Public Business. - Finance Bill, 1936—Second Stage.

Question proposed: "That the Bill be now read a Second Time."

The greater part of the material contained in the Finance Bill has already been before the Dáil in the form of Financial Resolutions, following the introduction of the Budget, or has been mentioned in the course of the Budget statement, and consequently detailed references are unnecessary at this stage, more especially as members of the House will have a full opportunity on the Committee Stage of seeking information with regard to any matters which may happen to be still not clear to them. The Bill, in accordance with general statutory procedure, will give continuing effect to the matters contained in the Resolutions which have been already discussed, and in addition will provide for the making of certain amendments which experience has shown to be necessary or desirable in the laws relating to revenue. Part I of the Bill, comprising the first five clauses, deals with income-tax, and of these, the first three were the subject of Financial Resolutions and have been already fully explained. The matters dealt with in Clauses 4 and 5 have been already referred to in the Budget statement. Clauses 4 gives effect to the decision to give greater relief than formerly to married income-tax payers with children, by increasing from £50 to £60 the allowance in respect of each child. Clause 5 extends to the professions allowances and reductions in respect of the wear and tear of plant and machinery, at present authorised in rules 6 and 7 applicable to cases I and II of Schedule D. of the Income Tax, Act, 1918.

Part II of the Bill is concerned with Customs and Excise. Clauses 6 and 12 have been already before the House as Financial Resolutions Nos. 4 to 10 respectively. They deal in the main with new protective duties, the reduction in the rates of duty on sugar and sugar articles, new protective duties on sheet and plate glass, certain alterations in the entertainments duty, and the termination of some Customs and Excise duties. Clause 13 proposes to abolish as from 1st September thead valorem duty of 10 per cent. on certain types of glass imposed partly for revenue and partly for protective purposes by the Finance Act of last year. This duty is superseded by the protective duty imposed in Clause 9. Clauses 14, 15 and 16, which confirm the Financial Resolution, deal respectively with the amendment of certain Customs duties, alterations and rate of licence duty on certain motor mechanically propelled vehicles, and the exemption from Customs duty of articles imported for the personal use of persons coming to reside permanently in Saorstát Eireann. Clause 17 is intended to give statutory effect to certain exemptions of Customs duties now made administratively. The existing practice of granting exemptions extra-statutorily, that is, on the authority of the Minister for Finance or with the sanction of the Revenue Commissioners, is open to objection, and this enactment of the clause will put the matter on a proper basis. Clauses 18 and 19 are designed to deal with smuggling offences.

Clause 18 authorises officers of Customs and Excise searching premises under a search warrant for smuggled goods to seize any documents which they may reasonably believe relate to smuggling activities. That has been the practice hitherto, but it is considered desirable to have specific legislative authority for it. The powers which are sought in Clause 19 are necessitated by the fact that there is often considerable difficulty in dealing with cases of organised smuggling, even on a large scale. It may be mentioned that Section 259 of the Customs Consolidated Act, 1876, places the onus of proof on the defendant in all prosecutions for forfeiture or for the recovery of any penalty under the Act. It is because it has been recently held that the section mentioned does not apply unless there is definite evidence of the importation of the goods in question that the present clause is included in the Bill. Clause 20 authorises the acceptance of payment of duty by cheque in any case in which an Excise licence is issued and should prove of great convenience to the public, while at the same time adequately safeguarding the interests of the Revenue.

Clause 21 extends the terms of Section 27 of the Finance Act of 1934 to other Finance Acts. Under that particular clause it was made an offence to commit a breach of any condition imposed by the Revenue Commissioners in granting an exemption, modification or relief of any Customs duty. By an oversight it was omitted to make the penalty and the offence applicable and relative to any other Finance Act, whether of a date before that of 1934 or not, and it is now proposed to place all Finance Acts upon the same plane. Section 22 relates to stamps upon foreign bills of exchange, the position in regard to which I think the President, as Minister for External Affairs, has fully explained to the House, and is designed to give legislative effect to the ratification just acceded to by the Dáil of the International Convention relating to these matters. Clause 23 repeals certain enactments and arises from Clauses 15 and 16 of the existing Bill. Clause 15, as the House is aware, amends the existing provisions for charging the Motor Vehicle Duties. Clause 16 gives power to the Revenue Commissioners in certain instances to exempt from Customs duty articles imported for the personal use of the importer. The remaining sections, 24 and 25, are the usual ones as to the care and management of taxes and duties, short title, construction and commencement.

In the situation revealed by the Finance Bill and by the General Budget statement to which the Minister referred, there are a few outstanding characteristics that the country would do well to bear in mind. I wish even that some members of the Fianna Fáil Party might have been present when the Minister was introducing the Bill, because they also ought to know the condition of the country. The first feature to which I wish to call attention is the manner in which the country is being asked to accept as something normal, as something permanent, at least in its bad features the very heavy burden of taxation which the Government is putting on it. If we have any reason to look forward to any changes in that respect it is not unfortunately in the direction of any prospect of a reduction in taxation. It will, of course, happen as a result of faulty estimations on the part of the Minister for Finance, as a result of fortuitous circumstances, that a year will occur now and again in which there may be not any noticeable increase on the already heavy burden of taxation which the country has to bear but these years, that may occur now and then, do not relieve the sombre character of the general picture, which is that in the very best of the best of years, from the Treasury point of view—the result, not of any increase in prosperity in the country but of the imposition of taxes to an inordinate extent in the previous year—the very best the country can hope for is that the burden for the moment at all events will not be increased.

Another feature to which I would call attention is the open confession, contained in the financial statement of this year, of the complete failure of the Fianna Fáil plan to provide for unemployment. It may solace the Minister to find a good, scientific term, a medical term—and I admit medical terms in this connection are quite appropriate—to describe the situation. "Unemployment is endemic." No longer is it a passing phase, a phenomenon that can be cured by the policy of Fianna Fáil. That is the obvious conclusion from the statement of the Minister and from the provisions that he is making or pretending to make in connection with unemployment. "It is endemic," or, to use a word that is possibly a little more familiar to the ordinary people, it is going to be permanent during the Fianna Fáil tenure of office. The plan for providing work through productive industries has failed, failed like many another plan of the Fianna Fáil Government. The last thing to which the country has been asked to give a grateful assent is the continued high cost of living, keeping the cost of living at a figure altogether beyond what is necessary. That is bound to have its repercussion in industrial unrest because the increased cost of living on the one hand depresses the real wages earned by the workers and, secondly, as a result of these tariffs that are being imposed so wholesale, there is a feeling that the worker is not getting a fair amount from the burden that is being imposed on the general taxpayer in order to bolster up industries of every kind. These are the three things for which we are now asked to be grateful.

Could anybody believe a few years ago that a Fianna Fáil Minister would come in and have anything except condemnation for every one of these— condemnation for the extraordinarily high level of taxation, for the immense burden that is being kept on the people, anything but condemnation for the failure to cope by any proper method with the menace of unemployment and the increase, the unnecessary increase, in the price of practically every commodity purchased by the very poorest as well as by those who are well of? The country is asked to be grateful because a year passes by without extra taxes, if there are articles which the Government can still discover that can be taxed. The burden of taxation is kept at that high level, independent of any consideration of the capacity of the country permanently to meet that particular burden. As I explained here on the Budget debate, it is of course possible for a year or two, by frittering away capital, by drawing on capital—as a result of what the Minister and one of his colleagues, I think the Vice-President, has described as a redistribution of wealth—it is possible,, from the Government point of view, that the country may, for a year or two, seem capable of bearing that burden. But a wise Government would look far beyond that, would ask themselves whether there is permanently any chance of bearing a burden which, it is obvious, the Government intends to make permanent—at least not to diminish, if anything to increase.

There was a time—I should be the first to admit that that is no recommendation for it—when references to the national income of the country, to the capacity of the country to bear a heavy burden of taxation, were the stock-in-trade of the Fianna Fáil Party but even though arguments of that kind were used—abused, perhaps—by the Fianna Fáil Party they do not cease on that account altogether to lose their value when used in proper circumstances. I put it to the House if there was any excuse for the line taken up on these matters by the Fianna Fáil Party between the years 1927 and 1932, what must be their attitude to-day when they themselves have added so considerably to the burden that has to be borne?

The country is certainly not now in a better position to bear the burden than is put on it than it was in 1927. I say 1927, because it was then that the Fianna Fáil Party, so to speak, entered into constitutional politics. Let us hope that that entry will be permanent. If there was any trace of foundation for their arguments during the year I have mentioned, how much more applicable are they to the policy of the Government now if you take the burdens they are putting upon the people in the shape of open taxation, concealed taxation and increases in the various essential articles of life, representing burdens amounting to anything up to £10,000,000 a year. How much more are these arguments valuable now than they were then.

