Let's check out some highlights of Singapore Budget 2018 for families, including support for education, housing grants, and the much-anticipated GST hike!
Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat delivered Singapore Budget 2018 today (Feb 19). Among many things, it addressed the much-anticipated GST hike, support for the elderly and measures for education.
Housing grants and maid levy have been revised as well. Also, Singaporeans aged 21 and above in 2018 will enjoy a “hongbao”!
Let’s check out some highlights of Singapore Budget 2018 for families:
Increased support for education
From January 2019, annual Edusave contributions will be increased from $200 to $230 for each primary school student, and from $240 to $290 for each secondary school student.
Income eligibility criteria for Edusave Merit Bursary and Independent School Bursary will also be updated, to benefit more students from lower- to middle-income families.
Currently, the income eligibility criteria for the Edusave Merit Bursary is S$6,000 in gross monthly household income, or S$1,500 in gross monthly household per capita income. This will be increased to S$6,900 and S$1,725 respectively.
The MOE Financial Assistance Scheme will be enhanced, thereby offering more support to children from lower-income families.
Enhanced Proximity Housing Grant (PHG)
To encourage families to stay closer to each other, the Proximity Housing Grant (PHG) has been enhanced:
- PHG for families buying resale flat to live with their parents or children has been increased to $30,000.
- Those families buying a resale flat near their parents or children will continue to receive a PHG of $20,000.
- Singles who buy a resale flat to live with their parents will receive enhanced PHG of $15,000
- Singles who buy a resale flat near their parents will get $10,000.
Meanwhile, the definition of what is “near” has also been revised to “within 4 km”. Previously, it was defined as living in the same town or within 2 km.
Foreign domestic worker levy to rise
Expect changes to Foreign Domestic Worker Levy from 1 April 2019.
For those who qualify for the foreign domestic worker (FDW) levy concession, the monthly concessionary levy of $60 will be retained. However, the qualifying age for the levy concession will be raised from 65 to 67 years.
Do note that, all households with persons aged 65 or 66 enjoying the concession before April 1, 2019, will continue to pay the current levy rate.
For employers who do not qualify for the concession or employ multiple FDWs, the levy will be raised.
For the first and second FDW, the monthly levy will be raised from $265 to $300 and $450 respectively.
Get ready for a GST hike…but not now
The Government plans to raise goods and services tax (GST) by 2%, that is, from 7% to 9%. This will however, be done sometime in the period between 2021 to 2025.
The GST increase will be implemented in a progressive manner.
Additional U-Save for households for three years
In a move to improve energy efficiency and reduce carbon emission, Government expects to collect carbon tax revenue.
To help households adjust, an additional U-Save rebate will be given for three years, from 2019 to 2021. Eligible HDB households will each receive $20 more annually.
Extension of the Service and Conservancy Charges (S&CC) rebates
About 900,000 eligible HDB households will continue to receive rebates on their service and conservancy charges this year.
However, households whose members own more than one property are not eligible for this S&CC rebate.
Other highlights of Singapore Budget 2018
- All Singaporeans aged 21 and above in 2018 will enjoy a “hongbao” of $300, $200 or $100, depending on their income.
Those with an assessable income of $28,000 and below in 2017 will get $300; $200 for those earning $28,001 to $100,000; and $100 for those earning more than $100,000 or who own more than one property.
- If you’re planning to buy a home worth more than S$1 million, the buyer’s stamp duty will go up from 3% to 4% from tomorrow.
- There will be a 10% increase in tobacco excise duty with effect from today, on all tobacco products. This is to discourage smokers.
- Existing services will be enhanced at HDB and CPF, to help Singaporeans make better-informed decisions when buying a flat or when they approach retirement.