S'poreans divided over intergenerational support: poll

This article is more than 12 months old

Are you willing to pay more to fund higher social spending for the elderly? Or should the national reserves be tapped instead?

A new survey by the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) has found that Singaporeans are divided on the issue.

Two in five respondents said they were not comfortable with higher taxes and would tap reserves. A slightly lower proportion - about 34 per cent - said the opposite. The remainder were neutral. In particular, those aged 45 to 64 - sometimes called the "sandwiched generation" as they support both young and old - were most likely to frown on higher taxes.

The survey also found that 41 per cent believed each generation should take care of itself, without supportfrom other generations. An almost equal proportion - 38 per cent - disagreed.

This issue of "intergenerational solidarity" is important as Singapore grapples with how to fund social spending for an ageing population, said IPS in its report.

"There is a tension between self-reliance and a sense of community," said IPS senior research fellow Christopher Gee - one of the authors - yesterday.

That tension is reflected in other responses.

About 41 per cent of respondents disagreed that older generations should set aside assets as an inheritance for the young, compared to 30 per cent who agreed.

The survey also asked respondents to rank four sectors - family, community, employers and the Government - in order of importance when it comes to taking care of older people.

Family was ranked first by 73 per cent of respondents. Up next at 22 per cent was the Government.

The survey of 2,000 citizens and permanent residents was done last November and December.