Question Raised by HON LEE Wing-tat in the meeting of Housing Panel on 29th July 1996

I. Consumer Council’s report on “How competitive is the Private Residential Property Market?”

1. Is it true that the Government would, as reported in the press, respond to the above report in January next year? If so, why does it take half a year for the Government to respond to the report. If not, when will the Government do so?

2. Does the Government agree with the Consumer Council’s analysis on the competitiveness in the private property market? How does the Government define monopolization if it considers that monopolization does not exist? For example, what level of market share should major property developers enjoy when they are considered monopolizing the market?

3. Which recommendations made by the Consumer Council correspond to the established policy currently adopted by the Government and which do not? What recommendations to which the Government has not yet taken its stance or has never been examined?

4. What action will the Government take to follow up on the relevant report? For example, will there be a public consultation on the report? How can the public learn of the information provided in the report and channel their opinions? What Government department will be responsible for the publicity of the report, as well as gathering and synthesizing public opinions? Will the Housing Branch be solely responsible for the co-ordination and organization work in following up the report or will it assume other roles?

5. Will the Government briefly introduce the background of the study on property market? What is the time frame for the study? Why does the Consumer Council take such a long time to complete the report? Will the Consumer Council adopt any measure to follow up on the report?

6. Will the Government inform this Council of the substantial progress in implementing the measures contained in “Action Plan :Property Prices and Housing Supply" (Annex attached) which was published in June 1994?

7. Will the Government compare the similarities and differences between the recommendations of the Consumer Council and the proposals in dampening property prices put forward by the Government, various political parties and property developers who have expressed their opinions?

8. Will the Government inform this Panel regularly of its stance towards the recommendations of the Consumer Council, together with the reasons for supporting and objecting to the recommendations, as well as the progress in implementing the recommendations it supports?

II. United Nations Housing Rights Matter
Housing Rights
Temporary Housing

1. What are the respective numbers of Temporary Housing Areas (THAs) which have been built for twelve years or more, ten years and seven years at present? What are the sizes of population in these THAs?

2. Does the Government consider it necessary for the continued existence of THAs as a means of rehousing? If so, what steps can be taken to improve the poor living conditions of THAs? “Interim Housing” involves high costs while the Housing Authority (HA) has to borrow from the Government suitable additional sites for construction of such housing. This presents a certain degree of difficulties in improving the living conditions of THAs. In view of this, what measures will be adopted by the Government to rehouse all THA residents as soon as possible?

Caged Homes

3. The full implementation of the Bedspace Apartments Ordinance was originally scheduled in 1996. But now the Government decides to defer its implementation until 1998. How many caged homes were closed in 1995-96 because of their failure to meet the requirements of the Bedspace Apartments Ordinance? What is the number of bedspace apartment lodgers involved? How many of them were offered compassionate rehousing by the Social Welfare Department? How does the Government ensure that those affected by the closure of caged homes in future will be properly rehoused?

4. The Government has been emphasizing that a handful of people in the community have a genuine need for caged homes/low-priced bedspace apartments, especially singletons with low income. However, the HA has all along failed to meet the public housing demand of singletons, thus forcing them to move into bedspace apartments with poor living conditions. What long-term plans are in place to help to improve the living conditions of low-income singletons? (For example, to build more one-person units and construct singleton hostels.)

Rooftop Structures

5. How many rooftop structures are classified as structures with immediate danger at present? What is the number of households involved?

6. Among the rooftop dwellers, how many households are eligible for public housing at present?

Squatter structures on dangerous slopes

7. What is the number of squatter huts currently erected on dangerous slopes? When will these huts be cleared? How many clearees will be involved?

Last Updated on 20 Aug, 1998