SINGAPORE: People’s Action Party Sengkang GRC branch representative Ling Weihong has been busy bringing residents out for grocery shopping over two weekends in the project called ‘Let’s Go Shopping’ amidst the rising cost of living and the additional one per cent increase of GST to 8% this year.
The first outing was on Feb 20, Ling shared, “Everyone is impacted by rising costs of living, some more than others. This is one top concern we encounter during our house visits and walkabouts. So over the weekend, our team brought some families grocery shopping!”
He added that this grocery shopping supplements his PAP Sengkang team’s usual distribution of food packs, but it is more targeted and specific as residents can choose exactly what they need.
“Many chose to buy probiotic drinks and fresh milk. We will continue helping and serving our community to the best of our abilities,” added the private practice lawyer.
A week later, on Feb 26, Ling and his PAP party activists were on the ground again as they carried out their second instalment of project ‘Let’s Go Shopping’ with the residents.
“The Budget debates have been raging this week. While we can’t do much about global events which cause rising prices, we do our best to cushion its effects on our people, especially the vulnerable. Whether in Parliament or on the ground, the PAP will always do its best for Singapore and Singaporeans!” expressed Ling.
Ling added that he is grateful to speak with the residents and that there are always areas that they can improve on. But first, they must listen and understand, not just respond, with humility and an open heart.
During the recent Budget 2023 in Parliament, Finance Minister Lawrence Wong announced several ‘Enhancement Support Measures for Singaporeans’ to tide through this period of higher inflation and cushion the impact of the new GST rates, currently at 8% and will further increase to 9% in 2024.
One is the permanent GST Voucher, or GSTV scheme, which helps to permanently defray GST expenses for lower-to-middle-income Singaporeans. The second is the Assurance Package, which provides transitional support to all Singaporeans to cushion the impact of the higher GST rate.
For homes with annual values of $13,000 and below, the GSTV Cash quantum will be increased from $500 to $700 in 2023 to a further $850 from 2024 onwards. For homes with annual values above $13,000 and up to $21,000, the GSTV Cash quantum will be increased from $250 to $350 in 2023 and then to $450 from 2024 onwards.
The Assurance Package Cash will be increased by between $300 and $650 for eligible Singaporeans over the remaining years of the Assurance Package. This will bring adult Singaporeans’ total Assurance Package Cash payments to between $700 and $2,250 over five years. The CDC Vouchers will also be further increased by $100 in 2024. So all Singaporean households can look forward to another $300 CDC vouchers in January next year.
“These enhancements to the permanent GSTV scheme ensure that most retiree as well as lower-income households will not be impacted by the GST rate increase. As I have emphasised previously, under our GST system – which means the GST and the GSTV combined – the more well-off consumers, as well as foreigners and tourists, will bear higher effective GST rates than lower-income Singaporeans. This ensures that those with greater means contribute their fair share of taxes, and will effectively lower the burden of taxes on lower-and middle-income Singaporeans,” said Finance Minister Wong.
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