Pritam Singh: GST Is A Regressive Tax

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In the post Budget debate in Parliament on Friday, WP's Pritam Singh reiterated the Workers' Party stance on the GST, even though DPM and Finance Minister has said that GST will not be raised in 2021, but will have to be raised eventually by 2025. In his speech, Mr Pritam Singh said that the WP still stand by their earlier comments, that the GST is a regressive tax, and that the tax raise would hit the low and middle income, retirees and seniors particularly hard as they would have to manage their expenditures more frugally, because offsets do not last forever.

In his speech, Pritam said that "the Finance Minister’s budget speech confirmed that the GST will not be going up next year. Notwithstanding the offsets announced, the GST is a regressive tax that will hit the low and middle income, retirees and seniors particularly hard as they would have to manage their expenditures more frugally, because offsets do not last forever particularly for the middle class. At this year’s Budget, Finance Minister shared that the Government put off the rise in GST after considering the state of the economy, but more critically, and I quote, “after reviewing our revenue and expenditure projections.” Unquote.

Sir, when the WP objected to rise in GST in 2018 amongst other things, it was on account of a lack of information of alternate revenue streams. Finance Minister’s position was that one did not need to have information on everything to make a decision on anything. But from the Minister’s speech this year and the announcement not to raise GST next year, it is obvious the Government relies on revenue and expenditure projections to make decisions. Would the Government make public these projections so that Singaporeans can critically evaluate the necessity of the GST hike?

I believe this openness would contribute to a more substantive conversation and understanding on our fiscal trade-offs. This can only advance and mature the conversations that take place in Singapore. Until this clarity is provided, the WP position has not changed. We cannot support a GST hike, especially since this is to be raised in advance, and before the Government’s projections have been put to this House."

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