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Table of Contents
Annex B-1: Enhancement of Workfare Income Supplement (WIS) Scheme and CPF Contribution Rates for Low-Income Workers ( 276kb)
Please refer to the Singapore Budget 2013 website for more details on the annexes.
D. BUILDING A MORE INCLUSIVE SOCIETY
D.1. Mdm Speaker, let me move on to the second thrust of the Budget which is about making our society even more inclusive.
D.2. We have two key concerns. First, income inequality and the risk that it poses to social cohesion. We have to take further steps to ameliorate inequality and give every Singaporean a real chance to do well and have a fulfilling life.
D.3. We have a special challenge in inequality that stems from the fact that our education system and economy have been completely transformed over the past 40 years. Many in our present day older generation of Singaporeans had very little education – barely half were able to go beyond primary school. Their pay was very low in the first few decades of our development. Younger Singaporeans have benefitted from vastly-improved opportunities in education with the bulk of them going on to tertiary study. As a result, a disproportionate number of middle- and high-paying jobs are taken up by younger Singaporeans while older Singaporeans (those aged 55 years and above) make up more than 40% of workers in the bottom fifth of the income ladder. Our schemes to help low-income workers therefore pay special regard to our older Singaporeans.
D.4. Second, we want to do more for our retirees. As they depend on their savings to finance their daily expenses, they are most affected by rising costs. Many worry about being a burden to their children. We must provide our seniors a greater sense of security in their retirement years.
Four Pillars of Our Social Strategy
D.5. Our social strategies are shaped by these two key concerns of Singaporeans, which are key priorities for the Government.
D.6. Twenty years ago, we could get by with very little government social support apart from Public Assistance. We were a young nation then. Incomes were rising rapidly across the board and the elderly had more children to support them. However, as our society matures and our incomes rise more slowly and more unequally, we have to step up our social support.
D.7. We took significant steps in last year’s Budget. This year, we will put in place further initiatives as part of our commitment to build a more inclusive society. There are four pillars to our strategy.
Promoting Social Mobility
D.8. First, we must do all we can to promote social mobility. It is still an important feature of our education system today. However, as all societies have found, social mobility becomes increasingly difficult to sustain beyond the first few generations who benefited from a good education system.
D.9. To make a difference, we must start earlier in a child’s life – from the pre-school level. We must find new and innovative ways to support children with disadvantages as they grow up in our primary schools and beyond.
Better Jobs and Incomes
D.10. Second, we must continue to provide good job opportunities and grow incomes for all Singaporeans. This is fundamental to achieving a stable and cohesive society, here and everywhere else in the world. Indeed, better jobs and higher incomes are still the foremost concerns of most Singaporeans.
D.11. This is why the restructuring of our economy – so that we can grow incomes and give Singaporeans a sense of fulfilment in their jobs – is an essential part of our strategy for a better society.
A Fair and Progressive Fiscal System
D.12. Third, we need to redistribute to benefit our lower- and middle-income groups. We must maintain a progressive system of taxes and benefits and preserve a sense of fairness, even as we ensure that our economy remains competitive. Everyone contributes something to Singapore, but the bulk of our taxes is paid by the high-income group, and most of the benefits received by the lower-income group. And everyone must feel they belong to a thriving and cohesive society.
D.13. In this Budget, we will add to the progressivity of our system, including enhancing Workfare significantly to help older workers.
D.14. We are also reinforcing our social safety nets. We are charting new directions to ensure healthcare remains affordable for older Singaporeans. We are also improving on the way we deliver social services to bring support closer to the home and to better meet the needs of individual families.
D.15. We will also provide some help in this Budget to cushion the impact of rising costs on Singaporeans, especially our older folk.
Partnering the Community
D.16. The fourth pillar, and a critical one for a vibrant society, is the role of the community. The Government will provide strong support for community initiatives by partnering with community bodies and groups of citizens to improve the lives of Singaporeans.
D.17. There is already a growing number of such bright spots of goodness. Like the collaboration between Lien Foundation and Care Corner launched a few days ago to help underprivileged pre-schoolers. Or the house-to-house health screening and counselling programme launched in 2007 by a small group of medical students led by Tan Chong Keat. It has now grown to 400 students doing visits in Jurong, MacPherson and Bukit Merah.
Promoting Social Mobility
D.18. In this Budget, we will take further initiatives to strengthen opportunities for low- and middle-income pupils in our education system.
