When the Dáil adjourned last night, I was stating the effects of the tariff as imposed by the Cumann na nGaedheal Party on a waterproof factory in my constituency and the effect of the revised tariff by Fianna Fáil. We hear a lot of complaint about tariffs increasing the price of goods. The result of the revision of this tariff has been that the cost of the article produced has been reduced by 20 per cent.
Public Business. - Finance Bill, 1932—Second Stage (Resumed).
It ought to be put in a glass-case.
As I pointed out last night, the last Executive had actually in force a 5 per cent. tariff in favour of British waterproofs as against Irish. As a result of the revision of that tariff, over 90 hands are employed in that factory. In a very short time, 160 hands will be employed. As a result of that tariff, the Irish waterproof manufacturers are now in a position to get the Local Government, the Post Office and other contracts which, up to the present, were in the hands of the English manufacturers. More than that, they have been enabled to reduce the cost of the Irish article by 20 per cent. That is the result of one tariff which will give employment to 160 hands who, up to the present, were depending on home assistance. The principal reason for imposing most of those tariffs is that the articles being tariffed were being imported and sold below the cost of production.
I should like to draw the Minister's attention to the fact that practically every article of agricultural produce must be sold at present under the cost of production. I should like to draw his attention particularly to the amount of agricultural produce which is at present being imported and against which there should be set up a tariff wall. Last night, I referred to the quantity of barley and malt which was being imported. If there was total prohibition of barley and malt imports, it would mean extra tillage to the extent of about 48,000 acres. It would take that acreage to grow the amount of foreign barley and malt which is being used here. The price of Irish barley has fallen in the market from 52/- to 14/6d. per barrel. I do not think that any Farmer-Deputy will say that 14/6d. per barrel is over the cost of production. As a matter of fact, barley could not be produced at 14/6d. per barrel. In view of that, I ask the Minister to take cognisance of this matter and see that some protection is afforded to the barley producer before the harvest. The land has been valued as wheat land under the Griffith valuation. The valuation are, therefore, very high and those people are badly hit in respect of rating. Since the Minister is protecting industry, I think he should see that our major industry gets the protection it is entitled to. There is no doubt that the import of foreign grain is unfair, unjust and unnecessary and I ask the Minister to deal with that phase of the situation.
Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney complained of the tax on certain games. I should like to see the Minister put a tax on the game between Deputy Fitzgerald-Kenney's kicking cow and the C.I.D. man. I suggest that that is a very dangerous game, that it should be prevented and that it is most necessary that a tax should be imposed upon it. If the Minister would consider the imposition of a tax on the game of that kicking cow and the C.I.D. man, I think it would meet with general appreciation.
On a point of information, the Minister last night read a list of articles that were going to be exempt under this Bill, will that list be circulated and made available for the members?
The statement will appear on the ordinary records of the House.
But will that list be available, because those who wish to frame amendments will be anxious to have the list so that they may know what the Government have exempted.
I do not know what arrangements the Minister for Industry and Commerce intends to make for the publication of that list, but the ordinary Ministerial amendments will be circulated to the Press in a few days.
I give the Government every credit for their efforts to be constructive and to revive industry in this country, but I think the majority of the people that I have met look upon the tariffs which have been imposed as being far beyond the necessities of the case and also that they will place an undue burden on the cost of living. I was very interested last night in a speech by Deputy Carney, particularly as he drew attention to one or two expressions of mine. One of them was "to make haste slowly," and I still repeat it. Because I think the example we have had given to us by the imposition of protective tariffs by other countries has been one that ought to be a warning to a country like our own, that is at any rate trying to revive trade, and particularly the industries which they can bring now into this country. We have to take into consideration the competition that we will have to face and also the difficulty — considering that we have a more or less untrained population — of bringing them into active operation in the various industries contemplated.
In Deputy Carney's speech, I think he drew a comparison between the conditions that existed 70 or 80 years ago and the present time. It was a speech that probably I would have made, when I was his age, after reading Hely Hutchinson's "Commercial Restraints of Ireland," or similar works of that description. I give the Deputy every credit for enthusiasm in the desire to benefit his country, but I cannot overlook one fact — and he gave several examples himself of the warning we ought to take cognisance of— and that was that the United States of America has had to curtail and even stop immigration completely owing to the fact that they could not absorb the surplus population of other countries as in the past. They had to stop immigration because their own industries were more or less at a standstill, perhaps through the high protective tariffs. Those are things that ought to be a warning to a country that is in such a state as ours. Australia is another country that suffered for it. Therefore, it behoves us to take warning by these examples all over the world to-day and to make haste slowly. I make no apologies for any use of that expression.
At the time to which the Deputy referred, this country had a very large population, which, owing to the habit of sub-dividing a farm amongst the members of a family, had brought about a situation which made it impossible, owing to the deficiency of agricultural education and a deficiency in capital and their general inability and lack of business instincts in managing their farms, for the land to support the huge population on it. Those are facts which should be taken into consideration, and though we have to-day a very much improved system of agricultural education, we still lack the necessary capital, because I hold the land is under-capitalised, and I feel that the impositions that have been laid on the cost of production, which was very rightly drawn attention to by Deputy Corry in the speech he has just made, are too onerous. It is very necessary that all the expenses now put on the farmers should be curtailed. It is very necessary for us to reduce the overhead charges that farmers have to face because of the present price which they are getting for their produce, which is certainly below the cost of production. Any imposition such as the tax on agricultural machinery and the tax on manures and the tax on maize meal cannot do otherwise than place it beyond the power of the farmers to produce profitably, or even at the bare cost of production.
Some of us are in favour of some of the taxes imposed. I think the woollen industry deserves our support, and also that industry referred to by Deputy Corry, the waterproof industry, which I myself have endeavoured to support through the medium of fishermen. I think these are schemes deserving of our support, but it is appalling that in this country to-day, where we are doing our best to get a price of 2½d. a lb. for our wool, that we cannot absorb that particular article in any form of production in this country, and that it has to be exported in order to get even that poor pittance. I feel that a more moderate system of protection would make for better results and the exercise of caution in putting on tariffs on the various industries outlined in the Schedule which we have before us to-day would be a greater help and would give the necessary impetus to helping trade and manufactures in this country.
I hold that the tax, or tariff, of 15 per cent. on boots gave a very material help to that particular industry, and manufacturers of boots have acknowledged the advantage which that tax was to them in the past. To increase the tariffs to-day, however, is practically amounting to prohibition, because it gives into the hands of manufacturers the right and the opportunity to raise the price of their article to the full amount of the tariff. No system of control exercised by the Minister will in any way obviate such a danger to the community, and I venture to predict that those who are asking for tariffs will be very much opposed to tariffs on any other article. Numerous deputations have come to the Minister asking for protection for their particular industries. I believe that no other Minister in power had so many deputations or was annoyed by so many appeals asking for protection for the various industries either in existence or contemplated. I venture to say that those who apply would be very reluctant if they were taxed to accede to the various taxes on other industries even though such would have no connection whatsoever with the raw material of their own production. How much more must producers in this country object to tariffs being imposed on the raw materials, particularly of agriculture? I have not met a single farmer to-day since these taxes were contemplated who was at all agreeable to having them imposed on the raw materials of his industry and who did not look upon them as a detriment, and who did not believe that the relief promised in the future by the Minister is no compensation whatsoever for the increase of prices likely to result on their raw materials. I believe that the enormous increase of tariffs will make for such an increase in the cost of living and production in this country as to completely nullify the intentions of the Minister which are to benefit trade and industry in this country. He referred to industries at Sallybrook and Glanmire. There is one industry at Glanmire upon which the Minister has put a tariff, although no tariff was asked for. I refer to the Science Blacking factory which has made wonderful strides since its inception, without the assistance of any tariff. If that industry has been highly tariffed I would like to know the reason for doing so. The industry is going on well and is competing successfully with industries in other countries. It certainly did not want a tariff, whatever the Minister may say, and whatever Deputies on the Government Benches may say to the contrary.
Will the Deputy answer a question in connection with it?
If, as the Deputy says, the factory is going on all right, is able to hold its own, and to sell its products as cheaply in the market as foreign products, is it not right that those who are anxious to get the foreign stuff should pay for it, seeing that they have a preference for it?
I have not the smallest objection to making people who buy the foreign article pay for it, so long as the home producer does not raise prices in accordance with the amount of the tariff. Manufacturers and others are only human, and when a tariff is imposed, and when there is an opportunity of charging a higher price, there is no doubt that people will avail of that opportunity, especially when there is no competition to keep down prices. No matter what control is exercised the tendency always is for people to raise prices to the full amount of the tariff, if it is at all possible to do so. Farmers would do so and every other class, and I dare say even Deputy Corry would raise the price of his milk if he was in a position to get more for it no matter at what price it was produced.
Did the Deputy not raise the price of old clothes?
Deputy Corry must not interrupt.
We are all human and we will get as high a price for commodities as we can. The fisherman, the farmer and others will get as big a price as they can. Tariffs are one way by which they can do so. I am in agreement with those who contend that it is right to help industry by a moderate tariff, but when tariffs are raised beyond the needs of that industry that is efficiently managed, an opportunity is immediately given to charge prices that are beyond the requirements of the situation. I hold that the farming industry has not been getting fair consideration from the Minister under the duties that have been recently imposed. Deputy Corry has rightly brought to the attention of the House the position with regard to barley, in which I have been for many years interested. It is being sold in the market to people who are in a position to pay a great deal more for it than they are paying, because farmers are not getting anything like the price which would enable them to produce it profitably. I respectfully suggest to the Government that that is an industry on which a tariff should be put at the earliest moment. I say that the Government is open to some criticism for not taking into consideration industries that are in existence, and for not giving to tillage the protection it deserves. Deputies on the Government Benches, interested in the question, did not force their views in that respect upon their political chiefs. I hold that barley and malt deserve the consideration of the Minister, just as much as any of the other articles on the schedule. I do not think any Deputy on the Government Benches will deny that.
It will be given without your help.
Thank you. I have been fighting for the farmers more than the Deputy.
In East Cork.
Deputy Corry has already been told that he must not interrupt.
It ill behoves Deputy Corry to make game of the farmers. I have been doing my best for them. We are putting this large scheme of protective duties on at a time when the purchasing power of the people is at its lowest, when the poor and the needy have not the necessary money to buy commodities, even at the cheapest possible price. I hold that this taxation is inflicting injury upon people with low wages, upon agricultural labourers, and upon the agricultural community generally, who are unable to afford to meet any advance in the cost of living. While we are in sympathy with every effort of the Minister to get the necessary money to carry on some of the schemes that are proposed, and which undoubtedly reflect credit upon him, I hold that caution ought to be exercised in imposing extra taxation on a class that gives some employment. Reference has been made to people who give a large amount of employment in country districts, and while we need not enter into the difficulties that confront some of them, I hold that the imposition of taxation far and away higher than what is imposed in Great Britain will have a detrimental effect on the spending power of such people. Income tax is unquestionably passed on by business men. Some people say that it is not, but I hold that it is, and that a business man in preparing his budget for the next year takes the income tax he will have to pay into consideration amongst his other expenses. People who are not in business will deal with the situation in another way. They will explore avenues for keeping down expenses, and while I have no sympathy whatever with the steps that some of them have taken, unfortunately, if they are not able to keep up elaborate establishments they will reduce the numbers that they employ.
People who spend money in this country are of enormous advantage. We are trying to encourage tourists, wealthy men and women, to come to this country. I hold there is nothing under the sun that will put a stop to the activities of tourist development or the encouragement of wealthy people here to spend money amongst us more effectively than the taxes that have been imposed by the Minister. If employment can be given in some directions through these taxes, I hold that in other directions they will have the effect of curtailing employment. The agricultural population, for instance, may require extended forms of credit, but they will be met with blank refusals, not alone from the Agricultural Credit Corporation but from the banks as well. When these impositions are placed upon them, the banks will tighten up agricultural credit; they will call in advances for which they might otherwise give more extended time. There is a danger, when anything hits the banks, when speeches of an adverse character to the banks are made by Deputies, of an immediate run on deposits, and there is a possibility that a considerable portion of the money on deposit may be removed. If the Government are not anxious to do irreparable harm to the people, they will do as I ask them to do —"make haste slowly."
There is another form of taxation which is grossly unfair, because it hits the manliest form of exercise that young people participate in. I refer to the tax on sports of various kinds, such as football and hurling. A tax like this hits the youth of the country. It prevents them indulging, at a time when we want them to indulge most, in that form of sport which will conduce to manliness and which will prevent them taking up other practices that might be detrimental to the country. The Minister should exercise more caution in the imposition of these tariffs. He should reconsider in Committee the advisability of imposing certain taxes that are so drastic. It would be impossible to go over the whole gamut of the taxes that have been imposed. As regards a great number of them, however, I appeal to the Minister to think very seriously before he finally decides to place such drastic burdens on the people.
I want to speak briefly on this Stage of the Bill which will, I have no doubt, fall for much more close debate when it is being considered in Committee. I was interested this morning to read the speech which was delivered last night by Deputy Norton. I was interested to observe that at last the Deputy who controls the Government has been aroused to some appreciation of what the Budget proposals mean. It is rather interesting to observe the clash of the two philosophies which come from the two groups that have had to amalgamate to get this Budget through. We have one type of mind expressed by the Minister for Industry and Commerce. When tariffs are spoken of, he uses the phrase that tariffs will not increase the cost. Then we had the statement made by Deputy Norton last night. He said he knows tariffs are increasing costs.
