HONG KONG, June 11, 2013—The Chief Secretary for Administration of Hong Kong Government Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor announced last week that it plans on finally junking the ‘two is enough’ policy adopted by the Family Planning Association of Hong Kong in the 1970s.
The move is intended after recent projections have suggested that the economic growth of Hong Kong will be gravely affected if it remains on an aging trend and the labor force does not get fresh young working population.
According to Lam, the government must abandon the four decades long policy and should be replaced by the biblical “go forth and multiply” in the face of Hong Kong’s aging population.
Lam also told lawmakers that the state must also consider whether parents or the public should pay for the additional family members.
Hong Kong’s Population Policy Steering Committee identified areas of priority which includes, encouraging marriage and childbirth and strengthening the family.
Lam added that, “encouraging childbirth often involves a range of measures that cut across various policy areas. We need to appreciate that any policy involving the government giving out cash allowances or requiring employers to provide increased employee benefits would involve substantial public money and higher operating costs for enterprises.”
University of Hong Kong’s department of social work and administration professor Leung Cho-bun said the government should consider adopting initiatives used in the West encouraging private enterprises to provide flexible working hours for pregnant women including the possibility of ‘work from home’ and providing baby-care centers.
Leung however doubted if cash incentives will be effective in Hong Kong such as Singapore’s policy to boost fertility since many well-educated, middle- income couples are not interested.
But Lam added that the Hong Kong government should make it easier for families to purchase homes, she added. (Paul De Guzman)