Babies - Is Singapore Doing Enough To Encourage Couples To Have Them? - Picket&Rail Custom Furniture Interiors Babies - Is Singapore Doing Enough To Encourage Couples To Have Them? - Picket&Rail Custom Furniture Interiors

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Is Singapore Doing Enough To Encourage Couples To Have Babies?

Singapore's government has done a lot in terms of financial support and incentives to encourage its citizens to have more children. They include the following

  • Parenthood Tax Rebate
  • Baby Bonus Scheme
  • Subsidies and support for childcare services and preschool education
  • Enhanced Work-Life Grant
  • Government co-funding Scheme for Assisted Conception
  • Government co-funding Scheme for Preimplantation Genetic Testing
  • Medisave Grants and Programmes
  • Child Development Account Savings Programme
  • Working Mothers Child Relief
  • Foreign Maid Levy  Fee Relief
  • And probably more

Most of these benefits are listed in the Made For Families website.

These incredible benefits have however failed to slow down the falling national birth rate. The annual birth numbers just keep going down. Singapore's resident total fertility rate hit an all-time low of 1.05 in 2022, dipping below the previous record of 1.1 in 2020 and 1.12 in 2021. Births in 2022 was 35,724, a drop of 7.6% from the previous year. There were 38,672 births in 2021.

The replacement birth rate is 2.1 to sustain current population levels. We need to double our current level to be successful as a species.

I suggest the government and all citizens do more to address our long term survival as a nation.

Ideas To Ponder On

  • Increase child care subsidies to 90% and extend the hours from morning 8am to 6pm. Working parents would love this. It is ridiculous for parents to pay hundreds of dollars for child care and still need to rush home.
  • Have optional child care service centres open during weekends to relieve the stress of parents.
  • Shopping Malls must have expanded baby and children facilities as part of the development requirements. Large shopping malls must have "children deposit centres" and family areas.
  • Recognise women who have children like the way we recognize National Service Men. They get accelerated promotions in the Government Service and other benefits.
  • Companies can make double salary claims for maternity and pregnancy leave.
  • Parents can use the baby bonus to buy baby gear
  • All F&B outlets must serve "hot water" and "support" to parents with babies.
  • All GRAB and Taxi get grants to buy baby carriers and seats so that parents are less inconvenienced.
  • Parents with two or three young children get subsidised COE. No bidding required. They probably need the car most. Less sports and luxury cars. More MPVs .
  • NTUC and other supermarkets give double loyalty points for parents with young children. 
  • Parents with young children get accelerated or preferred allocation of HDB flats and larger subsidies.
  • Property Sales Tax waiver for upgrading with new addition to the family.
  • Free public transport for children.

The final objective is to make having babies fashionable, cool and stressless as possible.

The typical response to this is who is going to pay for this. But before we proceed there we must firstly address the dangers of a population crash.

Dangers Of A Population Crash

  • Burden of the young get more and more. Some will even immigrate to escape this. 
  • Empty houses and a property crash similar to Japan and Italy. $1 houses will be nearer to home.
  • We become less productive and less competitive as a nation.
  • Our social structure will change if immigration becomes our choice method of repopulation. Social cracks and stresses will quickly appear.

Here are some suggestions from a non-economist. I am sure if there is a will there will be a way.

  • Tax foreigners differently. An extra or couple percentage points and different tiers.
  • Higher COEs for luxury cars
  • Higher Road Taxes for second and third cars 
  • Legalize Vape and Marijuana. Tax importers and business owners involved.
  • Increase petrol taxes
  • Increase property sales taxes. Reduce speculation, reward family building.

The citizens need to be behind the government very quickly to get a solution going before its too late.

About Singapore's Baby Assistance Schemes

Singapore's Marriage and Parenthood Schemes are a series of programs and initiatives that aim to encourage couples to get married and have children, as well as provide support to parents in raising their children.

One of the key initiatives under the Marriage and Parenthood Schemes is the Baby Bonus Scheme, which was mentioned earlier. This scheme provides cash incentives and savings for eligible parents, and aims to help them manage the costs of raising children.

Another important initiative is the Parenthood Tax Rebate, which provides tax relief to parents who have children. This rebate can help to reduce the financial burden on families, especially those with multiple children.

In addition, the government provides subsidies and support for childcare services and preschool education. This includes subsidies for infant care, childcare, and kindergarten, as well as programs that aim to improve the quality of early childhood education.

The government also provides support to working parents, such as the Enhanced Work-Life Grant, which helps companies to implement flexible work arrangements for employees with caregiving responsibilities. This can help parents to balance work and family responsibilities more effectively.

Overall, Singapore's Marriage and Parenthood Schemes aim to create a supportive environment for families and encourage couples to have children. The government recognizes the importance of family and children in building a strong and cohesive society, and is committed to providing the necessary support and resources to help parents raise healthy and happy children.

This article was written by new parent and proud Singaporean.