Caring for our elderly in a real way

4 July 2020
Singapore Democrats

Chinese translation

 

FAQ for RISE (Retirement Income Scheme for the Elderly)

SDP will push to provide retirees over 65 with a monthly income of $500. Under the SDP Retirement Income Scheme for the Elderly (RISE), the bottom 80% of retirees, many of whom depend on their working children for financial support and especially those who do not have working children, will receive $500 every month.

The Household Expenditure Survey shows that the average retiree household receives nearly $500 as income from their working children. With retrenchments and pay cuts expected to rise as a result of Covid-19, working adults will find it even harder to provide for their children and take care of their retired parents at the same time. By providing $500 for the average retiree, RISE will also reduce the financial pressure of younger working generations.

FAQ

1. Who will benefit from SDP RISE?

  • Singapore citizens aged 65 and older, who are in the bottom 80% of wage earners.

2. How would you fund the RISE scheme?

  • The investment returns from our reserves are expected to yield $37.2 billion in Financial Year 2020. The Government uses 50% ($18.6 b) of it to fund the Annual Budget. That leaves $18.6 billion that can be used to funds RISE and SDP's other two fiscal initiatives. (See financial explanatory note.) This means that we are not even touching the reserve—only the yield that comes from it.

3. How can giving away $500 a month be sustainable in the long run?

  • There are approximately 582,000 Singapore residents are aged 65 and above. If 465,600 (80%) receive $500 a month it would cost $$2.8 billion annually. This amount is well within the extra 10% of the annual investment returns of $3.4 billion (see Q2).

4. Is SDP planning to deplete our reserves?

  • No responsible Singaporean would ever want to deplete our reserves. We want accountability and transparency of our reserves. We cannot continue to brag about having one of the largest sovereign funds in the world and yet cannot find sufficient returns to support the vulnerable within our community.
  • To understand if any proposal would deplete these reserves, we must know the exact composition of these reserves and their investment returns since inception. Try asking the PAP.

5. Is it a temporary plan or a long-term plan?

  • We hope for a transparent and accountable reckoning of our reserves and increasing prudence of our spending. With this, we would know with certainty how deep an overhaul is needed to set our citizens’ retirement in firmer footing, and thus to a surer future for a Silver Singapore. Nevertheless, going by the above estimate, RISE can be and is meant to be a long-term plan.

Financial Explanatory Notes:

Out of call for 4Y1N, three of SDP's initiatives require fiscal justifications. The three are the suspension of GST until 2021, RISE and RESTART, costing a total of $16.1 billion.

  • The suspension of GST will cost $11.3 billion in 2020.
  • RISE will cost $2.8 billion annually
  • RESTART will cost $2 billion p.a. initially. Subsequently, when the effects of Covid-19 wanes, it will be funded via an insurance program.

The investment returns from our reserves yielded $34 billion in Financial Year 2019 and are expected to yield $37.2 billion in Financial Year 2020. Each year, 50% of the returns are set aside by the Government for its Annual Budget. For 2020, the Government has put aside $18.6 billion (50%) for its Annual Budget. Hence another $18.6 billion is available for use without touching the principal sum of the reserves. It is like using the interest income from our fixed deposit without touching the principal sum of the fixed deposit.

This $18.6 billion is more than sufficient to fund the combined cost ($16.1 billion) of the three SDP initiatives. There will still be a net balance of $2.5 billion which will add to the reserves together with land sales revenue that has averaged $16 billion a year for the past 10 years. The principal sum of the reserves will also grow with economic growth and net investment flows.

Furthermore, only RISE requires a long-term budget of $2.8 billion p.a., an easily sustainable figure. The other two initiatives require only temporary funding.

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以真正行动关怀年长者

年长者退休收入计划问与答

民主党将推动为年龄超过65岁的年长者提供每月$500的基本收入。在年长者退休收入计划(Retirement Income Scheme for the Elderly)下,大多数处于80%低收入阶层的年长者将每月获得$500。这将为那些需要依靠子女,或甚至没有子女可以依靠的年长者,提供经济上的援助。

家庭支出调查显示,每个年长者家庭平均从子女中获得$500。随着新冠疫情所导致的裁员与减薪的趋势上升,这些年长者的子女将会觉得更难同时照顾子女与退休父母。通过为年长者提供$500的资金,本计划也将减轻上班族的经济负担。

问与答

一、谁将会从年长者退休收入计划中获益?

  • 年龄65岁或以上的新加坡公民处于80%低收入阶层,他们将通过本计划获益。

二、年长者退休收入计划的资金从何而来?

  • 我国储备金的投资回报在2020年财政年度预估会达到372亿。政府在年度财政预算案中使用其中的50%(即186亿),剩下的186亿将可以用来支付本计划与民主党所提倡的另两项倡议(请参考下面的财务说明)。这表示我们完全不会动用到储备金,只是使用储备金投资回报的一部分。

三、每月提供$500的基本收入长期来看可持续吗?

  • 我国有大约58万2千名年龄65岁或以上的新加坡公民。如果其中的46万5千6百名公民(占其中的80%)每月获得$500的基本收入,每年的支出将达到28亿,这将是我国额外10%的投资回报(34亿)所能应付的。

四、民主党是否计划耗尽我国的储备金?

  • 没有一个负责任的新加坡人会想要耗尽我国的储备金。针对储备金,我们要求问责机制与透明度。我们不能继续吹嘘拥有世界上最大的主权基金之一,却找不到足够的回报来帮助我们社区的弱势群体。
  • 在想知道任何倡议是否会耗尽我国的储备金之前,我们必须先知道储备金切确的构成以及自设立至今的投资回报。这只能问人民行动党了。

五、这是项短期还是长远的计划?

  • 我们希望看到储备金具有透明度与问责机制,以及在国家开支方面能更加谨慎。只有如此,我们才能明确知道我国需要进行多大的改革,才能让年长者的退休计划更扎实,能更好地应对未来的银色海啸。尽管如此,依循以上的估计,年长者退休收入计划可以也应该是个长远计划。

财政说明:

在民主党竞选宣言“四要一不要”中,其中三项需要进行财政说明:

  • 在2020年暂停消费税的成本为113亿;
  • 年长者退休收入计划的成本为每年28亿;
  • “重新启动RESTART”援助和重新雇佣计划最开始的成本为20亿。等疫情的负面影响消退后,就可通过一项保险计划来继续资助。

我国储备金在2019年财政年度的的投资回报为340亿,而在2020年财政年度的投资回报预估会达到372亿。政府在年度财政预算案中使用其中的50%(即186亿)。因此剩下的186亿将能在完全不会动用到储备金的情况下使用。这就如我们使用定期存款所赚取的利息收入,而不动用我们定期存款内本金的道理一样。

这186亿的金额足以支付我们民主党这三个倡议所需要的资金(161亿)。我国还会剩下25亿的余额,以及通过土地销售计划每年平均赚取的160亿的收入,一起加进我国的储备金中。储备金的本金也将随着经济增长以及净投资流量而增长。

更何况,只有年长者退休收入计划需要28亿的长期预算,这笔预算容易达到可持续性。其他两项倡议只需要临时资金。