No need for baby gifts, just subsidise childcare

Giving gift sets to babies born last year and this year may not be the most efficient use of limited resources (Born after SG50? There'll still be gift for you; April 7).

The emphasis seems to be on providing a keepsake, rather than practicality.

The budget allocated for the production of the gift sets could instead be channelled into areas where it is needed more, such as childcare services.

There is increasing demand for these services. The number of childcare centres has also risen.

This has led to competition among childcare service providers for the limited rental space. Many landlords also take advantage of the demand to raise rents, the cost of which is passed on to the parents.

Considering that many families are dual-income households, childcare is a necessity.

The money from the baby gift sets could be given as subsidies to childcare providers to cover the cost of increasing rents. This would delay increases in childcare fees in the short run, and provide childcare providers with ample time to notify parents of fee increases.

In the long run, the Government may want to consider imposing a price ceiling to ensure fees for childcare services are kept affordable.

Cordelia Bernadine Krishnan (Miss)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 20, 2017, with the headline 'No need for baby gifts, just subsidise childcare'. Print Edition | Subscribe