About half of Singaporeans support Budget 2018 measures; concerns about GST: Poll

About half of Singaporeans support Budget 2018 measures; concerns about GST: Poll

A general view of the financial district skyline is reflected in a pond in Singapore
A view of the financial district skyline in Singapore. (Photo: AFP)

SINGAPORE: About half of Singaporeans surveyed in a REACH poll were supportive of the initiatives announced in Budget 2018, according to findings released by the Government's feedback unit on Tuesday (Apr 3). 

Out of 1,211 randomly Singapore citizens aged 20 and above that were surveyed over telephone, 51 per cent indicated that they were supportive of the initiatives announced at this year's Budget. 

REACH’s Budget 2018 feedback and engagement exercise was conducted from Feb 19 to Mar 4 this year to gauge Singaporeans’ reactions to Budget 2018, it said. 

Over the two-week exercise, REACH engaged more than 4,800 individuals online, over the phone and on the ground, it added. 

Among those polled in face-to-face engagements, 53 per cent were most concerned about the impending GST increase. Many, especially those in the middle-income group, voiced their concerns about the impact on the cost of living, REACH said. 

Slightly less than half, or 49 per cent, however agreed that it was reasonable for the Government to raise taxes to meet longer term expenditure in areas such as healthcare, infrastructure and security, the Government unit added. 

There was stronger support for some measures. Of those polled by phone, 83 per cent supported enhancements to the Proximity Housing Grant and 80 per cent agreed that the increase in annual Edusave contributions from the Government and higher annual amounts for pre-university students would provide "significant financial support" for lower- and middle-income households. Fifty-six per cent also agreed that measures such as the Utilities-Save rebate, and the extension of the Service & Conservancy Charges rebate would help households better cope with expenses.

Of the 1,600 Singaporeans engaged at six "Listening Points" around the island, 85 per cent also indicated strong support for the one-off SG Bonus, REACH said. 

REACH chairman Sam Tan said the results of the poll "show that Singaporeans largely welcomed the social measures in Budget 2018, in particular the initiatives to support families and individuals in building a caring society". 

“Singaporeans shared that the Budget 2018 initiatives could help build a more inclusive society and ensure that no one would be left behind, Mr Tan added. 

Source: CNA/mz/(db)