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HomenewsCost of living crisis: Defer GST hike, says WP MP Louis Chua...

Cost of living crisis: Defer GST hike, says WP MP Louis Chua – Singapore News

With Government revenues already better than initially projected, can’t GST hike be deferred, he asks

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SINGAPORE: Speaking in Parliament, Workers’ Party MP Louis Chua (Sengkang GRC) asked the Government to defer the proposed Goods and Services Tax (GST) hike. The GST was raised from 7 per cent to 8 per cent this year and set to go up to 9 per cent on Jan 1, 2024.

Urging the Government to defer the hike, Mr Chua cited the “cost of living crisis which is threatening the living standards of many Singaporeans” and “a better-than-expected fiscal position for the Government”. There have been “yet another year of record high collections of corporate income tax, personal income tax and even GST,” he noted.

“I find it difficult not to feel a strong sense of imbalance and injustice here,” he said, having begun his speech by saying that higher living costs are the number one issue that residents speak to the WP team about when they go on house visits.

“Indeed, the World Economic Forum Global Risks Report 2023 ranked the cost of living crisis as the top-ranked global risk by severity over the next two years, given stubborn inflationary pressures, food supply, and energy supply concerns,” noted Mr Chua, although he acknowledged that the inflation rate has gone down of late.

However, at 4 per cent, it is still higher than the 1 to 2 per cent rate that Singaporeans have been used to for decades.

He listed as well the current and coming price hikes that have caused concern to residents: “Electricity prices up by an average of 3.7 per cent compared to three months ago, gas prices up by 2.3 per cent compared to three months ago, public transport fares set to go up by 7 per cent next year, with another 15.6 per cent points of future fare increases yet to be inflicted on commuters, unleaded 95-octane petrol now close to S$3 a litre and of course, not forgetting COE prices which continue to set new record highs with Cat A at S$105,000 and Cat B at S$140,889.”

“Could we not at the very least defer the planned increase in GST in 2024?” he asked.

He noted that with the GST raised from 7 to 8 per cent at the beginning of the year, the Government expects GST revenues for this year to be S$2.9 billion higher than last year. This, Mr Chua said, is already close to what the full GST hike was supposed to bring in.

“With Government revenues already better than initially projected at the five-month mark, is it that difficult to delay the second step of the GST increase?” he asked.

“I leave Singaporeans to draw their own conclusions.” /TISG

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