SINGAPORE: The majority of Singaporeans supported the measures announced in Budget 2020, though many called for “greater support for middle-income families”, according to findings released by the Government’s feedback unit on Monday (Mar 23). 

Respondents to the survey felt that middle-income earners should be “entitled to more benefits and greater financial support”, said REACH. This is because they are often the group that bears the costs of supporting both their children and their elderly parents at the same time, it said. 

READ: 10 things you need to know about Budget 2020 

READ: Budget 2020: Amid COVID-19 and slowing economy, ensuring Singapore remains ‘exceptional’

The survey findings came several days before Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat’s ministerial statement on Thursday, in which he is expected to announce additional support measures for workers, businesses and households in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  

More than 3,500 Singapore citizens were surveyed in February through methods including face-to-face interviews, WhatsApp chat groups and online feedback channels. 

Computer-assisted telephone interviews were also carried out from Feb 19 to Mar 3, said the government unit. 

OVERALL SUPPORT FOR BUDGET 2020

Seven in 10 Singaporeans were supportive of the initiatives announced at the Budget, said REACH. 

Among those interviewed via computer-assisted telephone, 68 per cent agreed that the Budget announcements had boosted their confidence in Singapore’s future. Sixty-nine per cent felt that the measures would help Singaporeans and businesses tide through COVID-19.

REACH said that 66 per cent of those surveyed on the computer-assisted telephone supported the S$500 SkillsFuture top-up. 

“The additional support of a further S$500 for mid-career Singaporean workers in their 40s and 50s was also well-received by respondents at the REACH Listening Points who shared that the initiative would help them learn, develop new skills and stay employable,” it added. 

NO GST INCREASE A “COMMENDABLE STEP”

Given the evolving COVID-19 situation, many respondents also acknowledged that the Government’s pledge to not raise the GST in 2021 was a “commendable step”, said REACH. 

However, many were still concerned how an eventual increase might affect them financially. 

On cost-of-living measures, 67 per cent of those interviewed on the phone agreed
that the Care and Support package, which includes cash payout and doubling of U-Save rebates, would “provide significant help to Singaporean households”, REACH said. 

REACH chairman Sam Tan said that the poll findings showed that the initiatives have the support of a majority of Singaporeans. 

“I am also heartened to hear about Singaporeans taking ownership of their own skills upgrading needs by planning to utilise the SkillsFuture credits,” said Mr Tan, who is also Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Social and Family Development and Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 

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