China's local gov'ts subsidize low-income earners as living costs rise

09:26, November 24, 2010      

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Beijing will hand out temporary subsidies to low-income earners to help them cope with rising living costs, said a spokesperson with the municipal government Tuesday.

The municipal government will hand out 100 yuan to each of its 223,000 low-income earners before the end of this month, said the spokesperson.

This one-off subsidy is to help those suffering from increased living costs due to recent price hikes. The municipal civil affairs bureau would also adjust the standard of social assistance in accordance with the trend of the prices next year, he added.

Beijing is just one of a number of local governments in China offering subsidies to help low-income earners battle surging living costs.

China's consumer price index (CPI), the main gauge of inflation, rose to a 25-month high of 4.4 percent in October. The hike was mainly due to a 10.1-percent surge in food prices. Food prices have a one-third weighting in China's CPI calculation.

Chinese decision makers have made price controls a top priority. And local governments are now taking emergency measures to help low-income earners and other vulnerable groups.

Civil affairs departments in south China's Hainan Province and north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region are handing out subsidies to the low-income and other vulnerable groups.

Since the flooding disaster in Hainan in October, the province has handed out subsidies to low-income earners.

"We have been been keeping a watch on the price trend. It is possible to hand out subsidies continuously in accordance with prices," said Qiu Tianhua, chief of the relief section with Hainan's civil affairs bureau.

Aside from direct financial aid, some local governments like Chongqing Municipality and Shaanxi Province have increased allowances for students and given the money to university campus dining halls to keep the prices of their meals stable.

Northwest China's Shaanxi Province has allocated about 60 million yuan (about 8.96 million U.S. dollars) to college campus dining halls to ease the pressure of surging food prices on both students and the universities.

The State Council, China's cabinet, also announced on Sunday a slew of measures to rein in rising commodity prices to ease the economic pressures on the people.

In addition, the government will work to ensure market supplies and strengthen market supervision.



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