D.19. Over the past five years, we have significantly increased financial assistance for students of all ages, especially for those from lower- and middle-income families. We have enhanced pre-school subsidies, so that those from the bottom 20% of households only pay about $10 a month for child care. We have expanded the MOE Financial Assistance Scheme benefits in schools and provide low-income students with breakfast to start their school day well. We have also increased our bursaries for lower- and middle-income students when they go on to university, polytechnic or ITE.
D.20. Together with the significant enhancements to child care and infant care subsidies that the Government announced in January, we will more than double our spending on the pre-school sector over the next five years to over $3 billion.
D.21. We are expanding capacity so that pre-schools will be available closer to homes in all our neighbourhoods, as well as closer to workplaces.
D.22. Second, to ensure quality and affordable pre-schools, we will bring more operators onto the Anchor Operator (AOP) scheme. We will provide for 16,000 additional places in AOPs by 2017.
D.23. Third, good teachers. They are the key to a quality pre-school sector. We will increase salary grants to the AOPs so that all their pre-school teachers will be graduates or diploma holders, up from 80% today. We will also provide pre-school providers across the sector with greater support in curriculum and teaching guides. Teachers will also be able to obtain scholarships and training grants to upgrade and can look forward to more structured training and career development.
D.24. Fourth, MOE will work on distilling best practices that have the potential to scale across the sector. MOE will on its own also set up a few kindergartens to develop best practices to be part of this effort to catalyse quality improvements.
D.25. Fifth, we will establish a new autonomous agency, the Early Childhood Development Agency, to drive improvements across the entire pre-school sector. The new agency will combine the pre-school teams within MOE and MSF, and will be overseen by both Ministries.
D.26. MOE and MSF will elaborate on these initiatives.
More Support at School for Disadvantaged Students
D.27. Our next set of initiatives is at the school level. They will help students with a disadvantage to catch up and better build a foundation to do well later in life.
Extend Learning Support
D.28. First, we will extend the learning support programme which is currently for Primary 1 and 2. It is resource-intensive because the classes are conducted in small groups of less than 10 students.
D.29. Our experience has shown that early intervention helps but also that continuous intervention is necessary to reinforce what has been achieved.
D.30. We will therefore extend the learning support beyond the early primary school years. The programmes will require about 600 additional teachers who will be specially trained.
School-based Student Care Centres
D.31. Second, we will significantly expand the number of school-based student care centres to take advantage of the move to single-session primary schools. These centres can play a useful role providing additional development support to students outside school hours. The widespread provision of after-school care, together with the enhanced subsidies that we introduced last year, will also be helpful to working parents.
D.32. Third, MOE will develop richer instructional materials to enhance teaching and learning in every school. One important initiative is to develop online resources that include the best lessons, especially on difficult concepts, taught by experienced teachers and specialists. This is a new way in which we can support our goal of enabling every school to be a good school with equal access to the best teaching resources.
D.33. All in, these three school-level initiatives will cost an additional $120 million a year.
D.34. In addition, we will put another $72 million into the Opportunity Fund. Schools with a larger number of students from less advantaged backgrounds will receive up to $275,000 for a secondary school and $150,000 for primary. This is 40% up from today. We will also be extending the Opportunity Fund to the polytechnics for the first time. In total, this is expected to benefit about 100,000 students across schools, ITE and the polytechnics.
D.35. The Minister for Education will provide more details at the COS.
Edusave Endowment Fund
D.36. Furthermore, I will make a $300 million top-up to the Edusave Endowment Fund which is used to help all our students develop as well-rounded individuals.
Sustaining a Fair and Progressive Fiscal System
D.37. Let me move on to talk about the further steps we are taking to make our fiscal system more progressive.
D.38. We will make the following enhancements to the Workfare Income Supplement (WIS) starting from work done from 1 January 2013.
Expand WIS coverage
D.39. First, we will expand the coverage of WIS to workers earning a monthly wage of up to $1,900 per month. This is an increase of $200 from the current $1,700 ceiling. WIS will benefit about 480,000 Singaporeans or 30% of our citizen workforce.
Increase WIS payouts
D.40. Second, we will increase WIS payouts significantly. For workers aged 45 years and older, the maximum payout for a low-income worker earning $1,000 will increase by $700. Those aged between 35 and 45 years will get a smaller increase. The enhanced WIS will mean increases of between 25% to 50% in maximum payouts.
