SINGAPORE: A S$1.6 billion Care and Support Package for households to help them with expenses “during this period of uncertainty” was announced by Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat on Tuesday (Feb 18).
“This year, with the economic slowdown and the uncertainties of the COVID-19 outbreak, we are mindful that many families are facing greater pressures. During my fellow MPs’ and my own walkabouts, people often tell us that they are worried about job security and rising expenditures,” he said in his Budget speech.
All Singaporeans aged 21 and above this year will receive a one-off cash payout of S$300, S$200 or S$100, depending on their income. Cash payouts will also be given to families with children and elderly parents.
Every adult Singaporean with a child aged 20 and below will receive another S$100 cash payout, while Singaporeans aged 50 years and above will receive a S$100 PAssion Card top-up.
All eligible Housing and Development Board (HDB) households will also receive a one-off Goods and Service Tax Voucher (GSTV) - U-Save Special Payment, which will double their annual GSTV - U-Save. Eligible households with five or more members will receive two-and-a-half times their regular GSTV - U-Save.
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The GSTV - U-Save rebates are given out every three months to help HDB households with their utility bills.
Mr Heng added that the Service and Conservancy Charges Rebates will be extended by another year.
“Eligible HDB households will receive rebates of between one-and-a-half and three-and-a-half months,” he said.
Service and Conservancy Charges are fees payable to the town council each month to cover the cost of maintaining the HDB estate, with rates differing by flat type.
Lower-income Singaporeans will receive more help with daily living expenses, said Mr Heng.
Transport fare increases will be cushioned by a Workfare Transport Concession Scheme and a Public Transport Voucher announced in October 2019.
The Workfare Transport Concession Scheme gives lower-wage workers under the Workfare Income Supplement scheme 15 per cent discount of adult fares. Public Transport Vouchers worth S$50 were made available for one in five resident households last year.
The Government will also provide a Workfare Special Payment, with Singaporeans on Workfare receiving 20 per cent more for work done in 2019, in cash. The minimum payment is S$100.
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Grocery vouchers of S$100 will also be given out to needy Singapore households in 2020 and 2021, to be used at major supermarkets. "This directly helps needy households with one of their major cost of living items – food," said Mr Heng.
Funds will also be disbursed to Self-Help Groups and Community Development Councils (CDCs) to allow them to do more for the community.
Self-help groups will receive a S$10 million grant over two years, while CDCs will receive S$20 million.
“Together, the Care and Support Package will provide a young family with about S$1,300. A three-generation family can receive more – about S$1,800,” said Mr Heng.