Hong Kong offers tax benefits for large families
Live Punjab News Service
Hong Kong -- Hong Kong leader Donald Tsang Friday said he will offer tax incentives to encourage people to have bigger families to tackle a looming population crisis in the former British colony.
Hong Kong, a city of 6.8 million, has one of the world's lowest birth rates with an average of only 0.9 babies per woman, down from nearly three children in the early 1980s.
The wealthy territory now faces an acute labour shortage and a rapidly ageing population as couples worried about the high cost of raising children opt to marry late and have one or no children.
Speaking to the election committee on the second day of his campaign for a second term as chief executive, Tsang said he would bring in tax incentives to encourage people to have bigger families.
Before he took up his post as chief executive in 2005, following the early resignation of his predecessor Tung Chee-hwa, Tsang appealed to Hong Kong families to have three children each.
China's one-child policy does not apply to Hong Kong but birth rates have slumped because of the lack of living space in the densely populated city, high education costs and a trend to marry late.
Government officials predict that if the trend continues, the number of people aged 64 and over will account for a third of the city's population by 2033.