LCQ11: Provision of quarters and subsidised public housing for serving and retired civil servants


Hong Kong (HKSAR) -      Following is a question by the Hon Andrew Wan and a written reply by the Secretary for the Civil Service, Mr Joshua Law, in the Legislative Council today (February 28):

Question:
 
     At present, apart from providing departmental quarters and other civil servant quarters for some civil servants, the Government also implements the Civil Service Public Housing Quota Scheme (CSPHQ Scheme), which enables junior civil servants as well as rank and file officers of the disciplined services to enjoy better opportunities for allocation of public rental housing (PRH) units than the general public. Over the four years starting from 2015-2016, a total of 1 000 additional quota places were provided under CSPHQ Scheme. The Government also made an arrangement in 2016 for a special one-off allocation of 200 PRH units to some of the applicants under CSPHQ Scheme and 250 Green Form Certificates to them for purchase of Home Ownership Scheme (HOS) units.

Some members of the public are concerned whether the aforesaid measures will result in the average waiting time of general PRH applicants becoming increasingly longer (which has now risen to 4.7 years). In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
 
(1) of the respective numbers of PRH units and HOS units newly completed in each year since 2014-2015; 

(2) regarding (i) disciplined services departmentalquarters and (ii) other civil servant quarters, of the respective numbers of existing and newly completed units in each year since 2014-2015 (set out in Table 1);

Table 1
Year Total number of
existing units
Total number of
newly completed units
(i) (ii) (i) (ii)
2014-2015        
2015-2016        
2016-2017        
2017-2018        
2018-2019
(Estimates)
       

(3) of the respective numbers of units of disciplined services departmental quarters and other civil servant quarters which are expected to be completed within the coming five years; 

(4) of (i) the number of retired disciplined services officers, the respective numbers of applications submitted by retired/retiring disciplined services officers under CSPHQ Scheme for (ii) allocation of PRH units and (iii) purchase of HOS units, and the respective numbers of retired disciplined services officers who (iv) were allocated PRH units and (v) obtained approval for purchasing HOS units under the Scheme, in each year since 2014-2015 (set out in Table 2);

Table 2
Year (i) Number of applications Number of
successful applicants
(ii) (iii) (iv) (v)
2014-2015          
2015-2016          
2016-2017          
2017-2018          
2018-2019
(Estimates)
         

(5) of the respective breakdowns of the numbers of applicants mentioned in (4)(ii) and (iii) and other civil servants who applied for PRH units under CSPHQ Scheme since 2014-2015 by the age group to which they belonged;

(6) given that the Chief Executive introduced in the Policy Address she delivered in October last year an initiative for extending the length of service of civil servants so that some serving civil servants may choose to retire at the age of 65, of (i) the number of civil servants covered by the initiative and (ii) the impact of the initiative on the demand for civil servant quarters; and

(7) of the number of PRH units allocated by the Hong Kong Housing Authority in each of the past 10 years, with a breakdown by type and relevant percentages; the respective current average waiting times of retired disciplined services officers and other civil servants for allocation of PRH units, and how such times compare with that of general PRH applicants?
 
Reply:
 
President,
 
     Under the Civil Service Public Housing Quota Scheme (CSPHQ), the Government provides, on a discretionary basis, junior civil servants with a better opportunity to obtain public housing. CSPHQ comprises a Special Quota (SQ) and a General Quota (GQ).

SQ is for rank and file disciplined services officers. The applicants shall be residing in departmental quarters and have retired since the previous financial year or will reach retirement age within the coming 10 years; or singletons not residing in departmental quarters and will reach retirement age or will proceed on pre-retirement leave within six months from the deadline of application for SQ. GQ is applicable to civilian grades junior officers as well as rank and file disciplined services officers who are not eligible for SQ.

The Civil Service Bureau issues circular memoranda around the fourth quarter each year to invite applications from eligible civil servants for CSPHQ. Applicants may choose to apply for public rental housing (PRH) or for Green Form Certificates (GFC) for purchasing subsidised housing including flats sold under the Home Ownership Scheme and the Green Form Subsidised Home Ownership Pilot Scheme (HOS). There is no waiting list arrangement under CSPHQ.

Eligible applicants not allocated a quota in a year may decide whether to apply again when the next annual exercise is launched.

     Apart from disciplined services departmental quarters, other individual departments also provide quarters for their civil servants who have to perform duties at special locations. Those quarters are provided at the facilities concerned or within their vicinity and their number is small. In addition, the Government provides non-departmental quarters for eligible officers (officers on local terms must be at Master Pay Scale Point 45 or above at the time of application) appointed before October 1, 1990.

Since the number of officers eligible for non-departmental quarters will gradually decrease, the Government has ceased constructing new non-departmental quarters.

