SINGAPORE: The Government will provide more support for families in housing, pre-school and post-secondary education, said Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat on Monday (Feb 20).
In delivering this year’s Budget statement, Mr Heng outlined three enhancements that he said will keep Singapore a great place for families.
CPF HOUSING GRANT INCREASED
For one, the Government will provide more subsidies for couples who buy their first HDB home from the resale market by increasing the CPF Housing Grant.
Currently, first-timer couples get S$30,000 when they buy a resale flat. With immediate effect, this amount will be increased to S$50,000 for couples who buy four-room or smaller resale flats, and S$40,000 for couples who buy five-room or larger resale flats.
“Together with the Additional CPF Housing Grant and Proximity Housing Grant, a couple can now receive a total of up to S$110,000 in housing grants when buying a resale flat, depending on the flat location, flat type and their income,” he said. “Other eligible first-timers will also benefit from some grant enhancement.”
Mr Heng said this will cost the Government an additional S$110 million per year. More measures to help young families get their first home will be announced by the Minister for National Development at the Committee of Supply (COS) debates, he added.
MORE CAPACITY FOR CENTRE-BASED INFANT CARE
Mr Heng also announced more support for families with infants, or children under 18 months of age.
Presently, about 4,000 or 8 per cent of all infants are enrolled in centre-based infant care. But in order to meet growing demand, the Government will increase the capacity of such centres to more than 8,000 places by 2020.
This is part of improvements to pre-school accessibility. Mr Heng explained that over the last five years, childcare places have been increased by more than 40 per cent to about 140,000. There are now enough places for more than half of all children between 18 months and six years of age, and all receive Government subsidies.
More details will be given by the Minister for Social and Family Development at the COS debates, he added.
ENHANCEMENTS TO POST-SECONDARY STUDENT BURSARIES
The Government will also increase annual bursary amounts for those in post-secondary education institutions.
For undergraduate students, the increase will be up to S$400, while diploma students will get an increase of up to S$350. Students in the Institutes of Technical Education will get an increase of up to S$200. Mr Heng added that existing bursaries for ITE students already more than cover their course fees.
The income eligibility criteria for such bursaries will also be revised in order to extend them to more families, he said, adding that about 12,000 more Singaporean students are expected to benefit. This will bring the total number of beneficiaries to 71,000.
In total, bursaries for students in post-secondary education institutions will increase from about S$100 million to S$150 million per year, he added.
More details will be given by the Ministry of Education at the COS debates.