There is never a good time for household electricity bills to go up — and no one likes that these bills could go up by 4 per cent in 2024. Singapore’s carbon tax is increasing to $25 per tonne of emissions, up from $5 now. As industry experts estimate, every $5 increase could mean 1 per cent extra of bills to pay.
So imagine if Singapore adopted Workers’ Party (WP) MP Jamus Lim’s carbon taxes proposal from last year (Nov 9). MP Lim’s proposal, with its high of $133 payable per tonne of emissions, means paying up to over a quarter more in your monthly electricity bill come 2030.
That’s almost double what our Party has planned. We recommended an $80 limit.
More immediately, MP Lim’s proposal could easily mean paying over 7 per cent more in tax in 2025 — and increasingly more in the years afterwards — if we are to ramp it up smoothly and stably. We did the math by extrapolating backwards from WP’s high target of $133 in 2030, assuming a smooth ramp for MP Lim’s proposal and comparing it with the medium-term plan provided by our Government’s National Climate Change Secretariat.
*How exactly are we getting these figures? As of 2023, the carbon tax is $5 per tonne of emissions. We subtracted this $5 from WP’s 2030 $133 number to reflect their $128 increase. Then we divided this increase ($128) by the number of years (7) to ramp to 2030 and assumed a steady increase on the behalf of WP; we had to do this math because WP did not provide any concrete calculations although we asked multiple times.
Moreover, MP Lim’s proposal is ill-thought-out when it comes to really affecting the nation’s economy.
It is understood that when tax increases consistently ramp up too high, goods and services become more difficult to produce. Climate-friendly businesses — themselves still negotiating the green turn — are less likely to come, unlike now. And all this trickles down to job losses in the near future.
MP Lim’s carbon tax proposal, basically, has knock-on effects which will only deal a knockout blow for Singaporeans during the climate change fight.
A good year to raise carbon taxes? Really?
“But wait!” Opposition supporters might point out. “Don’t use that table! MP Lim plans to get us to 2030 by varying the taxes we pay each year. So in good years we pay more and in bad years we pay less!”
Let’s get real here: There is never any good year to raise taxes.
So look to these two possibilities if MP Lim’s proposals were implemented: Low taxes for a few years until a massive $133 punch in the face come 2030, or taxes higher than our Party’s plan until another $133 punch.
And look to this one definite outcome: MP Lim grandstanding and hand-wringing in Parliament about this year is bad for raising taxes, let’s wait for the year after that. Every. Single. Year.
It’s a proposal which, once the flash is stripped away, sets the Opposition up for very self-serving behaviour.
U-Save help is here
In the meantime, our measured approach to the great climate battle looks out properly for other Singaporeans. We do not just shield against the (for now) far-off floods and famines which unchecked climate change will bring — our U-Save rebates and Assurance Package also make sure that today’s Singaporeans have protection today.
Our Government gave out about $600 in U-Save rebates to most households in 2023, with households that are most in need getting $760. U-Save pays about half the year’s utility bills for households living in 3- and 4-room flats and about 10 months for households in 1- and 2-room flats.
Source: Ministry of Finance
This large amount of help is continuing until 2026. They are part of our Government’s ongoing (and enhanced) $10 billion Assurance Package which Minister for Finance Lawrence Wong put together to help Singaporeans get through difficult global times.
All this help naturally begs the question: Is more help coming? Here, Petir.sg can only say that our Government announces these schemes throughout the year, and consistently at big policy events like the annual Budget debates held each February.
So stay tuned.