Does anybody pretend—or does anybody believe—and I say that because I have no doubt many will pretend— does anybody believe in his heart that if you take the productive capacity of the country as a whole, and compare 1927 with 1936, or 1932 with 1936, and include in production not only wheat and beet but also cattle, does anyone believe that the productive capacity of the country now has improved in comparison with the productive capacity of the country in 1927 or in 1931 or in 1932? I should like, for the sake of argument, to admit that the Minister for Industry and Commerce is not merely a first-class propagandist agent, but that he is a prophet and that his statements of what has been achieved can be accepted. I would like to admit for the sake of argument that the Minister for Agriculture's hopes of what may result from his policy of wheat, beet and other things may not prove unfounded, that he has some grounds for the rosy picture that he paints in respect to these commodities. But does anyone contend that the alleged gains here balance the losses caused in other directions? Does it really, at all to any considerable extent, repair the damage that the Government has inflicted upon the production of the country as a whole? If not, what justification is there for asking the country to be thankful because the burden this year is no greater than that of last year.

Far away now are the days—if not in years, at least psychologically— when there was a promise of a reduction of £2,000,000 in taxation. What are we asked to be satisfied with now? We are asked to be satisfied because the real increase is only £10,000,000. Last year it was only £10,000,000 and it remains only £10,000,000 this year. That is what the country is supposed now to be grateful for. With the financial legerdemain of which the Minister is so capable, what was to be a £2,000,000 reduction has been converted into an increased burden of £10,000,000 but—and this is to be the consolation—not more than £10,000,000. The country is asked, and expected, to great that financial achievement as if it was something for which it ought to be thankful. High taxation is not now looked upon by the Government as an evil to be deplored, but as something in the achievement of which they are very proud. That is the attitude which has been adopted by the Minister for Finance in his Budget spech this year as well as last year.

The Government rode into office on a variety of promises. It is not now necessary to try to disentangle all these different promises, or to try and trace what the effect of each one of them was on a certain number of people in the country in the years 1932 and 1933. We remember the promises—economical and social promises—that were made by the Government in these elections. I do not intend to go into them now. But there was one that did play an important part in inducing the people of the country to change their minds, in political matters, between 1927 and 1932; and that was the very effective manner in which the Fianna Fáil Party dinned into the ears of the people, by what was then a very effective propagandist machine, the cost of officials. Everyone who was in politics at the time remembers how all walls and trees and telegraph poles in the country were placarded with the cost of officialdom. They will remember how there was one promise that was certainly brought before the minds of the people of the country, and that was the determination of the Fianna Fáil Party, if returned to office, to get rid of what they described as that crying evil. What has happened since? More and more officials of that kind have been appointed showing an increase of practically £750,000 in that respect alone. Economies are the last thing the Government have thought of since they came into office. Have there been economies in officials? On the contrary there have been increases here also. Various services were mentioned by name the cost of which was to be reduced. The reverse has happened. The costs have been increased. In not a single Department of Government, certainly not in the principal Departments of Government, has the cost gone down.

The Minister in determining the conduct of the tax collecting Department has increased costs there. Everyone will admit that the tax collecting machinery of the Government was already very effective. We have indeed too much evidence of its growing efficiency. The Minister may laugh but some of the results are not quite so laughable. The costs of the Local Government have gone up. Has there been an increase in local government in the country? There has been a tremendous increase in connection with the Department of Industry and Commerce. Natural perhaps, because there has been a tremendous increase in the way in which the Government interferes in business of all kinds. Everybody will acknowledge that you cannot have that increased interference without increasing the number of officials. Furthermore, unemployment has increased and, as the Minister for Industry and Commerce is also the Minister for unemployment, he naturally requires a bigger staff to deal with the increased number of unemployed. When you come to agriculture, you have the same story. The Department flourishes while agriculture decays. That is the position for which the country is asked to be thankful. I have never yet discovered whether, in respect of any one of the main branches of agriculture, the Government have any permanent policy. If they have not a permanent, definite policy in respect of agriculture, which must continue for a long time to be the main source of our national wealth, how can we be expected to regard the economic condition of this country as satisfactory and capable of meeting the burdens which the Minister is imposing upon it? Again and again I asked for an explanation of the blatantly obvious reversal of policy of that Department. On the 9th June, 1933, the Minister said:

"We have pointed out as plainly as could be that an increase of tillage by way of wheat-growing or anything else will inevitably lead to an increase in the number of live stock."

That was declared to be the official policy of the Government—a policy of long standing, not a policy hastily adopted, not a policy of to-day or yesterday, but a policy which flowed from a consideration of the facts of the case. Nine months afterwards, in March, 1934, the same Minister stood up and told the same House that the policy of the Government was the very opposite—more tillage and fewer cattle. What happened between June, 1933, and March, 1934, to bring about that complete reversal of policy regarding the main basis of our economic life? Was it any change in the economic facts? Certainly not. What happened, then? Simply that the famous disguise had lost its blessing. The disguise was still there, but the blessing was gone, and the Government had made that discovery between June, 1933, and March, 1934. Government Departments, in numbers and costs, flourish, but the country decays. We tried to find out, again and again, whether or not there was any agricultural policy. Everybody admits that agriculture is basic. If that be so, there ought to be a policy regarding it. We do not know whether or not the Government's view on this matter will change in the morning, not because of any alteration in economic conditions, but because of political considerations.

Coming to industry in the narrower sense, after listening on numerous occasions for the past few years to the Minister for Industry and Commerce on the question of tariffs, I have been unable to discover on what principle he imposes tariffs or whether he acts on any principle. A number of tariffs are imposed by this Bill. In the course of the Committee Stage of the Resolutions, we tried to find out whether or not the Minister had any method of deciding whether or not a tariff should be granted in any particular case. We tried to find out whether he had any method of deciding whether a tariff of 25 per cent., 40 per cent. or 75 per cent. should be imposed. Nobody could find out that information. The reason was that the Minister had no method. Nobody can find out whom he consults or what information he gives on these matters to the interested parties. The Minister for Finance may be satisfied, but I doubt, when the matter is fully investigated, that the country will be satisfied that information regarding a certain tariff was not given beforehand to at least one firm. I can think of lame explanations of the action of that particular firm, but nothing so lame as the explanation given by the Minister in answer to Deputy Burke a short time ago. However, this matter can be raised on Committee Stage, and, as the Minister has promised a full opportunity for discussion of the details, I can leave it over until then.

What I stress now is that there is no method and cannot be any method governing the Ministry's tariff policy. There are almost 1,000 classes of tariffed goods. Does anybody think there could be adequate examination of the suitability of each of these classes for the imposition of a tariff? No matter how active the Minister or his Department may be, nobody can believe that there was proper examination before each tariff was imposed. What we have had to complain of in connection with the Budget, and what we complain of in connection with this Bill, is that in neither case have we any real revelation of the full burdens the country has to bear. I have pointed out already that it is now considered almost indecent to raise the question of the capacity of the country for bearing burdens. That is supposed not to be playing the game and it is passed over with a smile. Yet, it is a vital consideration. I come to the other side of the question now. Does anybody know what the real burden of the country is? I do not think that anybody does or can know.

It is impossible for anyone to estimate what the total taxation is, when one takes into account open taxes and the concealed taxes on sugar, flour, wheat, bacon, butter, feeding stuffs, increases in unemployment insurance, national health insurance, and so on. After all, these are burdens that are borne by the country, call them by what name you like. Add to all these increases the increases in the cost of living following the tariff on a thousand types of articles. Can anybody tell what the real burden is? I am leaving out of account our substantial contribution of between £4,000,000 and £5,000,000 a year to Great Britain. That is £17,000,000 in three and a half years. I am leaving out of account also the diminished purchase value of our goods which involves a real loss to our country from our sales in Germany, Spain, and other countries to which we are exporting goods. The more you think of it the more appalling becomes the picture of what the country is now asked to bear. The country is asked to bear these appalling burdens by the very people who, between 1927 and 1932—to quote from the Vice-President on another occasion—made the welkin ring with the impossibility of the country bearing any such burden as was then put on it.

