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Five things youths should know about the Emerging Stronger Together Budget 2021

The new budget aims to help Singapore emerge stronger as a community from COVID-19.

Celeste Lim

Yogurt lover with a Spotify playlist for every mood.


Published: 16 February 2021, 7:03 PM

In his Budget 2021 speech in Parliament on Tuesday (Feb 16) Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat revealed a range of plans and packages to help Singapore emerge stronger from COVID-19.

Here are five things you should know about the Emerging Stronger Together budget.

1. The GST hike will happen between 2022 to 2025

While the GST will not be increased this year, you can expect the rise to take place between 2022 to 2025.

To cushion the impact of the GST hike on lower income families, a $6 billion Assurance Package will be implemented. Singaporeans living in three-room HDB flats or smaller will also receive 10 years worth of additional GST expenses incurred.

Additionally, GST will be extended to include low-valued imported items costing up to $400 from Jan 1, 2023 onwards.

 

The GST being extended to include imports ensures a level playing field for local businesses to compete efficiently. PHOTO CREDIT: KAROLINA GRABOWSKA

2. Receiving vouchers under the Household Support Package

During this period of economic uncertainty, $900 million will be delegated to provide support to families.

This year, lower- and middle-income Singaporeans who qualify will receive a one-off $200 Cash Special Payment vouchers in June, while eligible HDB households will receive U-Save Special Payment vouchers between $120 and $200 in Apr and Jul.

Each Singaporean household will also receive $100 in Community Development Council vouchers, which are to be used at participating heartland shops and hawker centres.

3. Support for targeted communities

For low-wage workers and mature workers (aged 40 and above), the Senior Worker Early Adopter Grant and Part-time Re-employment Grant will increase by more than $200 million.

As for persons with disabilities, the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) has announced the creation of 1,200 jobs and training opportunities.

 

Mature workers, persons with disabilities and ex-offenders will be given up to 18 months of enhanced wage support. MARTEN BJORK VIA UNSPLASH

 

The Inclusive Support Programme aims to support children with special needs by integrating the provision of early intervention and early childhood services. This will help them develop social skills.

The budget will also allocate more resources to MSF to develop Community Link, an initiative that helps families and children living in rental flats.

4. More sustainability efforts

To tackle the effects of climate change, such as disrupted food production, there will be a $60 million used for the Agri-Food Culture Transformation Fund.

Electric vehicles will also be promoted, with $30 million put in for electric vehicle-related initiatives, including more charging infrastructure for electric vehicles.

To discourage the use of internal combustion engine vehicles, petrol duty is to be raised with immediate effect. Intermediate grade petrol will increase by 10 cents per litre, while premium grade petrol will increase by 15 cents per litre.

In an effort to promote the usage of public transport, $60 billion will be set aside to expand and renew the rail network.

 

Mr Heng said that a car-lite society is still the main goal, as public transport is the cleanest mode of transport. PHOTO CREDIT: SG GREEN PLAN

5. Job support under SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package

To support people whose jobs or incomes have been affected by the pandemic, an additional $5.4 billion will be added to the second trance of the SGUnited Jobs and Skills package.

Of that amount, $5.2 million will be allocated to the Jobs Growth Initiative, which will be used to support employers to hire more local workers. The additional money will be used to extend the qualifying window for new local hires by seven months, until Sep 2021.

The duration of wage support for mature local hires, persons with disabilities and ex-offenders will also be extended by up to six months.


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