Grassroots citizens’ top concern: Chief Executive’s average rating drops to 6.4, with a focus on land and housing, latest survey shows

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John Lee

17th September 2023 – (Hong Kong) The Hong Kong government is set to release its latest policy address next month, and a recent survey conducted by a local organisation revealed the top concerns of grassroots citizens. Over 65% of the respondents expressed their desire for the government to prioritise addressing land and housing issues, followed by healthcare and education. These results indicate that housing problems remain the most pressing issue for grassroots communities.

In terms of the performance evaluation of Chief Executive John Lee over the past year, this year’s average rating of 6.4 out of 10 showed a slight decline compared to last year’s rating of 6.8. The Society for Community Organisation, which conducted the survey, hopes that the government will address the pressing needs of the people in the upcoming policy address and formulate timely policies to meet the demands of the citizens.

The Society for Community Organisation conducted an online questionnaire from the 16th of last month to the 11th of this month, surveying 644 individuals to understand their expectations for the upcoming policy address and their evaluation of Chief Executive John Lee’s performance over the past year. The survey revealed that 67.1% of the respondents were most concerned about land and housing issues, followed by 39.9% who highlighted healthcare services, and another 36.2% who expressed concerns about education resources. The organisation stated that these results underscore the ongoing significance of housing as the most urgent policy area for grassroots citizens. The increased attention on healthcare and education can be attributed to their direct impact on the health and well-being of the population, especially children and young adults.

Regarding the evaluation of Chief Executive John Lee by grassroots citizens, the majority of respondents (23.8%) gave a rating of 5 out of 10. The average rating of 6.4 indicates a slight decrease compared to last year’s average rating of 6.8 after Chief Executive Lee took office. It suggests a minor decline in the performance rating of the Chief Executive among grassroots citizens after one year in office. Additionally, 57.1% of the respondents believed that the authorities should prioritize reforming the existing mechanism for economic assistance, including increasing cash allowances for Comprehensive Social Security Assistance, working family allowances, and student subsidies. Furthermore, 55.4% of the respondents felt that the government should prioritise the construction of 35,000 public housing units annually to ensure that applicants can be housed within three years.

The spokesperson for the Society for Community Organisation, emphasised that addressing housing issues, providing economic support, and tackling intergenerational poverty are pressing issues that the current administration needs to prioritise. However, many of the government’s initiatives introduced over the past year have yet to be implemented, and their concrete effectiveness remains unclear. In addition, she highlighted the need for improvements in existing subsidy systems, such as Comprehensive Social Security Assistance and the statutory minimum wage mechanism. She recommended that the government establish a definite timetable and strengthen poverty alleviation efforts.