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January 31, 2011

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Outgoings included in poverty aid gauge

A RESIDENT'S expenditure - not just their income - is to be used to calculate whether they are entitled to city poverty aid.

At present, whether a family receives the city's basic living allowances depends solely on income, the Shanghai Civil Affairs Bureau said.

But although some families' incomes level are above the city's poverty line, high outgoings still leave them struggling. At present, the poverty line for Shanghai is 425 yuan (US$60) of personal income per month.

But the bureau said people bringing in 500 yuan per month may be in more difficult circumstances than those below the poverty line because they face the same or greater expenditure, but cannot claim any subsidy.

A trial is expected to run in Zhabei and Jing'an districts and the Pudong New Area this year, with the scheme rolled out across the city later. The complete assessment system will be finished in five years.

"We hope the new system will be fair to all people," said bureau director Ma Yili.


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