Excited about housing grants and increased paternity leave: Singaporean youths react to Budget 2023
Youths felt the additional ballot for selected first-timer BTO applicants and the additional $30,000 in grants for resale flats gave them more options in securing a home.
Singaporeans will receive additional support to cushion the GST hike, announced Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Lawrence Wong during the Budget 2023 speech on Tuesday (Feb 14).
This will come in the form of increased cash payouts by between $300 and $650 under the Assurance Package – Cash; up to $700 in 2023, and $850 in 2024 under the GST Vouchers – Cash; and a one-off Cost of Living Special Payment of up to $400 in 2023.
This year’s budget highlights also include more paternity leave days, and $30,000 more in housing grants for first-timer families buying resale flats.
Youthopia spoke to five youths to hear their views on Budget 2023.
Letting fathers spend time with their family is crucial
“What stood out to me in Budget 2023 was the Government-paid paternity leave being increased to 4 weeks. Though none of the policies mentioned affect me directly I think that encouraging fathers to take paternity leave to spend time with their families is crucial.
“Remembering my childhood days, I was fortunate enough that my dad could take leave from work to spend time with me and my family. I really appreciated that he played his part as a father and helped my mother with taking care of us and other household needs.
“His constant presence and being there for me, I would say, shaped my development into the caring and compassionate person that I am today.
“Even though as a young baby I could not remember everything he did for me, just him being there for the little things allowed me to be more connected with him and my family, which is something so important to me now as a young adult.” – Santa Maria Rebecca Julia, 20, Student
Paternity leave should be further increased
“I don’t think the increased baby bonus cash gift motivates me as I have always wanted to have five children.
“It’s great the Government is handing us $11,000 for the first-child to encourage us to start a family as it can help to ease the cost of living. However, raising a child in Singapore isn’t cheap, and with necessities like milk powders and diapers being so expensive, I am not sure how long that can last me.
“As for the paternity leave being increased to four weeks, I think there’s room for improvement. Germany grants fathers up to 14 months of paid leave at 65 per cent of their salary, and yet we are only given four weeks here. This isn’t enough to play an active role in my newborn’s life as my soon-to-be wife may need a lot of help in the first few weeks after delivery.” – Lesly Chia, 30, HR executive
Assured of better chances to get a BTO in future
“Although I am not affected by any of the policies yet, as an individual that likes to plan early, the policies allow me to feel assured that I would have a higher chance of getting a Built-To-Order (BTO) flat when the time comes.
“I am sure many of us who genuinely want a flat to live in sometime in the future would feel assured that we have better chances of acquiring a BTO, compared with those intending to rent out their flat only for monetary gains.” – Jordan Tan, 20, Student
Housing grants make resale flats a stronger option
“Increasing the grants for resale flats is a great thing because many of us are struggling to get a ballot number when we apply for a BTO flat. This is now another choice that I can consider, should my partner and I be unsuccessful for the fourth time applying for a BTO.
“Resale flats are generally more expensive than BTOs and I never wanted to think of purchasing one, but with the additional $30,000 from the CPF Housing Grant, I may change my mind if I still can’t secure a ballot number in the next BTO cycle.” – Brandon Lim, 27, Senior risk consultant
Hopes more aid can be given to lower-income families
“I am grateful that the Government has been actively rolling out these packages and incentives to cushion the GST increase.
“I come from a single-income family and, as a student, the $300 additional vouchers that my family will receive in January 2024 can help with our weekly grocery runs and even to grab lunch or dinner at hawker centres.
“However, I believe that more help should be extended to lower-income families as the current funds can only do so much to defray costs, especially in the long term.” – Nur Shaheerah, 25, Student
Additional Reporting by Seif Umar