Remember, Sir, taxes do not cease to be taxes because they are concealed. The people may grouse less about them, but they will pay them, and more surely, not less surely, pay them, because they are concealed. It is well the Minister knows that, and well his Parliamentary Secretary knows it, because he pointed out that one of the advantages of this type of taxes is that it cannot be evaded. It is not like income-tax, where one can give a false return. But the ordinary householder cannot do without sugar or tea, and he must pay the taxes on these things. These are taxes that cannot be evaded. This is a factor which undoubtedly makes the tax more acceptable to the tax collector and to the Minister, but that really makes it all the heavier on the community. That is how these subsidies to wheat, beet, and so on, operate. Ask yourselves where do these subsidies come from. Who pays them? The answer is everybody. You can undoubtedly avoid paying some taxes. By not smoking you can avoid paying a tax on tobacco. By not taking alcohol you can avoid a tax on whiskey and beer. But the tax on the thousand types of articles that are daily required by the householder are taxes that cannot be avoided. Everybody must pay them. They are not confined to the income-tax payer; they are paid by everybody. No matter how needy you are, you must pay your share of these taxes.

In the first year of the Minister's tenure of office as Minister for Finance he raided—to use a well-known phrase—the hen roost. But it suddenly dawned upon him and it dawned upon the President, as the President confessed, that the raiding had gone to the limit and that there was no more money to be got from that particular source. It dawned upon them that they were endangering the prosperity of the country, and not merely the prosperity of the country —that would not give them a thought —but the revenue of the State, which was a very serious thing from their point of view. And then having, so to speak, pushed the taxation on the comparatively well-off—and that is a matter of comparison—they turned to the poor and they proceeded to search the pockets of the poor for every penny and halfpenny they could get there. That search still goes on. It has not stopped. The great bulk of the taxes that aroused such a storm of indignation last year still remains. The advantages referred to by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance still accrue to the Treasury. Nobody can escape these taxes. The Ministry has gone and searched every pocket in the clothes of the people, they have searched every cranny in the houses of the people, of the very poorest as well as of those who are comparatively well-off, to find something that the Minister can rake into the Treasury. That is continuing. There is no relief from that. If the country had reason, as it very well had reason, for indignation last year, surely it has still more reason for indignation this year. The only evidence we have about these taxes is that they have become permanent. That is the practical view of the Minister for Finance. There is no hope for any relief from these taxes; true, there was a ¼d. per lb. on sugar. That is all the relief the Minister attempts to give. Yet the country is asked to be grateful for the fact that new taxes were not put on. I should like that the Minister would indicate to us what new taxes he could put on that would be expected to give increased revenue. I would ask whether it has not begun to dawn upon the Minister, in the case of the poor as it has dawned upon him in the case of the comparatively well-off, that the limit is reached so far as the productivity of these taxes is concerned. These taxes have reached the saturation point. Yet the country is expected to praise the Government for their ruthlessness in continuing that policy. Does the rooking of the poor become more palatable because the rooking is continued for a second year? Does that give any justification for it? If condemnation was deserved last year still more is condemnation to be meted out this year.

With all these things you have one other question to which I have referred already. Other speakers will go more in detail into this matter. I refer to the fixing of the cost-of-living figure. That is altogether unjustified. It is useless so far as the ordinary householder or housewife is concerned for the Minister to tell us that the official index figure of the cost of living has gone down two points in comparison with last month. The ordinary housewife or ordinary householder knows only too well what the policy of the Government Parties have put on the people of the country in the way of burdens. The tariff policy of the Government alone, leaving out of account the direct imposition of taxes, the tariffing of 1,000 types of articles must inevitably have affected the raising of the cost of these articles. We have had instances of that kind discussed in connection with the present Budget in such matters as flannelette, shirtings and so on. These are cases in point of increased cost of what I might call standard necessary articles.

The third point to which I call attention is the confession of the Government that their policy for dealing with unemployment, their great plan, has really no foundation; that, in the words of the Minister for Finance, unemployment is endemic. Yet from his colleague, whose business it is particularly to look after unemployment, the Minister for Industry and Commerce, we have the statement that Fianna Fáil believed that properly faced the unemployment problem could be settled within 12 months. Speaking here in the month of April, 1932, soon after his assumption of office, as reported in Volume 41, column 904 of the Official Debates, we had this statement from the President:

"I am quite willing to admit that one of the principal things we were elected to do was to try to deal with the unemployment problem. We are quite willing to do it and we stand or fall by our ability to do that work or not to do it."

But the problem is endemic! In other words, the problem is permanent. The only panacea that the Minister has for this particular problem at present is famine relief works; an extended scheme of road works to deal with the problem that he now confesses to be permanent, endemic.

Will the Deputy tell the House what percentage of this employment fund is to be spent on road works?

That, I should say, would be the business of the Minister.

The Minister has already discharged his duty in that connection and told the House.

According to the Minister for Industry and Commerce in 1933, the unemployment problem could be dealt with and Fianna Fáil was making it the main issue at that election. The life of the House which was elected at that election is drawing to a close and an unemployment fund is the Minister's solution—"it is endemic." The famous panacea of the Fianna Fáil Party, which according to the Minister's colleague, they made the issue at the 1933 election, is, like all other quack medicines, worse for the patient—it leaves him in a worse condition than before. In the beginning the promises of the Fianna Fáil Party were apparently taken to heart by their supporters. I do not know whether you noticed, Sir, the difficulty there was in approaching this House for a certain time after the election, the crowds that were to be found round the gates and in the halls of Leinster House, the people flocking up from the country to find the employment that the Government had ready to hand.

It is not very difficult to approach this House now. Apparently, the optimism even of the supporters of the Ministry has disappeared. The only way in which they seem to have increased employment permanently, one of the outstanding ways, is in the Civil Service. After all, there are not sufficient Civil Service jobs to go round all the supporters of the Minister's Party. Those crowds of people flocking to Leinster House that we were familiar with in the opening life of the present Government have disappeared and, instead of that, we have this unemployment fund. Only about £1,000,000 of new money is to be found for that. The other £1,500,000, or most of it, is to be taken in one way or another from the unemployed. If we allow £10,000 for the interest on the borrowed money, of that £1,000,000 of new money £150,000 is to come from the Government. The rest of the new money, to the extent of over £800,000 is to be found by the local authorities. The Fianna Fáil plan for relieving unemployment consists in coming down on the local authorities whom they have already burdened in various other ways.

Does anybody contend that the curve of production in this country as a whole has gone upwards since 1932? I am not talking of production in this industry or that industry, but in agriculture and industry as a whole. I am not dealing with agriculture as the Minister for Industry and Commerce did when he spoke of wheat, beet and butter as indicating their agricultural policy. I am dealing with agriculture as a whole. I am taking the price of cattle and the disposal of cattle—still one of the important factors in our agricultural economy. Does anybody contend that the curve of production has been upwards since 1932? The farmer gets less even than in pre-war times for his products and pays a great deal more.

I asked the question before, and it is a question that the country will have to answer in the long run, whether for this immense increase in taxation, whether for the £25,000,000 or so extra the Government have imposed since they came into office in the way of taxation, any value has been given to the country in return? The answer, I fear, can only be very decidedly "No"— damage has been done and no value given. Can anybody pretend that the country is satisfied? Does the Fianna Fáil Party even pretend it? I wonder do Fianna Fáil Deputies ever tell Ministers what the country is thinking at present. The least that can be expected from the ordinary back bench Deputy is that he will tell Ministers exactly what the country thinks. When I speak of the country, I mean all shades of opinion, not merely those who support our Party, but others as well. It is the business and the duty of Fianna Fáil Deputies to enlighten Ministers as to the views of the country in this respect and the dissatisfaction that prevails with the policy of the Government. When the division bell sounds in this House their only function, apparently, is to vote with the Government, no matter what the Government does. Let us hope that outside this House they impress on the Government the dissatisfaction in the country as a result of the Government's policy to-day.

Are the ordinary members of the Fianna Fáil Party satisfied with the results of four years of Fianna Fáil policy, I will not say for the country, but from the point of view of the prospects of their own Party and their own Party's support in the country? One of the things that the ordinary backbencher member of the Fianna Fáil Party might regard it as his duty to put clearly before the Government is the view of the country, if not in the open, at least at Party meetings, and thereby help to leave the Government under no delusion as to how the country regards all this talk about the increased prosperity of the country. We had some extraordinary arguments to bolster up that from the Minister for Finance himself in his Budget statement, when, as a result of the policy of redistribution, his colleague quickly pointed out that there was more spending capacity. It does not necessarily follow from that that there is more wealth in the country. Then we had articles to show that the value of securities had increased, and that all that is due to the Fianna Fáil Party. As everyone knows, it is due to something over which the Fianna Fáil Party has no control—the fact that money is cheaper and that securities, not merely here but in Great Britain, have gone up, and that securities which give no increased yield have actually gone up. They might as well argue that, because, for instance, the preference shares of theIndependent company have increased in the last four years the reason for that is that the Irish Press was started. That would be quite as valid as the other arguments they used. If I may quote Latin, because I understand the organ of the Government is particularly strong on that—post hoc ergo propter hoc is the form of fallacy to which they are prone. They overlook the all important fact that the cheapness of money explains the thing just as the picking of pockets on behalf of the Government and by the Government in their so-called redistribution policy explains why the people have more money to spend. What we have been asked to consent to is a permanent high level in the burden of taxation in this country, a high figure of unemployment that is going to stay, and an unduly high figure for the cost of living. We see no reason why this thing should be consented to.

