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Budget 2020: Top concerns include help for workers , GST hike

06 Feb 2020

By Tee Zhuo

Over 10,000 responses gathered in feedback exercise by Reach, PA and Finance Ministry

With less than two weeks before the Budget on Feb 18, support for workers, seniors and families are at the top of Singaporeans' minds.

Worries over climate change and the looming goods and services tax (GST) hike were also among key concerns in findings released yesterday by government feedback unit Reach and the People's Association (PA).

More than 10,000 responses were collected during the annual feedback exercise by the two agencies and the Finance Ministry.

Workers cited time and money as factors stopping them from taking up training. Elderly respondents were also worried about the difficulty of courses or doubted if the courses would make them more employable. Others said employers were not sponsoring them or offering time-off to attend courses.

Respondents suggested more or regular SkillsFuture credit top-ups, subsidies for training costs, mandatory training leave and clearer training frameworks.

They also called for more financial support for seniors who find it difficult to cope with the cost of living, such as enhancements to the Central Provident Fund. There were also suggestions to have community-based initiatives to engage seniors.

In terms of families, Singaporeans called on the Government to give more help for raising children, caring for ageing parents, and with daily expenses. Suggestions included pre-school support, help for retired parents, and more grants and shorter waiting times for Build-To-Order flats.

Many Singaporeans polled wanted to see more activities that encourage families to provide mutual care and support in the community, beyond government support.

Reach and PA said many were also worried about the imminent GST rise and wanted the Government to find other ways to raise revenue. They asked for a comprehensive GST support package, especially for lower-and middle-income families.

Reach chairman Sam Tan said the Government would consider the feedback that has been received.

"We are heartened to see Singaporeans contributing ideas not just for personal needs but also in consideration of others in the community, including those who may be more vulnerable," he added.

The feedback was gathered online and through face-to-face engagements held over six weeks from Dec 2 last year to Jan 10.

The public can also give their views after the Budget is delivered, with details on feedback channels to be released.

Singapore Press Holdings Limited