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The subtle messages in the Budget logo

FOCUS ON THE ELDERLY: The family of four featured in last year's Budget logo is joined by a man with a walking stick this year.


    Jan 16, 2014

    The subtle messages in the Budget logo

    BUDGET Day may be another five weeks away, but the pre-Budget buzz in Singapore is getting louder.

    One industry group's wish list is followed swiftly by another's; the Big Four tax firms have begun marketing post-Budget seminars to clients; and civil servants and politicians are busy preparing for the annual sweep of policy announcements and the parliamentary debates that follow the Budget speech.

    Socio-economic and political commentators are also penning their views on what might go into this year's Budget statement, which falls at the midpoint of the current term of government.

    While some scrutinise tea leaves, a look at the new logo on the Ministry of Finance's Budget website threw up an unsurprising clue to what Feb 21 may bring. The family of four featured last year - dad, mum and two kids - is joined by a man with a walking stick this year.

    It has been clear for some time now that Singapore's elderly will receive special attention in this year's Budget.

    Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong singled out the "pioneer generation" of Singaporeans at last year's National Day Rally as those to whom the Government will give more.

    These would be Singaporeans in their late 60s, some of whom have lower savings and income, and have found it difficult to cope with the rising cost of living - particularly health-care expenses.

    Last month, Mr Lee said that details of this Pioneer Generation Package would be unveiled by Budget 2014.

    In what many foresee as a "social Budget", more assistance is expected to be given to lower-income families, and measures introduced to address concerns, such as health care, public housing, transport and education.

    A second look at logos past and present prompts the question: Is the father now donning a tie?

    The Government estimates that two thirds of Singaporeans will hold jobs as professionals, managers, executives or technicians (PMETs) by 2030, up from about half today.

    Creating better opportunities for Singaporeans - both in terms of jobs and education - is expected to be another key thrust of next month's Budget. It is this outcome that will frame moves to restructure Singapore's economy and businesses for more productive growth and continued competitiveness, economists and analysts say.