes many occupations from the new economic construction.

The above state of affairs mentioned that Hong Kong authorities does economic development and benefit commercialism to do occupation chances for autonomy but hapless people still can non anti-poverty through autonomy because of failures in some anti-poverty policy, economic development, economic construction and labour market.

Commerce – struggle between the three sectors

The basic involvement of commercialism is to concern its gross in concern and they will against the anti-poverty steps it some of them against the gross. This besides makes a struggle of three sectors – authorities, public and commercialism. Minimal pay is a good illustration to demo out how commercialism against the step with protecting their gross in concern and the struggle between three sectors. Cheung Yu-yan and Chen Yu Guang reflect that commercialism ‘s involvement should be concerned in the step and they oppose the step because it will impact the operation of concern. ( “ $ 20 Per Hour Is ” , 2010 ; “ Chen Yu Guang From ” , 2010 ) . But public has different sentiment that minimal pay should make to protect labours ‘ involvement and leads autonomy with sensible wage. The authorities feels hard to organize with both commercialism and populace because it forms contradiction between the involvement of public and commercialism. The struggle will decelerate down the velocity to advance steps and cut down the efficiency of policy. For illustration, lower limit pay takes around 12 old ages to discourse and the bill of exchange of a proposed jurisprudence passes in this twelvemonth ( “ Lee Cheuk-yan Use ” , 2010 ) .

Although the authorities emphasizes on cooperation between the three sectors, we find that struggles still appear because different sectors have their ain involvements and it affects the publicity of anti-poverty policy.

Commerce – function in anti-poverty

Commerce has its function in anti-poverty but they may experience blurred when they help really. Many companies have conducted different signifiers in assisting anti-poverty. For illustration, some companies may fund to human service organisations or make assisting squads to assist the hapless in society. Recently, our authorities focuses on cooperation of authorities, commercialism and public to anti-poverty ( HKSAR, 2010 ) . It gives duties of anti-poverty to commerce but does non advert clearly in existent functions or actions they should carry on in the job. Businessmens have known the duty and form different activities to the job but populace may non accept the activities conveying existent effects in the job. For illustration, Wu Kang Min mentioned that 3 million dollars subscription to run “ Love Ideas, Love HK ” program by Li Ka Shing can non cut down the feelings of hostility in affluent from public ( “ Wu Kang Min Indicates ” , 2010 ) . It responds that populace may non hold the part of anti-poverty by commercialism.

Although the authorities emphasizes on engagement of commercialism in anti-poverty, commercialism does non cognize what and how they should make in the job. This leads commercialism with no way to anti-poverty and public inquiries about the part of the activities.

We know the existent impacts in public and commercialism. It reflects the aims and policy in anti-poverty may non suit the existent demands in society. So in the following portion, we will speak about what Hong Kong authorities should go to for bettering the aims, function and policy in anti-poverty.

What Hong Kong authorities should go to for bettering the aims, function and policy in anti-poverty?

There are three ways that authorities should pay attending.

Official poorness line

The first 1 is to establish an official poorness line. Actually, national poorness line has already set in tonss of developed states such as America, China and the states of OEDC. However, although the economic sciences of Hong Kong has good developed presents, it still lack of this poorness line until now. Although Government claimed there are 24 indexes introduced by Commission of poorness to specify the hapless, it is complicated and non clear plenty.

There are tonss of advantages of holding a national poorness line ( Mo, 1993 ; Mo, 1999 ) . It can be a statistic index for comparings the state of affairs of poorness and reflects the really state of affairs of poorness straight. The authorities can no longer get away from this job and conceal the earnestness of poorness to public. Besides, the degree of poorness can be an index of societal development. And it is better for a authorities to foretell the sum of CSSA and fiscal budget holding the national poorness line.

After the authorities can good specify the hapless needed to assist, they can present different specific policies to assist them. Then, based on the civilization background, political system and economic system in Hong Kong, a clear way of work outing the poorness job can be introduced by the authorities with the assistance of different societal security policies such as Housing, medical and instruction and societal public assistance. Therefore, it is of import to the authorities puting up an official poorness line. However, the authorities no longer escapes from anti-poverty and other sectors will concern more on disposal of authorities.

Social exclusion

The 2nd 1 is to diminish the consequence of societal exclusion. It is because it leads some hapless people discriminate in day-to-day life and societal system that can non carry through their day-to-day life ( Oxfam, 2010b ) . For illustration, hapless grownups coming from mainland China presents can non acquire CSSA unless they live in Hong Kong 7 old ages, demoing out the societal exclusion. The authorities should seek to cut down failures of the policy to measure those hapless people. But the authorities may confront the increasing cost of societal public assistance because many people enter the system.

Long-run anti-poverty policy

The 3rd one is to believe about long-run anti-poverty policy. Many bookmans like Fang Min Sheng had mentioned that the authorities should hold the long-run policy ( GARC & A ; SynergyNet. , 2008 ) . As Tobin ( 1970 ) mentioned in his edition “ Raising the Incomes of the Poor ” . The success of a authorities is determined by how it can undertake the poorness job. The authorities can ne’er work out the poorness job without a long term planning and a clear way. The long-run policy can give the chance to authorities to believe carefully on aims, functions and policy that authorities should take in the job. But the jobs are time-consuming in planning, anticipating fiscal statement trouble and struggles of the three subdivisions still continue in planning phase or executing phase. But this is really of import to authorities because if authorities does non put up the functions of each sector, the state of affairs of poorness can non be improved in the hereafter.


To reason, it is hard for the authorities to put up a comprehensive anti-poverty policy because it has to see the fiscal budget, involvements of the three sectors, external factors and its function.

For Hong Kong authorities, it should hold a full program on work outing poorness jobs in long term. It should take the duty, but non switch it off to other sectors or cut the budgets on societal public assistance. It is because societal public assistance is of import to stabilise the society. The development of the society is determined by how the authorities does to work out the poorness job.

We believe that the cooperation of three sectors is necessary in the hereafter. It is of import as they are a portion of the society. They should speak the duty in work outing the poorness jobs. Therefore, the authorities should promote everyone to take part in work outing poorness.