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THE worst nightmare for twin-income households now is the double whammy, where both breadwinners lose their jobs.
There are other permutations to the anxiety. A key breadwinner may have lost his job and his wife may have suffered a pay cut, resulting in a loss of three-quarters of the family income.
While the slew of Budget measures to support the economy and society are excellent, the fact that there is no welfare safety net means that some Singapore families who suffer a double whammy will be left out in the cold. The road to re-employment is expected to be unusually long and one may not arrive in time. Perhaps the Government can consider four ways to help families who have suddenly suffered substantial or complete loss of income.
Offer additional goods and services tax credits;
Bring back the second Housing Board mortgage loan, which was introduced for a while in the early 1990s. This may also staunch potential damage to the property market which occurred during the Asian financial crisis when owners sold at a loss and downgraded;
NTUC FairPrice should fine-tune its Cheers franchise scheme to make it more attractive to professionals, managers, executives and technicians to start their own business on easy terms, such as paying 75 per cent of the franchise fee in instalments. Such retail schemes should also be considered by government-linked firms such as Singapore Petroleum Company (SPC) and NTUC Healthcare; and
Allow car owners to temporarily suspend use, also suspending road tax and certificate of entitlement premiums for up to six months, for a token fee. Banks should also allow a temporary freeze on car loan repayments for such vehicles.
Victor TeohNumber of View: 31209