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Gerald Giam asks if gov’t plans to increase grants to Town Councils to cope with rising costs

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In a written reply Desmond Lee said that, “The Government will continue to monitor the larger macroeconomic environment, cost drivers affecting TCs, their income sources, and overall financial positions, and assess if further funding support is required”

SINGAPORE: Rising costs have been a key issue for many since last year, but this has been challenging on more than an individual level.

Workers’ Party MP Gerald Giam recently raised the issue in Parliament on behalf of Town Councils, asking the Minister for National Development, Mr Desmond Lee, if there are plans to raise grants given to Town Councils to keep up with higher costs.

“In recent years, many costs, including that of electricity, manpower, construction and maintenance services, have gone up significantly,” the Aljunied GRC Member of Parliament noted, also saying that every single Town Council in the country relies on grants from the government to offset their costs.

FB screengrab/ Mr Gerald Giam

The Minister answered on Jan 10, acknowledging that costs Town Councils face have indeed gone up.

While he did not pledge to raise grants given to Town Councils, he said that the Government would continue to monitor the situation.

“We understand TCs face higher costs due to higher energy prices, manpower costs, and costs of maintenance services. Such cost increases are not unique to Singapore and the Government has taken steps to partially cushion the impact on residents. To help TCs cope with costs, the Government provides grants such as the S&CC Operating Grant, Lift Maintenance Grant, GST Subvention Grant, and Lift Replacement Fund Matching Grant. Collectively, these grants to TCs amount to about $239 million a year.

The Government will continue to monitor the larger macroeconomic environment, cost drivers affecting TCs, their income sources, and overall financial positions, and assess if further funding support is required,” Mr Lee said in a written reply.

According to a recent YouGov poll, rising cost of living expenses, along with affordable housing, are the top two issues respondents in Singapore say they want the government to address.

/TISG

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