Subsequently, major components of the Singaporean welfare state are discussed. Conversely, in a broad perspective, a welfare state is considered to be a political economy concept that involves a complex system, including the state and the economy, as well as social policies (Esping‐Andersen 1990). The ‘arrangements between state, market and family’ for welfare provision (Esping‐Andersen 1990: 26), as well as quality of social rights and social stratification (Esping‐Andersen 1990: 29), are different across countries. The achievement of Singapore's economy regarding the support of social policies is remarkable. However, no redistribution through the fiscal system was permitted if it entailed the government going into monetary debt. Similar to other countries in the East Asian region, Singapore has spent a high proportion of the government budget on education. If we rely too heavily on the individual, their efforts alone will not be enough, especially among the vulnerable like the low‐ income families, like the elderly … The community and the Government will have to do more to support individuals'.77 Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, ‘National Day Rally Speech’, 2013. You can report suspected social welfare fraud anonymously by completing this form. wheelchairs, hearing aids, etc). work‐mediated welfare benefits) are suggested to be even more relevant than universal programmes in Japan (Estévez‐Abe 2008). Therefore, Singapores social safety net has been anchored on social development to enable citizens to help themselves. These three programmes often draw fire from the three main contentions against the welfare state. Singapore ranked remarkably high in the United Nations Development Programme's Human Development Index, which measures the performance of education and health, as well as the level of economic development. The welfare institutions in the Singaporean welfare state, as an East Asian ‘productivist’ welfare regime, are designed to support economic growth. The social policies in Singapore, which have been designed to accommodate the political rationale and economic growth strategy in the context of economic, political and social conditions, are discussed in this article. The rest of the article is arranged as follows. In September 1946, the newly established Department of Social Welfare put up a proposal to the government to carry out a social survey of Singapore so that reliable data and information could be obtained to help formulate social. However, health is different from the education policy, because government expenditure only accounts for approximately 30–40 per cent of total health expenditure in Singapore (figure 3). At the same time, ‘productivist’ social policies such as active labour policies are still useful in relation to the need to improve productivity, so that the Singapore economy could remain internationally competitive. After considering government transfers, the Gini coefficient decreased to 0.41 in 2015 from 0.439 in 2007 (figure 7). At the same time, the physical labour input to the economy has been increased in recent years, supported by ‘an inflow of foreign workers' (cited by Pang and Lim 2015). Before the 1980s, government expenditure on education focused on massive primary education, in which basic skills in English, mathematics and science were highlighted (Pereira 2008). Another unique factor in the Singapore context is the issue of a new Singapore dollar in 1967 to replace the previous Malayan or Straits dollar which had been in circulation since 1906 (Lee 2015). Manufacturing/construction and service sectors’ share in employment. The gross domestic saving in Singapore in 1990 and 2001 reached 43.4 per cent and 48.8 per cent, respectively, which is higher than most countries worldwide (Low 2006: 197). Both corporate and individual tax rates are low compared with many other countries (e.g. People can enroll for MediShield if they are not older than 92 years old. Changes in the labour market and ageing imply that the income of many workers is not enough to finance health, education and housing expenditure for them and their family members (Asher and Nandy 2008; Chew 2012). The public housing policy is helpful in providing shelter for workers, thereby raising productivity. Currently, over 2 million Singaporeans have supplementary health insurance provided by the private sector, as shown in figure 4. The CPF is an important component of Singapore's social protection system. From a recent survey, it was found that over 80 per cent resided in public housing, and 90 per cent of public housing residents owned their houses in 2015 (Department of Statistics and Ministry of Trade & Industry 2016), compared to approximately 29.4 per cent in the 1970s (Chia 2015a). The Pioneer Generation Package is another initiative targeting the elderly ‘pioneer’ generation. In recent years, the unemployment rate has been around 2 per cent in Singapore (Ministry of Manpower 2017). Public housing can be considered as a policy instrument to improve housing conditions and therefore increases worker productivity (Chua 2005). 