Let’s Ask…how do Singaporeans cope with the rising Cost of Living???

If you could recall, 1 of the topics which Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong brought up during his National Day Rally on 23 August 2015 was the issue of Cost of Living.

He highlighted a few ways which the government and its partners are helping Singaporeans cope with the cost of living.

PMLee.NDR.FPRice

He drew up an example of how NTUC FairPrice has about 30 brands of rice, which includes FairPrice’s house brands which offer 10 types of rice. He added that FairPrice house brands are value for money and help save costs for consumers.

Indeed, the NTUC’s social enterprises have been set up with a social mission to help Singaporeans cope with cost of living.

Another NTUC social enterprise, NTUC Income also helps keep insurance policies affordable so that Singaporeans and their families have peace of mind knowing that their lives are insured.

Beyond just material goods, cost of living also includes another daily essential – transport.

MRT Train

Many measures and initiatives have been introduced by the government to ensure that public transport is kept affordable.

Senior Minister of State for Transport and Finance Mrs Josephine Teo said that the response to the new off-peak monthly travel pass has been good, and about 10,000 commuters bought the pass last month.

Close to 1.6 million commuters who are mainly the low-income, disabled, polytechnic students and national servicemen, are currently enjoying public transport subsidies.

In his National Day Rally also, PM Lee shared that while public transport fares have been kept affordable, wage increases over the last 10 years have outpaced transport fare increases.

The other cost of living factor which Singaporeans often worry about is healthcare costs.

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For seniors, the Pioneer Generation Card and CHAS (Community Health Assist Scheme) Cards have helped to ensure that healthcare costs are made affordable.

From November 2015, the Medishield Life will be launched, thereby allowing Singaporeans to afford pay for medical fees.

Cost of living is definitely going up, in fact it is going up globally. We are not alone.

But what sets Singaporeans apart from the rest of the world, is the fact that we have a government that is on the side of its people.

Of course, the other way in which the government helps Singaporeans cope with the rising cost of living, is to help Singaporeans improve their jobs and skills.

Read this article “How Low-Wage Workers Can Exploit The Government“, which introduces 4 ways workers get help from the government.

1.) SkillsFuture

Introduced at Budget 2015, every Singaporean Citizen aged 25 years old and above will receive $500 to offset government-supported courses.

SkillsFuture is meant to increase the citizen population’s skill level and aid them, as part of a larger framework, in continuously improving their skill sets.

On its own, it may not go so far as to contribute to a direct pay raise. However, when used with other schemes in place, it may improve a worker’s employability and pay grade.

Click here to read the SkillsFuture’s Q&A factsheet.

2.) Workforce Skills Qualification (WSQ)

Singapore’s Workforce Development Authority’s (WDA’s) has a framework for Singapore’s workforce, and offers a range of courses and skills upgrading programmes under two broad categories – Foundational skills and Industry-related skills.

The training provided under both these categories are heavily subsidized with the aim of improve employability, competency and productivity.

Click here to read about the training available to workers.

3.) Employment and Employability Institute (e2i)

NTUC’s e2i was formed in 2008 with the purpose of getting Singaporeans better jobs. The e2i aids workers in clinching better jobs with higher pay through a combination of coaching, organising career fairs, matching workers to jobs, upgrading workers skill sets and rolling out productivity initiatives.

Visit the e2i to learn more.

4.) Jobs Bank

The reason why the Jobs Bank was introduced in 2014 was to ensure that every Singaporean has a fair shot at getting a job before it gets advertise to a foreigner. In recent months, the government has also been tougher on foreign labour, and are clamping down on firms who do not give Singaporeans a fair chance at obtaining a job.

While this scheme will not directly contribute towards increasing the skill sets of a low-wage worker, it is a valuable source of information for the kind of jobs being offered and the skills required to get them. Low-wage workers can get insights to the type of jobs in hot demand by employers, and equip themselves with the relevant skills to take on these jobs in the industries they want to work in,

Along the way, we hope they score for themselves a pay rise.

(Taken from Dollars and Sense)

 

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