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Low-rent Housing to Cover Urban Low-incomers

China's low-income urban families will be covered by an improved low-rent housing system that will allow them to enjoy affordable housing by 2010, according to a new policy framework agreed by the State Council.

At present, the welfare housing system mainly covers the country's urban poor families, bolstered by a subsistence allowance program. Under the new policy, the system will benefit some 10 million low-income urban families with housing difficulties, the China Securities Journal said in an article on Monday.

Low-rent apartments are essential to China's housing security system. They are either built or commissioned by the government and provided to poor urban families at discounted rents.

The latest official figures show that the mechanism has so far covered about 291 cities at or above prefecture level as of Dec. 20, 2006. It is expected to be extended to all Chinese cities and towns by the end of this year.

The State Council executive meeting presided over by Premier Wen Jiabao also decided that more low-rent housing should be provided through construction, purchase, renovation and other means.

The state councilors agreed that funding for low-rent housing provision should be brought under the control of the annual central fiscal budget, that land should be appropriated for construction, and that the regulation of housing supply should be improved.

The central government will grant special financial support to central and western regions for the low-rent housing development.

( August 14, 2007)

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