Govt to bring forward Budget measures for households, firms to help them cope with rising living costs: Lawrence Wong
SINGAPORE — The implementation of support measures unveiled during Budget 2022, such as rebates for household bills and grants for businesses, will be brought forward to help Singaporeans cope with rising costs.
- Support measures previously unveiled during Budget 2022 will be implemented earlier to help Singaporeans cope with inflation and rising business costs
- The distribution of CDC vouchers as well as U-Save and S&CC rebates will be brought forward to help all households
- The Small Business Recovery Grant, providing up to S$10,000 for SMEs impacted by Covid-19, will be disbursed by June
- Targeted help, including minimum period for social assistance and additional transport vouchers, will be extended to lower-income groups
SINGAPORE — The distribution of some support measures unveiled during Budget 2022, such as rebates for household bills and grants for businesses, will be brought forward to help Singaporeans cope with rising costs.
In a ministerial speech addressing concerns about high inflation and escalating business costs, Finance Minister Lawrence Wong on Monday (April 4) announced “immediate actions” that the Government will take to help families in general and businesses, aside from more assistance targeted at the lower-income groups.
HELP FOR HOUSEHOLDS
Firstly, the disbursement of S$100 vouchers by the Community Development Councils (CDC) will be brought forward to the middle of May. This tranche of CDC vouchers was initially supposed to be distributed to all Singaporean households by the end of the year.
“This is on top of the S$100 disbursed four months ago in December last year, and will help Singaporeans with their daily expenses,” said Mr Wong.
Rebates for Service and Conservancy Charges (S&CC) as well as U-Save rebates, which will shave off a portion of household utility bills, will be distributed to eligible household this month, with the rest of the U-Save and S&CC rebates to be disbursed in the coming quarters.
For the whole of financial year 2022, households living in four-room HDB flats, for example, will receive about four months of rebates on their utility bills, and two-and-a-half months of rebates on their S&CC.
SUPPORT FOR BUSINESSES
Mr Wong also announced that the disbursement of the Small Business Recovery Grant will be brought forward, with most eligible businesses receiving the grants by June.
The grant provides up to S$10,000 for small- and medium-sized enterprises most affected by Covid-19 restrictions over the past year.
“The recent easing up of safe management measures should also provide some additional revenue support for local businesses, especially in the retail and F&B (food and beverage) sectors,” he said.
EXTRA AID FOR LOWER-INCOME HOUSEHOLDS
Social Service Offices (SSOs) will provide a minimum duration of six months’ support for all new ComCare Short- to Medium-Term Assistance clients who apply between April and September this year, Mr Wong added.
Households who are already under the scheme can also have their assistance extended for at least another three months if necessary.
“SSOs will continue to exercise flexibility to provide those in need with financial assistance and support. This includes providing ComCare recipients with more cash assistance during this period to cope with inflationary pressures,” he said.
The Covid-19 Recovery Grant, which helps lower- to middle-income households experiencing job losses or sustained income losses, will also be in place until the end of this year.
To help lower-income families with rising public transport fares, an additional round of public transport vouchers will be disbursed this month for ComCare recipients.
In total, they will be receiving S$60 worth of vouchers, which will roughly cover the additional fares paid by a family of four this year arising from the fare increase last December, said Mr Wong.
The vouchers will also be made available to all households whose monthly income per capita does not exceed S$1,600.
Applications for the public transport vouchers are open from now to 31 Oct 2022. Eligible households who had already received the first voucher and who need a second voucher can apply again.
Lower-income persons with disabilities who require point-to-point services to commute can also apply for the Taxi Subsidy Scheme.
This scheme covers up to 80 per cent of the taxi fares that they pay going to school, work or training and will help cushion the impact of recent fare surcharges introduced by taxi and ride-hailing app operators.