Singapore—Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat announced the Government’s support for families and seniors in this year’s national Budget.
Mr Heng announced the three-pronged approach to providing this support: stronger efforts to support families, empower seniors in their retirement years, and encourage a stronger giving culture to support others in need.
He started by saying that in the area of education, the Government is doubling spending in the early childhood sector, now amounting to over S$2 billion per year.
And for older students, the MOE Financial Assistance Scheme also received a boost. The annual bursary quantum for pre-university students has been raised from S$900 to S$1,000, with a total of S$9 million added into the Budget for this.
All students will also have increased transport subsidies, and a raise in school meals subsidies will also be given to secondary school students. The bursaries for full-time ITE students from Academic Year 2020 will also be enhanced.
Referring again to the current situation of economic uncertainty, the Deputy Prime Minister announced that the Government will also help all Singaporeans with their household expenses by providing a Care and Support Package for households, which will totals around S$1.6 billion. This means that lower-income Singaporeans will get additional help for their daily living expenses.
Mr Heng also said that this year, the Government would provide a further S$100 cash payout for all Singaporean adults who have at least one Singaporean child aged 20 years and younger.
Moreover, there will also be an additional GST Voucher, a U Save rebate for larger households of five or more members. This is aimed to help defray the cost of utility bills. “Together with the U-Save Special Payment, larger households can receive a total of 2.5 times their regular U-Save rebates over the next year.”
As for Singaporeans aged 50 and above, they will be given a S$100 top-up to the Passion Card. Pioneer Generation and Merdeka Generation seniors will also receive this.
Three measures will be introduced to provide seniors with more support: “More help for Singaporeans to tap on housing assets, the Introduction of the Matched Retirement Savings Scheme, and enhance the Silver Support Scheme,” which provides lower-income seniors with greater assistance for their retirement needs.
For the Matched Retirement Savings Scheme, all cash top-ups to an eligible Singaporean’s CPF account will be eligible for the matched savings.
Mr Heng reiterated the government’s commitment to support active ageing, financial assurance in the retirement years, and support Singaporeans at whatever stage of life. —/TISG
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