Increase WIS cash payments
D.41. Third, we will increase the proportion of cash in the WIS payout. Our unionists had made a strong call for this so as to help WIS recipients with their immediate expenses. Workers will now receive 40% of WIS in cash and 60% in CPF. Previously, recipients received 29% of WIS in cash.
Increase WIS payments to CPF-MA and SA
D.42. With the higher WIS payouts, even with more being paid in cash, workers will still receive more WIS top-ups to their CPF accounts. We will channel more to their Medisave and Special Accounts equally.
D.43. This is a significant boost to the WIS. A 60-year old cleaner at the bottom 10th percentile of incomes, earning $1,000 a month, will get $3,500 in WIS annually. This is equivalent to 3.5 months of additional income or a 29% top-up of his normal pay. Of this, $1,400 will be paid in cash, which is more than $100 a month. Both his healthcare and retirement savings will also receive a boost.
A more targeted WIS
D.44. We will also tighten the WIS criteria to ensure that they are focused on low-income households. There are some WIS recipients who own second properties, or have spouses who are fairly well-off. These individuals would be better-off and are not the target of the WIS scheme. We will thus implement additional eligibility criteria for WIS to exclude those with a spouse earning more than $70,000, and individuals or couples owning a second property.
D.45. Only a small percentage of current WIS recipients fall into this category. But it is best that we make the refinements now as we are significantly enhancing WIS.
D.46. In total, the enhancements we are making to WIS will bring its annual cost to $650 million, which is about 44% higher than last year’s bill. (Refer to Annex.)
D.47. We will also be enhancing the WTS Scheme, which the Acting Minister for Manpower will elaborate on at COS.
Revised CPF Contribution Rates
D.48. With the increase in WIS payouts, we will be able to raise the employer and employee CPF contribution rates for low-wage workers without a reduction of take-home pay for most of them. Their CPF contribution rates were reduced in 2007 to enhance their employability.
D.49. Since then, we have put in place schemes such as the SEC for older workers and the WTS which have improved their employability.
D.50. We will therefore restore the employer contribution rates fully (to the same level as higher-income workers of the same age) from 1 January 2014. We will also bring the employee contribution rates for most of these workers to the normal levels. The increased CPF will help them with their retirement and medical needs.
D.51. Take for example a 45-year old earning $800 a month. His employer contribution rate will be restored from just below 11% currently to 16% from next year, and his employee contribution rate from 16.5% to 20%. He will now save $15,000 more in his CPF by age 65.
D.52. The revisions will also make it easier for employers to calculate the CPF they need to contribute for most workers, as their CPF contribution rates will be the same as for higher-income workers. (Refer to Annex.)
D.53. The increase in employer contribution rates is expected to cost employers $83 million in 2014.
D.54. We will also increase the Medisave contribution rates for Self-Employed Persons (SEPs) earning net trade income of between $6,000 and $18,000 per annum. (Refer to Annex.)
More Progressive Property Tax Structure
D.55. Let me now move to the tax measures.
D.56. When we eliminated Estate Duties, I highlighted that we would retain property tax as a means of taxing wealth. Unlike Estate Duty, the burden of which was felt most significantly by the middle- and upper-middle income groups rather than the rich, property taxes can be structured more equitably, with the rich paying the most. Property tax cannot be avoided through tax planning.
D.57. Three years ago, I introduced a progressive property tax structure. Last year, I also signalled that this would be a way in which we can increase the progressivity of our tax system going forward. A more progressive property tax allows us to achieve greater social equity without hurting our economic competitiveness or reducing the incentives for enterprise. It is what economists call an ‘efficient’ tax.
D.58. With this Budget, I will increase property tax rates for high-end residential properties, the largest increases being for investment properties – in other words, those that are not owner-occupied.
Owner-Occupied Residential Property
D.59. First, I will increase property tax rates for the high-end of owner-occupied residential properties, while lowering tax rates on the majority of owner-occupied residential properties. This is fair. The property tax is a wealth tax and is applied irrespective of whether lived in, vacant or rented out. Those who live in the most expensive homes should pay more property taxes than others.
D.60. I am especially mindful of the fact that we have retirees who do not have significant cash resources even if the homes they live in may be of significant value. The new property tax schedule for owner-occupied residential properties will ensure that most retirees will end up paying less property taxes.
D.61. Currently, property tax rates for owner-occupied residential property are 0%, 4% and 6%, depending on the Annual Values of the properties.