1999 ranks … Meeting the rising welfare demand of citizens while, at the same time, keeping labour and capital costs competitive is one major challenge. We will not be able to tell you the result of our enquiries from this report. This article examines social security and housing policies in Singapore and shows how both were an integral part of a wider commitment to promote economic development. These social policies have played a supportive role to export‐oriented and foreign investment‐led economic growth strategies. In the late 1960s, the manufacturing sector accounted for 7.2 per cent of GDP; however, in the 1980s, the manufacturing sector accounted for 23.9 per cent of GDP (Huff 1994). Click here for our latest COVID-19 advisories. It was initiated by the Labour Front government led by David Marshall, leader of the then Labour Front, in 1955 as an old age retirement scheme. Furthermore, limited assistance for the unemployed has been provided in order to encourage labour participation (Schmidt 2008). we provide to the elderly, people with disabilities, low-income families, parents, etc. However, the Singaporean welfare state is different from other cases in the East Asian welfare regime. As a result, the HDB was able to construct public housing over the entire island, which could house the majority of the population. are the policy target to be addressed after the 2011 General Election. However, the Singaporean welfare state achieves remarkable performances in education and health, with very different institutional arrangements and smaller government social expenditure, compared with other East Asian economies. Some recent government initiatives are reviewed. ​The Certificate of Entitlement (COE) Grant Scheme is a grant to support the cost of COE and Additional Registration Fee (ARF) for vehicles used to transport clients who are elderly or persons with disabilities who are unable to use public transport unassisted or other transport options. Massive education was highlighted in training qualified workers during the success of the economy. trade conditions, labour market structure) are used in order to understand the types of social insurance policy being implemented in developing countries (Mares and Carnes 2009). This housing grant will be allocated to the CPF account of the applicants (HDB 2016). In 2015, the total number of CPF members was approximately 3.69 million (CPF Board 2016a) and, given the resident population in Singapore was about 3.9 million in that year (Department of Statistics 2016), it can be seen that the CPF coverage is very high. Given the concern for political survival, the economic rationale plays a pivotal role in social policy‐making in Singapore. By Lorenz Dominance social welfare in Singapore during 1999 is less than in 1991 while unambiguous conclusion cannot be made on the welfare ranking of 1982 and 1991 or of 1982 and 1999. Meanwhile, the private sector also offers health insurance, and residents can buy supplementary private health insurance for additional coverage. However, many of these conditions now are changing. Also, both the public and private sectors play a critical role in the health system in Singapore. Tertiary‐level education is now increasingly becoming important in the growth of the economy. Its basic principle remains unchanged –compulsory personal saving on the part of the employee, complemented by the employer's contribution. Both health and education policies are designed to increase human capital. See http://www.pmo.gov.sg/newsroom/prime‐minister‐lee‐hsien‐loongs‐national‐day‐rally‐2013‐english (accessed 5 July 2017). Health financing is another concern. Yet although the PAP was returned to power with 82 out of the 87 seats in the Parliament, they obtained only 60 per cent of the vote, due to the ‘first‐past‐the‐post’ system in determining who wins. deductions and credits for health and pension plans, charity donations and other ‘deviations’ from the tax code) in welfare provision, apart from direct government expenditure (Prasad 2016). The additional Retirement account is for people aged 55 and over; retirees can top up their account by cash or CPF savings (CPF Board 2016b). In addition, the government co‐funded 40 per cent of wage increases for Singaporean employees between 2013 and 2015 under the Wage Credit Scheme (WCS) for workers earning up to the gross monthly wage of $ 4,000. Households can apply for new flats from the HDB or buy public housing from the resale market. expenditure on social insurance, social assistance and labour market programmes) only accounted for approximately 3.5 per cent of GDP in Singapore in 2009, which was significantly lower than Japan (19.2 per cent) and Korea (7.9 per cent) (ADB 2013). In 2014, Singapore ranked 11th globally and 1st in Asia. People can have a monthly payout after the age of 65 when they have fulfilled the amount of surpluses in their CPF account as basic, full or enhanced retirement sums. Furthermore, this article considers the policy responses in Singapore to the change of the economic and social conditions in evolving welfare states by reviewing recent developments of the country's social policies. Government also promotes the ‘many helping hands’ approach, highlighting the self‐help activities from various community organizations (Teo 2015). 1953, Report of the Social Welfare Department / Colony of Singapore Wikipedia Citation Please see Wikipedia's template documentation for further citation fields that may be required. For example, from a household survey in 2013, financial support from children is one of the major financial sources for over 67 per cent of the elderly (aged 65 or over) in Singapore (HDB 2014). Persons with disabilities can get subsidies to acquire, replace, upgrade or repair necessary assistive technology equipment and accessories (e.g. First, public housing policy is an investment in human capital rather than in social expenditure. According to the CPF Act, all CPF reserves are invested in government securities (Ramesh and Asher 2000: 57). Next, the challenges, including changes in the labour market structure and ageing, are highlighted. The update includes enhancement of contents in relevant webpages and addition of two items, namely “Annual Service Provision and Statistics” and “Annual Highlights” on the homepage main menu to set out information of SWD from 2019-20 onwards. Also, economic structural factors (e.g. In 2006, the opposition share of the vote was 35 per cent. Furthermore, this study contributes to the literature on the development of welfare states by considering the recent policy responses in Singapore to the change of economic and social conditions. The end of the war