SINGAPORE: During the recent parliamentary session, Ang Mo Kio GRC member of parliament Gan Thiam Poh inquired about the possibility of expanding the GST U-Save vouchers usage beyond its current scope of offsetting utilities expenses and potentially covering other living expenses such as the resident’s monthly service and conservancy charges.

In response, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Lawrence Wong emphasised the various support measures currently in place, with each measure fulfilling its intended purpose for every household’s needs.

“U-Save rebates are meant to offset households’ utilities expenses. U-Save rebates have no expiry date, and unutilised rebates can be rolled over to offset future utilities expenses.

For service and conservancy charges (S&CC), eligible households receive the GST Voucher – S&CC rebates, which offset between 1.5 and 3.5 months of S&CC each year,” said Deputy Prime Minister Wong in his reply to MP Gan.

Last month, the Ministry of Finance (MOF) announced that about 950,000 Singaporean households living in HDB flats will receive U-Save and S&CC rebates in January 2024.

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These rebates are part of the permanent GST Voucher scheme and the Assurance Package (AP), which are meant to help defray GST and provide cost-of-living support for lower- to middle-income households.

The rebates will be disbursed each year in April, July, October, and January. This will be the fourth quarterly disbursement for the financial year 2023.

More than 950,000 Singaporean HDB households to benefit from U-Save and S&CC rebates in January 2024
(Photo credit: Ministry of Finance)

Beyond the U-Save and S&CC rebates, DPM Wong underscored the broader range of government initiatives designed to ease Singaporeans’ living expenses. This includes cash handouts as well as the CDC vouchers scheme.

“The government has a range of support measures to help Singaporeans with their living expenses. These include the upcoming AP Cash and AP Cash Special Payment of $200 to $800 which all adult Singaporeans have received in December 2023, and $500 CDC Vouchers which all Singaporean households received in January 2024,” added DPM Wong.

Earlier this month, DPM Wong launched the CDC vouchers scheme as part of a comprehensive package that the government has implemented to cushion the effects of inflation.

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1.27 million Singaporean households will benefit from the $500 CDC vouchers per home. The scheme offers a broader spending choice and relief for local businesses, too, as only $250 can be spent at participating supermarkets, while the remaining sum has to be spent at hawkers and heartland merchants.

On Jan 15, the MOF announced that about 2 million Singaporeans would receive AP Seniors’ Bonus and AP MediSave (top-ups to their CPF Medisave account) in February 2024. This is part of the Assurance Package measures previously announced during Singapore’s Budget in 2022.

The Assurance Package aims to help Singaporeans tide through a period of higher inflation and cushion the impact of the GST rate increase from 8% to 9% at the start of 2024.

The AP measures include cash payments, rebates, CDC vouchers, and MediSave top-ups.