Carbon tax, mental illness insurance claims and GST hike among topics raised by youth at post-budget forum

INSURANCE PAYMENTS

Another question posed by a participant was whether the government would consider increasing the amount of claims for mental illness under the Central Provident Fund’s Medishield insurance scheme, since the current cap “is pretty minimal”. and that many insurers here still do not include mental health issues in their policy provisions.

Mr Tan from the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth said the government was set to launch a public consultation soon through the inter-agency mental health and wellbeing working group under the Ministry of Health, and welcomes all comments related to this topic.

The task force was renamed the Covid-19 Mental Wellbeing Task Force last August and is chaired by Dr Janil Puthucheary, Senior Minister of State for Health. It aims to develop a national mental health strategy beyond the Covid-19 pandemic.

Mr Tan said that from a broader perspective, for mental health issues, “it’s pretty critical for us to provide the training, the support and the resources so that you can then work on the ground, help each other and provide peer support”.

GOODS AND SERVICES TAX

During the forum, panelists were also expected to address a question on the Goods and Services Tax (GST), which will rise from 7% now to 8% next year and again in 2024 to 9%.

A participant asked if it would be possible to delay the hike given the rising cost of living and oil prices.

To this, Ms Indranee said the government had already delayed the GST increase. It was first mentioned in the 2018 budget and was to be increased between 2021 and 2025. In 2020, however, then Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat said it would not be increased in 2021 due to the Covid-19 crisis.

Ms Indranee added that with the $6.6 billion insurance package announced in the budget last month, GST is effectively delayed by five years for the majority of Singaporeans, who will receive cash payments over five years. to compensate for the increases.

YOUTH RESPONSES TO THE 2022 BUDGET

Additionally, NYC consulted and interviewed more than 1,200 young people, ages 15 to 35, to gather their feedback and feelings about the government’s policy announcements made during the budget.

In a press release issued on Wednesday ahead of the forum, the council said from its engagement it had seen young people prioritize national spending on health, housing and support for vulnerable groups – for example. compared to spending on security and foreign relations, and economic development.

The desire for more support was influenced by needs and wants at different life stages – with almost half of young people aged 30-34 wanting more support for middle-income and ‘sandwiched’ households who must care for and support young children and aging parents.

On the other hand, young people in their early to mid-twenties wanted more support for job seekers, part-time workers and gig workers.

Younger people were interested in updates on Singapore’s Green Plan and other mental health support platforms.

NYC also said young people welcomed budget measures to tackle climate change, but wanted more incentives for businesses to reduce their carbon footprint.

They were also pleased with the continued Covid-19 related business support even as Singapore’s economy recovers.

NYC Chief Executive David Chua said: “While young people recognize that the support measures announced in the 2022 budget can address cost of living concerns, current geopolitical issues have led young people to expect an increase in the cost of living.

“NYC will work closely with government agencies to raise awareness of the suite of supports to address these concerns. We will also continue our mental health awareness efforts to ensure all young people can seek help. and find support.”