I intervene at this early stage not because I think myself capable of rebutting the arguments of Deputy O'Sullivan. In that respect I am handicapped by the fact that I do not understand a great number of the things he said. My real reason for intervening is to ask other members of the Opposition who intend to take part in the debate to be at least a little more realistic than Deputy O'Sullivan in their criticisms. If they want to carry conviction on this side of the House, they will have to be distinctly more concrete and realistic than their colleague.

Concrete at an increase of 6/6 per ton?

The Deputy is very frivolous to-day.

What he means is to be less heavy than Deputy O'Sullivan.

The Party opposite, for instance, say that the burden of taxation is too much for the country to bear. I cannot see what that means. I could well understand the Deputy saying that certain classes of the people were bearing relatively too much taxation, but Deputy O'Sullivan did not favour us with that statement. The inference that I drew from his statement was that people, for instance, in industry, are too heavily taxed, but that is clearly inconsistent with the repeated statements of Deputy McGilligan, and particularly with his attack on certain manufacturers during the debate on the Estimate for the Department of Industry and Commerce. In that debate Deputy McGilligan taunted the Government with allowing these manufacturers to make excessive profits. Does Deputy O'Sullivan then condemn the Minister for Finance for taking so much of those alleged big profits? I submit we are entitled to get something definite out of the Deputy's statement. I would like to know if that is what he has in mind, or is it that, when he says that the burden of taxation on the country is too great to bear, he is merely keeping in line with the statement which Deputy McGilligan made on the Budget? In that speech Deputy McGilligan referred to an extra sum of £26,500,000 having been taken by the present Government from the people since they came into office. In my opinion it would be at least as correct to say that £26,500,000 had been given to the people. Surely the money was not taken and thrown into the sea.

Some of it was after the cattle.

If "some of it," then Deputy McGilligan's statement was not correct. I would genuinely like to have some of the statements made from the opposite side clarified for our benefit. I would like to understand what is in the minds of the Opposition when criticising the Finance Bill and finding fault with the financial policy of the present Government. Deputy O'Sullivan referred again and again to the high cost of living. We would like to have a little more detail on it. He taunted the Government with having raised the cost of living. Of course, in order to accept that statement we have got to ignore official figures altogether, because the official figures do not support the statement made by Deputy O'Sullivan. Deputy O'Sullivan, in his responsible position as one of the leaders of the Opposition, says: "Do not mind Government figures, but believe what I tell you on this subject." That is not a very convincing attitude to take up.

When Deputy O'Sullivan was speaking I felt that it would be very interesting to hear the other O'Sullivan speak on the subject of the Budget— the Professor O'Sullivan who is an economist. I think that what he would have to say would be in strange contrast to what Deputy O'Sullivan, Party politician, said. With regard to the cost of living, for instance, Professor O'Sullivan would not deny that the cost of housing, which is one of the big items that enter into the cost of living—he would not deny that the Government has done a great deal to reduce that item of expenditure. The Government has done a vast deal and neither he nor his colleagues have ever said that they could do more. They have had to admit that the Government's efforts in that respect have been not only ambitious but immensely successful.

Very ambitious, but they were not paid for.

It is agreed that house rents are a big item in the cost of living. It is agreed that one of the best ways to reduce rents is to build more houses. The Government, by its system of financial help, has done everything possible to encourage the building of more houses and, further, it has urged on those responsible the moral obligation to go ahead and make use of the Government's assistance with regard to housing so that there may be more houses and that rents may not be so high. And the Government has not confined its attention in that respect to the working classes; it has encouraged the building of houses for middle-class people. Rent is one of the items that are generally accepted as important in estimating the cost of living, and I have indicated what the Government has done to reduce charges there.

Again, does Deputy D'Sullivan find fault with the price of butter? The cost of butter is high to working class people, but Deputy O'Sullivan does not propose that the farmers for whom he seems to have such sympathy, should be made to sell their butter at a price that would admit of no profit to themselves. I think he would admit that the price of butter is a fair price, and that the Government's efforts in that respect have been just, not only to consumers, but to the farming population. There are other items. Does the Deputy think that the cost of clothing has been raised under the present Government? Is it not rather the case that there are too many clothing factories in the country at the moment and that in consequence there is too intense competition for the trade in factory-made clothes? All these general statements are getting very stale. They are like the quotations that Deputies are so fond of indulging in; they were all right for one year or so, but surely it is time now to cease that line?

They were grand in 1931.

I have not the least personal interest in them, but I do hold that criticism by way of quotations is a foolish method of criticism.

Do not those Fianna Fáil posters look lovely?

I expect we will have them all over again.

Perhaps they served their purpose and should be decently buried.

Like the Deputy's pretensions to independence on one occasion.

Go ahead, then; but I repeat that the Deputies opposite will never get anywhere by means of quotations. They will never convince the country by that method. They will never fulfil their real functions in this House merely by quotations. There must be lots of things in the Finance Bill that they could argue about and in regard to which their arguments would be of some use to the House and perhaps very useful to the Minister. But mere quotations of what some Deputy said in 1927 or 1929 do not get us very far. Even less useful are the general statements about the burden of taxation being too high and the cost of living being too high. Unless we have details with reference to these matters, I suggest that the criticism is of very little use.

Deputy O'Sullivan also indulged in prophecies. Surely the prophecies of the Deputies opposite have been so discredited that it is time they dropped that line, even for their own sakes? The Deputy said it is possible that the country may for a year or two be capable of meeting that burden. As quotations are so popular with Deputies opposite, may I be permitted to quote to them a statement by Deputy Hogan, the former Minister for Agriculture, when the first Fianna Fáil Budget was introduced? He said that within six months the country would be bankrupt. There have been a good many periods of six months since then. Several Budgets have since been introduced and there is no great sign of bankruptcy. On the contrary, thank goodness, there is every sign of the opposite.

I suppose in that respect it is the general technique of all Oppositions —certainly when we were in opposition we indulged in a fair amount of that form of criticism — to bewail conditions and find fault with existing tendencies. But I wonder if it is the most useful method of argument or the most useful technique? It is not encouraging our people, and it has a habit of being very wrong. Certainly when Deputy O'Sullivan made that statement about the country being capable for a year or two to meet the existing burdens, he must have been conscious of the previous prophecies made about approaching bankruptcy and have been conscious that these prophecies have been belied one after another. We heard the same thing in connection with last year's Budget and the Budgets of the two preceding years. Then he asked: "Does anyone believe the productive capacity of the country as a whole has improved?" I think he would be an awful fool who did not believe it. Surely all this industrial effort has some reality to the Deputy? Surely the Deputy will say that with regard to flour and sugar——

And tobacco.

——and the various clothing factories, the aluminium factories, the potteries and the thread factories, that there is much more production now than there was three or four years ago? What does the Deputy mean by the inquiry: "Does anybody believe the productive capacity of the country as a whole has increased?" Of course it has increased. Our production in any line has not lessened. The Minister for Agriculture has said that more cattle were marketed last year than in any previous year since the Saorstát was established. Deputy O'Sullivan repeated the same question towards the end of his speech. He asked if anyone contends that the curve of production has been upward since 1932. I, for one, contend that it has been very strongly upward, and I know of no line in which it has been reduced. With regard to agriculture, I think it would be right to say that certain sections of agriculture are going through extremely difficult times.

Hear, hear!

I said certain sections, the mountainy farmers, for instance. In so far as that is a particular problem the Minister, I think, has it constantly before him. But with regard to the farmers who are growing the subsidised crops, I do not think Deputy O'Sullivan will find many to agree with him that their conditions are at all so deplorable as he represents. I am sure he must have known when he talked about the Minister having no policy in regard to agriculture, that the Minister's policy stands out clearly. For instance, it is a very big boast for any Minister to be able to make, that the country is now exporting more bacon than ever it did—more than when it was importing vast quantities of American and other bacon.

And sent the taxpayers' money after it as a present.

That is a very big boast for any Minister to make and if the Minister had only done that much even, he has done a very big thing for agriculturists, because there is no single thing in which farmers generally are more interested than in the production of bacon. I think also the Deputy will not deny that the Minister has been a very good friend to the dairy farmers.

