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Public Housing in Hong Kong

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housing is an important issue in hong kong social policy. Public housing serves as a comprehensive social wage system. It brings these positive functions, such as contribution to economic development, social distribution and social stability. On the other hand, the govt intervene the market and there is inequitable allocation. In the following, I will explain these functions in details.

In the early development of public housing, public housing is designed for industrial purpose. in order to get land for industrial development, govt had to clear land occupied by the slum. Also, most public sites were located near industrial areas so it could ensure cheap labour supply. Reproduction of labour could be enhanced also. Since the rents of public housing was low, living costs of low-paid workers was reduced and hence pressure on employers to raise wages was reduced. Then Competitiveness of hong kong was maintained.

Since the rent of public housing is much lower than the private sector rents, social distribution of income takes place. subsidy received by A public tenant was about 70% of average income of a manufacting worker in 1973. it increased more in 1979. total subsidy provided by govt increased from $840m in 1976 to $7720m in 1986. such large amount of subsidy should have a considerate effect on the income distribution. However, income inequality only dropped slightly, although private rents did not enjoy any subsidies. One of the contributing factors is that average-income families obtain more benefits than rich and poor families, large households obtain more benefits than smaller ones. The social redistribution is inefficient as a result.

Furthermore, social stability is the main concern of housing. In 1972, Ten Year Housing Programme was carried out in order To Stabilize the colony after 1966-67 riots'. This programme effectively stabilized hong kong political scene. However, it also caused a series of social movements and then brought s dynamic social stability. Over half of 335 incidents of neighbourhood mobilization were related to housing. But at the same time, hk is prosperous than before. The social reform stimulated the formation of urban social movement. the players in housing issues brought challenge. Some political parties being proactive in housing issues incorporated with many social activists in 1980s. They further institutionalized large neighbourhood mobilization. But some of the active neighbourhood organization dissolved due to financial problem. On the other hand, grassroots organization is active in social movement about housing. but they increasingly concerned more for their own interests. the middle class and Immigrants become new players. Since only public sector tenants benefited from public housing programme, the middle class complained the inequitable allocation. They Demanded government to assist them for home ownership. Immigrants

were discontented



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