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China's cabinet urges more support for low-income housing projects

(Xinhua)

10:56, September 20, 2011

BEIJING, Sept. 19 (Xinhua) -- The State Council, or China's cabinet, on Monday ordered local governments to give more support for the construction of low-income housing projects, especially low-rent public housing units.

Officials attending an executive meeting of the State Council, chaired by Premier Wen Jiabao, agreed on measures to promote the construction of low-income housing projects, especially low-rent government-owned apartments offered to urban low-income households, newly-employed laborers and migrant workers.

The construction of low-income housing projects in recent years has provided low- and middle-income households with affordable housing options, contained the excessive and rapid increase of property prices and promoted the healthy development of the real estate industry, according to a statement issued after the meeting

The central government will continue to increase its subsidies for low-income housing projects, but local governments should also devote more of their fiscal revenue toward the construction of affordable housing, according to the statement.

Other measures to guarantee the funding for government-subsidized housing construction include increased land sale premiums, bond issuances and loans for qualified local government financing vehicles (LGFVs).

The statement said that any misconduct revolving around the resale, renting, subleasing or vacancy of government-subsidized housing units will be rectified.

China's affordable housing program includes government-subsidized housing for low-income households, public rentals for those who cannot afford to purchase a home in the country's larger cities and upgrades for run-down areas.

The central government has vowed to build 10 million government-subsidized affordable housing units this year and 36 million units over the next five years.

The State Council also adopted a draft aimed at improving medical and social services for the mentally disabled during the meeting. In addition, the cabinet proposed an amendment to China's residential identity card laws in which it suggested improving the cards' anti-counterfeiting features in order to better protect the privacy of cardholders.

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