Pritam Singh: Price increases already happening, and the low-income, middle-income and retiree households will be hit the hardest

Leader of the Opposition and Workers’ Party (WP) Chief Pritam Singh wrote in a social media post on Thursday (Mar 3) about how prices have already begun to increase despite the GST hike only scheduled for next year.

In a Facebook post, Mr Singh shared a photo of an announcement at a food stall that read: “Dear Customers due to inflation, from 4 Feb 22, we will increase all items by $0.50”. The announcement read that a takeaway container would also cost S$0.30 more.

Rising prices are “already happening. And the low-income, middle-income and retiree households will be hit the hardest. Inflation and rising prices will eventually ease, but no one should hold their breath that prices will fall when inflation eases”, Mr Singh wrote. 

He explained that the Workers’ Party came up with four alternative proposals to fill the S$3.5 billion revenue gap that the GST hike was intended to fill.

“Each one of the WP’s proposals could have been considered individually or as a mix”, he wrote.

“The debate however did give us some new perspective on the reserves. It had been represented by the Government that the $40+b draw on the reserves because of COVID-19 amounted to 20 years of budget surpluses, and that we had used a generation’s worth of savings to combat the crisis of a generation,” Mr Singh added. 

He also pointed out in his post that MP Louis Chua had previously asked then-Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat whether Singapore’s reserves position was higher or lower compared to five or ten years ago. The same question was also asked again during this year’s debate.

“There was no clear, unequivocal answer after I put the same question to the Finance Minister. But it safe to conclude that the reserves are higher today than they were compared to five years ago, in spite of the COVID drawdown,” Mr Singh wrote.

Mr Singh said that the party will continue to speak up for Singaporeans and to be a balancing force in politics. /TISG

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