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Singapore Budget 2015 likely to target middle class: economist

THIS year's Budget will likely target the middle class, said Bank of America Merrill Lynch economist Chua Hak Bin on Thursday.

This is alongside expectations of a generous pre-election "jubilee" Budget on Feb 23, given that 2015 marks the 50th anniversary of Singapore's independence.

"Last year's budget was generous to the older generation, with the Pioneer Generation Package worth S$9 billion. This year's budget will likely target the broader middle class, with elections to be held by Jan 2017. There are expectations of handouts, tax rebates and expanded workfare," said Dr Chua in a research note.

Along with enhancements to the Productivity & Innovation Credit (PIC) scheme and more help for smaller firms to weather restructuring pains, Dr Chua also expects further allocation towards social spending - particularly in the realm of healthcare.

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Describing 2015 as a year of hurdles, Dr Chua said: "(This year) is marked by concerns about slowing growth, intensifying labour market pressures and weak productivity. Households will face increasing stress from rising interest rates and falling property prices. Firms will see foreign worker levies go up again on July 1, while service sectors will see the labor dependency ratio ceilings become binding."