Budget 2021: Families receive a boost with $900 million support package
It includes GST vouchers and CDC vouchers that can be used at heartland shops and hawker centres
Families and workers received various relief and support measures - such as the Covid-19 Support Grant, Temporary Relief Fund and grocery vouchers for lower-income groups - over five Budgets last year.
Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat has assured families that given the uncertain economic situation, they will continue to get help in the form of the Household Support Package.
In his annual Budget statement in Parliament yesterday, Mr Heng said: "This Household Support Package provides some support to all families, with lower to middle-income families receiving more."
The $900 million package includes goods and services tax (GST) vouchers and service and conservancy charges (S&CC) rebates to provide short-term relief for Singaporean families.
Mr Heng, who is also Finance Minister, outlined a $107 billion Budget plan that included $24 billion to transform Singapore's companies and workers, and an $11 billion Covid-19 Resilience Package to tackle the ongoing pandemic.
As part of the Household Support Package, about 1.4 million Singaporeans from lower-income households will receive an additional one-off GST Voucher - Cash Special Payment of $200 in June, on top of the regular GST Voucher cash payout.
A GST Voucher - U-Save Special Payment of between $120 and $200 will be given to about 950,000 Housing Board households, it will be credited in April and July. This amounts to an additional 50 per cent U-Save rebate over one year.
About 950,000 Singaporean households living in HDB flats will also receive S&CC rebates to offset between 11/2 and 31/2 months of S&CC charges, over four quarters - in April, July, October and January next year.
About 780,000 Singaporeans below the age of 21 will also benefit, receiving a $200 top-up to their Child Development Account, Edusave account, or Post-Secondary Education Account, which can help fund education-related expenses.
The Household Support Package also aims to show support for heartland businesses and hawkers.
Mr Heng said that the discipline and understanding of local merchants and hawkers have been important in combating the pandemic.
To continue to support heartland businesses and hawkers and to thank Singaporeans for their sense of solidarity, $100 worth of Community Development Council (CDC) vouchers will be given to all Singaporean households, which can be used at participating heartland shops and hawker centres.
To fund this, an additional grant of $150 million will be provided to the CDCs, which will announce more details later.
Said Mr Heng: "I hope that this new tranche of vouchers can bring more business to our hawkers and heartland shops."
"Singaporean's 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 noted.
He also announced that more resources will be provided to the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) to expand Community Link (ComLink) into a nationwide programme to provide holistic support to more families.
Around 14,000 low-income families with children will benefit from the ComLink initiative over the next two years.
Currently, around 1,000 families are supported by ComLink, which was introduced in 2019.
It is one of MSF's key initiatives to support low-income families with children who are living in rental housing by providing proactive and integrated help coordinated across multiple agencies.
Families can also tap on other initiatives such as the Uplift and KidStart programmes for help.
More details will be provided in the debate on MSF's budget.
Household Support Package at a glance
- $200 additional one-off GST Voucher - Cash Special Payment for eligible Singaporeans
- $120 to $200 in GST Voucher - U-Save Special Payment for all eligible HDB households
- Extended Service and Conservancy Charge Rebates for all eligible households for another year, to offset between 1.5 and 3.5 months of charges
- $200 additional one-off top-up per Singaporean child through CDA, Edusave or PSEA, for families with children below the age of 21
- $100 CDC Vouchers for each Singaporean household, to be used at participating heartland shops and hawker centres