There was a somewhat similar type of phrase used in relation to the same argument by the Minister for Industry and Commerce. He said that the increase of tariffs all-round in this Budget should not and will not lead to any reduction in employment. We had Deputy Norton's admission last night that he knows that this tariff policy has already led to a decrease in employment, to an increase in unemployment, to a cutting of wages, and an adverse change in the conditions of labour of those who still remain in employment. The one philosophy indicates it has the assurance on which to base a hope that there is going to be no adverse reaction by reason of the present Budget, so far as the tariff side is concerned. The other group say they have had experience amongst their members that these adverse effects have already followed.
The Labour Party expressed their point of view on a former occasion, but they had not then the experience they have since had. When tariffs were first under consideration, on the earliest of the Provisional Orders, the Labour Party claimed that they were going to see, in connection with any measures of this type that came forward, that there was going to be supervision with regard to the work done and they were going to see that some of the benefits that accrued to the manufacturers through tariffs were going to be passed on to the workers.
Deputy Corish analysed what that meant. It means that they realise definitely and clearly — and this is a point the Minister for Industry and Commerce will always deny — that a tariff does mean that the manufacturer can charge more and can make bigger profits. If he does that, they are going to see that they can get some share of the profits. Alternatively it means — and this is the point that Deputy Corish was most inclined to stress — that when you have an all-round increase in tariffs without any increase in the wages paid to town dwellers, their real wages are going to be reduced and, therefore, they have got to have their real wages increased.
We can get a moral there. The workers in the towns who are organised are going to see that the adverse effect of the tariff on them is going to be made up by means of increased wages. The unorganised section of the community are going to feel the increase in the cost of living but they have no way of getting their rewards increased. The foolish notion that always pervades the mentality that is behind tariffs is that you can substitute what you import cheaply by what you produce dearly and there will be no reflection of that in the purchasing power of the community. There would be no reflection of that if the rest of the community could also increase the rewards they get for their labour. It must be remembered that the agriculturist in this country has to sell in an outside market in the main. We have the warning given by the Minister for Industry and Commerce in connection with the Butter Bounty Bill that when you have commodities to export, a foreign community to sell to and the home consumer to sell to, you cannot increase the price to the foreigner, and if there is to be anything got extra it has to be got from the home consumer.
Labour realises that quite well and Labour, in so far as it is organised, is going to demand something which will equate the additional cost to be piled on the workers by reason of the increased cost of living that is bound to result from these tariffs. They are going to say if the manufacturer is getting an extra profit they are entitled to get something of the extra profit. In that way we are going along the royal road that has led Australia to where it now finds itself.
Deputy Brasier put forward an argument that has been used before, and that can well be repeated. In answer to an interjection by Deputy Corry, he said that of course any man is going to raise the price of what he produces if he thinks he can get an increased price. I think that is inherent in all the arguments Deputy Norton used last night. He realises, as everybody who understands the matter must realise, that an application for a tariff is nothing more or less than an application for leave to increase prices. The person who gets a tariff is getting leave under Government sanction to increase prices. That is at the back of every tariff. If that is not at the back of every tariff why are tariffs required? The ordinary circumstances in which tariffs are required and the ordinary arguments upon which an appeal is based are these: that manufacturers, because of the prices at which they have to sell under free conditions, cannot sell. Consequently, if the tariff is put on the prices are going to go up. It is inherent in every demand for a tariff that the prices are going to go up and the prices are going to remain up until the stress of home competition brings them down again. How much is the price going to rise? Again, that depends on the tariff. It is going to rise, as Deputy Brasier said, and it is worth repeating it, by just as much extra as the manufacturer thinks he can get under cover of the tariff and still keep out the foreigner. So that one of the checks which may be imposed on the increase of price that is bound to follow on any tariff is keeping the tariff at the lowest point compatible with getting industry going in the country.
What have we got here? Tariffs really thrown around without examination, without any scheme being indicated as to what a tariff is leading to; as to the number of years in which it is going to take these workers to get skilled; as to the cost the community is going to pay while the workers are being trained; and without any indication whatever as to how it is hoped to check the inevitable rise in prices under these huge tariffs. Surely it is only reasonable, when manufacturers make themselves applicants before the State to be allowed to increase the price to the consumers of the manufactures they produce, that they should at least prove their case, that there should be some time spent over making that case, seeing the reactions or repercussions of the case, and getting the inevitable adverse effect under a tariff scaled down to the lowest point compatible with getting progress and efficiency in the industry.
What have we got here? Something between forty and fifty tariffs imposed, and even under stress of examination of the details, we have not been able to find out from Ministers yet whether they are meant mainly with a protective effect or with a tax effect; within what time the various items are expected to have results in manufactures in this country; within what time the workers in the industries are going to be skilled to the point of efficiency that we will get costs in this country brought down somewhat near the costs in competing countries. We are still without any indication from Ministers that they know even whether or not our own requirements are ever going to be met at all at reasonably competitive prices under the cover of the tariffs they impose. There are the two philosophies; we have the easy-going supposition of the Minister for Industry and Commerce, and his colleague, the Minister for Finance, that these tariffs will not raise the cost of living, because they rest comfortably on the assurance of the manufacturers that they can produce fully the requirements of the country, and, I suppose, produce fully the requirements of the country speedily. But that is not believed in by the Labour Party in this House, who have already had experience of what the impact of these tariffs means. Australia was even cited here yesterday by the Minister for Industry and Commerce as an example in connection with the Control of Manufactures Bill. I wish he would make a deeper study of the position into which Australia has got itself and the reasons why it has arrived where it now is. We have another country which will bear examination. Russia has been attempting, under a mixture of five years' and ten years' plans, to do in five years or ten years, supervening on an earlier period of effort, what this country is trying to do in one year relative to our needs and to our capacity to meet home requirements. What is being attempted in this Budget in one year is a much heavier task than Russia has attempted in five or ten years, supervening on earlier efforts lasting right from the time of the revolution in Russia. Even under conditions where belts have to be tightened considerably, where workers are almost driven to their work, where there is all the force that bureaucratic dictation can supply, Russia has not succeeded in doing what she set out to do either in the five years' or the ten years' plan. Is this country going to succeed in doing these things in one year, unless there is going to be a pressure of bureaueratic dictation also, and the workers and the purchasing community are going to be reduced to the condition in which the purchasers and the workers in Russia, in the main, find themselves to-day?
In this present Budget the consumers of this country, apart from any wild promises made by Fianna Fáil before they became the Government, are being taxed this year to the extent of at least £2,000,000 more than is necessary. Why these imposts are being put on nobody knows. Whether it is to meet the financial break-down that is looked upon as likely in the autumn, whether it is in order to have something in hand in case political antics destroy our market for the export of our surplus of agricultural goods; whether it is to have something in hands to throw away next year, so that the people may become pleased with remissions after a heavy year, like the lunatic who beat himself with a hammer on the head for the mere pleasure it gave him after he left off — which of these things it is not known.
It is clear on any argument put up by the Minister that the country is being taxed at least £2,000,000 more than the Exchequer requirements demand. Besides that, there is definitely the promise upon which the Government obtained power that they could reduce taxation by £2,000,000 and the promise of the Minister for Industry and Commerce that without impairing Government machinery, he saw taxation being reduced by £3,000,000. Where is the £2,000,000 reduction, where is the £3,000,000 reduction, that the Minister for Industry and Commerce, when he was going through the country before the election, was so lavish in promising? What is the answer that he can make to the employees of Messrs. Gallaher, the first, as he called it, of the casualties under this Budget, if any of these people approached him and asked him what was the necessity for this taxation if the Government brought about the reduction that his Party and himself promised? What is his answer going to be? The heroics about casualties—and the casualties, mark you, are only those that have come before us in one mass. They are only the people who, so to speak, were rounded up in one operation and who have been captured and removed from employment.
There is no account yet of the individuals who have fallen in this economic warfare, the people who may be, from the employment angle, reported missing and believed lost. There are the 300 of a mass of employees to be looked at. And, remember, it is this Budget that has put these people out of employment. It is not the necessities of the State. It is not anything brought about by economic stress or economic penetration. It is this Budget only that has put these workers out of employment. The root of the Gallaher trouble is this Budget. In this Budget it was decided to impose further taxation on tobacco, although the Minister himself knew, and stated in his Budget speech, that the tobacco tax had obviously reached saturation point. It is the one tax from which he had to announce a decreased yield in comparison with the estimate made of what the yield would be. But in these circumstances, he decides to impose extra taxation on tobacco and that started the whole trouble. Once it was decided to impose taxation upon tobacco then, and only then did the question of the native versus the foreign manufacturer become of any importance. It was only then. Were the native manufacturers given this choice to-morrow, as to whether they would rather have the state of things existing prior to the Budget without any preference as against the present situation where he gets the advantage of 7d. per lb. and also suffers a loss of 7d. per lb., which of these situations would he prefer? There is no doubt about the answer. The Minister did decide to impose taxation on tobacco and having imposed taxation on tobacco he brought himself by that act up against the problem of the native and the foreign manufacturer. Having done that, he had to do something to save the native manufacturer. In doing what he found himself compelled to do by his own act—in imposing additional taxation upon tobacco — he is driven to this peculiar discriminatory taxation which has resulted in 300 casualties in one factory.
In one of the early Provisional Orders dealing with tariffs, the Minister for Industry and Commerce asked us for an assurance from this side of the House that if the Government change there would be no interference with the industries that would be established here under their tariffs. He prefaced that remark by saying that it was only right and honest that people who came into this country under conditions that amounted to a contract should be allowed to continue here without any interference in that matter. Apply that to the case of Gallaher's. When they came into this country was there any indication of discriminatory taxation? Was there any necessity for discriminatory taxation? There was no necessity whatever until the fateful step was taken about imposing taxation on tobacco. But we have been asked to give an assurance that what the present Government did would not be changed or modified by us. The Government that succeeded us proceeds to impose this discriminatory type of taxation upon the people who came in here — upon people who came in, one might almost say, on invitation, and set up their factories here and about whom no allegation can be made that what they have done is adverse to any native firms here, nor that the conditions of their workers was anything less than the conditions of those who work under native manufacturers. There has been no allegation that the employment given by them is in any way less satisfactory to the workers than that given by the foreign firms.
There has been a discrimination and it is a sign and a warning to anybody else who might be wanting to come into this country to manufacture goods. It is a sign and a warning to the people whom the present Government, despite all their boasts about their nationalism, find themselves forced to lean upon to carry out their promised quick development behind these tariff walls. They may say that they will not discriminate. They may say that they have given a licence which will remain. But a licence is no protection against taxation. Once they get into discriminating in taxation against people who have come here after a certain time and those who had been here before that period, it is easy to modify that distinction in order to catch other people who can be described as non-national. This is a thing that will not help the present Government to get industry going behind their great tariff walls.
Speaking here last night, Deputy Norton said that he knew that under the stress of the Budget certain wealthy people, and certain employers, were taking advantage of the situation to depress their workers in various ways; to dismiss some of them from their employment and to reduce the wages or worsen the conditions of those who remained. The Deputy ended up with a naive plea that surely the Government would step in to stop this. There are many naive ideas floating around. I spoke already of the naive idea that if you have only a sufficiency of political power you can do anything, even to stopping the logical economic consequences of your own finances and economics. Of course, people are to be dismissed and those who remain are to be asked to remain at reduced wages if the people running the factory have to pay more. If the employer has got to pay more in different ways, he is going to save more in different ways. The natural way, the way that will come to most men's minds at the start, the way that will come to the man who is in business is not to go in for extensions, not to put money into business for extension purposes; not to increase his staff, but to contract his endeavours and his enterprises and to deplete his staff or else to keep on the same staff but to reduce their over-all expenses.
The necessary consequence of the Budget is going to be either unemployment or decreased payments to those who remain in employment. Surely that is a logical consequence of what happens in this Budget. A sum of three million to three and a half million pounds extra is being taken from the people of this State this year. It is being taken at a time when the main industry for the first time in the history of the country has had to get a bounty in order to be able to export one item of its production. This is being done at a time when that main industry is feeling the pinch of reduced prices in the world markets. It is on this agricultural industry we are depending. This is the time when there are such conditions of instability that even the ordinary trade not connected with agriculture has slowed down. It is when people's incomes have contracted for various reasons when investments of different types are producing less income and when people are deriving less returns from other businesses, agricultural or industrial, that this huge impost is being put on. It is done at a time when incomes of the various citizens have come down.
In this situation, with contracted incomes to the citizens all over the country, the Minister proposes to get from three to three and a half millions extra in the present year. Whether he will get it remains to be seen, and whether he needs it remains to be proved. But if he is going to try to get it he is only going to get it by sacrifices on the part of the only section of the community which cannot pass on the burden to any other section. That section in the end is the worker, and particularly the worker in agriculture. The organised trade union can pass on some of it. The trade unionist is demanding more already. That means that what is to be passed on, instead of being spread over a large body of the community is going to be passed in its entirety to one section of the community. It is a pauperising Budget. It is called the poor man's Budget. On this side of the House it is being called the poor man's Budget because it is going to make everybody poor. Making everybody poor does not mean making everybody more equal, though that idea, strange enough, seems to have got into people's heads. The idea that it will make everybody equal and better pleased and that the poor man is to be better pleased than he is at the moment because other people are to be reduced to his standard seems to be the idea that is in some people's minds. There are certain people who will not bear any degree of poverty in this country unless other people are to be brought in some degree to a position more nearly approaching an absence of luxury.
