SINGAPORE — The Workers' Party (WP) will continue to oppose the impending goods and services tax (GST) hike, even as it welcomes the Singapore government's $1.5 billion support package to help businesses and residents cope with inflation.
In a Facebook post on Wednesday (22 June), the opposition party said that it will continue to argue against the proposed GST increase in Parliament.
It will also argue for alternative forms of revenue generation, such as wealth taxes or raising the reserves contribution ceiling.
"Inflation continues to rise and is at a decade-high, and Singaporeans are bearing the brunt of it," WP said in its Facebook post.
"Earlier this month, analysts said Singapore's overall inflation for 2022 is now expected to hit 5 per cent, up from 3.6 per cent in the previous survey released by the Monetary Authority of Singapore.
"Yet, the government still wishes to press ahead with raising the GST from 7 to 9 per cent in two stages - one percentage point each time on 1 January 2023 and 1 January 2024.
"The Workers' Party cannot support this."
GST hike due to sharply-rising spending needs: Lawrence Wong
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Lawrence Wong had announced on Tuesday a $1.5 billion support package to help businesses and residents cope with inflation amid rising prices.
The support measures include enhanced ComCare assistance schemes for low-income households, utilities credit for all households, GST vouchers and cash relief for taxi and private-hire car drivers.
However, Wong said that the two-point GST hike - which was announced during his 2022 Budget Speech - will be implemented as planned.
He added that Singapore's spending needs are rising very sharply, especially because of an ageing population and healthcare spending.
"We have looked at all the different possibilities for raising revenue and we have made various revenue moves in the Budget, including on personal income tax, property tax and luxury car taxes, but they are still not enough and that's why we have to raise the GST," Wong said.
WP said in its Facebook post that the support package was a step in the right direction.
"We note the $1.5 billion support package which provides some short-term relief to households," it said. "But this was also funded from better-than-expected fiscal outcomes."
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