DAIL IN COMMITTEE. - FINANCE BILL.—SECOND READING.

I move the Second Reading of the Finance Bill. The Second Reading is normally for the purpose of accepting the general principle of the Bill, and as I might say in the main the general principle of the Finance Bill has been already discussed and accepted by the Dáil when the Financial Resolutions were before it, I do not intend to speak at any great length at the present juncture. There are certain new provisions in the Bill which will require to have resolutions moved before they can be considered in Committee. There is, for instance, Section 14, which contains a declaration as to the effect of Section 69 of the Local Government Act of 1925. Also there are sections dealing with firearms certificate duty; registered firearms dealers' duty; and salmon-dealers' licences duty. Two of these clauses arise out of the Firearms Bill which has been passed by this House. And the fourth, Section 39, is inserted because it is felt by the Minister for Fisheries that a certain duty should be paid by the people who take out salmon-dealers' licences in order that there may not be a multiplicity of applications by irresponsible people. These four clauses will require resolutions. They will be moved next week, and must be passed, or the sections must be eliminated when the Bill comes up for consideration in Committee. I do not propose, therefore, to deal with these particular sections at the present moment. With regard to the scheme of the Bill as a whole, I would like to say that we have gone as far as it is possible for us to go in the way of giving remission of taxation. It will not be possible in the Committee Stage to accept any amendment involving any substantial loss of revenue. If we did accept, or if the Dáil were to accept such amendments, it would be necessary to consider what extended duties might be imposed with a view of making up the loss. A certain number of matters were raised on report of the resolutions to which I promised to give consideration, and without going in very much into details at this stage I would like to refer briefly to them.

Deputy O'Connell had down a proposal that an allowance of £80 in income tax should be given for all children over sixteen at schools or colleges. That was an amendment for which I felt a certain amount of sympathy, but I have gone into the cost of it since, and I find as far as we can estimate the cost would amount to about £60,000 per annum. An absolutely accurate figure could have been got if we had time for all the Inspectors of Taxes to go over all last year's papers and find out in respect of how many children of that age an allowance should be given, and what the allowance should amount to. At any rate it is estimated that there are some 9,000 children in respect of whom the allowance would have to be given, and the average amount of tax that would be lost per child is estimated at about £7, and that would amount to a loss in revenue of a sum of £63,000 per annum. The loss is so large, therefore, that it would not be possible to give the remission. There are at the intermediate schools 8,000 children; at national schools 6,000 over sixteen years of age; at training schools for teachers 600; whole-time attendants at technical schools, about 100; and at university colleges 3,300, making a total of 18,000. The existing allowance is £36 for the first child, and £27 for the second. The proposal was to increase the allowance to £80. It may be taken, therefore, that the average increase would be about £48 additional for each child. In certain cases a person entitled to claim in respect of a child would be charged only on the balance of his income at 2/- per £. In some instances he would be paying a tax at the 4/- rate. We are estimating that on the average the increased allowance may be taken at 3/-, on the 18,000 children, or young people, concerned. It may be assumed that the 6,000 attending the national schools are the children of people who are exempt from income tax. Of the remaining 12,000 we are assuming that 3,000 would come into the same category. There would be 9,000 children in respect of whom the allowance would be operative at the rate of £7 each child, amounting in all, as I have said, to a sum of £63,000 per annum. I think it will be evident to anyone who considers the figures I put forward in the Budget statement that we went so far with remissions of taxation that it would not be possible to grant a concession of this sort, or if we did so we would have to make up our minds to look for additional revenue by new imposts.

On the question of imported furniture bequeathed by will, consideration of the matter has convinced us that it would be extremely difficult to administer exemption, and that the question as to whether the furniture imported was the furniture actually bequeathed or not would create great difficulties. That view of the case would arise, and on the whole it was thought undesirable to make the provision suggested by Deputy Bryan Cooper. Deputy Johnson suggested we should exempt from stamp duty employees' wages receipts. I think he suggested that the exemption in that case should apply only to civil servants. My opinion is that it would not be possible to give the exemption to civil servants and not give it to other employees.

My suggestion was that it should be deleted altogether, for in practice it applies only to civil servants.

I do not think that is correct. It is not done very much in the case of weekly wage earners outside civil servants. In some cases it is done as the duty is collected through the Post Office by means of ordinary postage stamps. It is extremely difficult to estimate what the cost of the concession would be. The best attempt we can make at it is that it would be something over £10,000 per annum, and it simply becomes a question whether it is possible to give that concession or not. If the Dáil were not to be very strongly in favour of any other concession, it might be possible to stretch to the length of this particular line, but it would not be possible to give this concession, in addition to two or three other concessions, costing a similar sum of money.

Can the Minister give us any basis for his calculation of that figure of £10,000?

The Civil Service figure is in the neighbourhood of £6,000, and it is estimated that there will be a sum of £4,000 at least lost if the stamp duty is wiped out altogether in the case of other employees in the country. With regard to the repeal of Section 6 of the Finance Act of 1923, the position is that we have not yet reached the state of public mind in the country where it would be either desirable or possible to do without the powers given us by that section. That is the section which provides for the collection of income tax through deductions by employers. During the eighteen months or so that it has been in operation we have collected through it a sum of about £44,000. There is no doubt that probably an equal sum has come in because the powers under that section were in existence.

We have budgeted this year for a more expeditious collection of arrears of income tax. If income tax arrears do not come in more quickly this year than they did last year, we will be faced with a certain deficit at the end of the year. It is not to be doubted that if we were to repeal this section a substantial amount of tax would not only not be collected this year, but would be lost altogether. Generally, the people concerned by it are those who have no goods on which distraint could be made. The only other remedy, apart from this section, against people of that kind would be that of sending them to jail. There are, of course, very summary powers for the imprisonment of these people, but it would not be a practicable matter to imprison some hundreds of people for the non-payment of income tax. We have, of course, from time to time sent individuals to jail. Were we to collect a certain amount of tax from the class of people affected by this by sending substantial numbers of them to jail—by keeping, say, an average of 50 of them in jail—then it would become a matter for the Minister for Justice to find accommodation for them, but that, I suggest, is not a satisfactory way of dealing with this. On the other hand, it certainly is not satisfactory to allow people who are bound to pay income tax to escape the payment of it. It would not be satisfactory either, in our circumstances, to lose anything between fifty and one hundred thousand pounds income tax in the year. In the course of three or four years, if people have come to realise that income tax must be paid and will be collected, if there is a better state of public opinion about, and that you will not have something like a tacit conspiracy to resist the payment of income tax such as exists in many places at present, then we might repeal this section and rely on other powers of recovery. But we have come to the conclusion that, at the present time, it is not one of the changes we can afford to make.

