Saturday, March 15, 2014

Budget 2014: Top 20 measures


A raft of policy changes was announced over the past three weeks, from the Budget statement on Feb 21 to yesterday’s sitting. They concern Singaporeans from all walks of life, and companies. Here is our pick of 20 new measures. (Singapolitics)
Mar 14, 2014

A fair and equitable society
1. $8 billion Pioneer Generation Package
  • Medisave top-up of $200 to $800 a year.
  • MediShield Life premium subsidy from 40 per cent to 60 per cent.
  • Extra 50 per cent off subsidised outpatient bill.
  • Disability assistance of $1,200 a year.

2. CPF
  • Employers: One percentage point more to Medisave from next year; 0.5 to one percentage point more to Special Account for those aged above 50 to 65.
  • Workers aged above 50 to age 55: 0.5 percentage point more to Ordinary Account.
3. Education
  • Kindergarten: Subsidy raised to up to $160 monthly for low-income households, and extended to the middle-income.
  • Primary school: 40 more student care centres over two years.
  • Institute of Technical Education, polytechnics and universities: Higher bursaries, campus-based offices to support special needs students.
4. People with disabilities
  • $32 million in subsidies for early intervention programmes.
  • $24 million in subsidies for bus, train, taxi and dedicated transport services.
5. Tax relief for dependants
  • Up to $2,000 more in parent tax relief, up to $3,000 more for parents with disabilities; relief can now be shared among family members.
  • $2,000 more in tax relief for other dependants with disabilities.
6. Comcare
  • 1,800 more needy households to get Comcare help with raised income cap of $1,900.
7. Health-care subsidies
  • 70 per cent subsidy at Specialist Outpatient Clinics for the low-income, 60 per cent for the middle-income, from September.
  • 75 per cent for standard drugs from next year; more drugs on subsidised list from next month.
  • Permanent subsidy for MediShield Life premium for low- and middle-income Singaporeans; additional transitional subsidy for all Singaporeans.
8. Medisave usage and top-up
  • Up to $300 a year for non-cancer scans from next year.
  • $200 more a year for seniors’ outpatient bills from next year.
  • No need to pay the first $30 of outpatient bills in cash from July.
  • Medisave top-up of $100 to $200 a year over five years for those aged 55 and above, and who do not enjoy pioneer generation benefits.
9. Infocomm
  • New 10-year Infocomm Media Masterplan for public consultation.
  • Media code review to better protect pay-TV users.
  • Up to 170,000 low-income households to get digital TV set-top box and antenna, as well as installation, for free.
10. Security and defence
  • Independent panel to review alleged serious misconduct by Home Team officers.
  • 1,100 more army regulars to be hired as trainers, possibly shortening national service.
11. Housing
  • Cash-over-valuation to take a back seat for HDB resale transactions.
  • New reverse mortgage scheme being studied to help seniors better convert their flat into cash.
12. Transport
  • Government to fund 450 more new buses by 2017, on top of the original 550.
  • New road safety “silver zones” in five estates with many old folk and high accident rates.
13. Arts, culture and sports
  • $65 million to revamp museums, spruce up the Esplanade and Heritage Conservation Centre.
  • $20 million more over the next five years to promote Singaporean artists abroad.
  • $10 million Public Art Trust to promote artworks in public spaces.
  • $1.5 billion initially to masterplan to create regional sports centres by 2030.
14. Social manpower
  • About 4,150 public sector doctors and dentists to get 9 per cent pay rise next month.
  • New unit to recruit up to 300 social service leaders by the end of the year.

Transforming the economy
15. Innovation and skills
  • $3.6 billion to extend Productivity Innovation Credit scheme until 2018, and for new PIC-plus scheme for firms.
  • $500 million top-up to Lifelong Learning Endowment Fund
16. Infocomm technology
  • $500 million Productivity and Growth Programme for SMEs to use infocomm technology.
17. Office space
  • JTC to set aside more space for 500 tech start-ups at one-north.
18. Overseas expansion
  • Maximum loan quantum for Internationalisation Finance Scheme doubled to $30 million.
  • More support for pilot projects, market attachments.
19. Construction sector
  • Developers to use a minimum level of prefabricated materials for state land sale sites; higher pre-fab standards to be extended to other projects.
  • Higher levies for construction workers with basic skills; higher-skilled work permit holders can be employed for longer.
20. Employer CPF
  • Temporary Employment Credit to offset half of bosses’ additional Medisave contributions for a year.
  • Up to 0.5 percentage point increase in Special Employment Credit to pay older Singaporean workers.

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