SCMP Friday, October 12, 2001


'Government to create over 30,000 jobs'

SOPHIA CHU and SOPHIE PATEMAN

The Government reaffirmed its pledge on Wednesday to help job seekers and home owners cope with the economic downturn.
Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa, in his fifth Policy Address to the Legislative Council, said the Government aimed to create 30,000 new jobs in the next few years.
''The Government understands the employment problems facing our people. With due regard for our long-term development needs, the Government will seek to create more short-term jobs,'' he said.
The chief executive said 8,000 jobs would be created in the areas of education, environmental protection, public sanitation and greening, together with the demand for health care and welfare services.
''Together with the additional manpower required for newly-occupied housing estates, some 4,000 new jobs will be created,'' Mr Tung said.
He said the Government would carry out improvements and remedial work to public facilities.
''More than 20,000 new jobs will be created as a result of all these initiatives,'' he said.
''With projects coming on line more quickly, about 2,000 jobs will be created each year from 2003,'' he added.
Mr Tung said the Government would maximise employment opportunities for local workers.
'' The Government also outlined plans to address the problem of home owners with negative equity.
Mr Tung said the Government wanted ''to raise the tax-deduction ceiling for housing loan interest to $150,000 per year for this and the next year of assessment''.
The Government has also decided to reduce rates for rate payers in the coming year, Mr Tung said.
''The maximum amount to be waived for each rateable tenement is $2,000. Public housing tenants, occupiers of private domestic property, shops and small and medium enterprises will all benefit,'' he said.