SINGAPORE: In light of increasing living costs, the Singapore government has unveiled a fresh S$1.1 billion (US$800 million) cost-of-living support package.
Announced by Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong, this initiative is directed at bolstering the financial well-being of Singaporean households, focusing on the lower to middle income brackets.
Coming atop enhancements made to last year’s Assurance Package and the most recent updates from Budget 2023 in February, this new development ensures that qualified Singaporeans will receive up to S$800 in cash this December.
Additionally, households can anticipate a collective S$500 in Community Development Council (CDC) vouchers come 2024.
The latest package also rolls out supplementary U-Save rebates to counteract the recent surges in carbon tax and water prices.
Moreover, subsidies and vouchers will be introduced to mitigate the consequences of the public transport fare increments announced just a week ago.
The Ministry of Finance (MOF) highlighted that, despite a decrease in inflation from its pinnacle, Singaporean households are grappling with the ripple effects of price hikes across various domains.
This new support package earmarks a S$0.8 billion enhancement for the Assurance Package, pushing its total to a staggering S$10 billion.
Elaborating on the package, the Finance Ministry disclosed that roughly 2.5 million adult Singaporeans will benefit from a one-off additional cash sum of up to S$200 in December, inclusive of the preceding component from the Assurance Package.
This move is strategically designed to amplify support for adult Singaporeans, primarily those from the lower to middle-income range.
Residents earning an annual income of S$34,000 or less will gain up to S$200, supplementing the pre-existing S$600 slated for December disbursement.
Furthermore, every Singaporean household will be entitled to an extra S$200 in CDC vouchers in 2024, raising the total to S$500. These vouchers, valid throughout 2024, can be claimed from January 3 at go.gov.sg/cdcv.
As for rebates, nearly 950,000 households residing in Housing and Development Board (HDB) flats will receive a one-time 0.5-month service and conservancy charges (S&CC) rebate in January 2024.
According to MOF, this should effectively neutralize the S&CC hike for the initial year for most HDB flats.
Furthermore, these HDB households will also obtain an added S$80/year in U-save rebates over 2024-2025, targeting the anticipated carbon tax and water price escalations.
Public transport measures have also been introduced, with eligible households receiving S$50 transport vouchers to cope with the fare hikes announced by the Public Transport Council.
Closing his announcement, Mr Wong assured Singaporeans of the government’s unwavering support. He emphasized the collective responsibility of the nation to ensure mutual care and assistance as they navigate the economic challenges together.
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