During the discussion on the Financial Resolutions there was a question raised as to the possibility of an evasion of the duty on bottles by sending in bottles containing water, and of getting them out of the category of empty bottles by that means. That is a question that has been examined. We have come to the conclusion that if people did fill bottles with ordinary water, or anything like that, corked them and sent them in, that not only would they not escape the duty, but they could be prosecuted for attempting to evade the payment of it. I think the dangers that were feared there are amply provided against. There is a new charging provision, which I did not mention before, in the Finance Bill. It provides for a flat Customs duty on sugar preparations. At present a large number of articles containing sugar are taxed on the amount of the sugar content. That involves very great difficulties. It involves a great amount of sampling and analysis, and in some cases, to avoid sampling and analysis, there is a fixing of a rate of duty for certain preparations. In order that the rate of duty may be fixed, the manufacturer has to submit a formula to the Customs authority as well as samples, and he has to agree not to vary the formula used in the manufacture. Even in cases like that, there has to be check sampling to see that he does not actually vary the formula. The result of that is, that there are seventeen hundred different rates, and the amount of tax collected at present from these preparations, if the law were to be unaltered, would be about £6,000. It is estimated that the cost of the collection runs very near to that total of £6,000. Now it is proposed to charge all these duties at the rate of one penny per pound, or ten pence per gallon, if liquids. That will mean that they will not get the full benefit of the reduction in the duty on sugar, but they will get a certain advantage. The average duty charged on preparations heretofore was about 11/2 per cwt., while that will now be 9/4 per cwt.—the full penny per pound on sugar. In many cases the importers and manufacturers will regard the change as an advantage, because it will remove the necessity for the various restrictions and for the delays in samples and wrong assessment, and the disputes which arose in the past. There is power, as a matter of fact, for the Revenue Commissioners to charge the full sugar duty under the existing Customs Acts. If it is necessary to safeguard the revenue, the Revenue Commissioners may charge at the full rate any article containing dutiable ingredients; that is a thing containing 5 per cent. of tobacco may be charged the full tobacco duty. All these powers are seldom or never used. It is a reserve power that the Revenue Commissioners have for the purpose of seeing that the Revenue is not defrauded. It is not proposed to use that power, but we intend to ask the Dáil specifically to enact a flat rate of one penny per pound on all these preparations.

Does that power stretch to a parcel containing a variety of articles, such as sweets and clothing, charging the sweets here in respect to the weight of the entire parcel, because that is what occurred in several cases that came under my notice.

No. It deals with the preparations. This is a power which is not used. It may have to be used on occasions, but it is a power not used or expected to be used. The change suggested will give an additional revenue of about £8,000, and certain savings in administration charges.

In the Budget statement I showed a net surplus, after providing for the various remissions of taxation, amounting to £11,000. We add the amount that will be got by this particular change to that, and we get a net surplus of something like £20,000. I propose, as I think I promised to the Dáil, to extend the exemption from entertainment tax, not only to events promoted by the Gaelic Athletic Association, but also to Rugby and Soccer and other outdoor games. The cost of that concession will be £10,000. There will be, therefore, unless we are prepared to impose fresh taxation of some sort, available for all the concessions that Deputies may desire to press for during the Committee stage, only about £10,000. Deputies may think we should not have given remissions to the full extent of the money available in the way we did, but I think perhaps in the existing circumstances it was desirable. It might have been argued that we should have kept a margin of, say, £100,000, and that the Budget would not have been so rigid a structure in that case as it is at the present time. We felt, however, that the first thing was that some relief in taxation should be given.

Does the Minister propose to divide that £10,000 equally amongst all the parties?

I will see their propositions. No relief in taxation had been given since the establishment of the Saorstát, and we felt we were really at a point when the country is beginning to give its mind very definitely to economic matters, to the development of the resources and to the establishment of new enterprises and new industry, and that the utmost concessions should be given in the way of taxation consistent with the prospect of being able to continue the reduction, and of being in the position of not having to increase the taxation next year. During the present year, and, say, the next year, we are going to depend a good deal upon the collection of the arrears of income tax. At the end of the next year that reservoir will have dried up. It is quite possible, also, that the protective duties that we have imposed will not be a yielding revenue to a very large extent. No doubt, if they have been successful in bringing about the establishment of new industries, the increased wages paid will lead to increased yield of various taxes, and what we may lose upon protective tariffs themselves we may gain as an actual result of the stimulation of industry which they will have provided.

took the Chair.

It is only in the general improvement of conditions that we will find anything to compensate for the loss of the exceptional revenue that we are at present getting from income tax. We certainly can go no further with any safety at all, and with any certainty that we will not have to retrace our steps, in the remission of taxation that has been done by the Budget.

We did set aside a certain sum to meet unfavourable contingencies, but that sum was not excessive when Deputies remember that we have got at the present time such things as a demand for assistance in connection with the losses to farmers whose flocks have suffered from fluke, the demand that comes from particular areas where there is distress, at the present time, and the possibility that relief will have to be carried out during the winter in various districts.

And unemployment insurance?

There will be a demand and a need for expenditure in many ways. I think I have already mentioned elsewhere the question of a compulsory School Attendance Bill. There is no doubt that if that Bill is passed it will involve the employment of increased numbers of teachers and increased expenditure. The increments of the secondary teachers will go up automatically. The Civic Guards are a young body and very far from the top of their scale, and the ordinary increment the men receive annually will be an increased charge. It will not be easy at all to avoid the necessity of new charges at the end of a couple of years. They certainly cannot be avoided, unless there is improvement generally in the country, unless there are new industries and unless there is an increase in the productivity both in industry and in agriculture as I believe there will be.

I believe that the various steps that have been taken in legislation, and the various agricultural Bills passed will result in an increase of productivity. I believe the sugar beet experiment will lead to increased productivity though it will be at considerable immediate cost to the State, I believe that the Shannon Electricity Scheme, and the protective tariffs that we have tried will also lead to increased productivity and, as far as one can foresee, enable us to continue the present scale of taxation to which we have got down. I think it is the stern fact that Deputies in the Dáil must realise that there is absolutely no use in proposing changes or concessions of taxes which will involve big losses in the revenue unless those who propose them are prepared to propose measures that will give us the revenue that has been lost. It will never serve this Government to budget the deficit on ordinary expenditure. We may budget to borrow for capital work, or abnormal or non-recurrent expenditure, but we must arrange to raise by taxation all that is required for normal expenditure. We are going to borrow for certain things, like compensation, for the Shannon scheme, for the Barrow drainage when it is gone on with, and for other drainage works of that kind, and we may have to borrow for housing. There are other possibilities of that kind, and we must be in the position to have the confidence of people who have money to invest. If we are not conducting our finances on sound and reasonable lines there is no doubt that the possibility of getting money on fair and reasonable terms by borrowing will disappear. We can now get it on good terms. It is now possible to face a project like the Shannon scheme without any hesitation or doubt, because we know we can borrow money on terms that will enable the project to pay.

