Jamus Lim shares account of an single-income family voicing the difficulty they faced in the past year due to rising prices and cost of living

Jamus Lim shares account of an single-income family voicing the difficulty they faced in the past year due to rising prices and cost of living

SINGAPORE — Member of Parliament Jamus Lim in a recent update of his regular walkabouts in Seng Kang GRC, shared an account of a family noting the difficulty they faced in the past year due to rising prices and cost of living.

Associate Professor Lim wrote, “We bumped into a young gentleman on our way up, who shared that he had just completed his “A” levels, and was awaiting his results.”

“I asked him what he wished to study, and he said medicine.”

Asst Prof Lim met up with the student again, and this time with his family when his team was roving door-to-door.

The Workers’ Party (WP) MP noted that the student’s family turned out to be a single-income household, with the father—the sole breadwinner—having to support two kids.

“The past year has been difficult for them, especially with rising prices and the overall cost of living.” wrote Asst Prof Lim and noted that the student had said that government support—pegged to the annual value of their home—did not fully capture the challenges their household faced.

To receive the cash component for the 2022 Goods & Services Tax Voucher (GSTV), one’s income earned in 2020 as assessed by Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) for the Year of Assessment (YA) 2021) must not exceed $34,000 and the Annual Value (AV) of your home (as indicated on their NRIC) as at 31 December 2021 must not exceed $21,000.

The AV of a property — which is determined by IRAS —  is the estimated gross annual rent that can be collected if it is rented out, excluding furniture, and maintenance costs.

Just last February, MP for Tanjong Pagar GRC, Ms Joan Perera, asked if the Government would consider extending the GST Voucher scheme to seniors whose annual value of their homes exceed $21,000 if they have little cash savings and do not have children or family members supporting them.

In response, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Lawrence Wong said, “We use Assessable Income (AI) and Annual Value (AV) to determine eligibility, as these are the best available proxies to measure an individual’s means and access to family support. Properties with AVs exceeding $21,000 are private properties. A person living in a higher-value property is, in general, more likely to have access to more means or support through family resources.”

Asst Prof Lim opined, “Singapore has many families with such contrasting stories. One of hope and opportunity, for a brighter future and the possibility of a promising career. Another of struggle and compromise, trying to make ends meet, to help fulfill the dreams of the other.”

“My hope is that, as a society, we’ll continue to find it within ourselves to lend a helping hand to those with potential, so that they may uplift themselves and their families, and in doing so, make the Singapore we live in a better place.”

On 1 January 2023, the GST hiked 1 per cent from 7 per cent to 8 per cent after the Singapore Parliament approved the tier-hiked 2 per cent with the People’s Action Party majority vote.

The other 1 per cent hike will take place on 1 January 2024, raising the GST to 9 per cent.

The GST hike has been opposed by WP MPs and the Non-constituency Member of Parliament (NCMP) of the Progress Singapore Party.

At the same time, IRAS has reminded businesses not to misrepresent the increase in prices by attributing it solely to the hike in GST.


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