Has the Deputy examined figures for the export of pigs?

I am quite familiar with the figures. Deputy Dillon will tell us presently that the Cereals Act is a failure, that the cost of the maize mixture is too high. There are very few farmers that I have met who are not satisfied that the introduction of that system of compelling the utilisation of home-grown grain has not been a very excellent thing for the farming community. So far from wishing to see any departure from it, the general cry is to increase the proportion of home grain in the mixture.

If that is the information the Party gets, then it is no wonder we are where we are.

I am satisfied that the financial policy of the Government is one that is extremely good for the country. I believe the money that is being collected, is being collected for excellent purposes, and I think it is as legitimate to ask this question as to ask the question which Deputy O'Sullivan asked so often in his speech.

He asks can the country afford this burden. I ask can the country afford to refuse this burden? Can the country afford rather to do without what he calls this burden? If Deputy O'Sullivan thinks that he could come into office and reduce, for instance, the social services in any way, then he is making a very big mistake. In my opinion it is a very lucky fact for the country that the Government has realised the great importance in existing circumstances, particularly in existing world circumstances, of giving the fullest and best social services that the country can afford to give to the people, and that it has not hesitated—whatever contradictions it may have involved—to ask the peope to pay in order to meet those requirements, and in order to assist in that way the poorest of the people. I think that every responsible citizen must realise that those social services have been a great insurance for the stability of the country and that they are very much appreciated by the rank and file of the people. They have meant a great deal for the stability and safety of the State as a whole.

Deputy Moore started his speech by telling us he was unable to understand Deputy Professor O'Sullivan's speech and he asked us on this side to be a little realistic. I suggest to Deputy Moore that his inability to understand Deputy Professor O'Sullivan was due to the fact that Deputy Professor O'Sullivan was dealing with realities. The Deputy said he would prefer to hear Professor O'Sullivan the economist than Deputy O'Sullivan the political propagandist. I do not think anybody in the House, having listened to Deputy Moore's speech, would accuse the Deputy of being either an economist or a political propagandist. As a matter of fact, if it were about an hour later and if this House were furnished with a receiving set one would be inclined to think he was listening-in to the children's hour from 2RN. Deputy Moore asks the people on this side of the House to be a little more realistic, and then proceeds to prove to the House by his own speech that he is living in a fool's paradise; that he has no touch whatever with realities good, bad or indifferent. If the Government is of the same mind as Deputy Moore about the conditions obtaining in this country, then God help it. He talked about Deputy Professor O'Sullivan's statement with regard to the cost of living, and said that a general statement like that was no good. Deputy Moore ties himself absolutely to the cost-of-living index figure. I can give Deputy Moore a little more detail with regard to the cost of the necessaries of life, and I will ask the Deputy to investigate that for himself, and not to go on returns compiled by civil servants. I will ask Deputy Moore or the Minister to consult his own household as to the increase in the cost of the necessaries of life over the last two years.

The basic year for comparison is 1930-31. Let the Deputy try his hand on that—the year when the Deputy ratted to Cumann na nGaedheal.

What did the Minister say?

It has nothing to do with the Budget.

I am quite sure it has not. The Minister wants to keep far away from the Finance Bill.

Just as the Deputy wants to keep away from his record in the Labour Party.

I advise the Minister not to talk about records. The Minister spoke about records in this House before.

The Chair objects to either personal record being dealt with here.

I know, Sir, that the most difficult job that the occupant of the Chair has in this House is to try to restrain the Minister for Finance. He has no sense of relevancy, no sense of order, and very little sense of decency. The Minister, true to his training and to his kind, when he is being met with fair arguments starts to abuse. The Minister is not going to get away with it. So far as records are concerned, when I want a record it is not to the Minister for Finance I will go. I can go where the Minister cannot go for a record; I can go back to my own county and to my own people. They have shown what they thought about my record on six separate and distinct occasions at six separate and distinct elections. Let the Minister go back to Belfast and get his record in the same way.

Lord and Lady Dunalley!

Lord and Lady Dunalley are citizens of this country. They may be supporters of mine. I think they are. Does the Minister deny the right of those people to vote for anybody they please? The Minister again, if I may say so, shows very little sense of the responsibility that ought to attach to his office as Minister for Finance, and very little regard for the dignity of the position he occupies, when he brings the names of people into this House in that way. The Minister ought to realise that he is occupying a position to which respect is due in this country, but that respect can only exist if the occupant of the office for the time being can command that respect himself.

To come back to the cost of living and the Finance Bill, I would remind Deputy Moore, if he has not read it, that in this Bill there are about 39 pages. Almost half of the Bill is taken up with one schedule—the First Schedule. There are 18 pages of the schedule, every page imposing duties and tariffs, nearly every duty putting a fresh imposition on the poor of this country—on the people generally, but principally on the poorer sections. I want to ask Deputy Moore if he will read through the 18 pages of the First Schedule. I want to ask the Deputy if he is aware of the fact that the poor person, who cannot afford, say, an electric iron or a gas iron, has to use the ordinary iron, which must be heated on the ordinary turf or coal fire? There is a duty imposed on that particular class of iron, but not on the electric or gas iron. There are duties upon every pot, pan and kettle. The Government boasts of their desire to house the people of this country; of their desire to put them into new houses. So far as the Government has gone in that, I give them full credit, but, in order to make it possible to bring the people from the slums and put them into those new houses, the Government considered it was necessary to make a free grant of 66 per cent. Even then, as is known to the Government and members of the Party opposite, the rents are too high for the unfortunate people who have to be taken out of the slums and put into those houses. I want Deputy Moore to ask himself what this schedule and this Finance Bill mean to the hundreds and thousands of unfortunate people who will be compelled to buy new furniture, anything that is required for the home, cups, saucers and everything else, all of which are taxed and the prices increased. Even the cement which is going into the building of those houses is taxed by the Government for revenue purposes, and the price is still further increased as a result of some of the antics of the Government regarding their pacts abroad.

Then we are asked to deal with realities! Is the Deputy aware that the price of flour has been increased from 6d. to 8d. a stone during the last two years? Does he think that that is not something of a reality in the ordinary household of this country? Is the Deputy aware that 4d. a lb. was put on tea in last year's Finance Bill? That is something of a reality. Has the Deputy any idea of the amount by which the price of sugar per lb. has been increased by the present Government? Has the Deputy any idea of the increase which has taken place in the price of coal as a result of the activities of the present Government and all the other commodities which enter into the every-day lives of people? Any person who is dealing with realities every day in the week knows these things except a person who has his head in the clouds like the Deputy or a person like the Minister who knows that what we say is correct, but who says it is not correct, and deliberately proceeds to say the very opposite is the case. Does the Deputy remember the amount of additional taxation that was imposed in last year's Budget—nearly £1,300,000? Is Deputy Moore aware that, as a result of the policy of the present Government, the poor of this country are bearing a greater proportion of national taxation than they ever bore before? Will the Deputy and other Deputies on that side examine that statement at their leisure?

That is a statement I can stand over. While the increases in taxation that are being imposed hit every section of the community, they hit in a particularly hard way the poorer sections, because the poorer people are, the smaller the quantities in which they have to purchase the necessaries of life, and it is well known that the smaller the quantity, the higher proportionately is the price to be paid. The Deputy talks about imposing tariffs and duties to assist Irish industries, but does he realise that the Minister collected a cool £10,500,000 in Customs duties last year? The Deputy said that he did not see why he should grumble at the burden, and told us that we should not say the country could not afford it. He said that rather the country could not afford not to impose this burden, and immediately started on the old popular tack of social services. He boasts that it was necessary to impose this huge additional amount of taxation in order to maintain the social services, and he said it was something to be proud of.

Did the Deputy realise what he was saying? Why is it necessary to raise something over £1,000,000 for unemployment assistance which the Deputy would describe as a social service? Simply because the Government had failed to implement the promises they made. Why is it necessary to give the people of this country free beef? Again, because the Government failed to provide work which would enable these people who are in receipt of the free beef to purchase their own meat and their own requirements, as other men do who are in permanent employment and drawing their wages. The Deputy knows quite well, and, if he does not, he ought to, and so should the Minister, that the reason the social services were provided is simply because the Government failed absolutely to carry out the most definite promise they made, the promise by which the President said they were prepared to stand or fall—their ability to provide employment for the people. The President has fallen, and has fallen very flat on that, because, far from abolishing or reducing unemployment in this country, the activities of the Government have increased it to a figure which is a record in this country. The only way they can reduce the registered number of unemployed, and, incidentally, break another definite promise, is by the subterfuge of what is called an Unemployment Period Order.

