Taking Stock Budget Special – Sky blue for Hong Kong, just Brown for

Budget traditions are folklore in Britain. What with chancellors posing for pictures outside Number 11, drinking alcohol while presenting the Budget and carting the speech in the Red Box, this may all seem strange to foreigners. Yet other nations also have traditions on Budget day. Hong Kongers place great importance on appearance and the Budget is no exception. Last week, financial secretary Donald Tsang chose sky blue for the cover of his Budget which he said indicated a cloudless sky in the morning. The characters on the cover are light gold, like a morning sun, he told reporters. ‘It gives me a sense of serenity, peace, freshness and energy. It’s symbolic of a new century,’ he added moodily. Tsang said the Chinese title of the Budget – the first four characters mean ‘Creating wealth through adding value’ – summed up the whole purpose of preparing the budget. The second phrase, also four characters, was ‘Benefitting people through cutting costs’. This, said the financial secretary, reflected a very clear message given during consultation exercises. ‘The result of course is, I hope, we are going to “Scale New Heights”, which is the title I’ve given to the English version,’ Tsang told reporters. Perhaps Gordon Brown should consider following Tsang’s lead and adopting a colour for his Budget. TS could recommend red, to match New Labour. Or maybe a striking black cover to highlight the government’s bulging coffers.

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