The Budget hits at banks. It hits at industry. It hits at ordinary commerce. It hits at agriculture. It hits at the investors, and every one of these people is going to consider ways and means of absorbing whatever is the blow that is aimed at him. Deputy Brasier told quite clearly what is going to happen in one case. The banks are going to be hit, and in this country for years there has been a clamour and an outery that the banks of the country have not been friendly to Irish industry and that their accommodation has not been as easy to industrialists in this country as it might have been. Is it going to be easier by reason of this amount of money the Minister seeks to get from them in this year? Does it not mean that they are going to become more rigid and narrow in any advances they make to people? They have one thing to play with, the item of bad debts that creeps into the generality of banking transactions. They are going to see that in future the bad debt item is less relatively than it ever was before, and that means that they are going to take fewer chances, and that means that the Irish industrialist who looks to get money for productive efforts is going to be restrained in his activities, because he is not going to get accommodation as easily, no matter whether it was easy or difficult, as he got it before.
In similar way, every one of the other parts of the community attacked in this Budget can get this whole thing off-loaded until you come to one person, the working man in the unsheltered trade, in the trade of the unsheltered type, and the working man, particularly in agriculture, the farmer himself, who is unsheltered because he has got to sell in a market where, according to the confession of the Minister for Agriculture, he cannot get his prices increased against the foreigner, and, therefore, must get them increased against the home consumer. These people and the unorganised section of the community, which is merely the purchaser in the main, are going to suffer, but the end of it is going to be, not employment, but unemployment, or, if it is going to be even the same employment that was given before, it will be that same employment at much reduced rates. All this flows from the fact that the Ministry cannot recognise that, no matter what political power you have, you cannot control things to the point of avoiding the logical consequences of your own economic acts. If there is going to be more taxation imposed, and it is going to be taken out of certain people, it is certainly going to be passed on as much as possible, and it is easy for people to do it until you come down to one stratum of the community, and that is a section of the community for which everybody says, at the moment, he has sympathy. The Ministry state that their aim and endeavour is to increase employment in the country, and the way they do it is by loading off £2,000,000, £3,000,000 or £3,500,000 of extra taxation on the country, which inevitably will lead to greater unemployment than there ever was before.
I want to say at this stage, that I do not see any possibility of this debate concluding by a quarter to five.
I want to say that I agreed to a quarter to five because I thought that the two main Parties had spoken in the main and the Independents had not got a proper chance. That was the condition under which I agreed to the fixing of that time, and I think the Independents should get a chance of expressing their views.
So far as I am concerned, I am perfectly willing to meet the point of the Independents, but I have no responsibility for the fact that speakers from the leading Opposition Parties are anxious to speak.
I want to say that I mainly represent the interests of the business community in this House, and the interests of the business community have not been placed before the House on the proposal we are discussing.
We could all say that sort of thing.
And the statement of the Deputy is open to question.
I do not think that Deputy Good has had a chance to speak.
Am I to understand that Deputy Byrne is not willing to observe the arrangement entered into by the Whips of his own Party?
I will say this that I spoke especially to the Whip yesterday evening on this matter, and told him that I particularly wanted to deal with certain items in respect of these tariffs, from the business point of view, and the Whip assured me that I would have ample time to speak. If ample time is not secured for me, I will have to see that I get it.
I suggest that the Deputy should take disciplinary action against his own Whip.
We will abide by the arrangement come to, although, as a matter of fact, there are three members of this group who are very anxious to speak, but we have come to an agreement and we shall stick to it.
If there is any general desire to extend the debate for half an hour, I am quite willing to agree.
When an arrangement has been come to with the Government Party, I think all groups should stick to it. The arrangement has been made, and the Government Whip has done everything he can to accommodate all Parties, and we should abide by the arrangement.
I want to protest on behalf of the business community of the City of Dublin. Their interests have not been discussed and I think their interests are just as important as the interests of any Independent member in the House.
Speak to your leader.
I will speak to whom I like, and I will not be dictated to by Deputy Dillon.
I am afraid that, when the framers of this Budget were considering their proposals, they quite forgot the important fact that this country, with other countries, has been passing through a period of great depression during the last few years, because I cannot conceive any other circumstances which would justify an advance of 33? per cent. on the already heavy income tax we had previous to this year. Deputy Norton complained last night, and complained, I think, very fairly, that one of the first fruits of this heavy income tax was that people were cutting down the wages of their staffs. Those individuals in this country who are able to employ staffs of some number, like everybody else in this State, and in adjoining States, have been feeling very keenly the depression that this country has been passing through. I am quite satisfied from the knowledge I have that, in many cases, those people were losing considerable sums. In other words, they were living in excess of their incomes and spending more than they could afford, but this addition to the income tax, this addition to the sur-tax, and other additions that we have in this Budget, were the last straw. These people were compelled to reduce their expenditure, and, naturally, one of the first things they reduced was the expenditure in connection with their own households, their own immediate costs, and I am quite satisfied, knowing again something of the circumstances of these people, that they felt more keenly having to reduce the wages of many of these staffs, and, in other cases, having to reduce the numbers of these staffs, than the Deputy last night was inclined to give them credit for. I do not blame those people for cutting down these wages, and for cutting down these staffs, but I do blame the Labour Party who went into the lobby and supported this Budget and compelled these people to cut down these staffs. The Labour Party ought to be the last Party in this House that would complain of reductions which they themselves have brought about.
Deputy Blythe stressed last night, and stressed very fairly, the unfairness of the corporation profits tax. I have stressed that on more than one occasion in this House. This tax was introduced at a time of great financial stringency in Great Britain in, I think, 1921, and when representations were made to the then Chancellor of the Exchequer by the commercial community, as to the unfairness of the tax in its reactions, the Minister said it was brought in only as an emergency measure, and that it would be dropped at the earliest possible opportunity. It was dropped the following year. This State was incorporated in 1921 and this tax was brought in here and it has been in existence in every Budget since, but what do we find in this Budget?—a tax which could only be carried for two years in Great Britain, notwithstanding the circumstances and the financial stringency, has been carried ever since in this State, is now increased by 50 per cent. If the Minister under these circumstances can justify taxes of this character, he certainly is bound to bring trouble as a result of them.
May I point out to the Minister very briefly that the unfairness of this tax is that it is not like the income tax paid by all holders of securities, thus falling more or less equitably on them? This particular tax is paid by companies whose profits are in excess of £5,000 per annum, but it only affects one class of security or one class of shares of these joint stock companies. Debenture stock is not affected by this tax. Preference stock is not affected by the tax. This tax is carried by the ordinary shareholders of these companies; therefore I say its incidence is unfair in that it does not distribute the burden fairly. If the Minister would be good enough to look up the facts in connection with this tax, he will find that what I have said in connection with it is absolutely true and will be borne out by statements that have been made by men of position in finance. The one redeeming feature his predecessor put forward in connection with this tax—he never attempted to defend it—and his only reason for incorporating it in the Budget was that it was easily collected. There is no easier way of getting money than robbing banks, but is that a justification for robbery? Easy collection is not a justification for a tax of this character.
There are a number of tariffs introduced in this Budget into which I should like to have an opportunity of going in detail, but I shall only refer to one or two of them very briefly. A tax for the first time is put on building materials. Speaking as one who has some knowledge of that particular industry, I feel that the Minister has chosen a most unfortunate time to impose this tax. Building owing to high wages and low production is uneconomic in this State. There is no country in Europe, probably, where the cost of building is as high as in this State of ours. Nevertheless that particular industry in its depressed state is chosen by the Minister as one that should carry an additional burden. He has put on a number of additional taxes which will directly affect that industry and will add considerably to the cost of building. What the effect of these taxes will be no man can see at the moment, but I just want to forecast that no building will be done except such as is subsidised by the State, directly or indirectly, that is, building done by local authorities or otherwise carried out by the State. The effect of the increased cost of building will be to stop people who had intended to carry out building operations, from commencing these operations.
I have already referred the Minister to the tax that is put on business premises. There may be a justification in certain instances for that tax, that is income tax on business premises, which will be charged on the rent instead of the valuation. Still, as I pointed out to the Minister if it is going to be applied universally it is going to cause a considerable amount of hardship, because we know that in the poorest streets throughout the city, there are a number of small shops in tenement houses. If these shops are to be looked upon — I am afraid they cannot be looked upon in any other way — as business premises, that means that the whole house becomes subject to this particular tax. Surely it is not intended that that burden in that particular form should be retained? If the tax in the form in which it now appears is to remain these premises cannot avoid the burden. The Revenue Commissioners will compel owners of such property to pay such tax on these premises. That is a matter that should be looked into.
Another matter which I pointed out during the discussions on tariffs and which does not appear to have been remedied in the Finance Bill is this: Delays are bound to occur in connection with small items for replacements of machinery. As I pointed out these replacements, such as small bearings and other parts for engines cannot be got here locally. They must be imported from the manufacturers. If we are going to have the delays in the Customs, of which we have examples at the moment, these parts will possibly be held up for weeks. The whole factory will be stopped meanwhile and hundreds of people will be thrown out of employment. I hope some steps will be taken to avoid that. We are introducing now a new system which is going to have a serious effect on industry. Steps must be taken to give a measure of protection to these industries and to avoid stoppages which can be avoided if proper arrangements are made. I only wish to point out to the Minister again that some steps should be taken to remedy that particular matter.
Another point drawn to my attention in the last few days in connection with tariffs seems to have been overlooked by the Minister and by many Deputies. In item No. 18 (b) of the First Schedule we find that "all other manufactures of wood or timber" apart from certain items that are set out, are subject to duty of 50 per cent. or a preferential duty of 33 1-3 per cent. Did it occur to anybody that if a vessel is bought, one of these schooners of which there are a number sailing from the ports of Arklow, Wexford or from Waterford— I mention these ports especially — the moment it is brought to port, it is subject to duty. As I understand this particular part of the Schedule and the interpretation that is put on it by the Revenue Commissioners, that vessel being of timber is subject to a duty of 33 1-3 per cent. The duty also applies to vessels like smacks. Fishing smacks are bought as everyone knows secondhand. The unfortunate owners cannot afford to buy new ones. The moment they are brought to shore they will be subject to a duty of 33 ? per cent. In the case of one small row boat that was brought in within the last few weeks to the Free State for fishing purposes the Revenue Commissioners said: "We want our 33 ? per cent."
Surely that is not intended. Our fishing industry is in a shocking condition at the moment, and it appears to me that if we are going to add 33? per cent. to the cost of the boats that we see all around the coast, we are going to put the industry out of existence. A number of motor boats are brought in second hand from the other side every year. All those boats will be subject to a duty of 33? per cent. That is a matter which, as I said, I am quite sure has been overlooked by the Minister, but it is a matter that will have to be attended to in the Committee Stage of this Bill, and I hope that any amendment stopping this particular tax falling upon that particular industry at this time will meet with the sympathy and support of the Minister.
We had a speech delivered last night by Deputy Norton. I do not know what to call it, one could apply many names to it. But it was a type of speech that we have been accustomed to here from that particular Deputy lately. On every possible opportunity he gives us the same speech in almost identically the same words. One has not time to deal in detail with the matters that Deputy Norton dealt with last night, but one of the outstanding features in connection with his speech was the suggestion that the State should organise industry, that industry should be carried out by the State, and that we should have an end of capitalists and capitalism. That was the burden of his speech last night. Deputy Norton was not a member of the last Dáil, but if he would turn to the reports of the proceedings of the Dáil previous to the last, he would there find that the Government gave contributions of considerable magnitude to several industries. In return for those contributions very important persons were placed on the Boards of these particular industries and in control of them. I need not enumerate all these industries. I have not got particulars of them and I have not time to enumerate them if I had. But two, three or four have occurred to me. There is one in my own constituency, the bottle industry. As well as I remember the Government advanced the sum of £50,000 to that particular industry.
You are going to drive Deputy McGilligan out of the House.
And they appointed a Director on the Board. That particular industry has been closed notwithstanding that £50,000 and notwithstanding the knowledge and the energy of that particular Director, and we are still taxed for the bottles that should be made in that particular industry and which are now imported from elsewhere. Then there is the factory down in Edenderry which got a considerable amount of money. There, too, we are told that we had expert managers, and the Government invested a considerable sum with confidence in that particular industry. That particular industry has been closed and sold out. In the Drogheda factory a considerable sum of money was invested.
Deputy Hogan is getting uncomfortable now.
Well, I hope the Minister will profit by the experience of his predecessors. As I understand, as regards that factory in Drogheda, the premises have been closed for some time notwithstanding the capital and everything else made available for them. Then we have the Wolfhill collieries. A considerable sum of money was given to them, and I take it that in addition to that money, men of business ability were sent down there by the Government to see that those works were carried out in the future on a better system than that on which they had been carried out in the past. What is the result there? The works there have been sold also. I have been closely in touch with business in this Isle of ours and I do not know of any particular industry in which the Government advanced money and either put in Directors on the Board or appointed Directors of management in which the company exists to-day or is in a successful state. If there is even one particular instance of success coming from capital so given by the Government practically free, I think Deputies might let us know of it, so that we might have even one little result from all these matters.
If this is Deputy Norton's panacea for Ireland's ills that is no reason why industrialists like myself should refer to such a condition as Labour's millennium. I am sure Deputy Norton knows all the advantages that accrue from employment by the State. He is in a better position to know of these advantages than any other Deputy in this House, and he possesses knowledge on the matter that none of us possesses. Consequently he wants to get these particular advantages for all other labourers, and to make this State of ours a labourers' paradise. We business men like to act upon experience, and I do not know that the experience we have had is likely to justify us in going very far in the direction urged by Deputy Norton.
