Your Letters

Provide parents with more financial relief and subsidies

I agree that most couples in Singapore want to achieve a higher standard of living, and covet items such as cars and overseas trips ("Tackling S'pore's baby shortage"; last Sunday).

As for those who are married, financial issues, whether perceived or real, seem to weigh heavily.

The report cited the example of 27-year-old Ms Low Jia Xin, who plans to have only one child and hopes to quit her job and stay at home when the stork delivers.

Ms Low feels it is important to be there for the child, but this also means the family's disposable income will decrease.

The Government should try to encourage women like Ms Low to have more babies, by ensuring that their disposable incomes would not be significantly reduced if they were to quit their jobs.

Areas that the Government could look into include higher subsidies for housing, transport and living expenses. This will help to set up a financial safety net for these parents.

For Ms Low's case, introducing a Family Child Relief scheme, where couples can channel more of their income to providing for their children, will help.

The relief should be a recurring and incremental percentage similar to the Working Mother's Child Relief scheme.

In this way, people like Ms Low will not feel short-changed should they decide to quit their jobs or take up a part-time post.

Hopefully, this will remove one of the obstacles faced by couples today.

Ivan Goh Sian Lung

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on February 21, 2016, with the headline 'Provide parents with more financial relief and subsidies'. Print Edition | Subscribe