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The Singapore government announced today (Feb 16) that they will introduce a $900 million Household Support package for families in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
During his Budget 2021 speech, Deputy Prime Minister, Heng Swee Keat, shared that the package would include vouchers for each household. This is to help them meet their expenses as well as support small and local businesses. In addition, service and conservancy charges (S&CC) rebates, and goods and services tax (GST) vouchers will also be issued.
“This Household Support Package provides some support to all families, with lower- to middle-income families receiving more,” Mr Heng reportedly said.
Budget 2021: 1.3M Households To Receive $100 Community Development Council (CDC) Vouchers
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Mr. Heng also shared that about 1.3 million households will be given $100 Community Development Council (CDC) vouchers. The recipients can use the vouchers at heartland shops and at hawker centres.
“I hope that this new tranche of vouchers can bring more businesses to our hawkers and heartland shops,” he reportedly said. He also added that the government will also provide an additional S$150 million grant to the CDC for the said purpose.
“We will invest in our people so that they can bounce back and be ready for opportunities that arise, and we will invest in our businesses so they can innovate, build deep capacities and seize growth opportunities,” Mr Heng reportedly shared.
Government Thankful To Citizens For Their Sense Of Solidarity
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In his speech, the Deputy Prime Minister noted that this move is not only to thank Singapore citizens for their unwavering sense of solidarity, but also to support hawkers and heartland businesses, alike.
“Singaporeans’ sense of unity and discipline in observing the precautionary measures such as safe distancing and mask wearing has enabled our progress so far in combating the pandemic. The discipline and understanding of our local merchants and hawkers have also been important. However, they have been quite affected by the safety measures, especially during the circuit breaker,” he added.
Mr. Heng also shared that eligible Singaporean households in Housing Board flats will be given rebates in order to offset almost 1½ to 3½ months of S&CC.
When Should You Expect The Rebates To Kick Off
You can expect these rebates to kick off over the next four quarters – April, July, October, and January 2022. The government shared that almost 950,000 Singaporean households are likely to benefit from them.
Special Plans For Lower-income Groups
The Deputy Prime Minister also reportedly announced a stimulus for lower-income household.
He shared that from June this year, about 1.4 million lower-income Singaporeans will receive an additional GST Voucher-Cash Special Payment of $200. This will be on top of the regular GST Voucher cash payout.
Not only that, under the GST Voucher – U-Save Special Payment, almost 950,000 households will receive additional utilities rebates between $120 and $200. These rebates will be credited in April and July.
This means that the households in this group will receive about 1½ times their typical annual rebate.
Children To Also Benefit From Budget 2021
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Budget 2021 has also catered for Singaporean children.
Those below the age of 21 will receive a $200 top-up to their Child Development Account, Edusave account, or Post-Secondary Education Account. This stimulus is likely to help fund academic(-related) expenses and will benefit almost 780,000 children.
As the Deputy Prime Minister put it: this is to help parents as they “invest in their children’s future.”
This package comes on top of the stimulus relief introduced by the government. If you recall, last year—over five budgets—the government introduced urgent relief and multiple support measures for Singaporean families and workers. These included the Covid-19 Support Grant, the Solidarity Payment, Temporary Relief Fund, as well as grocery vouchers for the lower-income groups.
We Must Continue To Work Towards Strengthening Our Social Fabric
In his inspiring speech, Mr Heng emphasised on the inspiring way in which Singaporeans supported one another during the pandemic. He added that even in the face of adversity, all the citizens put up a united front.
“Social cohesion does not happen naturally. Even before Covid-19, many societies were facing sharp divisions due to widening inequalities, increasing diversity of interests and voices, and growing distrust. The pandemic has deepened the cracks in many societies,” said Mr. Heng.
But he also reiterated that all Singaporeans must still continue to work towards strengthening the social fabric and “reject forces of division and discord.”
You can check the Budget 2021 speech, here.