D.62. I will widen the 0% property tax band which currently applies to the first $6,000 of Annual Value, to $8,000. In addition to the current 4% and 6% tax rates, I will introduce new property tax rates of 8% to 16%.
D.63. The widening of the 0% property tax band will enable 950,000 owner-occupied residential properties to enjoy some tax savings. All 1- and 2-room owner-occupied HDB flats will continue to pay no property tax. Homes with Annual Values of $12,000, such as a 5-room HDB flat, will experience tax savings of $80 or 33% of their current property tax bill.10 These savings for the majority of homes will mean a reduction in the Government’s property tax revenue of $44 million.
D.64. The top 1% of owner-occupied residential properties, or 12,000, will face increased taxes, contributing an additional $25 million. However, the increase will be small except for those at the very top-end. A landed property in the central area with an Annual Value of $150,000 will see an increase in property tax of $5,120 per year.
D.65. The result of this more progressive property tax for owner-occupied residential properties is a net revenue loss to Government of about $19 million once fully implemented.
Non-Owner-Occupied Residential Properties
D.66. I will apply more significant increases to tax rates for high-end investment properties. Currently, for residential properties that are not owner-occupied, the property tax rate is a flat 10%. I will introduce new marginal property tax rates of 12% to 20% for these investment properties.
D.67. What this will mean in effect is an increase in property taxes paid for non-owner-occupied residential properties with Annual Value above $30,000. These residential properties belong to the top one-third of all non-owner-occupied residential properties, or the top half of such private residential properties.
D.68. However, the increase will only be significant for investment properties at the high-end. Most suburban condominiums will only see a very small increase in property tax of about $100 to $300 per year. Residential properties with Annual Values of about $70,000, such as many condominiums in the central area, will face a $1,500 tax increase. A high-end property such as a landed property in the central area with Annual Value of $150,000 will see an increase in property tax of $9,000 per year.
D.69. These changes in property tax rates for non-owner-occupied residential properties will increase revenues by about $72 million per year once fully implemented.
D.70. The revised progressive property tax structure for residential properties will be phased in over 2 years starting from 1 January 2014. The revised rates will take full effect from 1 January 2015.
D.71. Property tax rates for non-residential properties remain unchanged at a flat 10%.
Removal of Property Tax Vacancy Refunds
D.72. Property tax is a tax on property ownership and should be levied irrespective of whether the property is vacant or occupied. For consistency and equity in tax treatment, I will remove the current concession which provides tax refunds on vacant properties. This is fair especially as we are now introducing a new and more progressive property tax schedule on residential properties.
D.73. The changes will take effect from 1 January 2014. The details are in the Annex.
Tiered Additional Registration Fees for Cars
D.74. I shall now move on to the vehicle tax system. Today, all cars incur the same Additional Registration Fee (ARF) at 100% of their Open Market Value (OMV).
D.75. I will make the vehicle tax system more progressive by introducing a tiered ARF structure for passenger cars and taxis. The ARF for car models with OMVs up to $20,000 will remain at the current 100%. I will introduce 2 more tiers for more expensive cars. The next $30,000 of the OMV of the car will attract an ARF rate of 140%. Any value beyond $50,000 will attract an ARF rate of 180%.
D.76. With the new ARF structure, a sedan with an OMV of about $18,000, like a Mazda 3, will see no change in the ARF rate. A car with an OMV of $45,000, like an Audi A5, will incur $10,000 or 22% more ARF, while a luxury model with an OMV of $74,000, like a BMW 735, will face a 42% increase in ARF payable.
D.77. The Preferential Additional Registration Fee, or PARF rebate, will remain unchanged as a proportion of the ARF paid.
D.78. The tiered ARF structure will apply to vehicles registered with COEs obtained from the first COE bidding exercise in March 2013 onwards. This will contribute about $150 million in additional revenue annually.
Reinforcing Social Safety Nets
D.79. I will now turn to our initiatives to strengthen the social safety net so that we provide more support for families in need.
Review of Healthcare Financing
D.80. First, healthcare. Our system of government medical subsidies and the 3Ms provides universal healthcare coverage with multiple layers of protection. There are significant government subsidies across all settings – out-patient, acute and long term care. Last year, we significantly increased subsidies for middle-income Singaporeans in long term care. Whilst we have co-payments to reduce over-consumption, we also have Medisave and MediShield. Medisave ensures that Singaporeans have savings for their own and their family’s healthcare needs. MediShield, our national healthcare insurance scheme, covers large medical bills.
