All HDB coffee shops to offer budget meal options by 2026
Budget meals at coffee shops offering them now are typically priced at around S$3 to S$3.50.
SINGAPORE: All coffee shops leased from the Housing and Development Board (HDB) will have to offer budget meal options to diners by 2026, said Senior Minister of State for National Development Sim Ann on Thursday (Mar 2).
Ms Sim was speaking in Parliament during the Ministry of National Development's (MND) Committee of Supply debate.
While the requirement for budget meals has been in place since 2018 for new coffee shops let out by HDB, it will now be extended to all other HDB coffee shops.
All rental coffee shops up for renewal from May this year will have to provide four budget meals and two budget drinks as a condition for the renewal of their three-year tenancy.
“This will make the availability of cheaper food options in coffeeshops more certain and pervasive,” said Ms Sim.
Budget meals must be full meal options and not side dishes or snacks, and must be from two or more different stalls.
In addition, two of the budget meals must be rice-based, and at least one must be halal. There must be a minimum of two budget drinks – kopi-o (black coffee) and teh-o (black tea).
For the existing 72 coffee shops that already offer budget meals, the requirement is slightly different. They are required to provide six budget food dishes, which must include economic rice with two vegetables and one meat, chicken rice, fishball noodles and mee rebus.
Budget meals at coffee shops offering them now are typically priced at around S$3 to S$3.50, and basic drinks cost around S$1 to S$1.15, across various estates.
The new tenancy requirements mean that budget meals will be offered at all 374 coffee shops under HDB by 2026. This is nearly half of all coffee shops located in HDB estates now, excluding 402 that are owned and managed by private operators.
The housing authority said it will offer a rental discount of 5 per cent off the renewal rents for a period of one year, from the time that the budget meal requirement is in place.
Other schemes were also announced to revitalise the heartlands, and promote entrepreneurship and inclusive businesses in public housing estates.
The Revitalisation of Shops scheme will be enhanced by reducing the co-payment from retailers for upgrading their shopping environment.
Currently, owners co-fund 20 per cent of the upgrading costs, capped at S$5,000. This will be reduced to 5 per cent of the upgrading costs, and HDB will increase its co-funding share to 85 per cent, while the town council pays 10 per cent.
The total budget for upgrading works will remain unchanged at S$35,000 per shop.
Innovative businesses, social enterprises and businesses with inclusive hiring practices will also get more incentives to set up shop in the heartlands.
For example, eligible start-ups will get a 10 per cent rental discount for their first three-year tenancy. They will also be allocated shop spaces from more towns, as the scheme currently only allocates them to new neighbourhood centres.
"This will help to refresh and boost the range of goods and services offered in HDB estates," the Housing Board said.
Social enterprises will get an increase in rental discount from 20 per cent to 30 per cent for two three-year tenancies. Up to 30 shop spaces will be available each year, double the current 15 units.
Addressing concerns from MPs about cost increases town councils are facing, Ms Sim said that town councils have been “doing their part” to raise Service and Conservancy Charges periodically, even as they look for opportunities to raise productivity and save costs.
But the Government recognises that costs have risen sharply, partly due to external factors, such as the spike in energy prices.
The Government is prepared to consider temporary “special funding support” to cushion the potential impact on residents, she said.