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Hong Kong lacks commitment to poverty relief

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Another year, another jump in the number of people living below the poverty line. But we can always count on Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung Kin-chung to tell us that everything is fine and dandy.

A fifth of the city’s population, or 1.377 million people, are destitute, according to the latest official figures. This means an increase of 0.2 percentage points to 20.1 per cent; not a big jump? Well, it’s still the highest since 2010. And, during this whole time, our economy was expanding.

In a sense, Cheung is right; the headline numbers are misleading. They don’t factor in public welfare and housing support, as well as non-cash assets, because the government’s poverty line follows “international norms”.

“I don’t think our policies have failed,” he said. If cash handouts........

© South China Morning Post