【明報專訊】THE government has revealed that the poverty rate has hit a nine-year high of 20.1%, with nearly 1.38 million people living in poverty. Although the government emphasises that its poverty alleviation efforts have produced good results, the poor population still stands at 1.01 million after taking into account the effects of cash welfare measures. Particularly worrying is that the number of children in poverty has risen rather than dropped after policy intervention, which is a wake-up call about intergenerational poverty. It is true that the government's social welfare expenditure has significantly increased in recent years. But what has happened in Europe and America has shown that wealth redistribution measures alone are not enough to narrow the gap between rich and poor and reverse the trend of wealth disparity worsened by free-market economics. Instead, the government must also approach the problem by means of tax, education and wage policies. Unequal educational opportunities have exacerbated the disparity between rich and poor. Children from low-income families commonly lack social as well as educational resources and live in poor conditions. The government should set up concrete targets for its vision and roll out more policies to help needy children.