Not satisfied with that, Deputy Norton proceeded to urge that a capital levy should be made. That is a very old annual with the Labour Party. I remember some years ago it was brought out on the other side of the water when the Labour Party there were in power, and they found it an excellent tool to use. But they very soon found that it was likely to do far more injury than it was to do good. And what is the result? We do not hear a word about it to-day — not a word about this capital levy which was such a prominent plank in the platform of the Labour Party on the other side five years ago. If the Deputy would like an historical reference I would refer him to the experience of Switzerland, which adopted the capital levy some years ago—ten years ago or possibly a little more. The result of their capital levy was that people with capital left that particular Parliamentary area, and it was found that the injury that was being done to the State was so serious that the measure had to be withdrawn practically within a few weeks. And this is what is being dished up to us as the ideal for this poor State of ours. But like other recommendations of Deputy Norton, I think this State will be slow to adopt that ideal. The only other word I have to say is on a matter that I should have liked a little more time to deal with. I should like to say to the Minister, if he wants to adopt an industrial policy for this country as opposed to an agricultural policy, that the atmosphere which is suitable for an industrial policy is absolutely poisonous for an agricultural policy.
Deputy Blythe has some experience in connection with the working of these tariffs, though not as happy an experience as he anticipated, and he pointed out yesterday that if you want to make the tariff policy a success you must build your tariff wall high enough and compel your own people to buy the produce of these particular industries quite irrespective of their cost. I agree — quite irrespective of their cost. But what is the result? The cost of these commodities will be increased considerably, the cost of living will be increased considerably, and you compel the people to buy these commodities at that cost. Let us look at the other side of the picture. What will be the effect of that increased cost on the agricultural industry? That industry, as has been pointed out, sells its goods in the most competitive market in the world, sells its goods against all comers. There are no goods sold in this world to-day which are subject to the same competition as agricultural produce is subject to in the British market. I challenge anybody to deny that. If we are to sell in the most competitive market in the world we must be able to produce cheaply. How are our agriculturists going to produce cheaply if the cost of living of themselves and their families and those they employ is considerably higher than it is in the States, against whose produce they have to compete? The thing is absurd. A policy which is suitable for an industrial country is poisonous and impossible for an agricultural country.
What is the importance of the agricultural community to this State? Turn to your statistical tables and you will find that agriculture in 1926 — the last period for which they have returns — gave employment to 526,494 males and 122,081 females, making a total of 648,575 persons employed and connected with agriculture, almost 60 per cent. of the working population of the State. Is that industry to be sacrificed for the possibility of the little employment you get from tariffs on agricultural implements? The man who says "yes" ought to examine the problem, and if he says "yes" after examining the problem, his sanity ought to be examined after that.
Listening to Deputy Good, and other Deputies who have spoken from the Opposition benches, makes one despair, and prompts one to ask can nothing be done?
Not along these lines.
All we have had is purely destructive criticism; not a constructive sentence. They have been tearing the Budget to pieces but they suggest no better form of Budget.
If it was left to me I would tell you soon enough what I would do.
We have not had a suggestion, at all, to cope with the situation as it exists in Ireland to-day. Deputy Good's closing remarks reveal the kind of mind that left this country where it is. We must, according to him, remain always an agricultural country, always a kitchen garden for England.
We must remain what nature made us.
That is the old policy, the policy initiated by Pitt, the policy that drove 4,000,000 of our people out of the country in the 19th century. Where are we to-day? We have an increasing problem of unemployment. There is unemployment in other countries and, personally, I am not much in favour of tariffs nor is anybody, I believe. No one would be in favour of tariffs if they could help it but there is no help for it. We have a meeting in Switzerland, to-day, of men trying to find a way out of the extraordinary difficulties that face everyone of them. We, in Ireland, are in a different position from the people of other countries or the people in America. We are not highly industrialised; we are a purely agricultural country. Are we to be content to remain so? Are we to let those other people, with their mass production, swamp us, because they produce under conditions against which we could not hope to compete? Are we to be content with the condition of things now that our people can no longer be sent away? There is no outlet for them. We no longer rear them for export. Up to this we had a safety valve — emigration to America. We brought our young people up, and when they should be of use to us, we made a present of them to America, but we can do that no longer. If we keep on, at this rate, we will find these young men walking idly along the roads, and we know that that is a potential source of danger. There is no more dangerous element than a body of young people, going round the country, without any hope from their parents, and despairing of finding occupation anywhere they go.
What is the alternative? We are trying to find a way out, but we get no help. Everybody who spoke on the other side told us the terrible evils that would follow from this Budget. We are told the cost of living will go up, and that the manufacturers and retailers will take advantage of these tariffs to increase their prices. I visited a boot factory some time ago, and going through the factory with the proprietor he said to me "You will be told that, taking advantage of the tariff, we have increased our prices," and then he said: "I am not one of your Party at all, but we think that your people are going on on the right lines, and it might surprise you to know that since the tariff we have dropped our prices. Our prices are lower to-day than when the tariff was put on. If I could supply the demand under the protection offered by the tariff I would make the price cheaper still." Of course, I understand that in regard to things coming in here that we do not produce shopkeepers will have to increase the price. That is inevitable. But if the result is that we are going to give employment to a certain number of people, who would not otherwise have found it, it is worth the price.
At the expense of another particular trade.
I admit it.
I know that.
I know that many people living by the selling of foreign goods will be hit, but the employment given in the country, through the tariffs, will more than offset that.
What about agriculture?
Yes, what about agriculture! I hold that agriculture is not going to lose, to any great extent, even admitting that the farmer will pay a little more for some things. We have heard a lot of talk about that. Every speaker opposite talked about the infamous tax on tea, but they avoided any reference to the tax on sugar. What difference does it make, in the household, if you take a tax off one item of expenditure and put it on another? You leave things as they were. The object of the Opposition is to make things look as black as they can. They stress the points that they think will hurt the Budget, and leave the others alone. If the Opposition can find a better way of dealing with unemployment than by tariffs we should be glad to hear it. How are they going to cope with the great unemployment? Do they admit that this country must always remain an agricultural country, that we must make no effort to recover the industrial arm?
The late Arthur Griffith, when we were all reading his strident articles upon Ireland, always insisted upon the axiom that no country can prosper, or go ahead, that depends upon one industry. He gave us the ideas upon which Bismarck built up the modern German Empire. He told us how Edward Carey, and other economists in America, built up the great industrial machine there, and he told us that unless we were prepared to follow on lines of that kind we would not get anywhere. "A country," he said, "that remains a purely agricultural country is like a man with one arm." If we are prepared to remain in the position of a man with one arm, we, of course, would never try to establish an industrial arm in this country. We are going to try. We may fail. Nothing human is infallible, but we are going to try, and if in this trial we have to meet some opposition it cannot be helped. To-day, all over Europe, that is being done. The great free trade country of Britain across the water has been compelled to do it. Every foreign State to-day is in favour of tariffs. I think it would mean a great thing if the whole world were free-trade, but what can we do, the world being highly industrialised, and States being protected by tariffs, they will crush out any free trade country that tries to become industrial. If we, here, in the Free State, think that we can establish an industrial arm on the lines that we have been previously following, we will fail. Our only chance is an industrial arm protected by tariffs. I am not at all denying that we are going to hit some people here and there. Somebody mentioned casualties. It is easy to make play with a word like that, and say that those who use it are callous and do not care about casualties. We do care about casualties, but we have had casualties, and very much greater casualties, than any that have been created as a result of tariffs.
The other day I heard Deputy McGilligan dealing with the case of the higher-paid officials, and pointing out the hardships that the cut, and the increase of income-tax, would cause to those officials. Meantime, when he was saying that I was reading a letter which I received here, and I am sure many other Deputies receive similar letters. That letter said: "For God's sake, try and do something for us. I have three boys, and for the past six months they have been looking for work and cannot get any, and God knows we are all hungry."
Contrast the two. That is only one letter. The other letter came from a small farmer. I know the small farmers and some big farmers too. But every Deputy listening to me knows them as well as I do and knows that people are hungry and in despair. Are we going to close our ears to their cries? Are we going to make no effort and keep on telling them that we can do nothing for them? Are we going to say: "We are going to leave you hungry, send the bailiff to drive you out of your houses and make no effort to lift you"? Are Deputies satisfied with that? If you, members of the Opposition, are satisfied that this condition of things should go on in Ireland, that our people should be unemployed and that women and children should be hungry, all right.
I intervene in this debate because I said, when this Budget was introduced, that I thought, in respect of the principles on which it was founded, it was a good Budget. I have heard nothing in the course of these debates to change my opinion. I repeat that I believe the principles upon which the Budget is founded are sound principles and principles which are calculated to promote the welfare of this State. I do not think that any piece of legislation has encountered in the public Press a more extravagant barrage of misrepresentation than this Budget. It has been trenchantly discussed by the Opposition but the criticism levelled against it here has been based upon its provisions. There is no doubt that, outside the House, it was deliberately sought to promote an atmosphere of panic. It was deliberately sought to suggest that the considerable burdens which were laid upon the people by way of direct taxation in this Budget were calculated to have certain results. It reminds one of the old story of the rider who found his enemy in the hands of a mob. He rode into the middle of the mob and said "Now boys, above all things, do not nail his ears to the post." The mob considered that a splendid suggestion and promptly nailed his ears to the post.
Again and again, the Press of this country has stated that the Budget means that economies will be effected by dismissing employees, by reducing wages and reducing staffs. I am not a large employer, but I have a number of persons who look to me for their weekly income. If what Deputy Norton alleged in this House last night be true—that men's wages have been reduced from 25/- to 15/-, and that many people have been laid off as a result of this Budget—I say that laying off was not the result of the Budget but the result of the panic created, and deliberately created, by people who sought to misrepresent certain provisions of the Budget. I am not saying, and do not desire to be understood as saying, that this Budget meets with my unqualified approval. On the first day upon which I referred to the Budget, I pointed to the seventh Resolution. I said, "If steps are not taken to meet the requirements of the agricultural community under your tariff scheme, this Budget is going to stir up amongst the people a volume of opposition which it does not merit. It is an interesting and significant thing that when the Cuchulain of the Cumann na nGaedheal Party, in the person of Deputy McGilligan, unleashed his geatha bolga and entered the fray, the first thing he went for was the seventh Resolution. When an astute and brilliant debater, as Deputy McGilligan is, picks out one particular Resolution and lets fly all his guns against it, the Minister may well know that he has hit upon the vulnerable point and is hammering where he knows his blows will hurt most. Of course, he is perfectly right.
I said, when the Resolutions were introduced, that I believed that the Budget was founded upon sound principles and that I hoped, when we had an opportunity of laying before the Minister, in the course of the debate, the difficulties under which the agricultural community would labour if he insisted on every item in his tariff schedule, he would see his way to meet the chosen representatives of the agriculturists and go as far as possible to meet them. That tariff section of the Budget, out of a total revenue of £28,000,000, is calculated to raise only £900,000, so that the representatives of the agricultural community were not asking the Minister to sacrifice a large part of his revenue to meet them. They were merely asking him, in conjunction with his colleague, the Minister for Industry and Commerce, to amend the tariff policy in so far as it bore unfairly on an industry standing on its own legs and which only wanted a fair chance to continue to support the largest number of labouring people, because, after all, all the small farmers in this country are labouring people and are supported by this industry.
Have we received evidence at any stage of this Bill that the Minister is prepared to meet the agricultural community in this way? Not the slightest. The question of superphosphates was brought to his notice, both from these benches and from the benches of the Opposition. Deputies made an unanswerable case, and showed that the tariff would do more injury than it would do good. Did the Minister move in the matter? No. It was the same in regard to the other tariffs. I do not want to deal with these tariffs in detail, because we will fight them to the limit of our powers on the Committee Stage and on later stages of the Bill. Had the Minister endeavoured to meet the legitimate representations of a very important section of the community on that Resolution, I believe he would have found that all the panic which it was sought to create would die, and the agricultural community would realise that their legitimate representations were listened to attentively, and intelligently, and conceded where it was humanly possible for the Minister to concede them.
The time available is short, although the Government Party have amended their arrangements so as to give us a little extra time. However, I would ask the Minister to examine a principle introduced into this Finance Bill in an insignificant corner—a principle which may have very big results. In Rule 2, sub-section (1) of Section 5, there seems to be a suggestion that in future executors and administrators of the estates of deceased persons will not be able to wind up those estates with any degree of security for three years after the grant of probate or administration. I may be misinterpreting that provision. These elaborate rules, and legislation by reference, are sometimes rather difficult to understand completely. I do not suggest that the Minister should go into that question immediately. The rule reads:—
No assessment under this rule shall be made later than six years after the expiration of the year of assessment nor, in any case, later than three years after the expiration of the year of assessment in which the deceased person died.
That seems to leave the liability of the personal representative of a deceased person open for a considerable time after the grant of the administration has been made. Perhaps the Minister would look into that, and if he has not introduced a new principle then I am satisfied, but if a new principle has been introduced it is highly undesirable, I think.
Another thing sticks out of this Budget, and that is an entirely new principle in Budget legislation — the differentiation between subjects of the State and between persons conducting commercial undertakings within the jurisdiction of the State. I believe that that principle is one of a most undesirable character. The impartiality of the Government towards everyone within their jurisdiction, in justice, and in every other department of activity, is very sacred. Once an inroad is made upon the principle that every subject of the State, or every person under the protection of the State within its jurisdiction, is going to be dealt with without any difference whatsoever between himself and his neighbour — if one should make an inroad upon that principle, you have broken down the barriers of a desert which will provide scope for a very wide wandering, and for very dangerous expeditions into the realm of preference.
