Poverty in Singapore has worsen resulting in a 10% increase in the ComCare, the government’s social assistance. According to the Ministry of Social and Family Development today (Dec 17), S$116 million of financial assistance were disbursed in FY2014 (Apr 1, 2014 to Mar 31, 2015). This is a 10% increase over the same period in the previous year.
The percentage of low income households living in one- and two-room units and living off social assistance increased from 43.5% in FY2012 to 46.8% in FY2014. One- and two-person households, which includes mostly the elderly, living off social assistance also increased from 51.4% to 55.8%.
More than half of the recipients requiring short-to-medium term help are in their 40s and 50s. 26.2% of the recipients are employed but not earning enough to not depend on ComCare. Singapore does not have a Minimum Wage.
Nearly two-thirds of those receiving long-term assistance are singles and elderly Singaporeans aged 65 and above.
ComCare is funded by the ComCare Endowment Fund, which currently has about S$1.7 billion. However, more social assistance will be needed as cost of living continue its upward trend while employment opportunities diminish and salaries stagnate due to an influx of foreign labour.
In the meantime, 17.1% of Singapore households, or 154,000, are millionaires. The Singapore government do not recognise growing rich-poor gap as an issue as they believe in a “trickle-down” economy where the poor gets more crumbs from an increase in the number of rich people in society.