Ministry of Social and Family Development Committee of Supply 2020 – Cuts by WP MPs and NCMPs

(Delivered on 5 March 2020)

Tracking and Assisting Financial Wellbeing of Lower Income HDB Residents – Daniel Goh Pei Siong

Chairman Sir, last year’s Household Expenditure Survey revealed that, between 2013 and 2018, Singaporeans living in one-room and two-room flats have increased their monthly spending by 3.7% on average, while families in private apartments saw expenditure fall by 0.1%. Households living in landed property, who spent nearly 5% more on average every year between 2008 and 2013, tightened the purse strings to spending just 0.2% more every year between 2013 and 2018.

Singstat also reported that households in the lowest 20 percent income group experienced an expenditure increase which was more than their income growth. If this trend continue, it does not bode well for the financial well-being of lower income households even when income inequality is mitigated.

Does MSF have a programme to track the income, expenditures and financial well-being of lower income HDB residents? Tracking such data can help MSF provide better and targeted assistance.

Sir, according to Household Expenditure Survey, expenditure on Housing and Utilities make up 14.4% of total expenditure for households living in 1-room and 2-room flats. This is much higher than the 8.1% on average for all HDB households. In absolute terms, the average household expenditure per household member on Housing and Utilities for those living in 1-room and 2-room flats is higher than those living in 4-room and 5-room flats. This is quite anomalous and warrants study, as housing costs should be a progressive burden and not tax the lower income more.


Persons With Disabilities – Sylvia Lim

Singapore ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2013.  The government has also issued Enabling Masterplans, and the leadership of some colleagues in this House towards realising this vision is well-known.

Recently a disabled resident asked me to raise the topic of training and employment prospects for persons with disabilities.

The government has had schemes to boost the hiring of persons with disabilities, including the latest announcement of the Enabling Employment Credit to provide stronger wage support for open employment. Non-governmental organisations also have initiatives such as sheltered workshops to provide training and employment.

In a recent Parliamentary answer, the Manpower Ministry stated that the resident employment rate of persons with disabilities in the working age of 15 to 64 was about 29%, with the resident unemployment rate at 13%.  What is the government’s assessment of how far Singapore has implemented the UN Convention particularly Article 27 on Work and Employment?