Mr. Heng Swee Keat delivered his first Budget statement as Finance Minister in Singapore on 24th March. In the statement, an overall Budget surplus of S$3.4 billion is expected in the first year of the new term of Government and there is a strong focus on continuing the transformation of the Singapore economy. What do Singaporeans think about the 2016 Budget? YouGov, the leading global polling and research firm, polled a total of 986 Singaporeans right after the Budget statement was announced. Let’s take a look on whether Singaporeans think the Budget would leave the country better off?
Local economy isn’t that bad now but is getting worse / shows no signs of recovery in the eye of Singaporeans
Looking at the current state of Singapore’s economy, 40% of respondents think it is neither good nor bad, while close to 30% of them (27%) think it’s quite good. Although only 1 out of 5 respondents (21%) think the current economy is quite bad, Singaporeans are not very optimistic about the future economy. Over 60% of Singaporeans think the economy is either getting worse, or has stopped getting worse but shows no signs of recovery yet. Older generation (aged 45 – 54) seems to be more pessimistic about the economy, with 45% saying the economy is still getting worse.
7 out of 10 Singaporeans watched / listened to / read about / engaged with the speech about the 2016 Budget
Although only 10% respondents had planned to watch or listen in to the speech live, there were another 16% respondents happened to watch or listen to the speech live, and another 44% did so at a later time or date. Only 30% of respondents said they didn’t plan to engage with the speech at all. After people watched / listened to the speech, many of them continued to engage themselves with this topic: almost half of them (46%) read about parts of the speech in newspapers (either print or online), 36% of them read what people talked about it on social media, almost 30% of them discussed the initiatives raised at the speech with their Singaporean family / friends (29%), or watched parts of the speech online / on TV (28%).
Singaporeans agree that the low income group, disables, and seniors deserve a higher priority
In terms of priority, all initiatives raised at the 2016 Singapore Budget are scored over 3.0 out of a scale 1-5, where 1 equal to wrong priority and 5 equal to high priority, except for the NATIONAL OUTDOOR ADVENTURE EDUCATION MASTERPLAN* which scores less than 3 and is ranked the lowest by the respondents (2.79). When the majority of Singaporeans are not optimistic about the future economy, it is understandable that people want the social vulnerable groups to get more protection from the government. In this sense, Singaporeans give WORKFARE INCOME SUPPLEMENT (WIS) SCHEME** and SILVER SUPPORT SCHEME*** the highest scores (both score 3.96).
In terms of idea, Singaporeans also give SILVER SUPPORT SCHEME the highest score (4.01) out of a scale 1-5, where 1 equal to very bad idea and 5 equal to excellent idea. The initiative of giving out ONE-OFF GST VOUCHER**** ranks second in terms of idea with a score of 3.99, while WORKFARE TRAINING SUPPORT SCHEME***** ranks third with a score of 3.98.
Half of Singaporeans think 2016 Budget is a fair one but 3 out of 5 respondents think it won’t make much difference to themselves or their families in the next 12 months
Overall, almost half of the Singaporeans (49%) think the 2016 Budget is a fair one. Only 1 out of 5 respondents think it isn’t.
Thinking the country as a whole, in the next 12 months, over 30% of Singaporeans (32%) think the 2016 Budget will leave the country better off. Only 1 out of 10 respondents (11%) think the Budget will leave the country worse off. However, there are over 40% of them think it won’t make much difference to the country.
But at individual or family level, almost 60% of Singaporeans (57%) think the 2016 Budget won’t make much difference to themselves or their families in the next 12 months. Only around 20% of them think it will leave themselves and their family better off.
70% Singaporeans think the government should place more emphasis on the cost of living in the next year
When we ask respondents which area they think the Singapore government should place more emphasis on in the next year, majority of them (70%) say it’s the cost of living in Singapore. This outpaces all other area listed out, with around half of the respondents vote for employment (49%), 43% vote for healthcare, 35% vote for aging population, and 34% vote for economic stability.
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*Featured image from: http://www.startupshk.com/