And by shipping them to England.

We will come to that later. The Minister for Industry and Commerce tells us that between 40,000 and 45,000 laid off under the two Period Orders are going to get work. Nobody in this House believes that, of course, and least of all the Minister himself. They are laid off for six months of the year if the average time between the two Period Orders be taken. For half a year they are deprived of unemployment assistance to provide more money for the Minister for Finance, and they are deprived of that unemployment assistance for that period by the Government that promised: "If we cannot find you employment, we will maintain you." There are 45,000 laid off, and there are still something in the region of 90,000 signing the roll every day, and Deputy Moore asks us to deal with realities. So far as some of us are concerned, we are coming up against these realities every day in the week. I find it hard to believe that Deputy Moore himself has not some contact with that particular type of reality.

The Minister, when Deputy O'Sullivan was speaking, intervened with a remark in regard to the so-called £2,500,000 to be provided for employment. Deputy O'Sullivan made some comment as to the amount that would be spent on the roads, and the Minister asked him to state what portion of the £2,500,000 was to be spent on the roads. Deputy O'Sullivan said that was for the Minister, and the Minister said that he had already stated it in the House. Would the Minister tell us when he made the statement as to what part of that sum is to be spent on relief works on roads? I do not think that statement was made in this House. As a matter of fact, we are very anxious to know when those schemes, which are to be financed out of this £2,500,000, are to be set going. When may the unemployed expect to be employed out of this particular fund? The Minister, of course, takes full credit for this. The Government, he said, speaking at an election meeting the other night, are providing £1,700,000, and the local authorities provide the balance, implying to his audience that the Government were raising, this year, the sum of £1,700,000. The fact is that the local authorities are being called upon to provide an additional sum almost four times as great as the additional sum to be provided by the Government.

I should like to get from the Minister a little more information as to the expenditure of this £2,500,000. I should like to get some information as to the conditions of employment and wages to be paid, because I must confess I feel a little uneasy about the conditions when we are informed that the person to be put in charge of this expenditure is the Minister's Parliamentary Secretary, Deputy Hugo Flinn, because one has to recollect that he is the Parliamentary Secretary who made the statement in this House, when the unemployment problem was not even as great as it is now, that the man who would stand between an unemployed man and a wage of 21/- per week, would be torn limb from limb. It is a gentleman with that mentality that is to be put in charge of the expenditure of £2,500,000: put in charge by the Government that boasts—and I notice that the boast has been revived during the present municipal elections—that it is the poor man's Government; and the Parliamentary Secretary, who was appointed as Chairman of the Employment Committee set up by the President himself, and who was examining for over three years schemes to provide work for the unemployed of this country, stated here in this House:

"21/- a week, and if you dare stand between any unemployed man and that, you will be torn limb from limb."

It is, I think, unnecessary to make any reference to the Ministers' promises regarding taxation in this country. They promised that there would be a minute examination and they said that the Party opposite were satisfied that they could save at least £2,000,000 without injuring any one. That has been stated by them over and over again, but we find ourselves to-day with a huge burden of taxation amounting, approximately, to £10 per head of every man, woman, and child in the country. As a matter of fact, it is more than £10 per head. I think I could safely say that it is £12 per head on every man, woman and child in this country. I wonder would the Minister apply the President's favourite formula of 66 to 1 to that, and see how we stand and how it works out. If Deputy Moore were to do so, perhaps he might then have some real idea as to the immensity of this burden at which he now says the country is smiling. I do not know, but it seems to me that Deputy Moore must be very fortunate. He has never yet, so far as one can learn from his speeches in the Dáil, met a person who is dissatisfied with the activities of the present Government. As I say, he is extremely fortunate, but I am afraid the Deputy must wander through his constituency and through the city here at very strange hours if he has never met a person who is dissatisfied with the policy of the present Government.

Sir, I accept Deputy Moore's suggestion that the promises should be buried. They were disreputable promises when they were made and they are even more disreputable now. Accordingly, I think the best thing to do with them is to bury them decently and try to forget them. Unfortunately, like some other of the Minister for Finance's white elephants, the white elephants of Fianna Fáil promises are beginning to have children; they are calving, and the Dublin municipal elections have produced a new crop—"Fianna Fáil Social Services Programme,""Compare the Records,""Fianna Fáil's Agricultural Policy,""Practical Inclusive National Programme,""700 Factories Since 1932,""Fianna Fáil's Sound Financial Record,""War on the Slums," and "Financial Aspect of the Elections." Yes, I bury the promises of 1931, 1932, and 1933, if Deputy Moore will give me an undertaking that he will not go forth like a ghoul to the graveyard in which I bury them and that he will not dig them up again as soon as I have decently interred them. I am going to bury them now, and all I ask the Deputy to do is to leave them buried and to prohibit the Minister for Finance absolutely from digging them up again for the Dublin municipal elections.

The electors of the city of Dublin will bury them.

Well, even if the whole city and county bury them, I do not put it past Deputy Moore to go forth and dig them up again.

Is the Deputy going to bury them with his past of 1930 and 1931?

Now, I am one of those who do not believe that this Dáil should be converted into a cage of love birds. I like the cut and thrust of the debate, and I must say, Sir, that in my humble experience vigorous controversy here in the House, in my case or in the case of my colleagues— and when I speak of my colleagues I mean colleagues on both sides of the House—has never given rise to ill-will in the lobbies. Certain people might think fit to criticise, but I find that we have managed to speak trenchantly here when occasion demanded and yet remain good friends outside. I think that is a healthy and desirable thing. I think that it is healthy and desirable that we should feel free to differ vigorously in this Chamber and to say so explicity without feeling worse friends outside. I also think, however, that agreement on certain fundamentals is a very useful thing. We did arrive at an agreement in regard to certain fundamentals last night on the Department of Justice debate. I believe that is good for the country and I believe great advantage, national advantage, will be derived from it. I think we have also reached agreement on another important fundamental which, I feel flattered to think, the Minister for Finance has extracted from a speech which I have made on more than one occasion in this House, and which he has incorporated in an article in the Fianna Fáil Bulletin for June, which is addressed to the electors of Dublin Municipality and County Dublin. In the course of that article, the Minister says:

"It would be only folly, however, to inaugurate or extend Social Services unless, at the same time, adequate provisions were made to maintain them for so long as they were needed."

The Chair would like to know what the Deputy is quoting from. The Minister for Finance can only be held responsible for his own pronouncements on financial policy. Is the Deputy quoting the Minister for Finance?

Yes. I am quoting him literally, Sir. This is a signed article by the Minister for Finance in the Fianna Fáil Bulletin.

That is quite in order.

The article goes on as follows:

"It would be a very cruel deception indeed of the needy and the destitute to provide, say, widows' and orphans' pensions for only a year or two, or unemployment assistance for a similar period, out of borrowed moneys and then, at the end of that time, to turn round and say to the people: `The Government cannot borrow any more money and the national finances are so disorganised that we shall have to deprive you of the help and assistance which your destitute condition demands. We shall have, in fact, to do as has had to be done in other countries where the Governments have borrowed what ought to have been raised by taxation, that is, to cut down or, perhaps, entirely abolish social services'."

I may say at once that I adopt every word of that statement and regard it as a valuable fundamental consideration upon which all Parties in this House can concur. It is with that constantly present to my mind that I have addressed certain remonstrances to the Minister for Finance about the financial policy which is being pursued by the Government of which he is a member. On the Budget I spoke at some length on the general burden of taxation and compared that with the trade condition of the country, and I directed the attention of the House to the fact that our visible trade presented a very unsatisfactory appearance.

