In Committee on Finance. - Local Government (Amendment) Bill, 1934—Second Stage.

I move the Second Reading of this Bill. The purpose of the Bill is to extend the period within which a new building must be begun or completed in order to obtain a partial suspension of an increase in valuation under the Local Government Act, 1927. Remissions of rates on new buildings are designed to promote employment by encouraging building enterprise. The Local Government Act, 1927, enabled a reduction of two-thirds to be made in any increased valuation for a period of five years from the date of the increase or for the period from such date up to that in which a general revision of valuation became effective in an area, whichever was the shorter. The period fixed within which the new work should have been completed to enable such benefit to be secured ended on 1st October, 1930. By an amending Act of 1930, this date was advanced to 1st October, 1933, and, in view of the representations which have been received, it is now proposed to extend the date to 1st October, 1938. These remissions do not apply to houses erected under the Housing Acts or the Housing (Gaeltacht) Act, 1929, which are otherwise provided for, nor do they apply to cottages erected under the Labourers Acts. The Bill contains no new principle; it merely continues the existing practice for five years longer.

Can the Minister say what exactly it is intended to secure by Section 1 which deletes from Section 12 of the 1927 Act the reference to new buildings. In the Act of 1927 the phrase "new buildings" has a very restricted meaning referring to buildings completed some years before the passing of that Act and, as there may be some misunderstanding or misconception in connection with the matter, I would ask the Minister, if he is not able to say what is the effect at the moment, to look into the matter.

The Deputy has asked a question that I asked myself when I saw the draft of the Bill. I am told that it is to avoid difficulties where there have been additions to new buildings.

It may be necessary, in order completely to avoid these difficulties, in taking out the reference to take it out of the rest of the section. There is a definition in the section of new buildings even when this is taken out.

I am told it is not necessary.

Will this Act be retrospective?

The Minister has mentioned a difficulty about the additions to new buildings. Will he tell us what precisely the position will be now or has the position changed because there was some difficulty? Of course, we all know what a new building is but when an addition to a new building came along I thing there was a difficulty. Is there any change in the procedure?

There are no changes in the procedure.

Or in the practice?

There is no change.

Question—"That the Bill be now read a Second Time"—put and agreed to.
Committee Stage ordered for Wednesday, 14th February.