If we got ourselves into the position, as we easily might, where we would have to pay, not 5¼ per cent., but 7 or 8 per cent. for our money, proposals like the Shannon scheme would bear a different aspect altogether. Consequently there is no possibility now of giving additional remissions of taxation. We may give remissions of taxation and substitute new taxes of some sort in their place; but we cannot budget for less revenue than we have budgeted for.

During the debate on the Financial Resolutions I asked the Minister to consider one aspect of the question. It arose particularly in connection with the duty on apparel. I pointed out, on that occasion, that there was a considerable trade done from Dublin with the North of Ireland and elsewhere and, as the tariff stands at the moment, these items coming into the Saorstát are all subject to duty. If there is no refund of that duty when those items are sold out of the Free State it is quite obvious that we will lose that trade in the Free State. I stressed that point particularly with the Minister, as I have said, when the Financial Resolutions were before the house. I know that he has since received many resolutions and, I am sure, a great many deputations on this subject. He has not mentioned this important question at all this afternoon. As I pointed out before, it is a trade of very considerable importance. The Minister has stated, and very properly, that he cannot accept any alteration of his proposals that would mean a loss of duty. Now, let me point out that no loss will accrue in this particular instance. If the Minister must get this duty it is quite obvious that the traders will lose this trade. A customer in the North of Ireland is not going to pay 15 per cent. more for purchasing an article in Dublin than that article can be purchased for in London.

If the Minister adheres to this particular proposal, this trade coming through Dublin at the moment will be lost to Dublin. There is no use in the Minister saying that if he makes a refund of the duty it will be money returned. It is not money returned in a sense, because the article is only passing through the Free State, and if the Minister stops the sale of that article he stops the duty that would be charged coming in, and, of course, the trader does not get the refund when it is going out. In cutting off that trade he is really doing an injury. He is, at least, injuring the trade of the city and of several towns in Ireland; he is even, to some extent, injuring the trade of some of the large towns of Southern Ireland and he is giving rise to unemployment. I am sure that very considerable pressure has been brought to bear on the Minister by those engaged in the trade during the last few weeks. I would be very glad to know from the Minister what he now proposes to do in connection with this important matter.

I should like, first of all, to say that I agree with every word that the Minister has stated in regard to borrowing. I realise the difficulty of his position. He has budgeted to a very narrow margin indeed, and he has no power to make any concessions. I want to lay before the Minister and the Dáil one or two general considerations with reference to our fiscal system which are apposite to this Bill. The last dozen years have seen a revolution in our fiscal system. Some 12 years ago, in the year 1913, indirect taxation was based on the principle of taxing half a dozen articles of common use. They were taxed mainly in bulk. Tea, coffee, sugar, tobacco, whiskey, beer and porter were the principal articles of indirect taxation, and the tax was levied mainly by weight. They were goods handled by warehousemen and bottlers, and not, as a rule, by the ordinary retailer, and bought through a middleman. Therefore, the collection of the tax was an easy matter. The Revenue Commissioners had only to deal with a certain number of people, all of whom were trading on a very considerable scale and who were in the position of being readily able to acquaint themselves of any regulations that would be issued.

Now we come to 1925, when the whole basis of taxation was altered. It was not first altered by the Minister; it was altered by the European War and by the introduction of the M'Kenna duties; but the process has grown up until it reaches its culmination in the Bill that we have before us. We are taxing a multitude of articles, not of uniform quality, but of various sizes and descriptions and kinds— articles varying intensely in many degrees; we are taxing them, not in bulk or weight, but byad valorem duties, which is a more complicated matter. It means that every single article has to be valued and assessed. To ascertain the tax on tea or sugar by weight was an easy matter. The value of a pair of boots or of a glass bottle is a much more difficult matter to ascertain, because the variety in quality is so great. I do not want to over-emphasise that, but I do emphasise that the whole thing has become infinitely more complicated during the last 12 years. Taxation has now entered far more into the life of the ordinary man than it did 12 years ago. At that time he was accustomed to paying for certain articles at a certain price and he knew that that price varied a little occasionally, but remained stable on the whole. Now taxation enters far more into a man's life, from the time he leaves his house in the morning until he returns to it at night. The Minister attempted to convert me. He told me that he had taken off as many duties, almost, as he had put on. He instanced the case of chloroform.

There were five or six other articles in addition to chloroform.

The Minister mentioned chloroform and similar preparations to chloroform. Chloroform and similar preparations to chloroform are useful enough in operations when a person may be ill; but they do not enter into the life of the ordinary individual, unless, perhaps, he be a hypochondriac, as much as boots, soap, chairs or clothes do. Now I quite recognise that the country, and the majority of Deputies in the Dáil, are in favour of this experiment of protection. They hope that it will develop our industries and that it will give employment to many people who are unemployed. I am not unsusceptible to that side of the question. I was moved very much indeed by Deputy Mrs. Collins O'Driscoll's arguments when we were discussing this matter before. At the same time, I do think that if we make this experiment we should realise all the implications of this policy of widespread protection, because it is widespread protection. We are still collecting our revenue with the machinery set up for the comparatively few, simple, indirect taxes that we collected 12 years ago. We are using the same machinery, slightly modified, for the collection of a great multitude of complicated taxes.

I do not think the officials who are charged with the very onerous, unpleasant and responsible duty of collecting taxes realise fully how the shoe pinches the ordinary individual. They are not now dealing with the big men who imported in bulk, but with hundreds and hundreds of small shopkeepers all over the country and thousands of individuals who get their goods in by post. I think that the machinery needs a little remodelling, and I think there are two directions in which I think we should remodel it. The first is when we are imposing a customs duty of any kind, the articles on which that duty is to be levied should definitely be specified. We should not satisfy ourselves with a phrase like "wearing apparel" or a phrase like "furniture" and leave those phrases to be interpreted by the Revenue authorities. That is, if I may call it so, legislative laziness. We should ourselves lay down a schedule specifying the various articles to be taxed. Deputy Figgis suggested such a course in regard to clothing. That should have been made more general with regard to furniture. We should not leave the interpretation of matters to the Revenue Commissioners. It is an unfair responsibility to leave that on their shoulders and it means that we are shirking our own duty. Also, it produces some very unsatisfactory results. For instance, which of us, when the Financial Resolutions were under discussion, realised that by imposing a duty on furniture we were imposing a duty on imported brushes? There was one person in the Dáil who did not, and that was the Minister for Finance.

Oh, yes, I was quite aware of it.