I reminded them that our trade in 1930 was represented by imports valued at £56,766,000; that our exports in that year were £44,945,000, and that the adverse trade balance on that trade of £101,000,000 amounted to £11,831,000. In the following year, 1931, which was the last year of the Cumann na nGaedheal Administration, our imports had fallen to £50,460,000, our exports to £56,340,000, and the adverse trade balance had risen to £14,119,000. That was on a trade approximately of £87,000,000. In that year, a similar experience had been encountered by every nation in the Commonwealth of Nations. In the light of that a special meeting of the Imperial Conference was summoned to Ottawa to devise ways and means of relieving that situation for members of the Commonwealth of Nations. Our Ministers went to it but virtually took no part. The other members of the Commonwealth took an active part and, as a result, largely corrected the downward tendency in their trade which had manifested itself in 1931. Our trade, however, was unaffected virtually by the economic conference at Ottawa, with the result that in 1935 our imports had fallen from £50,000,000 to £37,000,000, our exports had fallen from £36,000,000 to £20,000,000, and our adverse trade balance had gone up from £14,000,000 to over £17,000,000, so that now on a trade of £56,000,000 we had an adverse trade balance of £17,000,000. These figures are complex, and I ask the attention of the House to one very interesting factor that appears from them, that while our adverse trade balance in 1935 was £17,000,000, it had been a year before as high as £20,000,000, and when the adverse trade balance was £20,000,000, it was considerably larger than our total exports. What improved that situation? A minor Ottawa conference that we staged ourselves in the coal-cattle agreement. Until we staged a minor Ottawa at our own suggestion, the situation as far as our trade was concerned was becoming progressively worse. Many Deputies will ask this question: If trade were so bad, and the adverse balance so high, how is it graver consequences did not ensue immediately? It is on that point I want to say a few words, because many of us forget when we examine trade returns that a very important element in trade returns are invisible items which are constantly there, but which do not appear in the trade and shipping statistics, and are extremely difficult to define exactly. In fact, they have been engaging the attention of the Department of Statistics for many years, with a view to arriving at something close to an exact estimate of what they truly are. That general review as to the true value of our invisible exports has brought out one fact which, for me certainly, is of great interest, and that is, that our invisible exports have been in the past apparently of far greater value than our best statisticians realised, because during the whole period of the Cumann na nGaedheal Administration, while there was an adverse trade balance on a comparatively large volume of trade, it is now evident that our invisible exports more than compensated for that, and that in fact our national wealth was steadily increasing, and the gap between exports and imports was adequately bridged. That gap between visible exports and visible imports is widening. On our success in correcting that tendency for the gap to widen and for building up a surplus over that depends the ultimate prosperity of our people, the ultimate capacity of our community to provide the social services to which the Minister for Finance referred and, in the long run, the standard of living not only of people engaged in the export trade, but the standard of living of every person in the community for which the Government of Saorstát Eireann is responsible.

I think I am correct in saying that to arrive at an accurate and reliable figure for our invisible exports is not yet possible. They have been divided into certain heads which between them will cover the total sum. Our invisible exports to-day are represented by income from investments abroad, exports of bullion and coin, emigrants' remittances from abroad to their parents and relatives here, port dues, withdrawals by residents of Saorstát Eireann from the British Post Office, encashments by residents of Saorstát Eireann of British Savings Certificates, expenditure of diplomats in this country, pensions payable by foreign governments or by foreign institutions to residents of Saorstát Eireann, and sweepstakes receipts. That pretty well covers the lot. As far as bullion and coin are concerned for the purpose of my argument they can be disregarded. Though I might use port dues advantageously, for my contention I think they can be virtually disregarded. Diplomatic expenditure can also be disregarded. We are left with income from investments abroad. What is the situation in regard to income from investments abroad? The people who have investments in this country or who own investments are residents who draw dividends from foreign sources and are largely people of some property. Many of them would be represented by the type of person who owned land and sold it to the Government for distribution among the tenants, and in due course sold the Land Bonds and spread their risk over a series of foreign investments. That class of person loves this country and cannot be happy permanently resident away but, in many cases, their children, as a result of the history of the last 20 or 25 years have been sent abroad for their education. Many of them have entered the service of the British Government or of the Dominion Governments and when the old people come to pass on, it is likely, in many cases, when these children have established residences abroad that they will remain abroad, and that the investments, the income of which used to come to this country to their parents, will cease to come here and will become payable in the place of residence of the children.

We all know as we go about the country how the big houses are closing up, and that the type of person to whom I refer is becoming rarer and rarer in rural Ireland. That process is continuing to go on before our eyes. In the long run that is going to have a substantial effect upon our income from investments abroad. That is one aspect of that problem. The second aspect is one that the Minister for Finance and the Minister for Industry and Commerce have repeatedly boasted of—to the decline of the foreign holdings in the joint stock banks as being largely represented by repatriated money. That may or may not be true but, in so far as it is true, it is going to mean a further contraction in our invisible exports under the heading of income from investments abroad. If the extensive policy of financing nursery-fed industries with Irish capital proceeds, I foresee the repatriation of a great deal of our foreign assets and the gradual disappearance of the type of person to whom I have referred. We must look forward to a steady decrease over 20 years of income from investments abroad, and we have to make provision to ensure that that shrinkage will not react on the wealth of the community, out of which is to come the social services to which the Minister for Finance referred in his article.

Now we come to emigrants' remittances. Emigrants' remittances have never been correctly assessed. I have heard them put at £4,000,000 per annum. I believe that we might have gone nearer the true figure if, in the hey-day of these remittances, we had fixed the sum at £6,000,000. I can remember the time in the country town in which I live in which not less than £20,000 used to be cashed in emigrants' cheques in the Christmas week alone. Admittedly the bulk of the money came at that time but there was a steady flow all the year round. I have seen myself merchants make three or four lodgments in the banks for the purpose of getting change, having themselves acted as money changers for those who presented emigrants' cheques and postal orders which arrived during the Christmas season. However, I shall accept the official view and fix the amount at something in the neighbourhood of £4,000,000 per annum. What is the common experience of all of us who live in the country? An emigrant sends home money in quantity during the first four or five years of his or her residence abroad, but after emigrants have lived in the home of their adoption for some time, they get married or undertake family responsibilities of one kind or another in their new district.

In addition to that, the keen lively memory of home becomes somewhat obscured and the regular desire to send home something becomes less and less active, with the result that in five, ten or 15 years the remittances of any individual emigrant tail off into nothing. Now, heretofore this country has sent out every year a new wave of emigrants, about 20,000 every year, so that when the wave of emigrants of 1900 had stopped sending home money in 1910, there was a wave of emigrants who had gone out in 1909 who took up the going. They were in turn succeeded by the emigrants of the years 1911 and 1912. The question of whether emigration is desirable or not is not germane to the issue we are now discussing, and, therefore, I do not intend to pursue it. I might shock some of my own colleagues if I spoke my mind on the question, as I hope to do on a future occasion, but as a result of the disappearance of emigration, we have got to realise that an item which may be estimated at anything between £2,000,000 and £6,000,000 of cold cash coming into the country, is going to stop or is eventually going to dwindle in our invisible exports to something as insignificant as port receipts or diplomatic expenditure.

The withdrawals from the British Post Office by residents here I need not stress. They are tending to depreciate rapidly. The encashment of British Saving Certificates by persons residing here also represents a dwindling item. Now we come to the pensions payable to residents here from outside sources and that is no small sum. It is a considerable sum as a matter of fact, but it is shrinking by natural wastage and by the inclination of persons to take up residence in Britain owing to the cheaper cost of living there. I do not think that that aspect of the question is going to affect the situation one way or another because the disparity between the cost of living in Britain and in this country must be enormous before it can persuade a person who has passed middle age to change his or her place of residence. Therefore, I think one would be justified in leaving that out of consideration and in concentrating on whatever natural wastage must be anticipated when we are dealing with an item represented by the income ofrentiers and others. That is one item that will diminish in geometric progression.

Then we come to the matter of sweepstakes. Who ever thought when we passed the Sweepstakes Bill in this House that we were creating one of the largest items, if we exclude income from investments, in our entire schedule of invisible exports? I think the Minister for Finance will not contradict me when I say that the sweepstakes represent one of the largest items in the invisible exports of this country. It is a matter of pure conjecture what the future of such an item as that may be. I think Deputies will agree with me that prudent financiers, taking the long view, must assume that that item will tend to decrease, and that in ten, 20 or 40 years' time the Irish Hospitals Sweepstakes will not bulk as large as they do to-day in our national income. In fact, they would conservatively assume that they may cease to exist in ten or 20 years' time. It my reading of the situation is correct, we have an adverse trade balance on a total trade of £56,000,000 of £17,407,000. We have abundant evidence that the invisible exports of the country are, all of them, dwindling items. I think it is now admitted, even by Fianna Fáil financiers, that the ultimate prosperity of the community depends on an effective trade balance in our favour. We want on all sides of the House to maintain and increase in the right direction the social services in this country, and when I refer to social services I do not mean doles. I want to spend whatever money is necessary to give every man a decent house, whatever money is necessary to make it possible for every man to earn his living, to protect everybody from experiencing destitution.

