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Tuesday, Dec 06, 2022

'Beautiful' package can help SAR, says Lee

Hong Kong's good looks will help it attract newcomers amid a shortage of workers, Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu believes.
Lee went on television yesterday to say the labor shortage has reached its peak and that administration officials will "tell the Hong Kong story well" and use tactics such as tax breaks to attract talent.

"Despite the international community's shifting beauty standards, Hong Kong will be able to show its beauty and compete for enterprises," he added.

On housing, Lee said construction of "light" public housing flats should be completed in three to four years.

Lee said in his first policy address last week that building 30,000 such prefabricated flats would ease the wait for public housing while land-sourcing operations take place.

He also hit at people who "coldly" question the effectiveness of such a scheme, saying they overlook "flesh and blood" realities of people waiting for housing.

"I'd welcome people to come forward if they have more effective proposals to help residents in subdivided flats move into public housing," he added.

On whether community isolation facilities will be repurposed into transitional housing, Lee quoted health experts as saying such facilities must remain on standby in case of a resurgence of Covid and also influenza. But he would not rule out entirely the idea of repurposing the facilities.

He also said isolation facilities would have to be improved if residents were to move in for extended periods as they were classified as "emergency facilities" and did not meet all construction safety standards.

Separately, Secretary for Development Bernadette Linn Hon-ho said plans mentioned in the policy address to identify 3,200 hectares of land for development over the coming 10 years indicated the government has taken back control of SAR's land supply.

Speaking on a radio, she also said 72,000 private housing units will be built on "spade-ready plots" over the next five years.

Authorities will also conduct research on the 250 of the 3,200 hectares to serve as green belt area, Linn said.

Linn also would not rule out looking into developing fringes of country parks, though the parks themselves would not be developed.

On the prefabrication approach, Linn said planners proposed 26 square meters - 280 square feet- - of floor area for units.
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