F1. Mr Speaker, Sir, this Budget seeks to strengthen both Singapore’s economy and society for the future. We are taking major steps to enable Singapore to be a first-rate developed society a decade from now.
F2. We can deal with the immediate problems. The rising cost of living is a concern. We are providing lower- and middle-income Singaporeans with benefits in this Budget that for many households will more than offset their increase in household expenses – even before taking into account any wage increases.
F3. Our core agenda however is focused on the longer term. We want to grow Singaporeans’ incomes significantly, by transforming productivity. It cannot be achieved overnight, but we are investing substantial resources towards doing so – by helping our businesses invest and restructure, and by developing skills and mastery in every job. Through continuous improvements as well as breakthroughs, we must succeed in raising productivity in every sector, so that we achieve a 30% improvement in real median incomes over the next decade.
F4. We must also ensure an inclusive society, where everyone, including the lower-income group, can contribute to and share in Singapore’s progress. We must sustain growth if we are to achieve this, but growth on its own will not be sufficient. That is why the Government has been intervening actively to support those lower down the income ladder. We are doing more in this Budget. We are significantly expanding support for children from lower-income families. We are also helping lower-income workers to get more from work, and to own their homes.
F5. Social mobility will become more challenging as our society matures. But we will find every effective way to help those who start off lower down to discover their strengths, and provide them many routes to achieve their aspirations. We will also keep the progressivity of our fiscal system, which gives us the resources to help those most in need to uplift themselves.
F6. But whichever way the Government intervenes, we will only succeed if we preserve and strengthen the things that Singaporeans value most – family; everyone aspiring for a better life and feeling they can get there by working hard; and a sense of community. These are the values that will keep our society dynamic, and will allow us to achieve our next transformation as a nation.
F7. Mr Speaker Sir, I beg to move.