Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Singaporeans voice top 3 concerns for Budget 2012

SINGAPORE - Social issues, employment matters and the economy were among Singaporeans' list of top concerns, said REACH after it conducted the Pre-Budget 2012 Feedback Exercise.

The government feedback arm received over 1,800 inputs from members of the public over the period of Nov 16, 2011 to Feb 5, 2012.

It received 38 per cent more feedback this year than the last.

Social issues such as the rising cost of living, promoting family life and strengthening social safety nets made up 24 per cent of inputs.

13 per cent of feedback was centred on employment; while 10 per cent raised concerns about the economy.

Contributors called for more measures to curb the rising costs of basic necessities and essential services like utilities, transport and healthcare, and to improve the standard of living for the low-income and sandwiched middle-income groups.

To boost Singapore's birth rate and make raising families in Singapore more affordable, they requested for more measures such as cash incentives, additional paternity and childcare leave, more subsidised childcare facilities and waiver of the foreign domestic worker levy.

On supporting the elderly, they requested for more aid like transport and medical subsidies to help elderly Singaporeans cope with escalating costs, as well as measures to address elder care needs.

Many also called for more funds to be channelled towards helping the less fortunate in Singapore.
There is also a call for greater efforts to develop local Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), promote entrepreneurship and strengthen Singapore's business infrastructure so as to encourage more business start-ups to enhance Singapore's economic growth.

Others requested for more measures, such as corporate tax rebates and lower office rentals, to help local businesses cope with the economic slowdown and rising business costs.

Contributors also urge the Government to create more jobs for citizens and help companies keep existing jobs during the economic slowdown.

They want  the quantum and income limit for Workfare incentives to be raised and transitional schemes to be introduced to tide citizens over a short period of unemployment.

Some also requested for more to be done to encourage companies to hire and develop Singaporeans by providing training schemes and subsidies to improve the competitiveness of the local workforce.

And instead of relying on low-cost labour, they want more initiatives to raise productivity.

Besides these top issues, REACH has received feedback and suggestions on other topics such as housing, healthcare, education and transport.

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