D.81. The third and final “M” is Medifund which ensures that no one will be denied any treatment that he needs. Over the last five years, we have expanded Medifund to benefit more patients, including those from middle-income families.
D.82. However, our approach to healthcare financing has to evolve. As our society gets older, we will see higher demand for quality care, longer life expectancy and the rising incidence of chronic diseases. Families will also get smaller over time and we will have more singles without family support when they are in their silver years.
D.83. We have hence embarked on a thorough review of our healthcare financing system, as the Minister for Health has earlier indicated. This should seek to provide greater peace of mind for all Singaporeans while ensuring that the healthcare system remains sustainable. The review will look at all components of our healthcare financing framework.
D.84. First, although overall healthcare expenditure will go up, we want to see Singaporeans’ out-of-pocket share of medical costs fall, and the Government take on a larger share. We will target help at those who need it the most. But we will also want to ensure that the needs of the middle-income group are met.
D.85. Second, we want to broaden insurance coverage by expanding risk-pooling so that as a society, we support those who require more help. We must however be careful about how this affects premiums.
D.86. Third, we must study how to increase the role of Medisave so it can be used to meet more healthcare needs whilst ensuring sustainability of savings.
D.87. Fourth, we will do more for those who need help with their medical expenses by expanding the usage of Medifund.
D.88. Finally, we will help Singaporeans stay healthy by increasing our investments in health promotion and preventive care, so all individuals are encouraged to stay healthy.
D.89. This is a major review. We are studying the strengths and weaknesses of other countries’ healthcare systems.
D.90. We will have to consider the options carefully and consult broadly with Singaporeans. We want to do better for today’s generation of Singaporeans, and do it in a way that is fair and sustainable for the next generation.
D.91. The Minister for Health will elaborate on these directions at the COS.
Senior’s Mobility and Enabling Fund
D.92. In the meantime, in this year’s Budget, we will introduce further support to meet Singaporeans’ healthcare needs.
D.93. We will expand the current Senior’s Mobility Fund into a Senior’s Mobility and Enabling Fund, which will cover a much wider range of assistive devices like hearing aids, shower chairs and motorised wheelchairs. These devices are a great boon to our seniors, and help them stay active and independent.
D.94. Many frail elderly living at home are also concerned with the cost of consumables, such as milk feeds and adult diapers, which can be a costly burden. We will provide subsidies of up to 80% to our lower-income elderly to help defray the cost of consumables. For example, an elderly patient in need of milk feeds can save up to $2,000 per year.
D.95. We will also top up the fund from the existing $10 million to $50 million.
Building up Medifund and Eldercare Fund
D.96. We have expanded Medifund to benefit many more patients, including those from middle-income families. I will top up Medifund by $1 billion, bringing the total fund size to $4 billion.
D.97. I will top up the ElderCare Fund by $250 million this year to support patients tapping on subsidised nursing homes and other long term care services. This will bring the total size of the fund to $2.75 billion.
Public Assistance Scheme and Pension Allowance
D.98. We will also enhance the Public Assistance (PA) scheme, which provides a basic level of financial assistance to those who are permanently unable to work.
D.99. The monthly cash assistance for households will be raised to help recipients meet their daily needs. For example, a couple will now receive an additional $90, making up $790 in cash assistance. A recipient in a single-person household will receive $450 in cash. PA recipients will continue to receive other free services like medical treatment in polyclinics and restructured hospitals, primary and secondary school education and access to a broad range of social services such as home help and day activity centres.
D.100. We will also introduce more flexibility to support recipients who need to incur other expenses.
D.101. To help government pensioners who draw lower pensions, the Government will increase the Singapore Allowance and monthly pension ceiling by $20 per month to $280 and $1,210 respectively. This will benefit about 10,000 pensioners.
ComCare Fund Top-Up
D.102. I will inject a further $200 million into the ComCare Fund as the Fund is well-utilised.
Supporting Self-Help Groups
D.103. I will also give an additional $10 million grant to the Self-Help Groups to help them enhance their programmes over the next two years.
Improving Social Service Delivery
D.104. A further aspect of the social safety net that we are strengthening concerns how we deliver social services. We want citizen-centred social services that are more integrated, so that anyone who needs help can get it conveniently and need not go to different agencies. To achieve this, there are three main initiatives that we are embarking on in this Budget.
D.105. First, we will introduce about 20 Social Service Offices in HDB towns over the next few years. A needy family can apply for help at a Social Service Office nearer their home, and benefit from better coordination of government and community help in the local area.
