While delivering the Budget speech earlier today (Feb. 18), Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat outlined different packages that the government will roll out to help different segments of the population, especially amidst Covid-19-related economic uncertainties.
S$6 billion Assurance Package
In his speech, Heng announced that the government will not be raising GST in 2021, but will do so by 2025.
When the GST is raised, however, there will be a S$6 billion package for Singaporeans to cushion the increase as they transition to the higher GST rate.
Under this package, every adult Singaporean will receive a cash payout of S$700 to S$1,600 over a period of five years.
The package is intended to benefit Singaporeans, with a majority of Singaporean households receiving offsets to cover at least five years’ worth of additional GST expenses.
Lower income households will also receive much more, with those living in one to three room HDB flats to receive offsets equivalent to about 10 years’ worth of additional GST expense incurred.
Heng emphasised that this will be on top of the permanent GST Voucher scheme which will be enhanced to offset GST when it is raised.
S$1.6 billion Care and Support package for households
Referencing the economic slowdown and uncertainties amidst the Covid-19 outbreak, Heng also announced a Care and Support package for households amounting to S$1.6 billion.
All adult Singaporeans will benefit.
This package, intended to help Singaporeans with their household expenditures, involves all Singaporeans aged 21 and above in 2020 receiving a one-off cash payout of S$300, S$200 or S$100 depending on their income.
In addition, Heng said that they will be doubling the amount of U-Save rebates through a one-off GST voucher to all eligible households. The Service and Conservancy Charges Rebate, where eligible households receive up to three and a half months of rebates, will also be extended for another year.
For the needy in Singapore, Heng announced that they will receive Grocery Vouchers worth S$100 each year in 2020 and 2021 for use at major supermarkets.
For families taking care of children and elderly parents, every adult Singaporeans with at least one Singaporean child aged 20 years and below in 2020 will receive S$100.
All Singaporeans aged 50 and above are also eligible to receive a S$100 top-up to their PAssion card. Those without a PAssion card may get one for free to receive the top-up.
An additional GST voucher, U-Save rebate, will be provided for larger households (with five or more members) to help them with utilities bills.
Silver Support cash payouts
Silver Support currently provides cash payouts to the bottom 20 per cent of Singaporeans aged 65 and above, with some support for those slightly above the bottom 20 per cent.
In his speech, Heng said that quarterly cash payouts will be raised by 20 per cent.
He also said that he will be broadening the eligibility criteria of this scheme, and include a new payout tier to provide a smaller payout to seniors whose monthly household income per person are above S$1,300 but do not exceed S$1,800. Currently, these seniors do not receive support.
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