Ng Eng Hen: Taxes will be raised to fund increased social spending
Posted by temasektimes on August 31, 2012
Taxes must be raised eventually to fund increased social spending, declared Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen at a forum held on Thursday evening to discuss Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s National Day Rally speech.
“Our society is ageing, we will have more aged people, and we want to take better care of the disadvantaged and disabled. Just by numbers alone, even if you spend the same amount, social spending has to increase,” Dr Ng said.
When asked by a forum participant about the possibility of using budget surpluses to fund the nation’s increments in social spending, Dr Ng said the government does not have surpluses, noting that PM Lee had even mentioned in his rally that it took out S$8 billion from Singapore’s reserves in the last financial year.
“If our economy grows, if the size of the economy grows and revenues come in, then perhaps we don’t. But as you know, we have some limits of growth in terms of labour and our land, so our economy is projected to grow one to three per cent,” Ng added.
Unlike other First World countries, Singapore does not have a comprehensive social safety net for its citizens who are expected to work for as long as possible till they drop dead and die.