Every year, the Government has to evaluate competing priorities in planning its annual Budget spending. Here are three items that Singapore households want to see in this year's Budget, based on interviews by The Straits Times and feedback given on the Reach portal:
1. Transport subsidies. Last month, the Government announced concessions on public transport fares for low-wage workers and disabled individuals, which are expected to benefit about 450,000 people in total.
But some low-income workers say the 15 per cent discount they will receive from July 6 this year is not a significant reduction in transport costs, which often make up a large part of their monthly spending. They are hoping for more transport grants in the Budget.
Those who earn more than the $1,900 monthly income cap to qualify as a low-wage worker will also not be eligible for the transport concessions, and will bear the full hit of the recently-announced hikes in train and bus fares. For breadwinners supporting their families on a single income of just above $1,900 a month, transport costs can be a considerable struggle.
2. Education boosts. The cost and quality of education in Singapore is a concern to many students and their parents.
Lower-income families would appreciate more help with the cost of schooling and extra-curricular materials. Some have also called for more assistance through broader subsidies and the use of Central Provident Fund savings to pay for pre-school to university education, according to Reach.
3. Help with the cost of raising a family. Some Singaporeans, especially those with young children, have asked for help with the cost of raising a family in Singapore, They would like to see the maid levy reduced or eliminated for families with young children and for elderly people requiring a caregiver.
Other suggestions to help households cope with the relatively high cost of living in Singapore include more tax rebates and higher tax deductions, based on feedback given to Reach. A handful have also wished for a repeat of last year's income tax relief measure.