Will the Minister explain, then, why he said on page 356 of the Official Report of the 24th April, "We have all these industries clamouring for protection—brushes and brassware, iron-founding and polish-making, paper-making and agricultural implements, carriages, vehicles, matches," etc. Then he said: "I certainly feel that a lot of these industries have no real possibility of growth before them, and that it would be simply burthening the community to protect them." He included in the category of goods he was not going to tax brushes, brasses, artificial manures and matches, and now we are told he is going to tax these brushes.

We are taxing such brushes as are included in the term furniture; we are not going to exclude many goods. You could pick out a dozen, or a hundred things if you liked, that would not come within the definition of furniture. We do not propose to exclude anything that comes properly within the definition of furniture. Hair-brushes, tooth-brushes and shaving-brushes, that are not furniture, will not be taxed.

The Minister has made my case. How, in the name of wonder, is any Deputy to know the kind of brushes included under the term of furniture, and what is not? Is there any dictionary that will tell us? That is my point, that we should be specific on the matter. It is the same with wearing apparel. I will pass away from that for the moment. Hair-brushes are not to be taxed. Then there is a small article called an egg-whip. It is made of metal, but it has a small wooden handle, and the value of the wood in that handle is being taxed as furniture at the present time. Did anybody imagine when we were imposing these taxes that egg-whips were to be taxed? I believe that strainers would also come within that category. I do not know whether children's toys or bread-knives with wooden handles come within it or not. None of us know, and, therefore, I wish we were specific on this point. By making our duties more definite we shall gain another advantage. We shall be able to protect industries that really need protection, and that are capable of development, without putting duties on a multitude of things that we are never likely to produce. Take these handles of egg-whips. Does anybody suppose that any person will set up a factory in the Free State for the manufacture of handles of egg-whips? It is most improbable.

The Minister for Industry and Commerce made a strong case with regard to protection of ready-made suits. I think he made his case. He could have made an equally strong case for hosiery, but is there any reason why we should tax Deputy Good's Paris models, that are never likely to be made in this country? The Minister has a hope that sometime we might start a fashion of our own. The fact that New York and Chicago have to import their Paris models and have not considered it worth while to establish a factory for the production of these models, seems to indicate that it is unlikely that we shall strike out in this matter and establish a factory for the manufacture of such models. We should say exactly what we are taxing, and we should not leave it to the Revenue Commissioners to decide what wearing apparel is. I presume that on the lines they are interpreting the other proposals about furniture they will include boxing gloves as wearing apparel. The Minister in his own mind does not know, nobody knows, what the Commissioners may interpret as wearing apparel.

Anything that is worn.

The boxing gloves may be surgical appliances which are excluded from the tax.

Deputy Magennis is possibly a Revenue Commissioner. We know he fulfils many functions. Possibly he is an authority, but the people do not know how these taxes are imposed. I think we should be specific and say exactly what things we should protect. Instead of having loose general terms we should say in detail what we intend to tax. I am framing amendments that I hope will be comprehensive enough for the Minister to accept without loss of revenue. The second point is that as far as possible in the collection of tax, administrative inconvenience should be done away with and if possible means should be found for meeting special cases. For instance, there is the case with regard to clothes that are sent into the Free State to charities, second-hand and cast-off clothes which are sent to charities, from people on the other side and from people in Northern Ireland. I think the case has been put to the Minister already, and I ask him to have something done whereby it would be possible for charitable societies to import these clothes duty free. I realise that if you allow everybody to do it there would be a serious danger of loop-holes by which dealers could import such clothes free of tax. I think, if possible, that some arrangement should be made to enable such societies as the Sick and Indigent Room-Keepers Society to accept gifts of such clothes.

Then there is the case of transfer on approval of goods that Deputy Good referred to. Under Resolution 7, as issued by the Revenue Commissioners, we shall lose a considerable amount of our transit trade. There is one firm in Dublin which imports linen goods from a northern factory and exports them to Great Britain. If this tax is imposed in such cases, we shall lose that transit trade because the goods will be sent direct from Belfast to England and the result will be that a certain number of people will be thrown out of employment in Dublin.

When we were discussing this matter previously the Minister said he would like to meet any amendments put forward. After all, the responsibility is not solely ours. The responsibility is also the Minister's. It is not an easy matter to draft amendments to a Finance Bill. It is an infinitely technical matter and Deputies are under a great disadvantage and we are in the dark as to the nature of any regulations issued by the Revenue Commissioners. We do not know when these regulations are issued. I had my attention drawn to a regulation recently issued by the Revenue Commissioners. It is not on the Table of the House. I am sure the Minister would show it to me if he had it with him. We are placed in a very difficult position which makes it impossible to draw up amendments. We are also placed in a difficult position by the habit of the Revenue Commissioners in stating that they have no statutory authority to do anything. When we have passed our resolutions in general terms, the Revenue Commissioners have statutory authority and it is very hard to know when you have not seen a regulation whether the Revenue Commissioners are correct, whether pressure should be brought to bear on the Minister to introduce an amending resolution or whether the Revenue Commissioners are not interpreting their powers with too much strictness and rigidity.

Perhaps the point I want to make is unnecessary. The Revenue Commissioners have no power to interpret. They have power to administer the law, and if anybody thinks that they are insisting on having a duty which they are not entitled to have, there is the remedy, and the interpretation of the Act then is made by the Courts.

I would like to make my position clear. I am not attacking the Revenue Commissioners for having done anything improper from their point of view. Here we have a case of what is not the law. The duty on clothing is not yet statutory. The Revenue Commissioners interpret it under powers given by the passage of the resolution, but they have issued regulations making concessions with regard to goods on approval. If they have the power to make regulations at all they have power to make general regulations, not to differentiate. We have merely passed a broad resolution with regard to the duties. I will show the Minister correspondence if he likes to see it. Another thing that should be done to make these Customs duties as little onerous or as little arduous as possible to the ordinary traveller is to facilitate Customs inspection in every way. It has been suggested that the Minister should have Customs inspectors on the boats plying between Dun Laoghaire and Holyhead, Greenore and Holyhead, and possibly between Fishguard and Rosslare. I do not know if that is practicable, but I do say that the Minister might well follow the example of the French and Swiss Governments and have the Customs examination carried out on the trains from Belfast to Dublin. I believe it is practicable, the railway company considers it practicable, and that would cause a considerable saving of time and mitigate inconvenience to a great extent. If it is possible on the Franco-Swiss frontier I see no reason why it should not be equally possible on the frontier between the Free State and Northern Ireland.

