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Survey, Trends

Knock Out! Budget 2020 Scores Big with Singaporeans

Blackbox Research’s fourth annual post-Budget survey amongst Singaporeans reveals that the Government has ‘hit the spot’ this year and delivered what many perceive to be a winning Budget. Against the backdrop of a slumbering economy, the corona virus outbreak and recent toing and froing on possible General Election dates, Singaporeans scored the 2020 Budget 6.7 (on a 0-10 scale), up from 5.8 in 2019 and 5.4 in 2018.

Survey results reveal that 35% of all Singaporean adults marked the Government scorecard at least an 8/10 for the 2020 Budget announcements. In contrast, only 18% rated the 2019 Budget an 8+.

More than four in ten (44%) say they personally describe themselves as a ‘winner’ from this year’s Budget vs 14% who say they are losers. 

A plurality of Singaporeans also framed this year’s Budget as the Coronavirus Budget (36%) compared to 21% who characterized it as a Budget for a slowing economy and 10% who described it as an election Budget.

A Bad Year Ahead?

The survey findings also reveal just how crucial it was for the Government to register with Singaporeans in this year’s Budget. While 26% of Singaporeans believe 2020 is going to be better for them personally, 45% already believe 2020 is going to be a worse year for them than 2019 was (29% said this year will be about the same as last).

Over half of those surveyed (52%) also indicated that the 2020 Budget was better for them personally than last year’s Budget. This is up a massive 24 points vs. how people compared 2019 with 2018.

GST Hike Appears Neutralized for Now

The Government’s gamble to defer the GST hike and include crucial financial offsets in the Budget also appear to have paid off. More than half (56%) are aware that the Government had announced in the Budget that it is deferring the GST increase to sometime between 2022-25 and 41% are aware of the GST offsets announced. 

Two in three Singaporeans (66%) say they are satisfied that the Government has decided to defer the GST increase to the future. Not surprisingly, 86% expressed a favourable view of the GST offsets being promised. 

This Year’s Top Hits (Favourite Initiatives Announced)

In terms of the announcements made in this year’s Budget, Singaporeans Top Five favoured initiatives were

  • $100 Passion card top up for those over 50
  • Higher cash pay-outs and more Singaporeans to be covered under the Silver Support Scheme
  • 20% salary support (6 months) to employers who employ a Singaporean over the age of 40
  • Skills Future extra top up of $500 for Singaporeans aged 40-60
  • HDB households will get double their GST voucher/U-Save rebate in 2020

The three least favoured announcements were:

  • 45% rebate on registration fee for those who buy fully electric vehicles – capped at $20,000
  • The Asia-Ready Exposure Programme, will support young Singaporeans’ visits to cities in ASEAN, China or India. The aim is to expose younger Singaporeans to other cultures and experiences that may benefit their careers in the future
  • Electric vehicle charging points to rise from 1600 to 28,000

Search through the measures announced at Budget 2020 using the table below.

In other key survey findings:

  • More than a third of Singaporeans (34%) tuned in closely to the Budget this year – up 8 points compared to 2019 (26%)
  • Official digital news platforms also continue to eclipse TV as the place to follow the Budget – more than 60% followed online through major news platforms compared to 49% who followed the Budget on TV
  • Print continues to be a key Budget news source for 37% of Singaporeans while 29% also read up on Government news sites. Only 20% claim to have picked up Budget news via social media conversations and commentaries
  • 4 in 10 (40%) think the 2020 Budget will most likely benefit all Singaporeans while 18% think it caters more to low income households/earners and 11% who rated the Budget as being best for Employers. 
  • More than one in four (26%) say they think the 2020 Budget will improve the economy a lot while 52% believe it will improve the economy a little. 
  • With a time cap now applying to SkillsFuture credits (31 December 2025), only 23% say they will use their new Skills credit in 2020. Over 42% don’t plan to use until 2022 at the earliest.

Commenting on the findings, Blackbox Founder and CEO said: “We may have just heard the starting gun for a new generation (4G) of PAP leadership. Of the four Budgets Blackbox has covered in recent years, the post-sentiment metrics for Budget 2020 are easily the best. They say crisis brings out the best in some. Based on that, the Government appears to have delivered in Singaporean’s eyes during what is clearly a tough period.”