Reference has been made here to a matter to-day that I think should not have been referred to. Certain announcements were made with regard to a certain factory in this country. Nothing final has been done, and until a certain final result has taken place no discussion, I think, should take place. It is not safe lest the ultimate fate of such an enterprise should be jeopardised by further discussion, and it is not fair until both sides are free to tell all of the story. It would suit nobody, least of all the 300 workers whose livelihoods are in jeopardy, if all sides are to be too frank with regard to the fundamental facts of that situation. It would be more expedient, until some definite decision is reached, to let matters take their course, in the confidence—the absolute confidence I may say — that if any avenue can be found whereby the livelihoods of these 300 workers in any factory in this country may be protected, anything that can be done will be done by the Executive.
Another sphere of that process of differentiation was referred to by Deputy Brasier, and that is the differentiation between one game and another. It is high time that people in this country realise that wounds inflicted by weapons may heal and will leave no ill-will behind them, but wounds inflicted by the tongue never heal, and they leave, very often, abundant ill-will behind. If this continual barking is to go on at different sections of the community that have no desire but to settle down and enter freely into the community life of the State—that kind of procedure is going to leave wounds and great bitterness out of all proportion to the purposes that will be served by differentiation of this kind. A man may want to play Rugby — President de Valera played Rugby in his time, and I myself played Rugby — maybe even some of the more extreme sections in this House played Rugby—and it has done them no harm. On the contrary, I think that if all of us got a few hours off now and again from this House to play Rugby we would be all the better for it. It is preposterous for the Executive of this State to take sides in some tinpot form of disagreement between the executives of the Gaelic Athletic Association and the Rugby Union, and the other athletic associations of the country. I have my own views of the narrow-minded obliquity of a person who says that because you see another man playing a certain game that you won't play with him. That, however, is my view and my own concern, but that the Executive of the Government of this country should be dragged into that kind of petty dog fight is, I believe, humiliating.
On a point of information I would like to know does Deputy Dillon charge that the Gaelic Athletic Association is a dog fight.
The Deputy made no such statement.
I understood him to say that.
This only goes to show, and emphasises what I have already said, how words may wound the intense susceptibility of Deputy Curran lest a single word might reflect on these gentlemen. If I have said a single word that hurt Deputy Curran, or his friends, I have the greatest pleasure in withdrawing it unreservedly. All I say is: Don't bring that business in here. Do not differentiate between us. I have played both Gaelic and Rugby and I was never conscious, when going into the field, of feeling——
On a point of order, is the Deputy in order in proceeding on these lines? There is an amendment tabled for the Committee Stage and he will get an oportunity——
The Deputy is in order in commenting on any tariff duty or exemption proposed in the Bill which is before the House.
The Gaelic Athletic Association is an absolutely national organisation and we will prove so.
Again, it only shows how we can be carried away — I myself may have been carried away just now into saying a word that has given offence. If so, I gladly withdraw it. It shows the danger of that kind of procedure. Nothing is further from my mind than to say a word to give offence, but one is, perhaps, betrayed by this kind of thing into saying some word that one may regret afterwards. All I want to say to the Minister is that if those of us who are drawn into this kind of discussion fail in the element of perfection, I hope the Executive will take up a position of impartiality that will be an example to us all.
You had men with considerable courage setting up business during the last ten years when there were plenty of cheerful friends to warn them that we would never do any good, that the whole country would break down and that if they invested any money it would be a disastrous venture. Notwithstanding that, there were men ready to come forward and to set up business simply out of the confidence that they had in their fellow countrymen to carry on and to make a success of this country. They set up business without any inducement. Yet these men are being penalised for their courage while those who sat on the money bags that would have been of inestimable value to the country if the money were put into circulation, are to have a blanket thrown around them by the Minister for Finance and, after trembling in the blaze of competition, they are to emerge with the Minister's blanket around them while the unfortunate men who overcame difficulties and took their stand on the future of the country are to be told that, on the whole these poor delicate boys that were not able to venture out are going to be brought out and cuddled at their expense. I imagine that some people who had confidence that this country will be carried on with stability, who had confidence that this State would survive, people who put money into a proposition, would recoil from the suggestion that they are to be put on a preferential basis with people of less enterprise. I believe the man who has the material for success in him will recoil from such a proposal and, it is only the potential failure who will avail of that preference and, having got it, will lose whatever money he has and disgrace Irish industry more than it has been disgraced in the past.
This passion for industrialisation that seems to be sweeping the country since this Government came in has, to my mind, two different aspects, and when Deputies in the Fianna Fáil Party spoke recently of the economic policy of the late Mr. Griffith, who stated that a country with only a one-sided industry was like a man with one arm, I could not help when I looked upon industrialisation as I saw it in England, as I saw it in Pennsylvania, as I saw it in France and in other industrial nations feeling, that a man with one healthy arm was better than a man with a healthy arm and with gangrene in the other arm.
I think there are many industrial countries only wishing and praying that they could get rid of their industrial arm, as it has grown up. There are many countries beginning to look on the industrial arm as the nearest thing to gangrene in the body politic, calculated to injure the whole of society, and if this country is going to take an example from the industrial prosperity of America, England and other countries, which have enjoyed that prosperity by inflicting conditions on a considerable section of the human race which makes life scarcely worth living, I question very much if it will be well advised to follow it up.
I believe that the present President of this State shares that view and that, recoiling from the ambition to industrialise this country as he saw industrialisation in other countries, he looks to the rather unstable future of industry scattered about the country. I should like to think that he could realise that ambition. Unfortunately we are living in a world in which another form of industrialisation holds sway, and while we might like to promote what I would like to describe as Christian industry, I am afraid the Government are putting their hand to a task in which they will find themselves confronted with insuperable difficulties. I believe they are putting their hand to that task by their tariff policy. I have my views on that. I believe that the continuation of this Government in office for the present is a desirable thing. I am prepared to go a considerable way in order that their policy should get a chance. I say again that if their policy be the promotion of industry in this country by tariffs, I am prepared to go a good deal of the way with them, though I may question the prudence of the course they decide upon, but, if they require that the agricultural community and the agricultural industry is to be crippled in order that the industrial area may be started I have a duty to the people who sent me here, and I will resist them in every possible way I can command. The agricultural industry is standing on its own feet. All it asks is that its raw materials will not be taxed, and that it will be left free to fight its battles in the markets of the world. If the present Schedule of tariffs stands our agricultural industry will not be able to fight its battles in the markets of the world, and if it is not it will collapse, and with it will collapse this country, and the hopes that the Executive had of building a new Ireland.
I have mentioned matters which are most appropriate for mention at this stage of the Bill. I can only hope that at a later stage the Minister and his colleagues will come to a realisation of their duty to the agricultural industry. They have, I think, realised their duty to the poor; they have, I think, realised their duty to public health, by their housing policy; they have realised their duty to public health, and to the children of the poor in their resolve to provide milk under the scheme adumbrated by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Department of Local Government. And to do that they had to raise extra revenue. I went into the Lobby and endorsed their action in doing these things, and I would go into the Lobby again to make it possible to raise the revenue to do these things, because there is not the least use coming here and telling the Government that they do right in spending an extra £270,000 on pensions, £100,000 on milk, £600,000 on housing and £250,000 on the relief of rates, and that it is wrong to raise the money. I have gone into the Lobby to support them in the hope that in their tariff policy they would listen to our representations on behalf of the agricultural community. I went into the Lobby to help them in that belief, although Deputy Hayes says it was a naïve and a silly thing to look for an undertaking of that character from the Minister. I looked for the undertaking and I got it, that as soon as possible, as soon as this year's stress and difficulties were over, the Minister would bring the burden of taxation to a lower level as the opportunity offered. I accepted that undertaking, and I recognised the difficulties that the Minister was called upon to face. Realising them, and the difficulties he had in raising money to finance these reforms, I did what I could to help. I ask him now is he going to lighten the burden on the backs of the agricultural community? If he is not, my primary concern is with the people that I am here to represent. My primary concern is for the foundation upon which the whole State rests, and that is the agricultural industry and, much as I dislike it, if he is resolved to lay burdens upon the agricultural community, which I believe they cannot bear, then I must turn my back upon him, and turn my back upon him I shall.
I wonder is there any Deputy present who knows where Deputy Dillon stands. Is it any wonder that the Party to which he belongs was sent into the wilderness, in view of the speeches that have been delivered by the remnants of that Party in this House?
It does not repudiate anything.
The great difficulty with Deputy Dillon is that Deputies do not know whether he is for or against a subject upon which he speaks. His first statement was: "I have never heard a single argument adduced against this Budget. It is a good Budget, and I have heard no argument to prove it otherwise." Any Deputy listening to the speech of Deputy Dillon delivered here could only come to one conclusion, and that is that if the Deputy wants to find important arguments, and important criticisms, against this Budget he need only read his own speech, when it is printed in the Official Debates.
On a point of personal explanation, I think it is quite unnecessary for me to say that Deputy Byrne misquotes me.
If I have misquoted the Deputy I am perfectly ready to withdraw the quotation, just as he himself was ready to withdraw the remarks with regard to Deputy Curran. I took a note of what the Deputy said. "I think it is a good Budget," he said, "and I have heard nothing to prove it otherwise."
The Deputy is not quoting me correctly. I said I heard no argument directed against this Budget. However, I am prepared to let the point pass.
The point has passed. Deputy Dillon professes to come here as a representative, mainly, of agricultural interests. He said there were tariffs imposed in the Budget which he, and the Party to which he belonged, would, on a later occasion, take every opportunity of opposing to the fullest limit of their power. That is plain language. Does that mean that this is a good or a bad Budget? If the staple industry of the country is hamstrung by the imposition of this Budget, how can Deputy Dillon serve his constituents' interests by going into the Lobby in support of it? We really never know where Deputy Dillon's support lies. At one time he is with this side of the House and at another time he is with the other side. He is like a will o' the wisp. Nine times out of ten he does not know what he is going to do.
He shed crocodile tears over a small item of £100,000 voted for milk for the sustenance of poor children. Is that an item to fasten on in a Budget containing taxation to the extent of £27,000,000? He said that we here created a barrage of criticism against this Budget and we endeavoured to create a panic in the country. Was that honest criticism? Was there any need to create a panic in the country after the figures of the Budget became known to the general public? Last year taxation to the extent of £21,000,000 was imposed by this House. The new Government promised the country that that taxation would be reduced by a sum ranging from £2,000,000 to £3,000,000. I know a great many agricultural men, whom I presume Deputy Dillon represents, who voted for Fianna Fáil in the hope that there would be a very important reduction in taxation. In stead of a net expediture of £21,000,000 the country is now faced with an expenditure of £27,000,000 and yet Deputy Dillon says this is a good Budget—he sees nothing wrong with it. It is no wonder that he and his Party were sent into the wilderness. I will express the hope that they will never succeed in escaping from the wilderness to which the people sent them.
The Deputy referred to differentiation and he gave us one piece of advice that we on these benches have no intention of availing ourselves of. He referred to a certain tobacco factory in my constituency, and he told us it would be better to refrain from discussing that topic in the House.
For the present.
Lock the stable door when the horse is gone. That is the attitude of Deputy Dillon, the new statesman. I come from a constituency where 300 workers are threatened with unemployment. We are determined to fight this issue to the very last. We anticipate that when the Labour Party vote, as they will have to vote, on this question, the force of opinion will make them do their duty to those 300 people who are now threatened with unemployment. I might point out, in passing, that £250,000 has been invested in that great industry. Deputy Goulding endeavoured to defend the Budget. What arguments did he adduce in its favour? He pointed out that tariffs were imposed in other countries; that he did not like tariffs, and if he had his way he would impose no tariffs. He indicated that even free trade England is imposing tariffs. Is England, or any other country, imposing tariffs on goods they do not manufacture, have never manufactured, and that they will probably never manufacture? Is that a sound economic policy?
Who will advocate that you can cure unemployment by imposing a tariff on goods you do not produce? Will such a tariff do anything beyond drawing revenue? With all these tariffs the Government propose to draw £900,000 from the plain people of the country, for whom Deputy Dillon weeps. The people will have to pay for these tariffs sooner or later. What are the workers going to gain? Will there be any fresh employment? Far from any need arising to create a panic in Dublin at the present time, there prevails the greatest possible insecurity. Some of Dublin's greatest industries, that have a large export trade to all parts of the world, have considerably reduced their staffs. In certain sections of the City we know that entire staffs have been wiped out. What have we got through the efforts of this Government? We are told there are new factories being established. I have not yet met anyone who could tell me where these famous factories are.
We are told that these tariffs have not been introduced for revenue purposes. I would like to know from the Minister for Finance what purpose other than revenue can be gained by the imposition of the tariffs to which I will refer later. We were told that tariffs are being imposed to keep the home market for the home manufacturer. On many occasions, even sometimes against my own Party, I have had the courage to defend tariffs when the occasion arose. I believe in the efficacy of tariffs if they are well and wisely imposed. Here we have an indiscriminate mass of tariffs imposed on goods we do not make and which there will be no possibility of making. I cannot see any national gain by such procedure. The difference between the two great parties has always been that in the case of every tariff we imposed we challenged the Opposition to show that there was not a national gain. There is no difficulty in showing with reference to a great number of the tariffs that the new Government are imposing that they will not be a national gain, but an important national loss. I call that absolute bankruptcy in statesmanship.