My last point is the minimum duty of 2s. 6d. on all dutiable goods. That may have been a very good expedient when you are dealing with goods that were almost exclusively imported in large quantities, but it is a very bad expedient when you are dealing with this heterogeneous catalogue of things, every form of wearing apparel and every form of furniture, because the result is that very often the duty levied is not 33? per cent. or 15 per cent., but 50, 70, 100 or 150 per cent. sometimes, and that duty presses most hardly on poor people who send small consignments, and who believe they are giving a small present to a relation or a friend, while the whole value of the present is destroyed by the recipient having to pay 2s. 6d. minimum duty and 6d. stamp duty.

I do urge the Minister to reconsider that in the light of the fact that while it may have been justified by old-time economics, the new conditions that have been created, partly created by himself, are such as to render it hopelessly inequitable. If you are going to tax a wide variety of goods you cannot talk of reducing your Customs entries; it is impossible; they must increase, and you must have a larger staff. These new taxes may not increase the cost of living; the cost of living may be balanced by the concessions on tea and sugar, but I am quite certain of one thing, that they will increase the irritation of living.

I am not going to ask the Minister to make any remissions of taxation. On the contrary, I am going to ask him to increase his revenue and I will try to convince the Government that it will be doing itself justice and doing something useful for the country by following the representations which I will endeavour to put forward. I very much regret the fact that the Minister for Lands and Agriculture is not present. I was one of those Deputies who had the temerity to ask for certain tariffs on agricultural produce, and while I do not dispute the right of the Minister to oppose that view, I think that he did not do me justice in saying that I casually demanded tariffs without giving any reasons in support of their introduction. There is a conception abroad that farmers, as a rule, have always been free traders. That conception has more or less been brought about by the action of our Party since we came into the Dáil. But I maintain that circumstances alter cases, that varying conditions call for new remedies, and that consistency in politics may be very much overrated. The Minister for Lands and Agriculture himself has not been consistent. I remember when an important resolution in connection with tariffs was brought forward by Deputy Milroy, the Minister was a confirmed free trader, but he subsequently changed to a tariff reformer. There is an old saying which I have found by experience to be true—"Life is merely a series of compromises." Changing conditions bring about new possibilities, and while we are all, I hope, actuated by the idea of doing the best we can for the country, I believe that the policy I am about to advocate would stimulate production and help our industry.

I would like to ask what was the mentality of the farmers in the year 1846 when the repeal of the Corn Laws took place. Were the farmers free traders then? Were the farmers free traders in subsequent years when they saw the land depopulated by emigration, and the gradual change from tillage to grass? Were the sons of that generation free traders? They were free traders because the outlook was hopeless. At that time we were combined with the United Kingdom, but the Treaty has brought about a new position. It has given us fiscal autonomy, and it has given us the right, if we so desire, to place tariffs on anything that will develop industry. The conception of tariff reform was the kernel of the whole Sinn Fein movement. I never was what might be called a thoroughbred Sinn Feiner, but I am very well satisfied with the results that that movement achieved, and I am endeavouring to take advantage of the position won by that particular body of political opinion. I ask for a tariff on American bacon.

On all imported bacon?

On all imported bacon, yes. What is the position of the bacon industry in this country? We have an export trade of live pigs to the value of £1,200,000, and while we have unemployed here we have men engaged in Canada and the United States preparing bacon for food for this country. The importation of that article amounts to close to £2,000,000 worth, and if pigs were killed in this country it would mean the killing of 600,000 or 700,000 animals, with increased employment, and, at the same time, it would not raise the cost of living. This industry is decaying; there is a decrease in the number of our pigs yearly since the war. Last year, as compared with the year before, the number was down in the neighbourhood of a quarter of a million and there were 30,000 less sows than in the year before. What is bringing that about? Competition by the Dane, competition which is rendered more keen by the fact that the Dane is in possession of a depreciated currency. He is forcing us out of the English market. He is even landing his bacon and his butter in Dublin, and I say that is one of the trades which calls for the help which the control of our internal trade can give.

I want to take up the argument of the Minister for Lands and Agriculture on this point. He based his policy on a certain argument, and he said that because the farmer has £1 per cwt. in preference on his own bacon he has the advantage of a tariff, without any of its disadvantages. I dispute that statement. The farmer, the Minister says, sells his bacon at £4 a cwt. and he buys American bacon at £5 a cwt. That is not the position at all; the farmer does not sell his bacon at £4 a cwt. That is the dead-weight price of bacon, the dead-weight price of the carcase, which is not bacon at all. When a carcase is turned into the resultant bacon it is about six stone to the cwt. I will prove that. The carcase consists of the body, minus the organs and the entrails, but including the head. The first operation that the farmer would have to perform in order to turn the carcase into bacon would be to scald the pig with boiling water and scrape it, incidentally scraping away a couple of pounds of what the Minister calls bacon, in the shape of bristles, outer skin and dirt. That is the first operation, and that changes the Minister's bacon into what we call mercantile bacon. The pig has to be decapitated, the legs taken off and the backbone taken out, leaving two sides. When the farmer salts these two sides, presses them, re-salts them in a week, presses them again, and takes them out in two months' time, when they are dry, he has bacon. He has then, out of a cwt. of pig, six stone of bacon. I am told he will have the head and the backbone. The work entailed in changing that pork into bacon would not be paid for by the price of the head and the crubeens. The proof is this: if you bring a pig to a co-operative bacon factory, they will charge you seven or eight shillings for saving that pig. If you recollect that eighty shillings in reality only represents six stone of bacon, you will find that Irish bacon to the farmer and the cottier will cost 106/8 as against 100 shillings which the Minister stated the farmer spends in buying American bacon at retail prices. That only applies to people who rear pigs. It does not apply to the bulk of the population of this country, and is not an argument on which any policy should be based. It is simply special pleading against the idea of protection. That is the idea I counter. I think it is scarcely fair for the Minister for Agriculture to be specially opposed to the idea of protection instead of being a judge who should see, and show to the Dáil, the other side of the question. He admitted that American bacon was being landed at £3 a hundredweight at the ports, and now that the pound is looking the dollar in the face, the tendency would be for it to be landed cheaper.

The question is not the question of the price of the pig to the farmer but of American bacon as it is landed at Dublin port, as compared with the price of Irish baconex factory. I am showing you that if you slaughter those 700,000 pigs in the country you will not raise the cost of living. To whom will the cost of living be raised? According to the Minister's statement, eighty per cent. of American bacon is bought by the farmer. I have taken ten minutes to show that both cost the same to him. I say, if those 700,000 pigs were slaughtered here, you would have the offal for your poor people and the work as well. You would have a stable market and you would not have the prices fluctuating, and you would have, by the method used in dressing Irish bacon, an amount of good food, better than the American food, for your people. Take a side of bacon as you see it in the city. The top portion of that, called back rashers, commands the highest price. It is an article of commerce very much sought after and is at the disposal of Deputies when they have bacon and eggs. It gives you the highest superficial amount of bacon without any body and is an article which shows a great deal for little weight. It costs 2s. 2d. a pound and it is on that cut of the pig that the trader makes his profit. The piece of the bacon on the under side of that is sold at a shilling a pound cheaper than American bacon. It is a good food, far better than American bacon in food value. In addition you will have the gammon end for the poorer people who can buy under the wholesale price of American bacon. You will have the pig's head, of which I spoke to you. It should not be necessary for me to go into details of this kind, but when a case is made on a spurious foundation, and when a policy is advanced by arguments of that nature, it is necessary for me to enter on those details. I want to put before the House the fact that if the people in this country knew how the bacon was fed in America and Canada, they would never use it as food at all. We heard Deputy Hennessy talk about the scandalous way in which the farmers produce butter in this country.

