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Budget 2018 passed in Parliament, with 8 Workers' Party MPs voting against it
The Government’s plans to secure Singapore’s future cannot be funded on the basis of “episodic windfalls”, says Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat.
Budget 2018 was passed in Parliament on Thursday (Mar 1), with 89 Members of Parliament (MPs) voting for it, and eight MPs from the Workers’ Party (WP) voting against it. WP chief Low Thia Khiang was not present for the vote.
In his speech wrapping up the Budget debate in Parliament, Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat addressed issues and concerns on the Budget raised by MPs over two and a half days.
Noting that some had asked if the Government’s increased spending for the future could be funded with a "windfall surplus", like the S$9.6 billion one in FY2017, he said the Government's plans to secure Singapore's future cannot be funded on the basis of "episodic windfalls".
He pointed out that the FY2017 surplus was largely due to “one-off, exceptional factors” that the Government does not expect to occur every year.
“If we are fortunate to have these occasional windfalls, we should do the responsible thing and save most of it for future needs,” he said. “We should not plan for our future in the hope that markets will always continue to move in Singapore’s favour.”
He explained that this is why the bulk of the FY2017 surplus will be reserved for future needs like the MRT development plans and ElderShield subsidies.
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