D.106. The second initiative is to integrate elder care services. As we scale up support to meet the needs of a growing elderly population, we will integrate the aged care services of the Centre for Enabled Living (CEL) and the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC) under one roof at AIC. The new AIC will be the single agency that helps the elderly and their caregivers to get easier access to both medical and social care services in the community.
D.107. Third, MSF will at the same time strengthen its focus on persons with disabilities with an agency dedicated to the disabled. This will serve as a focal point for all their needs.
D.108. The Acting Minister for Social and Family Development and the Minister for Health will provide more details on these improvements in social service delivery at the COS.
Direct Assistance for Cost of Living
D.109. This year’s Budget will provide some direct assistance to households to help them cope with increases in the cost of living.
One-Off GST Voucher (GSTV) Special Payment
D.110. We introduced the permanent GST Voucher scheme last year to help lower- and middle-income households. The typical lower-income household receives $740 in GSTV-Cash and U-Save. A typical retiree household receives in addition $500 in GSTV-Medisave, for a total of $1,240.
D.111. This year, to help households facing cost of living pressures, I will provide an extra GST Voucher on top of the permanent voucher. In other words, all eligible Singaporeans will get double the usual amount.
D.112. This will benefit approximately 1.4 million Singaporeans and cost the Government an extra $680 million.
Service and Conservancy Charges (S&CC) Rebates
D.113. We will also provide 1 to 3 months of Service & Conservancy Charges (S&CC) rebates (see Table 4). 1- and 2-room HDB households will receive a total of 3 months of rebates for this year, while 3- and 4-room households will receive 2 months of rebates. This will cost the Government $77 million.
One-off CPF Medisave Account Top-Up
D.114. To help older Singaporeans with their healthcare expenses, I will provide a $200 top-up to the CPF Medisave Accounts of all Singaporeans aged 45 and above. The top-ups will benefit 1.5 million Singaporeans and cost the Government $300 million.
Personal Income Tax Rebate
D.115. I will provide a Personal Income Tax Rebate this year for all taxpayers with a larger rebate for those who are 60 years old and above. The rebate will be for Year of Assessment 2013 (i.e. for income earned in 2012).
D.116. I will extend a rebate of 30% subject to a cap of $1,500 for taxpayers who are below 60 years old. I will also introduce a higher rebate for those who are older. Those aged 60 or above will receive a higher rebate of 50% subject to the same $1,500 cap. Having this cap allows us to provide the greatest benefits to those at the 80th percentile and below of taxpayers.
D.117. 1.3 million resident taxpayers will benefit. This will cost the Government $615 million.
Reduced Concessionary Foreign Domestic Worker Levy
D.118. Families with Singaporean dependants such as children, elderly parents and family members with disabilities currently pay a concessionary levy of $170 for a foreign domestic worker, instead of the normal levy of $265.
D.119. Our aim is to reduce costs for these families. We will hence reduce the concessionary foreign domestic worker levy from $170 to $120 per month. This will mean that a family will save an additional $600 a year.
D.120. This change is expected to cost the Government an additional $73 million a year and will take effect from 1 March 2013.
Building up the GST Voucher Fund
D.121. When we established the permanent GST Voucher Scheme last year, we set aside $3.6 billion to finance the Scheme until FY2016. To underscore our commitment to help offset what our lower-income Singaporeans pay in GST, I will top up the GST Voucher Fund by another $3 billion. This will ensure sufficient funds for the Government to make the yearly GST Voucher payouts up to FY2020.
How Households will Benefit
D.122. The direct assistance measures that I have just announced will provide significant assistance to Singaporeans with the cost of living.
D.123. Our elderly will receive the most help. A typical retiree couple living in a 3-room flat will receive a total of $1,800 in special transfers and tax savings. Including the permanent GSTV, they will receive more than $3,000 in benefits. Of this, $1,400 will go into their Medisave.12
D.124. A typical middle-income family living in a 4-room flat will also benefit from about $530 in special transfers and about $730 in tax savings from the Personal Income Tax Rebate, as well as changes to the property tax schedule and the Foreign Domestic Worker Concessionary Levy. Including the permanent GSTV, they will get a total of about $1,500.
11 Property tax payable under current structure without taking into account one-off Property Tax rebates like the 2013 $40 HDB rebate.
12 This assumes that the couple are aged between 65 to 74 years. Older couples will get larger Medisave top-ups.