SINGAPORE: More than half of Singaporeans welcomed Budget 2017’s initiatives to support families and build a more inclusive society, but many disagreed with the move to increase water prices, according to Government outreach portal REACH.
A total of 1,111 randomly selected Singapore citizens aged 20 and above were polled by phone over 10 days, REACH said in a press release on Wednesday (Mar 22).
Overall, 52 per cent of Singaporeans polled said they supported the measures. Eight in 10 welcomed the increase in post-Secondary education bursaries, while seven in 10 agreed that the increase in CPF housing grant for first-time buyers of resale flats would help support young families.
Two-thirds of respondents also welcomed an increase in the number of infant care places, while 72 per cent agreed that the Third Enabling Masterplan would help those with disabilities integrate better into society.
More than half of those polled also supported the jobs and skills-related initiatives, REACH said.
However, nearly half – or 43 per cent – of respondents disagreed with the move to raise water prices. About 32 per cent agreed with the move while 24 per cent said they were neutral, according to REACH.
At REACH’s listening points – open booths in public areas for people to give feedback to the Government – many Singaporeans said they were unhappy about the price hike. But after explanations by the Government, more people accepted the increase, REACH said.
“They understood the rationale behind the move and accepted that water is vital to our country’s survival and that it should be priced properly,” it said.
Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office and for Manpower Sam Tan, who is also REACH chairman, said the Government understood Singaporeans’ concerns.
“For those who are affected by the rising costs, there are measures to help households through the increase in U-Save rebates. We also hear the suggestions of some Singaporeans to improve communication on the water increase, and to do more public education so that everyone can work collectively to understand the need for water conservation.”