In May Day message, WP worries about rising prices, calls for stay on GST hike

The opposition party said that the planned hike will exacerbate inflationary pressures. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Rising prices could bite harder this year even though the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic has passed, said the Workers' Party, as it again called for a national minimum wage and a stay of the goods and services tax (GST) hike.

The rising prices will hit Singaporeans, especially lower-income workers, who are struggling with the increased cost of living arising from higher prices of utilities, public transport, food and other essential items, WP added in its May Day statement on Saturday (April 30).

For the sandwiched class, these cost rises are eating into precious wage gains, even as they have to support retired parents and their schoolgoing children, said WP, adding: "They deserve more support."

The opposition party said that it could not agree with the Government's decision to raise the GST out of concern that the planned hike will exacerbate inflationary pressures.

It reiterated that it had put forward in Parliament four alternative levers for raising revenue: adhering to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development's proposed global minimum corporate tax rate; taxing wealth; increasing the reserves contribution; and taxing externalities (such as pollution).

"Each lever on its own can generate more than what a 2 per cent GST hike will. We should exhaust these revenue-raising possibilities before turning to a GST hike," WP added.

The party also repeated its 2020 General Election manifesto, such as calling for the introduction of a national minimum wage, anti-discrimination laws and a redundancy insurance scheme.

Noting that Singaporeans owe a debt of gratitude toย front-line workers in the battle against the Covid-19 pandemic, WP expressed its appreciation to the public officers "tasked with executing the new policies and unprecedented measures to help our country weather through the worst of the pandemic".

"Last but certainly not least, we thank all caregivers who have to juggle their work with caring for family members at home. They, too, are essential workers, albeit unpaid and often underappreciated. We thank them for their loving toil and sacrifice."

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