$1.1b Cost-of-Living Package: Up to $200 for 2.5m S’poreans, extra $200 CDC vouchers for S’porean households
Some 2.5 million adult Singaporeans will receive an additional cash payout of up to $200 in December, and every Singaporean household will receive $200 in Community Development Council (CDC) vouchers in 2024 to help cope with the rising cost of living.
These support measures, among others, are part of a $1.1 billion Cost-of-Living Support Package to provide relief for all Singaporean households, with more support for lower- to middle-income families. They build on the measures announced at Budget 2023.
The measures also include a $0.8 billion enhancement to the Assurance Package (AP) that will bring the AP to over $10 billion.
Announcing the support package on Thursday, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Lawrence Wong acknowledged that many Singaporeans are anxious about the overall economic outlook, price increases and the impact on their cost of living.
“The Government is committed to supporting Singaporeans through these uncertain times,” said Mr Wong, adding that the Government will not be dipping into the past reserves for this package.
“As Prime Minister said at the National Day Rally recently, the Ministry of Finance has been studying how we can do more, to provide better support for Singaporeans.”
He noted that the measures will cushion the impact of higher utility bills arising from the increases in water price, and also the upcoming increase in carbon tax.
AP Cash Special Payment
The additional payment of up to $200 cash for 2.5 million eligible adult Singaporeans will be disbursed in December 2023, together with the existing AP cash component.
In total, eligible adult Singaporeans will receive up to $800 cash in December 2023, and will provide more support to lower- and middle-income adult Singaporeans.
For Singaporeans aged 21 and above in 2024, who own up to one property and have an assessable income of $34,000 or less for the Year of Assessment 2022, they will receive an additional $200, on top of the $600 under the earlier announced AP cash payment.
For those in this group who have an assessable income of between $34,000 and $100,000, they will receive an additional $150 on top of the $350 payout from the existing AP.
Those who own more than one property, or have an assessable income of more than $100,000 will not receive an additional payout under the AP cash special payment, but will receive $200 from the existing AP cash component.
Every Singaporean household will get an additional $200 in CDC vouchers in 2024, bringing the total amount of CDC vouchers for each Singaporean household to $500 in 2024.
The $200 additional CDC vouchers will be spilt in half, with $100 of these vouchers allocated for spending at participating heartland merchants and hawkers, and $100 for spending at participating supermarkets.
The 2024 CDC vouchers should be claimed digitally at go.gov.sg/cdcv from Jan 3, 2024. The vouchers can be claimed at any time during their validity period. They will expire at the end of 2024.
Service and conservancy charges (S&CC) rebates
Some 950,000 Singaporean HDB households will get an additional one-off 0.5-month of S&CC rebate disbursed in January 2024, together with the regular S&CC rebates.
This will, on average, fully offset the S&CC increase in the first year of increases for 1- to 4-room HDB flats and about 85 per cent for larger HDB flats, said MOF.
The 950,000 Singaporean HDB households will also receive an additional $20 per quarter of U-Save rebates from January 2024 to December 2025, or a total of $80 per year for two years.
These rebates will be disbursed together with the regular U-Save rebates, and will cushion the impact of the increases in the carbon tax and water price in 2024 and 2025.
Over these two years, the additional U-Save rebates will, on average, fully offset the increase in utility bills for 1- to 2-room HDB flats.
For 3- to 4-room HDB flats, it will offset about 80 per cent of the increase in utility bills, and for larger flats it will offset about 65 per cent of the increase in utility bills.
Public transport support measures
There will be additional subsidies of about $300 million in 2024 to cover the deferred fare adjustment quantum of 15.6 per cent that will be carried over to future fare review exercises, as announced by the Public Transport Council on Sept 18.
This additional subsidy helps to moderate the fare increase and pay for the higher costs of providing public transport services due to the continued increase in energy prices in 2022, core inflation, and strong wage growth, said the Ministry of Finance.
Resident households with a monthly household income per person of not more than $1,600 will each receive Public Transport Vouchers worth $50.
The vouchers, which will be disbursed from end-December 2023, can be used to top up fare cards or buy monthly travel or concession passes.
On Thursday, Mr Wong said that while the GST increase was already planned for, there were certain things that were not planned, such as some of the recent price increases, and “also the more uncertain economic outlook, possible disruptions to energy and food supplies... and the uncertainties in the global environment.”
He said the Government has been monitoring income growth very closely, and there is a likelihood that this year real income growth will moderate, because employers are more cautious in their salary increments.
“These are the considerations that motivate us to consider whether or not there ought to be more help for Singaporeans, particularly households and families at the lower and middle income segments,” he added.
“And we’ve decided after looking at all the factors, looking at our fiscal position, we will be able to provide within our budget for such an additional package.”
He assured Singaporeans that the Government will continue to be there for them, and support them every step of the way.
“As long as we continue to be responsible for one another and keep a lookout for each other, we can overcome the challenges again and move forward together.”