I will tell you how they feed pigs in Canada, and it will keep you from eating American bacon. One of my neighbours last year went over to Canada to see what possibilities there were there. He spent a year working on a farm there and reported back. He said: "We cannot compete with American bacon. I will tell you what they feed the pigs on and what happens there. There is a large stockyard in which the cattle are fed with Indian corn. The corn which the cattle fail to digest is deposited as dung, and is the feeding for Canadian pigs." We hear a lot about sweated industry. Do you think it is possible for us in this country to pay taxes, annuities and to support a trade which has to meet competition of that sort? I say it is an impossibility. It is not right that we should be asked to pay our people and to feed them on good sound food while at the same time we are faced with an article brought in at 60/- and sold at a profit of forty shillings. The pigs are fed on dung. That is a fact, and the reason why it is pressed so much is that there is such a profit on it. I have shown you that there is no danger of a rise in the cost of living. We hear everybody talking about the dead meat trade. The Minister is enthusiastic about it. He says the dead meat trade is open to us and that we have factories. We are exporting 1,200,000 live pigs. Why do we not kill them here? We are only half the country, because the North exports their pigs as pork. We are the only persons sending away live pigs, and if you do as I tell you, you will have a potential bacon factory in every city. You will not have American bacon in the shops. An enterprising grocer will go to the nearest cottier, will buy a pig and sell it over his counter and will not go to the factories. You will have bacon at a cheaper price. You will be doing no injustice to the poor. You will be helping farmers to gain a trade amounting to over £2,000,000 per annum. I think that is a reasonable proposition. It is a reasonable proposition to put before a Sinn Fein Executive, and I hope it will sink deeply and that the Minister for Lands and Agriculture will not be allowed to wipe it off the slate.

I advocated a tariff on oats, and the Minister for Lands and Agriculture had an answer for that. He pretended to see a difference between oats and oatmeal. As a matter of fact, he was not right in that. The Minister says that two-thirds of that is seed. The fact is that there is imported £102,000 worth of Canadian oats alone, not to speak of oats from the North of Ireland. The amount of oats imported is somewhere in the region of 700,000 barrels per annum. Think of what that means! There are £358,000 worth of oat products, and £150,000 worth of ordinary oats—something about half-a-million pounds worth of oats. Worked out at 14s. a barrel, that means that the importation amounts to 700,000 barrels. That would be the product of 70,000 acres, or an area of over 1,100 square miles. Here is an item that will not raise the cost of living. Our oatmeal is as good as the Canadian product. Our oats, are as good as the Canadian oats, and why a farmer in this country, who has a surplus of oats in the spring, should be forced to meet competition from Canada, passes my understanding. Oats is one of the cereals that can be grown successfully in this country. It can be grown on the hill or in the valley, on the mountainside or in the vale. It can be grown on good land or on poor land. It is a hardy cereal, and grows in all kinds of climate. We can produce as good oats here as anywhere else, or, perhaps, better, because we have a greater yield. There are possibilities in this connection which ought to be considered very seriously. It cannot raise the cost of living. It will stabilise the price of oats, and induce the people to grow more oats. This is the crop on which the farmer is enabled to pay his rent and annuity and taxes. This is a proposition that ought to receive favourable consideration from the Government. As I have pointed out, it cannot raise the cost of living, and nobody can object to it on those grounds. Therefore, I urged that the Minister for Lands and Agriculture should not divide this item into two parts—grain and oatmeal. When he was beaten, he said: "If you want a tariff, I will give you a tariff on oatmeal." That is the position with regard to oats.

I asked for a tariff on butter. Butter imports amount to £739,000 per year. Some of that comes in in the summer. The Minister said it all comes in the winter. Is it possible to provide £125,000 worth of butter each month for the four months of winter? That is what the question amounts to. Nobody need tell me that that cannot be done. Our people are living on the finest land in the world. Because it is so good, they have not to work. They have only a seasonable production of milk. The cows calve in the spring. There is a flush of milk in the summer, when the grass is there. When the grass is finished, there is no milk. We farm on the system employed in the days of Methuselah and holy Job. There is nothing wrong in that. It is exactly the system I saw in operation in wild country elsewhere. I do not think that that is a system that ought to be perpetuated, when we are taking on schemes like the Shannon scheme. If we are going to develop this country, we ought to develop this industry. It can be done, as I will show presently. A farmer who farms on that system has, willy-nilly, to give his cows hay. His cows come out in the spring thin. If he would give those cows, in addition to the wisp of hay, 4 lbs. of oats and a half cwt. of roots every day during the winter, at a cost of 9d., one-third of those cows, calving in November, and fed as I have described, would give two gallons of milk per day all through the winter. The cows would be stronger in the spring, and they would give the same amount of milk in the summer. The difference between the 9d. which he would expend on feeding and the 1s. 10d. which he would get for his milk, would represent the profit to him. I know that there have been investigations made in connection with winter dairying. I know that the Minister for Lands and Agriculture has gone into the subject. But I want to approach the question from the position in which the work is being done at present. I want to show the results that would accrue from a change of system. If you calve one-third of your cows in November and expend 9d. per day in the feeding of each of them, as I have described, you will get in the winter two gallons of milk per day from them, which you can sell at 1s. 10d. 1s. 10d., less 9d., leaves 1s. 1d. That is the profit to the farmer, and that is good profit, as I will prove. Everybody who has ever fattened cattle knows that if you do not feed cattle at an expense of 1s. 6d. per head per day you are going to lose. That is the maximum of expenditure. If you spend more than that, you lose, too. It will take three months to complete the fattening. 1s. 6d. a day for a week is 10s. 6d. Thirteen weeks at 10s. 6d. is, roughly, £7. The man who fattens cattle has got to get back £7 before he can make 1s. profit. If he got 1s. per day as I have offered the dairyman, he would have to get £11 11s. 0d. profit, and very few men engaged in fattening cattle for export are getting £11 11s. 0d. If Deputy Leonard is here, I am sure he will not contradict me in regard to that assertion. Eleven guineas to a man who ties up a beast in November is a profit any man would be glad to take. He is taking less at present. And yet I have shown you that the dairy farmer could gain more. There would, too, be an absolutely certain winter supply of milk, and there would be the usual summer supply. Even if there was a small shortage in summer, it would be only at a 6d. rate, and would not amount to anything. What would be the advantage? We have our customers got up to October. Then we drop our supply of butter. We let in the Dane on a depreciated currency. We have to fight him in the spring, when we have to start again, and we have to lose money in order to get into the market. There is a potential gain to the farmer and an absolute gain to the co-operative society in the methods I have advocated. If the farmer continued his supply in the winter, this loss—which is a national loss of very serious dimensions—would be in the nature of added profit to the farmer or to the co-operative society. I hope I have convinced the Dáil that that is sound economics.