I want to ask the Minister for Finance to look at item 34 in the Schedule — goods wholly or partly made of tin or brass — on which he levied a tariff of 10 per cent. I want him to tell the House what Irish manufactures have we to manufacture these goods. I want him to tell us what manufacturers were being forced out of existence before the tariff was imposed. I want to ask him, is he aware that the setting up of a brass foundry industry was prevented by the action of trade unionism in the city of Dublin? I can remember shortly after the war that a very important firm, employing a large number of hands, that had been engaged in the brass foundry industry for generations, made an offer to the brass founders trade union to set up a factory to compete with Birmingham. In the course of the offer the firm stated that it would be necessary to employ women labour. What was the reply? "There will be no women labour employed here." That man, who would have employed dozens of hands for years and years, and who was a model employer and was prepared to risk his capital to compete against Birmingham, was by the action of trade unionism forced to close his premises and go out of business. I want to ask the Minister for Finance, has he any practical knowledge of the brass foundry trade. Has he any notion or idea that the imposition of a 10 per cent. tariff could possibly keep out English or German manufacturers, if we had an Irish firm operating here to-morrow. When the late Government imposed a certain tariff on boots they were always met with one argument, that it would have been better to have imposed no tariff at all. I want to ask the Minister, what is the idea of imposing a 10 per cent tariff which will have no possible effect whatever? Is there not only one answer to it? The answer that I gave to Deputy Dillon, that these tariffs are imposed purely for revenue purposes and that they are a tax and a burden on the State.
I listened to the speech delivered yesterday by Deputy Norton, who has no belief in Irish manufacturers. I do not hold that belief. I believe that if Irish manufacturers are given a reasonable opportunity they will make good. But when we impose a tariff, for Heaven's sake let us see that there is a reasonable possibility of producing here the particular commodity on which we impose the tariff. I do not know, with the exception of one or two small repairing firms, anybody engaged in the brass trade. I want to ask the Minister most earnestly to consider a remission of the duty on certain classes of brass goods, such as brass locks, hinges, door fittings and furnishings, which have never been made here and which I, being in the trade, see no prospect of being made here. I want him to take that 10 per cent off these things. These things are all used in houses, and it is going to increase the cost of housing, and naturally increase rents. There is only going to come from it a 10 per cent. revenue to the national Exchequer. There is going to be no increase in employment — that is a certainty; unless the Minister for Industry and Commerce has something up his sleeve as to some manufacturers coming in here, about which I know nothing. From my knowledge of the trade, I say emphatically that if any outside firm proposes to come in here under the 10 per cent. protection, it would be better for them to stay in Birmingham, because they would work there more efficiently and more effectively. That is one of the things I should like to deal with in this ideal Budget as it was described by Deputy Dillon. He said there was no fault in it. Will anyone listening to this fair analysis of this Budget deny that there is a cardinal fault in it?
Let me turn to another tariff. I ask the Minister to look at Item 27 — knives, forks, razors, spoons. Are any of these manufactured here? Why did the Minister for Industry and Commerce impose a tariff on goods not made here? What object was to be served by it? Is it not a purely revenue tariff? I want the Minister for Finance to tell the House what increased employment will accrue by the imposition of a tariff on goods of that kind? Some years ago we had one firm engaged in the production of cutlery. I remember when that firm was in existence one of the travellers asked me to give him a Christmas order. He got the order four months ahead, and he is delivering it yet! If these are the methods to be adopted here, if we are going to protect inefficiency of that kind—technical, business, and industrial—by tariffs, I can see no hope for the future progress or prosperity of the country.
I was also asked to draw attention to galvanized hollow-ware. We had a definite promise from the Minister for Industry and Commerce that the most ruthless action would be taken to deal with any undue increase in prices. The Minister has levied a tariff of 20 per cent. on galvanized hollow-ware. There are one or two firms producing it in Dublin, and those engaged in the trade have already been notified that there will be an immediate advance of 10 per cent. I want to inform the House that before this tariff was imposed these firms were carrying on very successfully, without the aid of a tariff. When they had not a tariff they were able to sell at ten per cent. less. The moment they get a tariff, the price goes up by ten per cent. Who is going to pay for these things? Is it not the agricultural community? Is it not the man in the street? What is going to be the gain? I want these things looked at from a business point of view. I want no sentiment in these things. I want to consider them from the point of view of the national good and the national loss. I say that the imposing of tariffs of this kind is a very great mistake, if the Minister does not get some sort of undertaking, or ask the House for some power to control prices. I say that this is a most unjustifiable advance. What is the reason of it? These people will be snowed under with orders in the course of the next few months. Galvanized goods cannot be sold at a profit with a 20 per cent. tax against them. Will these firms produce the goods? They will produce the goods for one or two favoured firms, and these one or two firms will have practically a monoply of supply and can impose, if they so will, a certain price against which the distributor has no remedy. Is that in the interests of the country? Is it in the interests of the workers, or in the general interests of the State? Certain tariffs were imposed by the late Government, and in the imposition of them the greatest possible care was taken. No possible care is being taken, as far as the new Government is concerned. That is another matter in this magnificent ideal Budget of Deputy Dillon's to which I wanted to refer.
I want to draw the Minister's attention to Item 30 in the Schedule. That item deals with a tax on corrugated iron. I need not inform the House that corrugated iron is required for sheds, barns and out-houses and is generally very largely used by the agricultural community. I want to ask the Minister what national gain there is going to be by the imposition of this tariff. This is one of the items I have referred to, an item that has never been made and with little prospect, and certainly no immediate prospect of being made here. I want to ask the Minister for Finance and the Minister for Industry and Commerce what possible advantage there can be from imposing a tariff of that sort? What gain can there be to the country from it? Will the Minister suggest that the corrugation of sheets can be carried out in this country? With a special knowledge of the trade, I want to tell him that the corrugation of sheets is an extremely costly process; that it requires a costly plant running into tens of thousands of pounds, that there must be a huge turnover in order to make it pay. The output must be large in order to make it economic for the firm engaged in it and a sale for that economic output cannot be obtained in this country. I know one corrugated iron works alone that turns out over £500,000 worth per annum of these sheets. What hope is there in this country of being able to do that? All you can do with these sheets is to drill them, nothing more.
There is no tariff on flat sheets.
It says here galvanised corrugated iron, but it excludes flat sheets. There is no tariff on flat sheets.
I thought they were subject to a tariff.
One would think so from the way the item has been drafted in the Schedule.
I want to refer to another item here. It is roof felting on which there is a tariff of 15 per cent. with an imperial preferential duty of 10 per cent. We have one manufacturer of roof felting in this country. I am not going to mention his name nor the region from which he comes. During the war that man got the opportunity of his life to supply the home market, when no felt was obtainable from abroad. The prices this man quoted for felt were actually higher than the retail prices at which it was sold in the shops. What is the country going to gain by a 10 per cent. tariff on roofing felt? Roofing felt is required largely indeed by the agricultural community. Does the Minister for Industry and Commerce think that a 10 per cent. tariff would induce an outside firm to come in here and manufacture it? I, who have to buy it from time to time, can tell him that neither a 10 per cent. tariff nor a 20 per cent. tariff would induce those people to come in here and make roofing felt. This is only going to be a revenue tariff.
I unhesitatingly say that nine-tenths of these tariffs now being imposed will give no employment, good, bad or indifferent. If we impose a tariff we want one of two things from it. We want to gain financially or we want it for the purpose of giving employment. We will not gain any additional employment from these tariffs but the country will lose heavily in taxation. The Minister ought to inquire carefully into these tariffs before he asks the House to pass them. There is another tariff — a tariff on woodwork. I notice that tools have been exempted in that tariff, if I am correct. Handles for tools are largely used. Will they be allowed in free? Will handles for axes, hatchets, etc., be allowed in free? The Minister has found it necessary, I understand, to allow the free import of these things to Irish manufacturers for their own use. If the Minister found it necessary to allow manufacturers to import these things free for their own use, surely it is also necessary to permit the import of these goods for replacement. I notice that in the Schedule there is a reference that where an article is not very valuable, as far as the wooden portion is concerned, that the Revenue Commissioners have a discretionary power.
There are such little items as corkscrews and apple corers. Are these articles not only going to be tariffed but are they going to be tariffed at the full value of the article? Take Canadian pole-axes. The full value of the axe handle is trivial. Are the Revenue Commissioners to impose a tariff on the full value? I would like to know what the farmers will pay for these tools? Perhaps I might remind the Minister that where a new tool is bought it usually wears out half a dozen or a dozen handles. Then every time a new handle is required the tariff will be imposed. Is that the position? Is there any hope of making these tool handles here? I would like to point out that if we were willing to-morrow to undertake the production of these articles that we could not make them here, because they are made of hickory and there is no hickory in this country to make them. I should like the Minister for Finance to let us know how the trade stands in this matter.
I should like to say one word on the speech delivered yesterday by Deputy Norton. That speech may be summed up in two words — State Socialism. Deputy Norton had no confidence in industrial development under the Government's indiscriminate tariff policy. With that particular view-point I am in complete agreement. Deputy Norton does not believe that unemployment can be cured under the existing social system. He advocated that capital investments should be taxed and that the results of this tax should be compulsorily invested in the development of Irish industry. He wanted State supervision and State control of industry and he wanted also, of course, the maintenance of the standard of living for the workers. Does this House believe in arguments of that nature? Or are these arguments of any value to the country? Will capital be available if a policy of that sort is carried out? The Deputy said it was the bounden duty of the State to ensure the maintenance of the standard of living for the plain people. If this economic system for which Deputy Norton pleads is introduced to-morrow will it raise the standard of living of the people? Does anyone in this House believe in State Socialism? Any man who really thinks on this subject will see that no national advantages are to follow from an economic policy of that kind. The only persons, I should say, who ever gained by a policy of that nature are Lenin or Trotsky or those who controlled this movement in Russia, but there is one certain thing in the speech coming from the right wing of the Government Party. That is the statement in which the President said that this Party would not hesitate to depart from the present social system should the need arise.
That is the significant statement, coupled with the statement of Deputy Norton, and that is the condition of affairs, against which, when we were on the hustings, we unavailingly pleaded with the people to protect themselves. It is the position of affairs that has created the greatest possible amount of insecurity in the country, and we feel that if the new Government fail in their political and economic policy, the country will be faced with an attempt, on their part, to put into force a political programme somewhat of that nature. We want to know where we stand and we want to tell the country, if that is the programme of the Government, what they have got to guard against, and the steps they have got to take for the welfare and progress of this State.
I understand the Minister for Finance is to get the ear of the House at 6 o'clock and I am not going to break that agreement. Therefore, I propose to make only a few remarks and to give the headings of what I wish to say rather than to discuss it thoroughly. I think it is a misfortune of our system of Government in a case like this, that we are more or less compelled to deal with the matter on party lines. I want to ask the Minister to consider this matter for a moment, quite apart, in the abstract, from party considerations. I will try to say what I have to say without even half an eye on parties or politics. I want to ask the Minister to go into the matter as a pure question of economics. Will he try and consider, not alone in the five minutes I am going to occupy, but for some time after, in the quietness of his study, what are the conclusions that economic authorities have drawn from the present economic conditions in various countries? My feeling is this, that I am perfectly prepared to postulate the best intentions on the part of the Government. I listened with great interest to what Deputy Goulding said and I felt that the position was this, that they were faced with the relief of distress and unemployment. They desired to relieve that, and they set themselves to answer the question: What could be quickest done to meet that? They wanted also to relieve, generally speaking, the conditions of the working class, and I am afraid what has happened is, that of the many ideas in their minds, most of which I am afraid are in themselves unsound, they jumped to this solution offered in this Budget, without properly considering how those different ideas were going to reach on one another, or what was going to be the ultimate outcome of the proposals they were making.
My sole reason for getting up is to appeal to the Ministers and to the Fianna Fáil Party generally, quietly to consider, apart from party considerations, what they believe will be ultimately the economic reactions of the proposals in this Budget, and I ask them, in the first place, to look abroad and see what lessons they can learn from what has happened and from what has been done in other countries. As I realise the position, what has occurred is largely due to this, that after the terrific expenses of the big War, the nations of the world did not realise at all the enormous costs in which it involved them. They were labouring under severe taxation and thought they could keep that up and they started a career of State spending and public body spending and everything went on gaily for a time. All the time they were spending far beyond their means, when suddenly, there came the smash. They began to realise that they were spending beyond their means and, as soon as that began to be realised, a smash was inevitable. I ask Ministers and members of the Party to look to the conclusions and theories from the discussions that have taken place amongst those who are authorities on economics, and I think they will find one thing admitted by them all and that is, that there is only one cure — diminish public spending and increase private spending. Only in that lies the possibility of world recovery and trade improvement.
There is the greatest need, and an urgent need for curtailment of public and local spending so as to increase private spending. That may, and, possibly, will revive trade. I would like to go a little further. I will not go into it in detail because I want the Government to make the investigation for themselves. Take the case of Australia, because it is a country which has been most nearly like ours. They tried tariffs, bounties, big spending by the State and great improvements in public services and suddenly they found that they were on the brink of an abyss, from which they drew back— I was going to say, in horror—but, as a matter of fact, it was the abyss which Deputy Norton, in his speech yesterday, was largely contemplating with satisfaction. They are going to find that the steps backward from that are very painful and very slow, but they have undertaken them, shrinking from what they saw ahead. I give that merely as an example at that time, and, at this time, we come to our own Budget. What did the Ministers find when they proceeded to prepare this Budget? They found, in the first place, that they were in a difficulty because the peak limit of taxation yield had been reached. Keeping taxes at the same level, the prospects were that the taxation yield in the coming year would be far less than it had been in the preceeding year. They proceeded to remedy that by three methods (1) promiscuous general tariffs, about which I am sorry I have not time to talk (2) direct taxation and (3) what I might call a drive against the banks. I will be able to talk in detail on these three matters when we come to Committee Stage, and, therefore, I will not say anything more about them to-day, except this, that they all agree in one thing—the curtailing of private spending in order to increase the amount of public spending, which is directly contrary to what has practically become, so far as I can find out, an axiom amongst economists: that the only hope lies in the curtailment of public spending and the increase in private spending.
