Baby Bonus Won't Solve Problems

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“Singapore's birth rate continues to decline despite the Government's special tax incentives, such as the baby bonus schemes,” opposition MP Chaim See Tong asserted yesterday. "Little attention is paid to the accompanying social consequences..."

“Singapore's birth rate continues to decline despite the Government's special tax incentives, such as the baby bonus schemes,” opposition MP Chaim See Tong asserted yesterday. “As usual, the PAP practice is simply throwing money at the problem and encouraging more foreigners to fill the gap. Little attention is paid to the accompanying social consequences.”

Calling for a more holistic approach to the situation, he argued that living costs had to be brought down and social safety nets boosted in order to reverse the declining fertility trends. He also pointed out that long work hours, job insecurity and society’s attitudes towards unwed mothers were reasons for the 1.23 birth rate – among the lowest in the world.

Mr Chiam and Mr Seah Kian Peng (Marine Parade GRC) agreed that increased subsidies for couples seeking fertility treatment should be provided.

Mr Seah also suggested enhanced maternity and paternity leave, as well as giving higher priority to couples planning to start a family when allocating Housing Board flats.

'Many of us worry about our children as they near 18 years old,' Mr Seah said. 'Why not aim for at least 30 per cent of Singaporean children having a place in a Singaporean university?'