saw the British implement the welfare state based on the Beveridge Report, which had repercussions in Singapore. Thus, when the government adjusts social policies towards a direction with more resources allocated for protective and redistributive purposes, another concern is how to make the rationale of self‐reliance, social welfare institutions and economic growth strategy internally consistent. In Singapore, welfare is not seen as a responsibility of the state but as the crutch for the helpless and the needy. Also, the share of single‐person households of all resident households has increased from 8.2 per cent in 2000 to 11.2 per cent in 2014.44 Straits Times, 1 June 2015. In 2010, the ratios increased to 54.1 per cent and 49.3 per cent, respectively (Yap and Gee 2015). In 2015, the total government expenditure accounted for approximately 17 per cent of GDP (Ministry of Finance 2016a), which is significantly lower than Organisation for Economic Co‐operation and Development (OECD) countries, as well as other East Asian developed economies (e.g. Please enable scripts and reload this page. the 2011 General Election is considered a ‘watershed’ election because of the number of seats that the opposition won (five) and the proportion of persons voting for the first time (about two‐thirds). Financially, Singapore can afford a welfare state for those in need, said Eugene Tan, an associate professor of law at Singapore Management University who comments widely about local politics. SWD was meant to provide permanent assistance only for those with a permanent disability or because of old age. Given that some excellent studies on social policies in Singapore exist (e.g. Importantly, these welfare regimes are contextual and configured by historical, economic, political and social conditions. 35-cent lunch is a reality. It recognizes that we all have responsibilities to our families and to the community that sustains us' (MCYS 2010). In 1990 and 2003, the ratios of tax revenue and GDP were 15.5 per cent and 12.6 per cent, respectively (Low 2006). expenditure on social insurance, social assistance and labour market programmes) only accounted for approximately 3.5 per cent of GDP in Singapore in 2009, which was significantly lower than Japan (19.2 per cent) and Korea (7.9 per cent) (ADB 2013). The article suggests that Singapore provides a good example of a developmentalist approach to social welfare that successfully harmonises economic and social objectives. To report suspected child abuse, please visit this page. This article discusses the major social policies in Singapore, which have been designed to accommodate the political rationale and economic growth strategies. While, public and private providers compete over the healthcare service market, the role of the public sector is important, given that 80 per cent of hospital care is provided by the public sector, whereas the private sector provides 20 per cent (Ministry of Health 2016a). the 91st–100th percentile) compared with the earnings of workers in the lowest decile (i.e. The full text of this article hosted at iucr.org is unavailable due to technical difficulties. While the Singapore government ‘began tilting’ social policies by implementing Workfare in 2007,66 See http://www.mof.gov.sg/news‐reader/articleid/1076/parentId/59/year/2013?category=Speeches (accessed 18 May 2017). The elderly are also subsidized up to 60 per cent of the premium of the MediShield Life (Lim and Saxena 2015). East Asian welfare states are regarded as a welfare regime that supports ‘productivism’, in which social policies play a supportive role for economic policies. Inward foreign direct investment reached 160 per cent of GDP between 2005 and 2007 (Chia 2015b). CPF) has been implemented to finance social expenditure. Moreover, it is a compulsory saving scheme to which both employers and employees contribute. Statistical Information on Social Welfare Services 2019 Page 9 Introduction This is the thirty-seventh issue of the annual Statistical Information on Social Welfare Services report prepared by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection. While the government gives little in direct monetary aid, it invests heavily in high quality public education, health care and housing. Eligible residents can use up to 100 per cent of their Ordinary CPF savings account for the down‐payment for an HDB flat. Moreover, supports from family and community are encouraged. Both the enrollment and expenditure of the Institute of Technical Education and Polytechnics have been increasing since 2000s (figure 1). For example, the Progressive Wage Model requires a minimum wage for low‐income workers in some sectors (e.g. Most East Asian economies have invested heavily in education, healthcare and workfare because their social policies play a supportive role for economic policies (Walker and Wong 2005). [Colour figure can be viewed at wileyonlinelibrary.com]. Annual report 1947 (p.1) [Microfilm: NL 9517]. SkillsFuture, initiated in 2015, is another scheme for all Singaporeans to upgrade their skills, whether or not they have a job. The median wages for full‐time resident cleaners and other related workers increased from S$1,000 per month in 2012 to S$1,200 per month in 2015.1010 Straits Times, 19 June 2016. generous welfare and high tax rates had to be avoided. In addition, public housing provision encourages both labour supply and saving. When the PAP governed Singapore from 1959 onwards, the SIT was replaced in 1961 by a new statutory board – the Housing Development Board (HDB). Green Haven halfway house is a division of Singapore Buddhist Welfare Services. Singapore emphasises what people see in other East Asian countries: on the one hand, the subordination of public welfare to economic growth and development and, on the other, reliance on the … The Ordinary Account is mainly for housing, insurance and education, whereas