The Minister for Lands and Agriculture says that there is nobody in the Dáil wants a tariff on butter except Deputy Wilson. I hope I have changed his mind. When I asked for a tariff I was laughed at. I suggested 2/- as the amount. I did not look on that as a tariff; I looked on it as an embargo. I did not want a tariff; what I wanted was an embargo. I wanted to keep the foreign butter out. If you are afraid of an embargo in the case of butter, or if you are afraid that it will raise the cost, you can do as the French Government does in the case of other foodstuffs, take power to have the embargo raised when prices reach a certain standard. Power could be taken to do that by Order in Council. That is what happened last year in France in respect of another article of food. That would be a means of inducing people to winter-feed their cows. The Minister for Lands and Agriculture is settling thousands of people on the land. He is going to put the people back on holdings. If these people had an assured market for their milk or butter products in the winter, they would turn to that industry and not be wasting their time growing small cattle and sending them to the grazier to fatten. That is how you could bring about increased production in the agricultural industry. Then we have the Shannon scheme. The farmers' daughters, instead of having to work, will just have to switch on the electric current and the milk will be separated. Then they will turn another switch and the milk will be churned. Another switch will be operated and the butter worker will not have to injure her poor, dainty hands. The daughter of the farmer will not then be running off to sell gowns or aprons in the shops. She will stay at home under the new conditions and she will be provided with suitable and remunerative employment. I contend that the method I have suggested is the proper method. It will stimulate production and make the country what we desire. We do not want to see this country devoted to the growing of grass. Go up to the hills in the country and see the remains of the ridges that were there when this was an intensively cultivated country. What was the cause of the change? Was it not the free trade policy pursued by England? What qualms of conscience can the Deputies on these benches have to change with the circumstances? They have the power and why not use it in the direction of putting more people on the land? Why not use it in the direction of giving more employment and stimulating industry on the land?

The question of barley is on another footing. There has been more demand for a tariff in respect of barley than in respect of any other product of the soil that I know. I never stood for a tariff on barley, because barley is the raw material of another industry. My reasons for opposing a tariff on barley are simply and solely the reasons which the Minister for Finance gave for refusing to put a tariff on piece goods. He said that they were raw material for the tailors. Barley is the raw material of another industry. The Minister for Lands went further; he said, why not supply pig-feeding districts with barley; why not crush the barley into meal and send it into those districts? Lack of organisation was, he said, the cause; the farmers are no use. If the people who grow barley demand the price for barley which the maltster pays, then barley as a pig food is outside the question. A price of 13/6 a cwt. for barley will not compare with the price at which maize can be purchased. Unless the growers of barley are prepared to supply barley for pig feeding at 10/- a cwt., then barley as a pig food is impossible. When the Minister for Lands and Agriculture talks about lack of organisation among farmers, I would remind him that in the great milling centres of America, around the Missouri Valley—St. Louis, for example, where there is a great milling industry—the situation is that if they run short of wheat they do not get it from California. They pay the tariff and take it over the border from Canada. At the time they are doing that, Dublin millers are buying Californian wheat. It is not a question of lack of organisation. The transit charges in this country are abnormal. Transit charges for agricultural products here are the obstacle and, therefore, the demand of the barley growers for malting prices for feeding-barley and the question of the railway charges are the causes which have placed the feeding of pigs by barley in this country out of the question.

These are the only arguments I put forward. I leave it to the Dáil to say whether I have not made a fair case and put forward a fair demand. I am very sorry the Minister for Lands and Agriculture is not here. I would like to have had his contradictions, so that I could get out some more information on this subject. He would put forward objections, and I would have the opportunity and the gratification of countering them by giving him more information on these particular matters.

The question of a tariff on bacon is a serious question. It is a question that the Minister ought very seriously to consider. If it is not possible this year, I would urge that the Minister for Finance ought to see a way of dealing with the matter next year. It is wrong that we should be feeding our people with products raised in the way I have shown. It is wrong that we should permit people to give us food when we can do it ourselves. It is wrong to ship live pigs from this country when we could have a trade here that would make our agricultural industry successful. It is wrong to allow free trade to depopulate our country. We should take away this free trade idea, for the free trade idea is only entertained by the grazier. The grazier is a free trader because he has the internal consumption of this country at his feet and he thinks that if there was protection it would raise his costs. He is in open competition in the English market at present, but he is getting beaten out of the English market just now. Canadian cattle are, unfortunately, fetching better prices in the English market than Irish cattle. The way I have outlined is the way to keep the people on the land, and if it is not the way, I would like if the Minister for Lands and Agriculture would show me a better way.

I would like to congratulate Deputy Wilson on his very able, and, I think, effective answer to some of the arguments that were put up on the earlier stages of this Bill by the Minister for Lands and Agriculture. I suppose he is not expecting that the Minister for Finance will withdraw this Bill and make up a new Bill.

I am not.

I have no doubt that what Deputy Wilson has said will have some effect upon the education of the public during the next twelve months. It may mean the setting in motion of a body of opinion that will lead to a change of view from the agricultural population regarding their relations to finance, taxation, and to the general community. I think I said, on the introduction of these Budget Resolutions, that I thought there was not enough done in this Budget scheme for the agricultural industry.

I am quite convinced that there is need, from a strictly national economic point of view, to take steps to stimulate agricultural production quickly — not merely to wait for the development of all the Acts that have been passed, and which we hope will have a great effect on raising the quality as well as the quantity of agricultural products. I believe, with Deputy Wilson, that what is absolutely essential is to increase the gross production directly from the soil. Unless that is done without delay the country's economy will not improve. Whatever expense we incur in relation to other necessary improvements, which mean merely expenditure having a prospect of reproduction in the distant future, but no immediate prospect of reproduction, that kind of expenditure will only be a new burden upon the State unless there is actually increased productivity.

