Parliament last week witnessed a joint segment during the Budget debate by four ministries that focused on measures to mitigate income inequality and increase social mobility. The combined segment attested to the growing importance of these issues in the experiences and expectations that define the quality of life in Singapore. The parliamentary focus was on new and existing initiatives to help the less well-off across age groups. The official initiatives touch on the core areas of education and housing, where sectoral outcomes have wide national repercussions. Pre-school education has attracted additional government resources because it initiates the creation of a level playing field for tomorrow's adult citizens.
The provision of more after-school care, and the identification of disadvantaged students who could be matched with suitable community programmes, will benefit students who risk falling through the social cracks. Supporting young people with complex family issues will complement and expand those efforts. On the housing front, families living in four rental housing estates will enjoy greater coordinated support and customised services. Helping families living in rental flats buy their own homes is an important plank of Singapore's public housing programme, which seeks to give citizens a tangible stake in the country's prospects.