Where appropriate, comparisons would be made with Singapore, as the aversion to being a welfare state, the policy goal of prioritizing economic growth over social well-being, emphasis on self-reliance, and the high income inequality of these two economies were more similar than the other cities in Asia.
Furthermore, Singapore was also a former British colony, but achieved self-rule in 1959 and full independence in 1965.
They have been and still are close competitors in finance, trading, and shipping.
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The Hong Kong government restricted it to two fields: (a) social security and (b) social services.
Of the two, a higher proportion was spent on social security, as reflected in the Social Welfare Department’s total recurrent expenditure of HK$39.3 billion (2011): 68.2% on the former and 23.4% on subventions to non-government organizations (NGOs) to provide social services (Hong Kong SAR government, 2012).
The social security schemes were non-contributory, mostly means-tested (on a household basis), and targeted at the poor and needy, older persons, and those who had fallen into hardships during economic downturn.
Of the various social security schemes, the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA) constituted the highest proportion of payout.
By Ng Guat Tin, Ph D Assistant Professor, Department of Applied Social Sciences The Hong Kong Polytechnic University email: [email protected] INTRODUCTION During my current stint of teaching in Hong Kong I have received various enquiries from Singapore delegations and individual social workers regarding social services and social work education in Hong Kong.
An often heard expression is that “Social work in Hong Kong is more dynamic than in Singapore.” I do not know if anyone has sought to measure or compare professional dynamism but certainly the number of registered social workers in Hong Kong is impressive, when compared to Singapore: 17,615 as of 18 April 2013 (However, not all of them were practising social work, as the social work manpower requirements system indicated smaller staff strength of only 12,011 as at 31 March 2011 (Joint Committee on Social Work Manpower Requirements, 2011).In response to the professional interest in Hong Kong, I have written this paper on the historical, economic, and political context of social welfare and social services in Hong Kong, so that those outside of Hong Kong may have a better understanding of the broader context and development of social welfare and social services in Hong Kong.This paper is a revised and updated version of an oral presentation that I did, in December 2011, on social welfare in Hong Kong.In studying Hong Kong, it is imperative to consider its unique 155-year history as a colony of Great Britain.When the British first occupied it, Hong Kong island was described as “barren land” but when returned to Chinese sovereignty, Hong Kong real estate was well known as one of the most expensive in the world.