Politics

Parliament: More than half of S'pore households can get extra Covid-19 relief

SINGAPORE – About 60 per cent of households in Singapore will be able to receive extra benefits amid the coronavirus pandemic.

These benefits include cash assistance from the Temporary Relief Fund, Covid-19 Support Grant and Workfare Special Payment, among others, said Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat.

The additional assistance will be equivalent to 12 per cent of household income on average.

Speaking in Parliament on Friday (June 5) during the Fortitude Budget debate, Mr Heng said: “While some Covid-19 schemes such as the Solidarity Payment and Solidarity Utilities Credits cover all Singaporeans, the overall payouts are tilted towards lower- to middle-income groups as they have less to fall back on in difficult times.”

No family that needs help will be left behind.

Said Mr Heng: “There may be instances of families that marginally miss the eligibility criteria, but also need help. We will assess these on a case-by-case basis, and refine the schemes as the situation evolves.”

He added that over the years, the Government has worked with community partners to put in “finances, networks, systems” to support the vulnerable, and will continue to do so.

“For example, we have built up physical networks to strengthen social service delivery, through the SG Cares Community Network,” he said, adding that these physical links are also complemented with digital ones.

He also cited We Care Community Services, which has set up a cloud-based contact centre and telecounselling facilities so that staff can take calls from their homes.

Some people, Mr Heng said, might feel that there is more support for jobs, while there are others that might feel that there has been less support for individuals or individual households.

Mr Heng said it is important to remember that if a family’s sole breadwinner loses his job, the impact on the household would be particularly bad.

He added that social spending has nearly doubled over the past 10 years.

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