Ceistenna-Questions. Oral Answers. - Fourth National Loan.

asked the Minister for Finance if he will state with regard to the Fourth National Loan (a) if he is aware that the daily Press of December 5/13 published lists of applications for allotments to a total of over £2,112,000 out of the £2,912,000 said to be taken up by public subscription; (b) if he is aware that these lists revealed that, of tho former amount of approximately £2,112,000 over £1,750,000 was applied for by banking and insurance companies and non-trading corporations such as hospitals, religious and educational associations, trade unions, etc., and over £220,000 by firms engaged wholly or partly as brewers, distillers and malsters, and less than £100,000 by Saorstát industrial concerns and (c) if, considering that the lists referred to included subscriptions as low as £2,000 and in total accounted for all the subscribed portion of the loan except a sum of about £800,000, he will state in the public interest what proportion of the £800,000 was applied for by (1) individual investors and (2) Saorstát business and industrial concerns exclusive of those types of corporations mentioned in the first portion of (b) above.

I am aware of the figures mentioned by the Deputy at (a) and (b) of his question. In regard to (c), which raises another point similar to that raised by the Deputy in question put to me last week, I can only repeat what I then said, that I am unaware of any precedent for affording information of this kind and that I do not think it desirable to create one now.

Is the Minister aware that if the £800,000 not accounted for was taken up by individual investors at the same rate as they took up the first portion, that the Government only received a testimonial amounting to 4d. in every £10 from the public? Does the Minister want that to go abroad?

Does the Deputy want me to disclose what testimonials the Government of which he was a member received when floating their loans?

I have only to say that they floated three national loans and that these loans were subscribed for by the public and that that was a very good testimonial.

asked the Minister for Finance if he will state with regard to the £3,087,000 of the Fourth National Loan not subscribed by the public (a) if any portion was taken up or covered by the Government, by Government funds, or by underwriters or funds associated with or under the control of the Government, and if so, to what amount and (b) what extra cost will fall upon the State by reason of the underwriters having to take up this amount of £3,087,000.

The answer to (a) is in the affirmative, but I do not consider it to be in the public interest to disclose the details of underwriting arrangements made in connection with the loan. As previously stated, there is no precedent for disclosing information of this kind. I can, however, assure the Deputy as regards (b) in his question that no extra cost will fall upon the State by reason of its underwriting commitment in regard to the Fourth National Loan.

Am I to take it then that the Government are themselves partly underwriting that portion of the loan which failed to secure subscriptions from the public?

I cannot assess the Deputy's capacity to interpret properly the answer I have given to which I have nothing to add.

I have only to judge the Minister's capacity by the statements he has made.

asked the Minister for Finance if he will state what are the reproductive works to which the proceeds of the Fourth National Loan are to be devoted, and to what extent reproductive works of all kinds will absorb the loan.

I would refer the Deputy to my Budget statement last May, which dealt with the financing of the various commitments of the Exchequer in respect of capital expenditure to be defrayed by borrowing, the largest single item in which was a special provision of £1,600,000 for the Local Loans Fund, which amount was to be issued in the form of repayable advances to the local authorities for housing and other constructional activities, for example, public health works. This programme has been carried out. Since the date of the Budget the activities of Cómhlucht Siúicre Eireann, Teoranta, and the Industrial Credit Company, Limited, have also been financed out of the proceeds of the Loan, which will be further utilised for the financing of other reproductive works, the details of which will be found in the Volume of Estimates for 1934-35 that is at the moment in course of preparation and will be presented to the Dáil as soon as possible. I regret I am unable to anticipate the information which will be disclosed on the presentation of the volume.

I have asked in the end of the question if reproductive works of all kinds will absorb the loan?

I have nothing to add to the very full answer which I have already given the Deputy.

The Minister now refers to the Budget speech. It was there stated that a certain portion of the money to be raised by borrowing would be devoted towards balancing the unbalanced Budget. I presume the policy is still the same?

So far as ordinary expenditure is concerned—normal expenditure as our predecessors described it—the Budget will be fully and adequately balanced.

By the loan?

No: without the loan.