Photo of childcare centre from Straits Times

After raising childcare centres fees by 5% or S$33 a month, state-owned corporation NTUC now calls for more government subsidies. The largest childcare centre operator wrote in their statement yesterday (Feb 15) saying that the subsidies should keep up in time:

“Childcare fees have gone up in recent years. The median full day fees for childcare rose from $720 a month in 2011 to $883 in 2017. While there is a basic childcare subsidy of up to $300 a month for each eligible Singaporean child now, the fee increases are effectively eroding the significance of existing subsidies.”

NTUC also called for the income cap for subsidies to be doubled  from S$4,000 to the 50th percentile household income $9,023. Currently, only families with a gross monthly household income of up to $4,000 or household per capita income of $1,000 or less can qualify for subsidies through the ComCare Student Care Fee Assistance Scheme.

“Middle income families bear the brunt of this phenomena, where their rising median wages render them inaccessible to additional forms of assistance. While plans are underway to meet the rising demand for student care services, there remains the current issue of affordability of student care services for middle-income families as these families would also need to balance the needs of both their young and elderly dependents.”

The cost of raising a child in Singapore is one of the most expensive in the world due to low income and exorbitant prices on essential items like formula milk powder. The country’s birth rate is the lowest in the world at a fertility rate of 1.20 in 2017, and despite having one of the highest immigration rate in the world, the 45% foreigners population are not giving birth either.