As I have said I have not time to discuss these three things in detail, but at least will Ministers do this? Will they find out if they have not found out already, if it has not come to their ears already, what has been the effect in our State of their proposals? I have made inquiries and I find that already there is an effect produced upon trade and business in all circles which is going to make this Budget economically unsound in itself and that the Minister at the close of the year, instead of having a surplus, is going to find that he has got to take other measures in order to make ends meet, that in fact we are at this point of the circle, that he is going to curtail private expenditure which must result — as I think Deputy Norton is beginning to realise — in private economy, which must react on trade and which must produce a lower taxation yield. The only course then would be to go on and increase your taxes, still further diminishing spending and still further reducing the yield of taxation. Will the Minister at least find out, hesitate, study, consider whether he is so satisfied in the strength of his own political economy theories, so satisfied in the knowledge and the experience that the Government have, that they are prepared on the strength of that to put as a stake, in what is a gamble, the very economic existence of the country? I am convinced—I have not time to argue it as my time has gone— that if the Budget goes through as it is, within six months we shall find that we have got to such a point that it will be absolutely necessary that means be taken to save the country from ruin.
Might I be permitted to make a request to the Minister, in regard to Section 22, the games tax, that he would be willing not to give a final judgment on the matter to-day but to wait to give a final judgment in Committee? Deputy the Lord Mayor of Dublin and myself who are more interested in the welfare of the players than in denouncing the Government politically, which I think was the main tenour of the speeches delivered so far on the matter, have not spoken in regard to it.
Might I ask the Minister what has become of the Heffernan Economy Committee which promised to report two or three years ago? The last Minister told us that the Report would be published in due time. We have heard nothing at all about it for the last year or two. Surely these measures should be worth reporting on. Are we to hear nothing more about it or is the present Minister for Finance continuing that Committee in existence or calling for a report from it?
Possibly it might be well if I dealt at the outset with the point raised by Deputy Moore. The Economy Committee presided over by the late Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance, ex-Deputy Heffernan, had not concluded its labours when the Dáil dissolved. A number of interim reports have been presented, I understand, to the late Government. I am not in a position to state whether that Government proposed to act upon these reports or not. Since the new Government took office, Mr. Heffernan has kindly offered to continue to act as Chairman of the Committee, but, owing to extreme pressure of business upon a number of Government Departments concerned, it has not been possible to take a decision in regard to it or to take any decision as to whether it would be serviceable to continue the Committee in order that it might complete its report. The matter however will be considered immediately after the recess and it is possible that the Committee may be reconstituted and we may ask them to submit a final report to the Government.
I am very sorry that the House had not the pleasure of listening to Deputy Thrift's very interesting speech earlier and that he had not an opportunity of developing the points which he made. There is a good deal of substance in what he says. It is certainly advisable that so far as possible Government expenditure for non-reproductive purposes should be curtailed. I think that the general conclusion to which economists have come is that money which is taken out of the taxpayers' pockets and spent non-reproductively upon armaments would be much better employed, and much more fruitful of contentment and happiness for the people, if it were allowed to remain in the pockets of private individuals to finance industry and agriculture. But the amazing thing about the Budget we have, one of the most significant things about the Budget which has been presented to the House, is the comparatively small amount, the almost insignificant amount, that has been expended upon national defence. A large part of that expenditure is undoubtedly upon the social services but that expenditure, as I think I said in the debate upon the income tax resolution, does not represent any destruction in the spending power or the purchasing power of the community as a whole. It is taken possibly from the wealthier elements in the community, from those who have much, and it is given to reinforce and enlarge the purchasing power of those who have little. They in turn expend that purchasing power, as I said, in buying mainly things which are made or things which are grown in this country.
The criticism which might be levelled at a Government which was bleeding the citizens in order that it might aggrandise itself militarily cannot be levelled at this Government. If we are taxing the people, if we are asking the wealthier elements in the community, to bear their fair share of the cost of Government it is in order that the poorer elements in the community may be enabled to maintain a decent standard of life. My only regret is that we are not able to go to that extent, that owing to our limited resources there are many of our people to-day living below the poverty line. Having dealt with that general criticism I should like to deal with cases that were specific points. I should first like to deal with the questions raised by Deputy Dockrell and Deputy Wolfe.
And in regard to Deputy Dockrell's first point, I should like to say that at the present moment we cannot possibly consider the extension of Section 7 of the Bill to municipal corporations securities. It will be clear to the Deputy himself, and he will admit, that it is very doubtful whether such securities could ever be specifically ear-marked for the establishment or the extension of industry. And the whole purpose of the concession which we are giving to those who possess investment income is that they should invest their capital in industries which are established or which are extended after the passing of the Finance Bill.
With regard to the other point raised by the Deputy, I did not gather what the precise issue involved was, but I understood it to relate to the date by which a foreign company must establish a branch register of shareholders in order to get the lower rate of the corporation profits tax. It would not be possible for me to consider this question properly without further information from the Deputy. But if he agrees to write to me a statement of the case of the company which he has in mind I would consider the matter very fully and, if possible, sympathetically. For the information of the Deputy in the meantime, I may say that the legal position under Section 31 of the Finance Act of 1928 is that the higher rate is chargeable for every accounting period during which the company did not maintain a branch register for the whole period. The accounting period in this case, of course, is dependent on the date on which the company's financial year ends.
Deputy Wolfe also raised the point that the time allowed for giving notice of appeal from income tax assessment should be from the date in which notice was received by the person assessed, but he stated, I think, that this was provided for by the existing law. I know that Deputy Wolfe's knowledge of income tax law is not merely extensive but also peculiar. I think, however, that he has overlooked Section 5 of the Finance Act of 1929, which provides that a person aggrieved by an assessment of income tax shall be entitled to appeal to the Special Commissioners on giving within 21 days after the date of the notice of assessment, notice in writing to the Inspector of Taxes. I think Deputy Wolfe's allegation was that the Inspectors of Taxes were acting outside the law in limiting the period within which notice of appeal may be given to 21 days after the date of the notice of assessment. But if Deputy Wolfe looks at the section to which I have referred he will see that the Inspector of Taxes is acting quite within the law. I should like in this connection to say, for the information of the House, that in practice we could not make the time limit run from the date of the receipt of the notice by the taxpayer, because the Revenue authorities would have no information as to when he received it except the taxpayer's own statement; and, in matters of this sort, I think none of us can disguise from himself the fact that it is only human nature that the taxpayer should be somewhat inexact when he comes to state precisely a date or a period which may make him liable for income tax. And the difficulty in regard to Deputy Wolfe's request is that he is asking us to add an indefinite extension to the period for giving notice of appeal. I do not think that any good case can be made for that. The present period seems reasonable. A man can write out and post a notice of appeal within ten minutes, and 21 days from the date of notice of assessment is ample to enable him to do so. If any case of special hardship arises, if a taxpayer has been prevented giving notice by illness or absence from home or any other reasonable cause, he can appeal to the Special Commissioners to extend the time, and they have statutory power to do so.
Beyond those three or four comparatively minor points and with the exception of a couple of points made by Deputy Blythe and re-echoed to some extent, by Deputy Norton and Deputy Dillon, there were no new points of any substance raised in the debate. We had Deputy O'Sullivan's long-winded, laborious statement which sounded like "The Death of King Arthur — or a tale of far-off things and battles long ago." It was a rehash of everything that had been said in the debate upon the General Resolution. We were told once more that the Government had been guilty of gross extravagance, extravagance which, according to Deputy O'Sullivan threatens to ruin the country. We had that note taken up by Deputy McGilligan and Deputy Blythe who stated that this taxation could have been avoided if the Minister had done what he ought to have done. But where is this extravagance? What evidence is there of it? The Opposition ought to be precise in this matter. They ought to formulate their charges and not merely hint what they are afraid to say. Deputy Blythe says that this taxation could have been avoided if the Minister had done what he ought to have done. What ought the Minister to have done? Should he have reduced the Civil Service? Should he have reduced the Army or the Gárdaí? Should he have reduced the grants to the Governor-General or to the universities? Should he have refused — and I should like to hear Deputy Good, Deputy Thrift and Deputy Brasier upon this question — should he have refused to recoup Great Britain for the expenditure upon R.I.C. pensions? Or should he have withheld the £600,000 which, under the Ultimate Financial Settlement we paid to Great Britain in respect of Local Loans? Deputy McGilligan said that the country was taxed to the extent of £2,000,000 more than is necessary. There is £1,700,000 of taxation accounted for. If we are able to withhold those payments we should be able to reduce taxation substantially. Will any person with authority to speak for the Opposition stand up in this House and advocate that any one of these things should be done?
Deputy Professor O'Sullivan has accused the Government of gross extravagance. Will Deputy Professor O'Sullivan proclaim that he is in favour of reducing the grant to the universities, or that he is anxious to reduce the strength of the Army or the Civic Guard? Will Deputy Blythe, who says that there would be no necessity for increasing taxation if the Minister had done what he ought to have done, advocate withholding the £1,100,000 which we pay to Great Britain for the R.I.C. pensions, or the £600,000 which we pay in respect of Local Loans, or the £3,000,000 which we pay in respect of Land Annuities? It might be quite an easy matter to secure the remission of those payments, if the demand for such a remission were made by a united Dáil. There is no need for me to stress the beneficial results, so far as this country, and so far as our people are concerned, of such remission, how effectually, and how substantially, we could reduce taxation if these remissions were secured, and I say, I believe, we could secure them, if the Cumann na nGaedeal Opposition, and the Independent Deputies in this House, would back up the Government in its demand. Are they prepared to do that?
We have not received any invitation yet. If the Minister has a practical proposition to put before us of this kind, may I say, speaking for myself, anyway, I would be exceedingly interested.
Who is to judge of its practicability?
The Government has taken a stand in this matter. It is making a demand that these things should be remitted. That is the only practical proposition it has to put before the House. Let those anxious, and who are concerned for the taxpayers of this country, stand shoulder to shoulder with us in making that demand.
We hear talk about increased taxation and about this over-burdened community. Will those who make that statement in this House, in the interests of the people, and in order to lighten their burden, line up with the Government in a demand for a complete revision of the Ultimate Financial Settlement? If they are sincere in their demand for economy here is where the first and most obvious economy can be secured. Are these the economies they have in mind? If they are not let them be honest about it, and say what are the economies which they think could be undertaken when they state that we are, and have been, guilty of gross extravagance. I have only, in this connection, to say what I said in the debate on the Budget Resolution. I have only to repeat that so long as I do not feel assured that we would have the support of every section in this House for the retention of these moneys in this country, then, it was necessary for us to impose this taxation in order to balance the Budget. Otherwise the only line of economy open to us would have been to reduce the social services, and that would have meant that, in this year, when, owing to world depression, poverty, want and suffering are widespread throughout the community, we should have been intensifying that hardship, that want and that suffering.
This Government came into power to relieve the needs of the people. It is not going at the very outset of its career, to penalise the poor and further to pauperise poverty, mainly, in order that the more fortunate elements of the community, for who, the Opposition speaks, should be relieved of some part of their proper share of the burdens of the State. And that is why it has not been possible for us to reduce, by one penny piece, the expenditure based largely upon the estimates prepared by our predecessors. Because we are an honest Government, and because we want to put the credit of this State upon a firm basis, and because we wish to pay our way and to depart from the policy of our predecessors, who borrowed, whenever they could conceal that they were borrowing, in order to divert expenditure that should be met out of revenue, we have been compelled to impose this additional taxation upon people. But, apart from attacking us because we had to do this, what other criticism has the Opposition to level at this Budget? They have attacked us because they say we have discriminated between certain elements of the community, because an Irish Government has tried, in imposing taxation, to lighten it on its own people, because when we had to impose taxation which we were told would cripple certain native manufacturers, we relieved them, so far as we possibly could, of the burden of that taxation. One remark which emerged from Deputy McGilligan's speech to-day was an admission that since we were compelled to increase the duty upon tobacco we were also compelled to discriminate in favour of the native manufacturers. He said there would have been no necessity for discriminatory taxation if the tax upon tobacco had not been imposed. It was necessary for us to impose the tax upon tobacco. Deputy McGilligan himself admits that. It was also necessary for us to relieve, so far as we possibly could, the native manufacturers, who were already staggering under the burdens imposed on them by our predecessors. The speeches made by Deputies Blythe, O'Sullivan and McGilligan show how far the minds and the whole outlook of the ex-Ministers were warped by their associations of the past ten years. Before they took office, the members of the late Government had some regard for the Irish people. They did seem to have some desire to take, as my colleague the Minister for Industry and Commerce said, this country out of pawn. The pronouncements which they have made during the debate remind me of the manner in which Dean Swift accounted for the metamorphosis which took place in certain prelates on elevation from English benefices to Irish sees. The Dean said that these men started out from London as estimable, Christian gentlemen, but when crossing the Health they seemed to have been waylaid by highway men, who stripped them of their clothes, robbed them of their horses and rode on, to usurp in this country the dignity and emoluments of the sees designed for their Godly victims. When I noticed that the whole weight of the Opposition attack on the Finance Bill was directed to those clauses in the Bill designed to protect native manufacturers, and encourage the investment of Irish capital in Irish undertakings, I could not help thinking of Dean Swift's highwaymen and I am somewhat regretful to find Irishmen playing such a role.
