HELP’S AT HAND: FOR FAMILIES, AND COST OF LIVING

Singapore Budget 2020: $350m leg-up for social service agencies

A new scheme will be introduced to help firms that employ those with disabilities.
A new scheme will be introduced to help firms that employ those with disabilities.PHOTO: ST FILE

To support and encourage more people to donate to social service agencies, the Government and the Singapore Totalisator Board (Tote Board) will set aside $150 million in total to match donations dollar for dollar.

This sum, and another $200 million from the Government and Tote Board, will be used to help the agencies transform to better help families and those in need.

Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat yesterday announced this and a slew of other moves to top up funds meant to assist low-income Singaporeans and the elderly.

The $350 million to be set aside will be channelled to a Community Capability Trust, which will be helmed by the Ministry of Social and Fa-mily Development and National Council of Social Service.

The sum comprises of $150 million the Government puts into the trust this year and a $50 million contribution from the Tote Board, also in 2020. Over the next 10 years, donations to the Community Chest will also be matched dollar for dollar by the Government, up to $100 million. The Tote Board will also match donations to the Community Chest dollar for dollar up to $50 million, but until 2024.

Mr Heng said the trust will provide a pool of funds that social service agencies can tap to transform themselves for the future.

He added that he hopes the funds would help the agencies strengthen their organisational capabilities, become more productive and enhance their service infrastructure. "There is much value to be gained when a community comes together in support of a cause," he said.

The Government will also be topping up various public funds that help the elderly and lower-income individuals, said Mr Heng.

The ElderCare Fund, which provides operating subsidies to intermediate and long-term care providers, such as nursing homes run by volunteer welfare organisations, will receive $750 million.

 

A $500 million top-up will be added to the ComCare Fund, which doles out financial assistance to low-income Singaporeans.

MediFund will receive a $200 million top-up to continue providing a safety net to those who have financial difficulties paying medical bills.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 19, 2020, with the headline '$350m leg-up for social service agencies'. Subscribe