the Special Account is mainly for retirement and investment, and the Medisave Account is for health expenditure. In other words, social policies are likely to be employed as a policy tool to promote economic growth. Tax and other revenue had to pay for its expenditure which, by necessity, was pruned to the bare essentials such as defence and social services. Social and public assistance (e.g. Also, supports from family are not as strong as before with ageing and changes of family structure (e.g. The remarkable performances in income, education and health achieved by a small government size imply that the welfare regime in Singapore should be understood from a broad perspective beyond government social expenditure. The ratio between the wage income earned by individuals in the highest decile (i.e. To … Medisave is another institution that highlights individual responsibility. Support For Singaporeans Affected by COVID-19, Child Care / Infant Care subsidies / KiFAS, Home Ownership Plus Education (HOPE) Scheme, Employment Assistance for Persons with Disabilities, Car Park Label Scheme for Persons with Physical Disabilities, Foreign Domestic Worker Levy Concession for Persons with Disabilities. The COVID-19 Recovery Grant (CRG) provides temporary financial support to workers in lower- to middle-income households who experienced involuntary job loss, involuntary no-pay leave (NPL) or income loss due to the economic impact of COVID-19. In the context of an increasing number of working poor families in an ageing society, to address the increasing welfare demand, policy responses could follow the ‘productivist’ welfare regime by highlighting policies that invest in human capital in order to handle future risks. After the 1980s, higher education in technology and engineering was highlighted by education policies. The overall balance of the CPF amounted to S$300 billion in 2015, which was about 75 per cent of GDP in that year (CPF Board 2016a). ‘Self‐reliance’ refers to ‘enabling a person to work, to provide for his family, to save for his rainy day and to do his best to build a better future. For example, class C patients whose monthly income is below S$3,200 will be subsidized by 80 per cent, and high‐income class C patients whose monthly income is above S$5,200 will be subsidized by 65 per cent. Initiated in the early 2000s, ElderShield offers a basic financial protection to the elderly needing long‐term care. The monthly payout now varies from S$660–720 for the basic plan and S$1,220–1,920 for other plans (CPF Board 2016b). A large portion of health expenditure has been paid out‐of‐pocket. First, labour market structure and outcomes are changing. However, recently, institutions in the welfare states of a few European countries and the USA, such as social security, employment protection and welfare financing, have been evolving to address issues including ageing, low economic growth and changes of patterns in labour market participation (Gilbert 2002; Bonoli and Natali 2012; Hemerijck 2013). Beginnings: The first report of the Singapore Department of Social Welfare, June to December 1946 (p. 1) [Microfilm: NL 28506]. This paper examines the changes in social welfare in Singapore using Labour Force Survey data. In 2014, 3.2 million Medisave accounts were set up, with a surplus amounting to S$21,800 for each account. The productive and protective dimensions of welfare in Asia and the Pacific: Pathways towards human development and income equality? In 2015, Singapore's gross domestic product (GDP) per capita amounted to approximately US$52,000 compared with US$32,400 in Japan and US$27,200 in Korea. Government education expenditure as a share of total government expenditure. In comparison with MediShield, the newly initiated MediShield Life provides a more generous coverage and a lower co‐payment (table 2). ‘decommodification’) is different. Medisave, a health saving account under the CPF, can be used to cover health expenditures for individuals and household. See http://www.pmo.gov.sg/newsroom/prime‐minister‐lee‐hsien‐loongs‐national‐day‐rally‐2013‐english (accessed 5 July 2017). The purchase of public housing requires a down‐payment from an individual in order for a household to own an apartment. Political, economic and social conditions should be considered. The tax rate has been set low to attract foreign investments, especially in the manufacturing sector (Huff 1994). Our Organisation. The notion of ‘self‐reliance’ describes the individual responsibility in Singapore context well. First, ageing and a low fertility rate have become serious issues. The contribution rate to Medisave under the CPF has been adjusted since the 2000s to deal with the problem of ageing. The amount of subsidies varies with the income level of patients. Residents can use their savings in the CPF to buy public houses. Retirees largely relied on individual and household savings in the CPF. [1] The government took up the recommendation and appointed a committee to work on the details of the survey that would dovetail with a population … Currently, the income ceilings vary from S$6,000 to S$18,000 with regard to the average monthly gross household income, depending on the nature of the flat and the location (HDB 2016). Learn more. Family support is significant for the welfare provision in many aspects. Use the link below to share a full-text version of this article with your friends and colleagues. In 2014, the number of trainees under the WSQ reached 267,000, and over half of them were aged 40 years and over (Department of Statistics 2015). Please call the police at 999 immediately if the child's life is in danger. Also, productivity is also likely to be low with increasing labour input. In addition, a relatively small government with low tax rate in favour of firms/investors is feasible under these policies. 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