What consistency is there in the criticism of the Opposition to Section 7 of the Bill? The Government has been attacked because of the increased income tax. It has also been attacked by Deputy Blythe because it proposes to reduce the income tax in the case of those who reside in this country, who do not reside anywhere else, and who invest their money in the new industries which will be brought to birth under the protectionist policy of the Government. After listening to the emphatic denunciation of the Government by Deputy Blythe and his leader, Deputy Cosgrave, because of the increase in the income tax, one might have thought that this concession would have been welcomed by them. Instead, we are told by Deputy Blythe that this is the most objectionable section in the Bill. I am sorry to say that the Leader of the Labour Party has, possibly under a misapprehension, associated himself with that criticism. I think Deputy Dillon has associated himself with it also. What is Deputy Blythe's objection to the concession? What is involved here? I have heard it described as a penalisation of certain manufacturers, or of certain investors— I do not know which. It has been said that this is a new and novel principle. But the income tax law is full of discriminations. We grant greater concessions to married couples than we do to single persons, and we grant special concessions to married couples with children. We grant a concession in respect of earned income. There is discrimination over the whole range of income tax, and this is merely a further concession — not discrimination and not a penalty — to those who, after the passing of this Act, invest money in their own country in order to give employment to their own countrymen. What is the objection to the concession? Mainly, as I have said, that it is reserved to Irish investors. Do those who have criticised the concession object to the establishment of Irish industrial undertakings? Do they object to the Government offering an inducement to the Irish people to invest their money here, instead of squandering it, as millions have been squandered, during the past ten years in a thousand wild-cat schemes across the water.
The Minister puts a question. How does the Minister defend the giving of a preference to people who start industries here now to the detriment of those who started them when they had no inducement but patriotism to do so — during the last ten years?
I shall deal with that point in a moment. What I am concerned with more particularly is the mentality behind the Opposition to this section. I am quite certain that Deputy Dillon's outlook in regard to it is not the same as that of Deputy Blythe. Why does the major Opposition Party in this House object to this concession? Is it because they know that if Irish industrial undertakings are made attractive to the Irish public, and if that public is given an inducement to invest money in them, those undertakings will expand and flourish, and root themselves firmly here, so that they will be able to stand up against and, eventually, overcome the competition of foreign concerns which monopolise a large part of our native industry. The one thing which emerges from the criticism which the Opposition have directed against this section and similar sections of the Bill is that they are ready to constitute themselves the Hindenburg line of the foreign exploiters in this country, that they are ready, so far as they possibly can, to impede, hold up and resist the attack which the Government is making on unemployment here and the attempts which the Government are making to foster and establish Irish enterprise. In order to assist themselves in resisting the policy of the Government, in order to becloud the issue, they have let loose again the poison gas which Deputy Cosgrave and Deputy McGilligan utilised in the earlier stages of the Budget debate. Once again we had the suggestion — this time it came from Deputy Blythe, who hitherto has fought with clean hands in this matter — a suggestion which was unworthy of the Deputy, that in this section of the Bill, and in the way in which it has been drafted, there are possibilities of corruption. Again, Deputy Norton seemed to be of the same opinion as Deputy Blythe. If there were any possibility of corruption arising out of the manner in which this section might be given effect to by any Minister, or by any Government — I deny there is — what better protection is there than that Ministers who shall have to answer to this House, who shall have to defend themselves in this House, whose conduct can be challenged in this House, should be made responsible for issuing the certificates which are necessary under this section? If any doubt arises in the mind of any person as to whether a certificate was properly granted or not, he can have the matter raised here and can put the onus on the Minister for Finance and, in association with him, his colleague, the Minister for Industry and Commerce, to justify their actions in regard to any particular matter or in regard to any particular issue of a certificate. So far as the actual procedure for issuing certificates is concerned, it will be exactly the same as if the certificate were to be issued directly by the Revenue Commissioners, because that body, or some other departmental body — preferably, to my mind, the Revenue Commissioners—will have to satisfy themselves that the stock or security in respect of which relief is granted complies with all the conditions set forth in the section. It is only after the Revenue Commissioners have been themselves satisfied that the necessary certificate will be presented to the Minister for Finance, and that he, in consultation with his colleagues, will decide whether it should issue or not. In fact, so far from making it easier to get a certificate in a doubtful case, the procedure proposed by the Bill will make it incumbent on the Minister to satisfy himself that it can be properly issued before he takes any action in regard to it.
The whole force of the criticisms of Deputies Blythe and Norton came down to this — that you may have such open corruption in the Government that a certificate granting this relief to this stock or security of a certain company may be corruptly issued. If that were the case, then such a Minister would be unfit to sit on the Government Benches, and if he did sit there he would only do so with the consent and connivance of a corrupt Government and an equally corrupt Dáil. And if the Dáil and the Government and the Ministers were corrupt, does anyone say that the corruption would stop short of the Civil Service? Therefore, we say that so far as safeguards can be devised, and so far as safeguards were necessary—I do not believe they were necessary — but so far as they were necessary and can be devised, they are embodied in sub-section 2 of Section 7 of the Bill.
Another objection which is being made in regard to this proposal is that it is not revolutionary enough. I think Deputy Norton made that point also. His objection was that any concession we had granted at all, even to those who invested in Irish industries, who invested particularly in the new industries, was against the discouragement of those opposed to the Government not merely in this House but outside it — against the discouragement of those who, as we have been told here, in order to create an atmosphere of uneasiness and unrest and instability, are deliberately reducing the wages of the workers or deliberately, as we know, holding up their own business, in order to prevent the economic and industrial policy of the Government being given effect to. We say that in those circumstances, with the whole of that massed attack upon the new policy, with every element of the community worked up to terror by the foolish and ridiculous speeches made in this House against the Bill, such as Deputy Dillon's and Deputy McGilligan's speeches to-day, talking about 300 workers being thrown out of employment — thrown out of a factory where there never were 300 workers employed — I am not going to say that it is not bad enough and serious enough to disemploy a single person, but in regard to this particular instance, cited so often in this House, there has been the grossest exaggeration and the grossest extravagance of statement. There has not been any significant number of workers disemployed yet — no more than would have been disemployed by that factory in the ordinary casual way of business. They are still in employment, and I hope, and the Government hopes, with every confidence, that they will continue in employment, and if that particular factory suffers in its business or in its goodwill, and if it becomes necessary for them to reduce the number of their workers, it is because of the use which has been made of it in this House and outside the House for political purposes, which has made people afraid to enter into commitments with that factory, and which has succeeded, I believe, in destroying the reputation and the goodwill of a firm which had an expanding business here and which yet might be saved, and which. I believe, will be saved and will continue to operate and give employment, but under native control and native management and ownership.
I was saying that Deputy Norton, I think, objected to the proposal because it was not revolutionary enough. We are not a revolutionary Government, and I doubt whether any revolutionary Government would be able to do so much to provide employment for the people as this Government will do in an ordinary evolutionary way by developing the industrial side of our economy and providing opportunities for our people who are idle to-day to earn their bread in their own country. Deputy Norton's position in regard to tariffs, I should like to say — his general attitude in regard to tariffs— is largely that of the Government; that is, that tariffs of themselves do not create our industries and will not solve unemployment. In order to do that, you want, not merely to reserve the market but also to create the means of production which will supply the market. For that purpose we want, not merely the labour, but also the capital to purchase the plant, to build the factories, to provide the working capital and employ the labour. In view of the fanatical opposition displayed by elements in this House to the industrial policy of the Government, can anyone believe that if the Government were to go out of office before its policy came to fruition, that our policy would be carried on by the Opposition? In view of this, the protection afforded by the tariffs alone is too uncertain to offer a real inducement to invest in a new industry. Moreover, most of the savings of the country are invested outside. We have to offer a substantial inducement to bring those savings home. Deputy Norton has suggested a penal tax on investment — a penal tax on foreign investment. The policy of this Government on economical as well as political matters is that persuasion is better than coercion. I do not think that a penal tax on foreign investments, if it were contemplated by any Government, would in the present circumstances be anything else except disastrous.
At the present moment, we have about £170,000,000 in external investments, and of this about £70,000,000 is in gilt-edged securities, which are now standing high and about £100,000,000 in industrial securities, which are now standing at a very heavy discount if they can be sold at all. If we were imposing such a tax we could not discriminate between these two classes and the effect would be to compel a realisation of industrial securities at a very heavy sacrifice—at a sacrifice which I believe would not be commensurate with any beneficial result which might accrue from such a procedure. There is a better way of getting back our capital into our own country and that is the way in which we propose to do it in this Budget. We have £70,000,000 invested in gilt-edged securities. Of that, about £50,000,000 is held by the banks and invested by them in gilt-edged securities. Most of that represents the invested funds entrusted to them by depositors whose money in the bank is drawing very small rates of interest. They see here a substantial inducement to take their money out of deposit — any of them who have any considerable sum — and put it into Irish industrial undertakings.
The inducement in Section 7 is to be related to the concession we are offering in Section 37, in respect to excess profits duty. This does offer, to those who would take advantage of the concession in Section 37, a substantial inducement to place their money at the disposal of Irish manufacturers who are going to establish a new industry or to extend an existing industry. We cannot solve the unemployment problem merely by building tariff walls sky high. We have to make our people believe that it is a good thing, first to invest in Irish industry, and secondly that their investments will be safe. At any rate, we offer to them an inducement which, I believe, will be a real and a substantial one, and which will make it easier henceforth for Irish manufacturers to secure the capital which they require. It has been stated that we are discriminating between old factories and new factories, that we are discriminating unfairly against those who have invested their capital in Irish industry hitherto. I could argue that we are not, because at any rate those who did invest their money in establishing industries are able, under the policy of the Government, to reap the immediate advantage of that investment, the immediate advantage of their patriotism, and their foresight. Those going to invest in new industries are going to invest in untried concerns, concerns which will have to fight their way in the markets, which will have to establish themselves, and which will have to build up their own goodwill. Therefore, it is possible that the element of risk in regard to new undertakings is greater than it is at present. That is why, at this moment, because the resources of the Government will not permit them to enlarge the concession, we are confining and restricting it merely to new undertakings. Remember, it is a new undertaking, or an extension of an existing undertaking, we require if we are going to solve the unemployment problem, and this is one of the things designed to do it, and to make it easier for us to have these industrial concerns which will absorb, at the present, the workless workers.
I do not think it is necessary for me to detain the House any longer, except to emphasise a point which was made against the Bill by Deputy Blythe. He said that the Minister has yielded to the evil spirit which has informed the whole Budget. I am glad to be able to take the Opposition up on that point. What is this evil spirit? The spirit of nationalism. Possibly, someone will say, the spirit not merely of political nationalism, but the spirit of economic nationalism as well. I will admit that. What this Government is out for is not merely the right to secure for the people or for the representatives of the people, the right to talk, but the right to toil and labour for ourselves and not for foreign masters. Is it an evil spirit that ambitions not merely political freedom but economic freedom as well? Is it evil to seek to establish our people in the ownership of the industries which operate here? That is the fundamental principle by which the Budget must be judged. If that principle is an evil principle, then this Finance Bill is misconceived, utterly misconceived, and without reservation should be condemned. But, if the principle is a sound one, if it is the only basis upon which our people should build economic security, the only means by which the full fruits of their own toil can be secured to them, then it is a sound Bill and should be accepted by the House.
The Minister has raised a matter that is absolutely vital in connection with the land annuities and I do not like to let it stand just at that. I am desperately anxious, in view of the poverty and the distress prevailing throughout the country, to keep any money here that can possibly be kept. Would the Minister consider holding a Private Session of the House, in order to have the matter discussed, and to see as to whether it would really be possible on the part of the Opposition, and of the Independents to assist the Government in putting this thing into shape in a way that there might be some chance of dealing with it.
I think that is a question that might more properly be addressed to the head of the House. I am perfectly certain, if the Deputy's question is to ensure that every section of the House will co-operate with us in the struggle we are making to retain these moneys in this country, that serious consideration will be given to any suggestion which may be put up, either from the Independent or from the Opposition Benches.
Might I remind the Minister that it is surely up to the Government to make the first move? If they feel, as the Minister says, that the co-operation of the other Parties in the House would better the chance of handling this question successfully, then it is up to them to take the first step to secure co-operation. Of course the whole point is to keep the money in the country without ruining our moral credit, without ruining our financial credit, or without ruining our exports.
The Minister stated deliberately and emphatically that the Government was not a revolutionary Government. If I remember correctly I think he stated when introducing his Budget that it was a revolutionary Budget.
Oh, no, I did not.
And that the Government was going to revolutionise the economic system of the country. I wonder how you could have a revolutionary Budget without having it introduced by a revolutionary Government.
Does the Minister think it wise to give any information now with regard to the tariff on shipping, and on fishing boats, that I referred to when dealing with section B of item 18?
I am afraid Deputy Good will have to reserve his desire for information on that point to a later stage, when the Minister for Industry and Commerce will consider it.
I did not want to interrupt the Minister when he was speaking, but quite clearly, he did not hear my speech or he misread it. I made no suggestion of a penal attack on foreign industry, in the sense of a penal tax. I suggested that income from foreign investments might be taxed; the amount of the tax placed to the credit of the present tax; the amount so taxed to bear interest on that person's behalf, and the money raised by it to be used for the development of Irish industry.
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I understood from the remarks of the Minister for Industry and Commerce that there will be a large number of official amendments. I wonder would it be possible for the Government to circulate these amendments soon? It will be difficult for the Opposition to submit amendments until they have some idea of the nature of the Government's amendments.
I will endeavour to get the amendments circulated as soon as possible. I am anxious to do it for several reasons.
May I take it that as soon as possible means within the next four days and that our amendments will be acceptable after that?
I hope to have the Government amendments circulated within four days.
Will there be sufficient time allowed after that for amendments from this side or from anybody else in the House? Can we get amendments in after the Government amendments are circulated?
Could the Minister say if some of the amendments will be circulated by Monday or Tuesday next?
Deputies will have the majority of the amendments by then, not all.