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Wednesday, October 5, 2016, 20:51

DAB urges action on housing, social mobility

By chinadailyasia.com
DAB urges action on housing, social mobility
In this April 17, 2015 photo, Starry Lee Wai-king (C) addresses journalists after her election as chairwoman of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong. (Edmond Tang / China Daily)

HONG KONG – Hong Kong's largest political party has called for the establishment of new official bodies dedicated to addressing two of the city's most critical issues – the housing problem and a lack of upward social mobility.

A delegation of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB) met with Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying and filed 58 suggestions in a document on Wednesday. This is following the start of a public consultation exercise on Monday for the 2017 Policy Address and the 2017-18 Budget.

In the document, the DAB suggested the government set up a multi-stakeholder platform to work out a plan for increasing land supply.

The DAB hoped a joint effort could shorten the waiting period for public housing to three years. Currently, the waiting time is as long as 4.1 years.

Measures suggested include reclamation work outside Victoria Harbour, the development of rock caverns, and underground exploration. Development of "green belt" areas, brownfields and agricultural lands were also listed.

The DAB also urged the government to set up an official committee to study methods to create more opportunities for social mobility.

Relevant policies as well as tax waivers were urged, according to the document.

In terms of labor issues, the DAB urged the government to work out a swift and comprehensive proposal. It wants the government to lobby all parties to reach consensus over the cancelation of the offsetting mechanism of the Mandatory Provident Fund scheme. The DAB also argued that making Chinese History an independent and compulsory subject is of great importance. It wants students to get a more objective understanding of their national identity.

DAB Chairwoman Starry Lee Wai-king said although the government has only a few months to go before its term ends, there is still time to work on key issues. This includes improving executive-legislative relations, reducing social conflict, developing the economy and improving people’s livelihoods.

Other suggestions include community planning, tax waivers, better consumer rights and family care, according to the document.

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