     Having consulted the bureaux, departments and organisation concerned, our consolidated reply to the respective parts of the question is as follows, seriatim:

(1) The number of newly completed public housing units, including those provided by the Hong Kong Housing Authority (HA) and the Hong Kong Housing Society (HS), each year from 2014-15 to 2017-18 are set out in the following table: 
 
Financial year Rental flats Sale flats (Note) Total
2014-15 9 938 0 9 938
2015-16 14 264 988 15 252
2016-17 11 416 3 017 14 433
2017-18
(as at end-
December 2017)
9 620 0 9 620
Note: The figures include the completed units under the Home Ownership Scheme and Green Form Subsidised Home Ownership Pilot Scheme of HA and the completed subsidised sale flats of HS, but exclude the 322 subsidised sale flats provided by the Urban Renewal Authority on a one-off basis in 2015-16.
  
(2) Regarding (i) departmental quarters for the disciplined services and (ii) other civil service quarters, the respective numbers of existing and newly completed units in each year since 2014-15 are set out in the table below:
 
Financial year Total number of
existing units
Total number of
newly completed units
(i) Note (ii) (i) (ii)
2014-15 22 633 744 0 0
2015-16 22 653 702 140 0
2016-17 22 785 665 0 0
2017-18 22 718 616 0 0
2018-19
(Estimated)
22 707 559 248 0
Note: The number of quarters may vary from one financial year to another due to different factors (including addition of new quarters and quarters that are demolished or not available for use because of redevelopment or re-provisioning projects). 
 
(3) A total of 3 095 units of disciplined services quarters is expected to be completed in the coming five years from 2018-19, assuming smooth progress. Regarding non-departmental quarters, as mentioned above, the Government has ceased constructing new non-departmental quarters.
 
(4) The number of disciplined services officers who retired each year since 2014-15 is set out in the table below:
 
Financial year Number of retired disciplined services officers
2014-15 1 698
2015-16 1 743
2016-17 1 795
2017-18 1 884
2018-19
(Estimated)
1 872

     For GQ, the Government and HA do not maintain breakdown statistics on the number of applications from disciplined services officers who are retiring soon. As for SQ, the number of applications and successful applicants in each CSPHQ exercise from the 2014/2015 to 2016/2017 exercises is set out in the following table:
 
CSPHQ
Exercise
Number of applications Number of successful applicants Note
PRH GFC for HOS PRH
(as at January 31, 2018)
GFC for HOS
2014/2015 3 017 218 413 176
2015/2016 4 152 231 469 176
2016/2017 4 414 319 154 176
Note: Allocation of PRH quota places under the above CSPHQ exercises are still in progress while all quota places for GFC for HOS have been allocated.

     As applications for the 2017/2018 CSPHQ exercise are now being processed while the 2018/2019 exercise is not yet launched, the relevant figures are not available at this stage.
  
(5) The Government and HA do not maintain statistics on the number of civil service applicants for PRH by age group.
 
(6) The Government launched last week the consultation exercise on the proposal for allowing serving civil servants who joined the Government between June 1, 2000 and May 31, 2015 to choose to retire at 65 (for civilian grades) or 60 (for disciplined services grades).

The number of serving civil servants who joined the Government within the aforesaid period is about 57 000.
 
     As the measure is yet to be implemented, the number of disciplined services rank and file officers choosing to extend their service and its impact on the demand for disciplined services departmental quarters remain unknown.

     For non-departmental quarters, as mentioned above, only those eligible officers appointed before October 1, 1990 may apply. As such, the measure of extending the service of civil servants will have no impact on the demand for non-departmental quarters from eligible officers.
 
(7) The actual number of PRH units allocated by HA in the past 10 years from the financial year of 2007-08 to 2016-17 is set out in the following table:
 
Application category
 
Financial
Year
General public
(including PRH applications, transfers and compassionate rehousing etc.)
CSPHQ Total
2007-08 22 318
(97.7%)
517
(2.3%)
22 835
(100%)
2008-09 38 879
(98.1%)
738
(1.9%)
39 617
(100%)
2009-10 34 823
(97.7%)
827
(2.3%)
35 650
(100%)
2010-11 24 801
(97.4%)
662
(2.6%)
25 463
(100%)
2011-12 30 487
(97.3%)
846
(2.7%)
31 333
(100%)
2012-13 26 182
(96.9%)
828
(3.1%)
27 010
(100%)
2013-14 32 342
(97.3%)
906
(2.7%)
33 248
(100%)
2014-15 20 859
(96.0%)
869
(4.0%)
21 728
(100%)
2015-16 21 617
(96.5%)
779
(3.5%)
22 396
(100%)
2016-17 32 504
(96.3%)
1 252
(3.7%)
33 756
(100%)
 
     As mentioned above, applications for CSPHQ are invited annually through circular memoranda issued by the Civil Service Bureau, and there is no waiting list arrangement. The Government and HA do not maintain statistics on the time lapsed between the applicants' first applications and their successful applications (or last applications).



Published on: 2018-02-28

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