The S'pore approach to battle rising cost of living
Sun, Nov 11, 2007
THE cost of living is rising and the Government is helping Singaporeans cope with it, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong yesterday.

While many people would look to their governments to keep prices low, Singapore's approach is different and he believed that it is one that works.

It aims to get the basics right - housing, jobs and affordable necessities.

'We help, we do a lot, but we don't help by keeping the prices individually controlled,' he said at a dialogue at the People's Action Party annual convention.

'We help by making sure that the low income are able to pay for their necessities, able to earn a living, able to have a house over their heads.'

While Singapore has gone through years with stable cost of living and very low inflation, he acknowledged that it might be tough to maintain such stability going forward.

Prices of flour, food, energy and even chicken are going up, and people are understandably worried, he said.

Following a jump in flour prices, bread prices here went up by up to 20 per cent and noodles increased by 20 to 30 cents per kg.

While there are calls on the Government to control prices, he added, Singapore will not head the way of countries like Malaysia, China and India by keeping prices of oil and electricity down.

Instead, the Government helps the people through the Housing Board flats, education, the Workfare Income Supplement scheme and periodic top-ups when there are Budget surpluses.

'So with the house, the HDB flat which we help you to buy...nearly everybody has a home which is a big relief. So when rentals go up, you are not affected because you have your house and you have something for your old age to retire by,' he said in response to a concern raised by a party activist on the rising cost of living.

Read the full report in Monday's edition of The Straits Times.

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