The Workers’ Party MPs voted “no” to the motion that Parliament “approves the financial policy of the Government for the financial year 1st April 2018 to 31st March 2019” for the sole reason that WP is unable to support the announcement of a GST hike from 7% to 9% in 2021-2025 at this point in time.
We support the Government’s budget strategy and measures for the coming Financial Year, as presented to Parliament. However, the future GST hike is an announcement and not a budget measure. We are unable to support the announcement for three reasons:
1. the lack of clarity on long-term projected Government income and spending;
2. the lack of consideration of alternative revenue streams and whether there is scope for the reserves to better support and invest in Singaporeans;
3. the lack in details on the effect of the future GST hike on low-income and middle-income Singaporeans and the Government’s permanent GST offset packages.
We asked the Government to consider other options for raising revenue to meet increased spending. These options included raising the NIRC cap and using a small, capped fraction of land sales proceeds for Budgets. However, the latter was brushed off by the Government.
WP MPs intended to vote “yes” on the budget measures for the Financial Year 2018/2019. However, Minister Heng insisted that voting “yes” would mean WP supports the announced GST hike in the next term of Government in 2021-2025 and called for a division. It is unreasonable for us to vote for a drastic future tax hike that will financially affect Singaporeans based on inadequate information and justifications on the need for the hike. We therefore voted NO.
The Workers’ Party
1 March 2018