Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Lawrence Wong delivered the Budget yesterday (Feb 14), an inclusive and fair “Valentine’s Day gift” to Singaporeans.
It has support measures for Singaporeans. It grows our economy and equips our workers, strengthens our social compact and builds a resilient nation. And competitive and fair taxes undergird it.
What exactly do our PAP MPs think of this gift, though?
For housing: Excitement for BTOs
Budget 2023 helps young families own their first house with up to $30,000 in extra grants for first-time buyers of resale flats. Also included: An extra ballot chance for that dream BTO.
“Was especially excited by a number of announcements that will help my residents; the charities I serve in; and yup, first-timer BTO applicants getting their first homes,” wrote MP Denise Phua (Jalan Besar GRC).
“I’m glad that through ForwardSG conversations, the Government will continue to incorporate suggestions and fine-tune our housing policies further,” posted MP Zhulkarnain Abdul Rahim (Chua Chu Kang GRC).
For families: Enthused for better caregiving
Budget 2023 also helps families better manage their work and caregiving commitments. Among other measures, there is an up to $3,000 larger Baby Support Grant and Papa’s paternity leave will double to four weeks every year.
“The Budget reflects the concrete steps we are taking to build a truly caring nation for our people,” posted MP Carrie Tan (Nee Soon GRC), who was pleasantly surprised by the doubling of paternity leave and other support for new parents.
“My thoughts on the 2023 Budget – very positive overall provisions taking care of immediate pressures faced by Singaporeans and also longer term national issues…I have some remaining thoughts to go even further for Singapore in the New Era – will share during the Budget debates, but for now, I’m a happy camper!
MP Gan Siow Huang (Marymount SMC) praised the support for Singaporeans who aspire to have children and raise a family, urging employers to follow in implementing family-friendly policies.
“Having a supportive working environment can help employers attract and retain talent, and employees who feel supported are also more motivated and can perform better both at work and at home. I encourage employers to continue to implement flexible working arrangements to allow employees to better manage their work and family commitments.”
For women: Continued support for working moms
For women, the Budget’s added financial and caregiving support is enhanced with the increased Working Mother’s Child Relief (WMCR).
Mothers will receive up to $12,000 to help raise a child from January 1, 2024.
MP Yeo Wan Ling (Pasir Ris–Punggol GRC) reaffirmed the work done by NTUC U Women & Family in supporting women who want to re-enter the workforce.
“I am encouraged that our calls have been heard with the announcement of doubling voluntary paternity leave and unpaid infant care leave. Together with the normalising of Flexible Work Arrangements, this will go a long way to ensure that caregiving responsibilities are shared and our women workers can reach their full potential in the workplace or at home!”
For workers: Help for vulnerable workers
MP Desmond Tan (Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC) summed it up best.
Budget 2023 has enhanced credits which support hiring people with disabilities, ex-offenders and seniors — and for uplifting the salaries of lower-wage workers. Gig workers also now have CPF transitional support for their retirement.
“The Labour Movement will continue to call for fair treatment and protection during the budget debates as details on this transitional support and other safety nets are worked out,” MP Yeo further wrote.
“Steps to make mandatory CPF contributions for our vulnerable workers such as platform workers and middle-income workers, is one step in helping them better prepare for their future,” posted MP Fahmi Aliman (Marine Parade GRC):
“But we understand this may not be easy – am personally keen to know more about the Platform Worker CPF Transition Support scheme to help ease the burden on our platform workers. Am looking forward to speak on the needs of our lower-wage and sandwiched workers next week in Parliament.”
For seniors: Reflection of our filial piety
Budget 2023 increases the minimum CPF monthly payout to $350 a month.
And people aged 55 and above can get up to $2,300 in cash and up to $600 in MediSave top-ups for daily expenses.
“Retirement adequacy is crucial, especially in an ageing society, and for Asian families where filial piety is core to our values,” added MP Fahmi.
Fostering a thriving and inclusive Singapore
The Valentine’s Day Budget, then, is concrete action by the PAP Government to help Singapore get through the difficult world ahead.
Next week, our PAP MPs will be debating this Budget in Parliament, speaking up on issues that are important to Singaporeans and in the process, strengthening our national social compact to foster a thriving and inclusive Singapore for us all.
Images via Facebook.