Budget 2023: Inclusive, fair & moves S’pore forward in a new era

When you have only a finite amount of money, you prioritise your spending according to what you care about most. Especially during these uncertain times.

And when we look at Budget 2023, which Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Lawrence Wong presented today (Feb 14) in Parliament, two things are immediately obvious: this Budget is inclusive and fair. 

Inclusive in that it offers immediate help to Singaporeans from all walks of life. Fair in allocating more resources to those who have less while taxing those with more.

All while helping Singapore plan for a secure future in a post-pandemic world. 

These fit with the PAP’s core values of being far-sighted, compassionate, and resilient.  

Here’s how the Budget benefits Singaporeans:

For everyone: More CDC vouchers, U-Save rebates, MediSave top-ups and cash

Singaporeans will receive support—through enhancements to the Assurance Package and GST Vouchers — all year round to cope with the effects of inflation and a higher GST.

“These enhancements to the Assurance Package will cost $3 billion,” said DPM Wong about some of these measures.

“So the total amount of the Package will increase from $6.6 billion to $9.6 billion.”

For families: A big Baby Bonus, help for both mums and dads, and bigger grants for first-time home buyers

Young families are a priority in this year’s Budget, with DPM Wong announcing a slew of benefits designed to encourage Singaporeans to start their parenting journey.

“In this Budget, we will step up support for young couples …and help them realise their
aspirations in a ‘Singapore Made for Families’,” said DPM Wong, noting also that families form the bedrock of our society.

Lower-income families will also receive additional support. 

Social service across Singapore will be streamlined through ComLink and kids from lower income households will get a better head start with KidSTART.

For workers: Employment support for vulnerable workers and stronger retirement adequacy

The Budget is inclusive as well, with special help for lower-income workers, workers with disabilities, and ex-offenders to better build their futures.

Seniors will also receive more financial security in their golden years.

 “The measures in this Budget are one step in our overall efforts to strengthen our social compact, and to build a fairer and more inclusive society,” said DPM Wong.

For Singaporeans: A fair and progressive tax system

DPM Wong also announced adjustments to our tax system, with a focus on collective responsibility — everyone contributes, but those who are better off will contribute more.

Resilience: A core PAP attribute

In his Budget speech, DPM Wong gave a lot of airtime to the topic of resilience, mentioning it 15 times in total. 

Resilience, for example, in the form of strong financial reserves.

“They enable us to bounce back stronger, as has happened during the Global Financial Crisis in 2008 and most recently in this Covid-19 pandemic,” said DPM Wong.

Resilience too in the form of ongoing measures like an enhanced carbon tax, the 30-by-30 food production plan and diversified supply chains.

And then there’s our people, the “most critical ingredient of national resilience”, noted DPM Wong.

This can-do spirit, fostered by the crises and adversity that Singaporeans endured together, will be invaluable for the times lying ahead. It will also help Singapore come through stronger after this storm.

“We have never shied away from adversity and challenges. Mr Lee Kuan Yew and our Pioneer Generation set the tone for how we should respond — with grit and tenacity, and with the courage to dream big and to turn these dreams into reality.”

Indeed, one of the PAP’s core attributes is being resilient, persevering through tough times for Singaporeans.

“When there is a high level of solidarity and trust amongst our citizens, and when Singaporeans feel a strong sense of collective ownership and responsibility for each other, we will be able to withstand any shocks together,” DPM Wong noted.

“And as one united people, we can move forward with confidence in this new era, and shape a brighter future and a better Singapore together.”

⬇️ Click below to learn more about Budget 2023 ⬇️

Images via MOF, MCI/YouTube