More than 7 in 10 Singaporeans support Budget 2015 initiatives: Reach poll

More than 7 in 10 Singaporeans support Budget 2015 initiatives: Reach poll

More than 7 in 10 Singaporeans supported Budget 2015 initiatives, with significant support for the Silver Support Scheme, SkillsFuture, enhanced subsidies and bursaries for education, GST Voucher-Seniors' Bonus, and changes to personal income tax for top earners.

These were some of the key findings of REACH's post-Budget telephone poll, conducted to gauge Singaporeans' responses to Budget 2015.

947 randomly selected citizens aged 20 and above were polled, and the sample was weighted by gender, age and race.

The estimated margin of error is 3.2 per cent at a 95 per cent confidence level.

The poll results showed that:

- More than 7 in 10 (77 per cent) agreed that the Silver Support Scheme will give significant support to low-income elderly.

- The majority of respondents (72 per cent) agreed that the SkillsFuture initiative will help individuals to learn and develop throughout their lives.

- 72 per cent also agreed that raising the personal income tax rate for top income earners is a step in the right direction.

- 71 per cent agreed that the GST Voucher-Seniors' Bonus will significantly help eligible senior citizens aged 55 and above with their daily expenses.

- 70 per cent of respondents agreed that the higher subsidies and bursaries from pre-school to post-secondary education would provide significant financial support for lower- and middle-income households.

Singaporeans also gave significant support to these other initiatives:

- 2 in 3 respondents (66 per cent) agreed that the 1 per cent Extra Interest on the first $30,000 of CPF balances from age 55 and above will help increase retirement savings.

- 65 per cent agreed that the increase in CPF contribution rates for older workers is a step in the right direction. Contribution rates for workers aged 50 to 55 will go up by 2 percentage points in 2016, whereas for those aged 55 to 60, the contribution rate from employers will increase by 1 percentage point. Workers aged 60 to 65 will see their employer contribution rate go up by 0.5 percentage points.

- 64 per cent agreed that Budget measures such as the GST Voucher, Service & Conservancy charges rebates, and reduction of the Foreign Domestic Worker Concessionary Levy, will help households cope better with the cost of living.

- 60 per cent agreed that the increase in CPF salary ceiling from $5,000 to $6,000 will allow more Singaporeans to accumulate sufficient CPF savings during their working years.

Senior Minister of State for Health and Manpower and REACH Chairman Dr Amy Khor said, "Based on the poll findings, Singaporeans have largely supported the key initiatives announced in Budget 2015. They have shown strong support for measures which aim to give greater assurance and opportunities to Singaporeans at every stage of their lives. The Silver Support Scheme received the highest support with more than 7 in 10 (77 per cent) respondents agreeing that it will give significant support to low-income elderly aged 65 years and above in their retirement years."

"More than 7 in 10 (72 per cent) also strongly welcomed the SkillsFuture initiative which will help individuals develop their skills throughout their lives and optimise their potential. Respondents also supported measures which seek to help Singaporeans, particularly lower- and middle-income Singaporeans cope with the cost of living. Hence, 7 in 10 respondents supported the higher subsidies and bursaries for pre-school to post-secondary education."

"On CPF, two-thirds of respondents (66 per cent) welcomed the extra 1 per cent interest on the first $30,000 of CPF balances from age 55, whilst 65 per cent welcomed the increase in CPF contribution rates for older workers. Both of these measures will help to boost members' CPF retirement savings. The increase in CPF salary ceiling from $5,000 to $6,000, which will also allow Singaporeans to accumulate more CPF savings during their working years, received a slightly lower but nonetheless good level of support at 60 per cent. There is also wide support (more than 7 in 10) for raising the personal income tax rates of top income earners."

"These poll findings are aligned with the feedback received on REACH's other engagement platforms, where many contributors have shared that this is a comprehensive, fair and inclusive Budget. Budget 2015 seeks to address the concerns of our elderly poor and the lower- to middle-income, and better help Singaporeans build and secure their future," she said.

spanaech@sph.com.sg

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