Budget 2013: $1.7 billion to help households with cost of living

The Government will provide $1.7 billion of direct assistance to help households cope with the increase in the cost of living, said Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam in his Singapore Budget 2013 speech on Monday.

Singapore Budget 2013 will give low-income and middle-income families an additional Goods and Services Tax (GST) voucher, in addition to the permanent GST voucher scheme which was introduced last year. This will mean a doubling of the amount that eligible households receive, which is $740 for regular households or $1,240 for a retiree household.

Singapore Budget 2013 will aslo see all Housing Board households getting a reprieve on their service and conservancy charges. Households living in one- to two-room flats will get a three-month rebate, while those in three- to four-room flats will get two months. Those living in five-room flats will get a 1.5 month rebate while those in executive flats will get a month's rebate.

Direct assistance for cost of living

Source: Ministry of Finance

Families with young children, elderly dependent and person with disabilities will get a concession on their foreign domestic worker levy. The levy will be reduced from $170 to $120 a month for those who are eligible, saving them $600 a year.

A segment of Singaporeans - those aged 45 and above - will get a $200 Central Provident Fund Medisave top-up. These top-ups will benefit 1.5 million Singaporeans and cost the Government $300 million.

All Singaporeans will also get personal tax rebates for the Year of Assessment 2013. Residents aged below 60 years will get a 30 per cent rebate, capped at $1,500, while those aged 60 and above will get a 50 per cent rebate capped at $1,500.

Having the cap, said DPM Tharman, will allow the Government to provide the "greatest benefits" to those at the 80th percentile and below of taxpayers.

For more news and analysis on Singapore Budget 2013, click here for ST's Big Story coverage.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.