REACH telephone poll shows strong support for Budget 2012's aim of building inclusive society

There is strong support for the focus on building an inclusive society in Budget 2012, according to a telephone poll by the government feedback channel, REACH.

On the Budget theme of "A Fair and Inclusive Society", 93.1 per cent support the initiatives to uplift lower-income families, help seniors live long and well, as well as support Singaporeans with disabilities.

More than 85 per cent of the respondents agree that Budget 2012 marks a step-up in support of these three groups of Singaporeans.

On the theme of "Restructuring to Sustain Growth", 84.3 per cent agree that the restructuring of the Singapore economy to sustain growth and enable Singaporeans to earn better incomes is the first task in building an inclusive society.

The three most well-received Budget 2012 policies in the telephone survey revolve around education and health care subsidies.

Topping the list - enhanced pre-school subsidies in the form of higher monthly household income ceiling for the Ministry of Education Financial Assistance Scheme and Student Care Fee Assistance Scheme.

An overwhelming 91.9 per cent agree or strongly agree that they'll support expenses for lower-income families.

Also well-received - a higher number of places in centres for children who need intensive early intervention and a new programme "Development Support Programme".

In the poll, 91.7 per cent agree or strongly agree that they'll help children with disabilities.

Most respondents  - 91.1 per cent - agree or strongly agree that increasing subsidies for Intermediate and Long-Term Care services will help to make health care more affordable and accessible to Singaporeans.

Topping the list of policies that received relatively less support from poll respondents - the $20,000 Silver Housing Bonus and the enhanced Lease Buyback Scheme.

In the poll, 68.1 per cent agree or strongly agree that they'll provide an attractive option for older Singaporeans to free up money for their retirement years.

Similarly, 68.1 per cent agree or strongly agree that it's necessary to reduce the inflow of foreign workers, so as to spur productivity and encourage companies to upgrade and design better jobs.

Also receiving relatively less support is the introduction of a calibrated reduction in Dependency Ratio Ceilings in the manufacturing and services sectors, with 69.4 agreeing or strongly agreeing that they'll help to contain Singapore's dependence on foreign workers in the long term, and help companies to reduce their dependence on foreign labour gradually. 

REACH shared these findings on Sunday.

The poll was conducted between 22 February and 2 March via random phone calls with a weighted sample of 868 respondents aged 18 years and above.

It was part of REACH's Budget 2012 feedback exercise from 17 February to 4 March