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Hong Kong Leader Pledges Support for Poor as City Pursues Growth

Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying reiterated his commitment to assisting the poor today as he pledged to pursue growth.

“Supporting the underprivileged is, and will continue to be, a major feature of the work of the current-term government,” he said, according to the transcript of a broadcast by Radio Television Hong Kong. The city’s economy is a top priority “so that we can create the jobs, wealth and opportunities and meet the needs and aspirations of the whole community,” he said.

Leung, who has made the least popular start as leader of Hong Kong since the 1997 handover, is striving to address a record wealth gap in the city ahead of debates about bringing in universal suffrage in 2017. Leung announced subsidies for low-income families in a speech to lawmakers earlier this month, and outlined greater funding for seniors’ health care and for the education of welfare recipients’ children.

The government plans to spend about HK$3 billion ($387 million) a year in subsidies to about 200,000 working families in Hong Kong, where one in five residents live below the poverty line, Leung said in that address. Families that earn half the city’s median household income or less and have at least one member working will be eligible for the subsidy.

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