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Government Announces a Second $1.5 Billion Support Package Amidst Rising Costs and Inflation

The package will comprehensively cover the cost of living increase for lower-income households in 2022.
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By Shukry Rashid 14 Oct 2022
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The Government will fund an additional $1.5 billion support package that aims to provide relief to all Singaporean households, with more support for lower- and middle-income groups.

This package comes amidst sustained rising inflation and is on top of the $1.5 billion relief package announced in June 2022.

Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Lawrence Wong announced the support package on 14 October 2022.

Mr Wong said the new support package would fully cover the cost-of-living increase for lower-income households on average this year. For middle-income households, he said the package would cover more than half of the increase.

He added: “The duration and severity of inflation remains uncertain. But we expected it to continue to stay elevated for some time, at least until the middle of next year, before it gets better.

“And so, we must brace ourselves for higher prices over a longer period. With these developments, we now expect full-year inflation for 2022 to be around 6 per cent.”

The package will be funded by a better-than-expected fiscal outturn in the first half of the financial year of 2022 and will not draw on past reserves.

Help for Lower-income and Retirees

Mr Wong said that the Government is particularly concerned about lower-income Singaporeans and retirees with no income from work.

He said: “First, lower-income Singaporeans will find it difficult to cope with higher prices. Second, retirees who have no income from work. We have therefore designed the support package with these two groups in mind.”

These two groups are disproportionately impacted as their income may not be sufficient to cope with the rising cost of living, according to Mr Wong.

The measures in the package would also cover the middle-income segment and provide some help for all Singaporeans, he added.

Cost-of-living Special Payment

The package includes a special cost-of-living payment of up to $500 cash for 2.5 million eligible adults.

The special payment will be disbursed in December 2022, together with the Assurance Package for GST cash payout announced at Budget 2022.

Eligible individuals should have an Assessable Income (AI) for the Year of Assessment 2022 of $100,000 and below. In addition, they should not own more than one property.

Individuals with AI of $22,000 or less will get a special cost-of-living payment of $500. Those with an AI between $22,001 and $34,000 will receive $400, while those with AI between $34,001 and $100,000 will receive $300.

CDC Vouchers

Every Singaporean household will receive an additional $100 of CDC vouchers. The voucher will be disbursed in January 2023.

In total, Singaporeans will get $300 worth of CDC vouchers, inclusive of the $200 announced at Budget 2022 under the Assurance Package for GST.

The CDC vouchers will be allocated equally for spending at heartland shops and participating supermarkets.

Public Transport Vouchers

The Government will provide 600,000 vouchers worth $30 each for lower- and lower-middle-income households to help mitigate the impact of transport fare increase.

The vouchers will be given out to households with a monthly household income per person of not more than $1,600.

MOE Financial Assistance

The Ministry of Education will raise the income eligibility criteria for financial assistance schemes.

This will take effect from 1 January 2023 for primary, secondary and pre-university students, and from 1 April 2022 for post-secondary education institutions.

Mr Wong said that despite the uncertainties, Singapore has many things going well.

He said: “Amongst them a strong economy, solidarity and trust, a caring people and a strong spirit of generosity.

“We have much to be grateful for. And as long as we stay as one united people, I am confident we will get through the challenges ahead.”