Premier vows to improve housing conditions for the poor

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Li Keqiang pledged to improve housing conditions for the underprivileged and promote urbanization by accelerating shantytown reforms.

The overall condition of the Chinese economy has been stable since the start of this year and the government is determined to carry out measures that can ensure steady growth, restructure the economy and promise immediate as well as long-term benefits, according to a statement published after an executive meeting of the State Council presided over by Li on Wednesday.

"Reforming shantytowns is not only an important public welfare project, but also a significant development drive," the statement said.

The meeting promised that 10 million families living in rundown housing will get access to new housing within five years and 3.04 million of them will see new houses by the end of this year.

The project will boost investment and consumption, promote related industries, and improve people-oriented urbanization, it added, noting opportunities for enterprises and jobs will also ensue with its implementation.

The State Council said it will optimize investment agendas to allocate more funds for shantytown reforms and encourage financial institutions to strengthen loan support for such projects.

Qualified enterprises will be allowed to issue corporate bonds or medium-term notes to fund their shantytown renovation projects. They will also enjoy tax deductions or other favorable taxation policies.

In addition, the government will encourage and guide private businesses to take part in shantytown reforms, the statement said, adding that more land supplies will be arranged for renovation projects.

Residents of rundown houses will also have more options for compensation when their areas are renovated. Their choices will be respected and no forcible demolition will be tolerated, the government vowed.

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