Parliament: Govt to provide additional support for newborns to help aspiring parents cope with Covid-19 impact

This one-off support measure comes on top of the Baby Bonus Cash Gift, which provides eligible parents up to $10,000 in benefits. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - There will be additional support for newborns to help aspiring parents who have postponed their plans to have children due to the financial uncertainty brought about by the pandemic, said Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat.

This one-off support measure comes on top of the Baby Bonus Cash Gift, which provides eligible parents up to $10,000 in benefits, he said in a ministerial statement on Monday (Oct 5).

Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Indranee Rajah, who looks after population matters, will share more details on this soon, he added.

In his statement, Mr Heng, who is also Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies and Minister for Finance, pledged to continue supporting households amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Financial aid under support schemes will continue to flow to households in the coming months, he said.

In October alone, for instance, eligible households will receive more rebates on their utility bills this month through the goods and services tax voucher (GSTV) U-Save scheme.

They will also get the first tranche of grocery vouchers and rebates on service and conservancy charges.

Eligible lower-income workers will also receive the next tranche of Workfare Special Payment in October - a $3,000 cash payout that will be given in two equal parts, he said.


Mr Heng also noted that despite efforts to help them, some firms, especially in the hardest-hit sectors, may not survive or may have to release their workers.

The Government will continue to support workers who have lost their jobs by helping them to acquire new skills and move into firms that are hiring, he pledged.

As of end-August, the National Jobs Council has curated 117,500 opportunities under the SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package, noted Mr Heng.

"This is good progress, but we must press on," he added. The council is working closely with companies to hire mid-career jobseekers looking to make a switch in their careers, and to redeploy workers in affected sectors to areas of need, such as healthcare and childcare.

It is also engaging companies to offer traineeships, company attachments, and training opportunities, he said.

"The key task now is to make sure that workers know of, and are successfully matched to these opportunities," said Mr Heng, adding that this is being done across multiple channels, including SGUnited Jobs and Skills Centres in HDB towns as well as trade associations and chambers.

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To help those who have lost their jobs, the Ministry of Social and Family Development has also recently extended the Covid-19 Support Grant, which helps Singaporeans who have been laid off or suffered significant income loss, to December.

Beyond this year, the Government is also studying support measures for self-employed people and workers who are most vulnerable, said Mr Heng.

Whether support schemes continue, and what form they will take, will depend on the labour market situation and economic outlook, he said, with one key consideration being the need to make a stronger link to helping individuals find a new job or to acquire new skills.

An update will be provided before the end of the year, he added.

Read highlights of DPM Heng Swee Keat's ministerial statement on Singapore's strategies to emerge stronger from the Covid-19 crisis.

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