53% of those polled by Reach were most concerned about impending GST increase

The goods and services tax is set to increase from 7 per cent to 9 per cent some time between 2021 and 2025.
The goods and services tax is set to increase from 7 per cent to 9 per cent some time between 2021 and 2025.ST PHOTO: YEN MENG JIIN

SINGAPORE - More than half of the respondents polled during face-to-face engagements by government feedback unit Reach were most concerned about the impending goods and services tax (GST) increase among the Budget 2018 measures.

A total of 53 per cent of the approximately 1,600 respondents engaged in face-to-face polls raised their concerns about the increase in GST, which will be raised from 7 per cent to 9 per cent some time between 2021 and 2025.

Many, especially those in the middle-income group, voiced their concerns about the impact on the cost of living, Reach said in a statement on Tuesday (April 3).

Reach engaged more than 4,800 people online, over the phone, and on the ground.

One in two, or 49 per cent of respondents from the telephone poll agreed that "it was reasonable for the Government to raise taxes to meet longer term expenditure in areas such as healthcare, infrastructure and security".

Reach had conducted its Budget 2018 Feedback and Engagement Exercise from Feb 19 to March 4 to gauge the reactions of Singaporeans to Budget 2018, which was delivered by Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat in Parliament on Feb 19.

Reach spoke to 1,211 randomly selected Singapore citizens aged 20 and above via its telephone polls.

Fifty-one per cent of these were supportive of the initiatives announced in Budget 2018.

Specifically, 56 per cent agreed that measures such as Utilities-Save or U-Save rebates and the extension of the service and conservancy charges rebates would help households better cope with expenses.

A larger 83 per cent supported the enhancements to the Proximity Housing Grant to encourage families to live with or near each other.

Meanwhile, 80 per cent agreed that the increase in annual Edusave contributions from the Government, and higher annual amounts for pre-university students would provide significant financial support for lower- and middle-income households.

Of the approximately 1,600 Singaporeans who were engaged in person at the six Listening Points, 85 per cent indicated strong support for the one-off SG Bonus of up to $300 for all Singaporeans aged 21 years and above this year.