In light of recent worries on the increased cost of living, fare increases and an impending GST hike, Singaporeans are afraid of having to weather the storm alone.
To every problem, there’s a solution – and Singapore has proven herself worthy of weathering such conditions. Here are some things that have been done through the years to help cushion the impact of the GST hike.
Government relief packages
The Government rolled out offset packages that included cash payouts, utilities, conservancy and rental rebates, and other subsidies.
The 2002 Budget saw an offset package worth $3.6 billion in Economic Restructuring Shares for eligible Singapore citizens aged above 21.Shares worth between $600 and $1,400 were disbursed over three years.
NTUC’s symbiotic relationship with the government, and how this relationship helped in providing support for Singaporean workers
NTUC, who first started representing low-wage workers, is looking at providing better support for all workers across all walks of life, with a focus on youth and women. This includes providing wage support and employment credits, upgrading opportunities, and job matching services.
Here are some other examples of social transfers that NTUC has always had in place to uplift vulnerable workers:
NTUC Care Fund
The NTUC Care Fund (e-Vouchers) is an assistance programme which aims to assist our low-income union members to defray their cost of basic necessities and their children’s school expenses for the new school year. Eligible members will receive one e-voucher, for use on daily necessities and/or school-going necessities for the new school year.
CapitaLand – U Care Resilience & Enablement Fund (CAP+Ure Fund)
In the 2007 Budget, the GST offset package comprised cash payouts called GST credits, a senior citizens’ bonus over four years, and top-ups to the Public Transport Fund for lower-income households.
CAP+Ure Fund targets to provide interim financial support for low-to-medium income union members who are impacted by sudden loss of income. The funds would be disbursed to help an estimated 2,500 children over 2 years or when the funds are fully drawn down, whichever is earlier. To ensure that the needs of the children are not compromised, each child will receive a one-time disbursement of S$250 worth of FairPrice vouchers to provide for their daily necessities and schooling needs.
U Care Hardship Grant
The U Care Hardship Grant provides a one-off assistance to low-income union members in the event that the member suffers hardship arising from one of the following circumstances which is of a non-industrial nature.
At the same time, NTUC is working with tripartite partners to strengthen protections for self employed persons working for online platforms e.g. delivery persons, private-hire car drivers and taxi drivers. NTUC Secretary-General Ng Chee Meng also affirms his support through a Facebook message and on ground engagement sessions with delivery riders.
Affirming support for all Singaporeans as we move forward in 2022
So for 2022, what now? Minister of Finance, Mr Lawrence Wong shared a teaser into what to expect for the upcoming Budget 2022 announcements, reassuring Singaporeans that support packages will be rolled out to help the country cope with these changes and challenges.
In the video, Mr Wong shared that there will be transitional measures to cushion the impact of the GST increase. The Government will also permanently enhance the GST Voucher scheme to better support lower-income families. Look out for more details in the Budget statement, which will be delivered in Parliament on Feb 18 2022 at 3.30pm.
Editing is my work.