So far as the actual income is concerned, I believe it is absolutely essential that we should stimulate all work of the kind Deputy Wilson has spoken of—production from the soil. I will be quite prepared to incur all the odium from the urban populations of supporting a proposition which would be alleged to mean an increase in the cost of food, which might not, in fact, mean that, but would certainly increase the general national prosperity and change the balance from an urban distributive trade to an agricultural productive trade. In that way, I approve in general of Deputy Wilson's comments, and I hope that the day is not very far distant—I hope it is going to be possible even in the coming financial year—when we shall take steps to increase agricultural productivity by giving a direct stimulus to the landholder to increase his production.

I am rather surprised that the Minister has not explained more fully some of the provisions in the Bill which, so far as I can see, are new, and have not been touched upon in his previous expositions. I regret that he has not been able to accept Deputy O'Connell's proposal regarding the allowance in respect to income tax for children over sixteen who are at school or college. I think his estimate of a cost of £60,000 is too high, and while I do not pretend to have the same amount of information that he has, I imagine that he has been over-generous in his estimate of the number of parents paying income tax who have children over sixteen at school. However, I suppose the Minister has made up his mind definitely that this remission cannot be made, and we will have to abide by that decision.

Presumably the same argument will apply to the stamp duty, but I think we ought to test the views of the Dáil upon the question of the remission of the stamp duty. It is not merely the amount, as there is a certain matter of principle involved, inasmuch as while employees of the State are expected to pay this duty, and nominally every other employee who is paid more than £2 at a time, it is only State employees in practice—very few others—who pay the duty. The fact that employees allow their remuneration to lie with their employers day after day for a week or a month should not mean that the employees have to bear the cost of this small stamp duty. I agree it is not of very great importance to the employee in monetary value, but it is a matter of some little principle, and I think it ought not to be charged in respect to wages. As a matter of fact, in last year's British Finance Act there was a remission of this and I do not suppose that it cost them very much money.

The same remark applies to the proposal in respect to the compulsion upon employers to deduct arrears of income tax from employees. It is time to repeal that. It is an unjust imposition and I do not think it is fairly levied as a duty upon employers and leads to injustice and unfair charges. Notwithstanding what the Minister said about the arrears, it is well to remind Ministers that we are faced with the fact that a large proportion of these arrears was incurred more or less both at the direct and indirect instigation of the Government of the time. That has been contradicted and it has been reaffirmed. Anybody that had any experience at that time knows that people who were in a position to speak on behalf of the accepted national authority did instruct and urge upon people not to pay their income tax during those years.

The two or three points that I feel have not been touched upon by the Minister, and that ought to have been, occur mainly in the schedule. This method of putting a long list of items in a schedule has to be carefully watched, it is so easy to allow a repeal to be made without knowing what we are doing. I am not quite sure, even after referring to the Acts mentioned in column 2, that I am quite aware of what they involve, but I am going to give the Minister an opportunity to put me right if I happen to have made a mistake or wrongly interpreted the meanings of these repeals. Sections 20, 21 and 24 of the Finance Act of 1910 are proposed to be repealed. These sections refer to the duty upon mineral rights, as I understand it, of five per cent. One shilling out of every twenty shillings of rental is chargeable as a duty on all rights to work minerals and all mineral wayleaves. That has been the law for several years and is now intended to be repealed. I do not know what it means in actual cash annually, but there is a principle involved and I think we ought to maintain that principle. I certainly think that until the matter has been explained and a discussion has taken place, we ought not to allow a repeal of this kind to slip through.

Then Section 4 of the Finance Act, 1916, is to be repealed. There has been no mention of that in the Minister's statement, yet I expect it will excite a certain amount of comment. As far as I understand it, I approve of it, but I think it is necessary that a matter of this kind ought to be made known to the Dáil explicity in a discussion on the Finance Bill. As I understand it, it is repealing a provision which says that interest on securities issued in connection with British Government loans during the war, and hitherto exempt from assessment to income tax, shall be no longer exempt. I think I am right in that interpretation, and I would support it, but I am not inclined to allow a provision of that kind to pass through without explanation.

Is not that stock that was guaranteed to be tax free by the British Government?

It is to be repealed by the Bill. Apparently, it has not hitherto been repealed or it would not be proposed to repeal it now. Then we have a provision in respect to the Income Tax Act, 1918, which probably is not a very important matter, but requires explanation. As I understand it, the Governors of the Bank of England and the Bank of Ireland were given the powers of the Commissioners of Inland Revenue in respect to certain things. Some returns had to be given to the Commissioners and income tax on the profits was automatically paid by the banks to the Commissioners. That is now being repealed. I may be right or wrong in that interpretation. It is not easy to understand it from the phraseology used here. It is proposed to repeal that, and I think we ought to have some explanation of what the repeal is, and what it involves.

On the question of the entertainments duty, I am glad to see that the Minister has inserted a section in the Bill which fulfils hopes expressed in the earlier discussions. I would like to hear his explanation for the deletion of certain words from, I think, the New Duties Act, 1916, paragraph (d), subsection 5. As I understand it, at present any society which has been formed wholly or mainly for the purposes of educative, scientific, philanthropic or charitable purposes may provide entertainments, the proceeds of which will be devoted to such purposes by the society; and also that entertainments provided by a society or institution founded with the object of reviving national pastimes may be exempted from entertainments tax. It is intended to repeal that portion of the section so that henceforth a society which has been formed with the object of reviving national pastimes may not provide an entertainment in furtherance of that object unless it is held out of doors. As I read it, hitherto it was possible, for, say, the Gaelic Athletic Association to provide entertainments, having for their object the raising of funds to promote national pastimes. Henceforth, it is intended to allow such association and every other association to promote outdoor games free from entertainment tax. It will not be possible, however, henceforward for such a society to run indoor entertainments with the object of providing funds to promote national pastimes. I hope it is clear that that is the intention, and that the Dáil is satisfied that such a provision should be passed. I think it is worth discussing whether we ought not to make it possible for a society of that kind to provide entertainments which may be exempted from entertainment tax, provided the Commissioners are satisfied that the proceeds are to be used for the purposes indicated. I think some of these matters ought to be explained on the Second Reading. I hope the Minister will make clear what the intentions of these repeals are if I have not interpreted them correctly.

I suppose the general scheme of tariffs has been debated fully, and I am not going to put forward any objections in detail. I think some of the points that have been raised will be worthy of support in Committee. In the case of clothing imported for charitable purposes, or where an individual has left clothing after him and requires it to be forwarded, duty should not be charged. Small matters of that kind might very well be dealt with on the Committee Stage, and provision made in the Bill that would allow the Minister to make remission in such cases.

Sitting suspended at 6.45 p.m., and resumed at 7.15 p.m. An Leas-Cheann Comhairle in the Chair.