All working adults will get a boost from this Budget, in terms of savings on taxes, CPF changes and training opportunities.
In particular, the newest initiative, SkillsFuture, will be a "new phase of investment in our people", said Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam.
CREDITS AND AWARDS
Those aged 25 years and above will receive a SkillsFuture credit of $500 to take up courses of their choice from next year.
There will be further regular top-ups, and the credits, which can be used only for education and training, will not expire.
Each year, 2,000 SkillsFuture awards will be given out to support those who want to develop specialist skills such as software developing, satellite engineering and master craftsmanship.
There will also be 100 SkillsFuture fellowship a year to support those already with deep specialist skills and wish to develop other competencies such as business and cross-cultural skills.
Those aged 40 years and above will receive additional subsidies for training and education. At least 90 per cent of training costs for courses funded by the Ministry of Education and Singapore Workforce Development Agency will be subsidised.
PERSONAL INCOME TAX
To help the middle-income, there will be a personal income tax rebate of 50 per cent (capped at $1,000) this year - benefitting about 1.5 million taxpayers.
The tax system will be increasingly progressive, and the top 5 per cent of income earners will pay more taxes. Changes will take effect from 2017.
The SkillsFuture credit scheme is an innovative way of underpinning the importance of skills upgrading for Singaporeans. More importantly, it clearly empowers the individual to take charge of the nature and timing of enhancing and upgrading his or her own skills. The Government clearly feels that the individual best knows his own training needs.
- Mr Alan Lau, tax partner at audit firm KPMG
I want to do something that can help in my work or even a language course. The credit should also take inflation into account. I think I will spend the $500 as soon as I get it, as I don't know when the next top-up will be. But I will not choose an expensive course.
- Ms Macy Liu, 25, works in the supply chain and logistics industry, and is pursuing a Masters of Science at National University of Singapore