More funds to be made available for elderly care

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The Chinese government said yesterday it would push for more financing support for the elderly-care sector.
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The Chinese government said yesterday it would push for more financing support for the elderly-care sector to help accelerate the development of a fledging industry and ensure that the needs of an aging population are met.

The regulation stressed the need to establish a supervision system for elderly-care services, deepen reform of public-funded elderly-care organs, and improve precise investment by the government.

China’s elderly-care infrastructure is ill-equipped to deal with a fast-graying population, expected to hit 400 million by 2035, prompting Beijing to expedite reforms and draw up policies to speed up the development of the sector.

“The vitality of the elderly-care sector has not been adequately stimulated. Development has been unbalanced and inadequate, while supply is insufficient and quality of service remains low,” the State Council, or Cabinet, said in a statement.

The regulation requires the extending of channels for investing and financing, and achieving expanding employment and entrepreneurship.

Obstacles to the development of the sector must be removed, it said.

The regulation has made it clear that a long-term care and service system will be created while enabling public-funded elderly-care organs to play their due role, said Gao Xiaobing, vice minister of civil affairs, at a State Council news briefing.

In order to expand social capital in elderly-care services, the regulation pledged to streamline the procedures for the establishment of elderly-care organs, Gao said.

The government will cut fundraising costs for elderly-care institutions, and encourage others to raise capital through public listings and bond issues, the council said.

The government would also allow more insurance funds to invest in elderly-care projects, and encourage financial institutions to extend affordable loans to elderly-care service providers, it said.

Banks, trusts and other financial institutions will be supported to help them develop financial products that can meet the long-term needs of the elderly, the council added.

That will include greater access to bank loans for the elderly and more pension-targeted mutual funds to help people invest for retirement.

A system will be formed to recognize the skill of caregivers and provide them with more education and training opportunities, it said.

It also demanded the protection of the elderly rights and interests, while dealing with illegal fund-raising in the elderly-care sector.

Efforts should be made to advance high-quality elderly care and improve elderly-care facilities, it added.

At least 55 percent of the public welfare lottery funds by the local civil affairs authorities and local government should be used to support elderly care by 2022, the official said.

The number of people in China aged 60 and above has reached 250 million.

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