Housing (Financial and Miscellaneous Provisions) (Amendment) Bill, 1934—Money Resolution. - Imposition of Duties (Confirmation of Orders) Bill, 1934—Second Stage.

I move that the Bill be read a Second Time. In accordance with the provisions of sub-section 2 of Section 1 of the Emergency Imposition of Duties Act 1932, an order made under that Act ceases to have statutory effect upon the expiration of eight months from the date of making of the order unless confirmed by an Act of the Oireachtas in the meantime. This present Bill seeks to confirm certain orders which have already been made by the Executive Council and these are: Emergency Order No. 23, dated 6th February, 1934; Emergency Order No. 25, dated 9th March, 1934; Emergency Order No. 30, dated 11th May, 1934; and Emergency Order No. 31, dated 15th May, 1934. Emergency Order No. 23 imposed an additional Customs duty and also an additional Excise duty of 4/8 per cwt. on sugar exceeding 98º of polarisation with appropriate additional duties on glucose, molasses and saccharine. It also imposed an Excise duty of 4/8 per cwt. on sugar, molasses and glucose, irrespective of the degrees of polarisation, in excess of 20 cwts., on any stock on hands at midnight on 6th February, 1934, with a corresponding Excise duty of 1/6 per ounce on all saccharine in stock in excess of 5lbs. These duties were imposed following representations made as to the necessity for protecting the Saorstát sugar beet industry against unfair competition from abroad. It was represented with justice that sugar was being put on the market here at a price considerably below that quoted in market reports. This undercutting took place in anticipation of the establishment of the sugar beet industry here and was an attempt, I think, to paralyse that industry in its early stages. Accordingly, to protect the new industry and to provide for safe future development, the Executive Council imposed, in the emergency that then existed, the order which we are now asking the Oireachtas to confirm.

I have already mentioned that Emergency Order No. 23 imposed an Excise duty at a flat rate of 4/8 on all molasses, sugar and glucose which may have been in stock, irrespective of the degree of polarisation. When this order came into operation, it was found that its provisions in regard to stocks on hand at midnight of 6th February, 1934 would operate inequitably against merchants who held stocks as against merchants about to import. For example, a trader who imported, say, 20 tons of liquid glucose on 5th February would be charged Excise duty at the rate of 4/8 per cwt., whereas if the glucose arrived subsequent to the imposition of the Excise duty, he would be charged an additional duty of only 2/1½ per cwt. A similar position existed in the case of sugar not exceeding 98º of polarisation and also in the case of molasses. It was not the intention that the new Excise duty should operate in this penal way, and accordingly, Order No. 25 was made on 9th March, 1934, amending the No. 23 order by providing for an Excise duty of 2/4 per cwt. on sugar of less than 98º of polarisation and molasses and glucose in stock at midnight on 6th February in excess of 20 cwts., in lieu of the original duty of 4/8 imposed on these particular stocks.

The third order which this Bill seeks to confirm is, as I have already mentioned, Emergency Order No. 30. This order revoked wholly a number of previous Emergency Orders and in part, the Emergency (Imposition of Duties) Order No. 5, following on the inclusion of the duties previously chargeable under these orders in the Finance Bill of 1934. It was made by the Executive Council on 11th May, 1934, so as to secure that there would be only one statutory authority, the Finance Act, for levying the duties referred to. Not being an order merely revoking wholly a previous order, it requires to be confirmed by the Oireachtas and, accordingly, is included in this Bill. The other order which it is sought to confirm is Emergency (Imposition of Duties) Order No. 31. This order was made on 15th May, 1934, and imposed an Excise duty of 5/- on every pig carcase or part of a pig carcase used for conversion into bacon for sale in any premises in Saorstát Eireann in which bacon is so manufactured.

The duty became operative as from the 12th May, 1934. The following were the circumstances which led up to the making of the order: Prior to the date of the making of the order, it was found that, in practice, the bacon exporters were filling the bacon quota to Great Britain and Northern Ireland at a loss, owing to the fact that the price for bacon on the home market was substantially higher than the net sum realised by the bacon exporter. As failure to fill the bacon quota to Great Britain and Northern Ireland would have been a serious matter, it became necessary to introduce arrangements which would enable exporters to fill their quota without loss and, following on discussions with the representatives of the trade, it was decided that the most equitable method of dealing with the situation would be to impose an Excise duty on pigs, live or dead, used for conversion into bacon for sale and to pay an increased bounty on exported bacon. For this purpose this Emergency (Imposition of Duties) Order (No. 31), which the Oireachtas is now asked to confirm, was made.

I should like to ask, in respect of Order No. 31, dealing with pig carcases, whether in fact undertakings were given by the persons handling pigs that there would be no increase in price to the consumer of pig products as a result of the levy put upon those carcases and whether in fact the Minister has received any complaints that there has been an increase in the price of pig products as a result of this order.

No undertakings of the nature mentioned by the Deputy were given in this case and, so far as I am aware, no complaints have been received that bacon charges have been increased in consequence of the order.

Is the Minister aware that the Ministerial Press made very marked pronouncements to the effect that undertakings were given and, on the other hand, that there have been very substantial increases in the price of some of the pig products to the consumers since this charge was put on? I should also like to ask the Minister whether it is proposed to introduce and deal with the Bacon Bill, which, it was stated, the Minister requires to have passed during this Session. It was understood that the First Reading would be taken to-day. As the Bill has not appeared for First Reading, I should like to know whether it is intended to take it before the Summer Recess.

First of all, I should say that I am at a loss to appreciate the Deputy's reference to the Ministerial Press, and therefore I am not in a position to say whether or not statements have appeared in any newspaper of the nature which he indicated. Possibly he will give us the name of the newspaper and I might be able to look up the files and satisfy the Deputy at a later stage as to whether statements of that kind actually appeared in it.

On the point about the Bacon and Pigs (Regulation and Production) Bill, that Bill has been held up within the last couple of days. It is the intention of the Government to introduce the Bill and to ask the Oireachtas to pass it before the House adjourns for the Summer Recess. The Bill is in an advanced stage of preparation.

Question put and agreed to.