I want to say quite deliberately that I do not want that for reasons of sloppy humanitarianism. I want it because I cannot enjoy what I have got when I know that my neighbour is suffering hunger. I want to abolish hunger and I want to abolish squalor and destitution, because I cannot enjoy the things I have the good fortune to possess so long as these evils exist beside me. I would say to the members of the Labour Party that it is on that reason we have got to rest ultimately in the matter of improving social services in this country. Humanitarianism, so long as it is confined to making street-corner speeches from the top of a barrel before an election, is a grand thing, but when it comes down to making a real sacrifice in order to get improved conditions, you will find that humanitarianism proves to be a very broken reed. Where you have men who do not really enjoy what they have got themselves so long as they contemplate their neighbours in misery, these people, as I have said, are really going to make a big sacrifice to make their neighbours so reasonably comfortable that they will not be a standing reproach to those who possess abundantly the goods of this world. All sides of the House, for one reason or another, want social services raised to the level where destitution and unemployment will cease to exist. They want them for various reasons, but they all want them for one reason or another. I cannot see how you can achieve that if you cannot raise the wealth of the community as a whole. I cannot see our doing that if we cannot ensure that the adverse trade balance will disappear from our accounts. If those invisible items, over which we have no control, are shrinking steadily, we have to concentrate upon building up our visible trade in such a way that it will become more valuable to the community as a whole. I cannot see any way of doing that except by securing for our people such a grip on the British market that we will be able to say to them for the first time: "It is not a question of giving us what we hold in hand, but unless you adapt your financial system and domestic arrangements, depending upon us as a source of food supply, and unless you are prepared to make it worth the while of the farmers of this country to keep their industry in efficiency and prosperity in times of peace, they will not be able to deliver the goods on the British market when you want them." We should be in a position to ask for a share of the British market for the sale of the goods of this country there, and we should be able to ask it with a knowledge of something more than the cash value that we ask them to pay for our agricultural produce. And not merely its cash world value, but that they should pay for it at something like a premium, which would provide for the ensuring of adequate sources of supply when they were not able to get the goods that we can give them in times of emergency. I believe we can do it in that way, and not by going hat in hand. I believe we can do it by building our agricultural industry on the foundations of perishable agricultural produce.

Not only do I apprehend danger to our social services, but I apprehend that they are being jeopardised, and I believe in the social services that prevail in this country at present because I believe in democracy and liberty. I think the Minister for Industry and Commerce has become converted to State Socialism. I think he has come to the conclusion that the only way you can run a country is to control everything and to make the Executive Council responsible for the activities of every individual citizen, and to confer upon the Executive Council the power to run the country. I am sure he is wrong. But I realise that unless we can get, under the system which obtains at the present time, an improved standard of living for the whole people, a system higher and better than dictatorship, either of the right or of the left, it is only a matter of time until the system for which we stand will collapse. I believe unless our adverse trade balance is corrected the standard of living of our people must fall.

I believe, at the same time, that in addition to the general trade situation there is something else operating on the standard of living of our people. That is a matter that should be of grave concern and should give cause for thought even to the tariff maniacs we have in this House. A great many people forget that although you may pass Acts of Parliament you cannot alter fundamental economic laws by legislation. If you increase the cost of any commodity above a certain price, no matter how much people may want it, they will turn to substitutes, or they will turn from the use of that article altogether in the long run; and the tariff defeats its own object. But not only does it defeat its own object but it cuts down the standard of living of the people because the people have to make up their minds that they cannot afford to live up to that standard and that the luxuries they used to enjoy are now too expensive to be purchased. What was a legitimate comfort is now too extravagant and they abandon it altogether. We may be told that people can do very much better without such luxuries. If I say that farmers have to give up the use of jam I find a lot of Deputies who say that perhaps they are better off without it. You may say that in regard to individual items. But if I tell you the farmers have given up everything except potatoes and salt people will say that that is going back to the famine standard of living. But the way in which you get back to famine standards is by being compelled to drop one little luxury after another. People do not drop the use of them altogether, but when they find that these comforts are getting out of the range of their purse they drop them gradually and finally sink down to the famine level.

That is going on inside the houses of the people. Anyone who is familiar with the lives of the people knows that that is so. People are ashamed of their neighbours, and do not like them to know that they are living on potatoes and salt, while others are getting comestibles that some would say they would be better off without. But they are the comforts and luxuries to our people in rural Ireland, just as the urban amenities of Dublin are to us. They shed them reluctantly, and it is a sad thing to know that they shed them secretly because of the false pride which attaches to the prevailing scheme of economy. That scheme is the very thing that makes Deputy Moore get up and say that he has heard of nobody who is not happy with Fianna Fáil. Deputy Mrs. Concannon knows differently.

I know they have free milk and free beef.

Some of the Deputy's neighbours are brought down to the level of having to get free milk and free beef.

Yes, if they need it.

The Deputy knows that many of her neighbours have a kind of pride that would prevent them accepting it.

There is no more free beef now.

No, but that does not alter my point. Deputy Mrs. Concannon apparently feels that it meets the situation if you reduce people to a state that they cannot stand on their own legs. But the people would tell Deputy Mrs. Concannon and me that they want to stand upon their own legs and support themselves out of their own earnings, and that that is what they wish to do, and not what the Minister wishes them to do. The Deputy knows that that system is quite an inadequate substitute to give them. Instead of allowing them to earn their own living you give them lumps of beef and cans of milk, as the soupers did in the famine times.

I object to that.

They never had it before.

They never had.

They have won it as a right. The soupers gave it because they wanted to attack the people's faith. We recognise that everybody born has a right to ask for maintenance and we are trying to work that out against great difficulty.

I am admonishing Deputies on the other side that they have failed and that they have gradually reduced the people to such a state that they are not getting any reward for their labour and their work. I am making the statement to Deputies on the other side that it is no substitute, having reduced people to a level at which they cannot get a reward for their work, to give them free beef and free milk. If you raise the cost of living on the people so that, out of their own pockets, they can afford nothing but the bare essentials represented by potatoes and salt, the position cannot be rectified by giving them, in the form of dole, beef and milk which they ought to be able to buy.

Would the Deputy give way while I read an extract dealing with his own constituency?

No; but I shall listen with patience and interest to Deputy Kelly if he gets up and speaks afterwards.

Mr. Kelly

I do not want to speak; I merely want to read this extract for your information.

These tariffs, to which I have referred, deserve consideration because anyone who ventures to speak on behalf of consumers is branded as an individual whose concern is to destroy the industrial development of Ireland. Having adverted to the possible evil which may flow to the rural population from the reckless imposition of tariffs, it is right that we should closely examine where we stand on that general question of tariff reform, which is enshrined in the Schedules to this Finance Bill. I apologise to the House for trespassing on their time to deal exhaustively with this matter, but it is necessary because it is becoming the vehicle of more misrepresentation than almost any other branch of Fianna Fáil propaganda. The attitude of this Party on tariffs is quite clear. We believe that one of the reasons national independence was so essential to this country was that we should have fiscal control so that we might use it, not for the benefit of monopolists, not for the benefit of individual capitalists, not for the benefit of any restricted group, but for the benefit of the community as a whole. We take the view, and have always taken the view, that where the Government of this State finds itself confronted with a situation wherein imports are reaching Ireland from foreign sources, carrying with them a subsidy from a foreign Government designed to enable the foreign exporter to destroy some existing industry here with the intention of exploiting this market after the native industry has been disposed of, the Government should put on a tariff, penny for penny, to meet that subsidy, no matter what its origin. Another situation may arise in which merchandise is produced, for sale in this country, under labour conditions which, we are of opinion, are lower than those which our community have set as the minimum standard for the people of this country. That is very often difficult to ascertain in detail but, in so far as it can be ascertained, I say that any advantage accruing to a foreign manufacturer from unsatisfactory labour conditions or from exploitation of the people who work for him should be offset, penny for penny, by a tariff imposed by the Government of this State, so as to create a situation in which it will pay no foreign industrialist to exploit labour with a view to undercutting home producers who are under statutory and moral obligations to maintain a high standard of living for their workers.

I come now to the last and largest type of tariff—the tariff primarily imposed to promote industry. When we face that question, then I say that each tariff, as it is being put on, must be examined from the point of view of its economic value not to the individual manufacturer who is climbing up by the back stairs to the Department of Industry and Commerce, not to the individual monopolist or to the person who says that if a factory is established in a certain area it will gain a few votes in that area, but from the point of view of the value of the tariff to the people of the country as a whole. If you examine that question, three considerations have to be taken note of. The first of these is the amount of employment which will be given. I want to say in that connection,pace Deputy Mrs. Concannon and Deputy Miss Pearse, that I think that an industry that gives industrial employment only to women is of very questionable value to the community as a whole.

Women have to live as well as men.

In my opinion, they should be granted an opportunity of earning their living or an alternative method of living in reasonable comfort in the community.

What about Jacobs?

There may be exceptions to the general rule, and there are other pursuits in which women may be profitably employed. Let us not go into that wide question now. An opportunity will present itself for discussing it in greater detail at some other time. But I give that as my opinion and I shall stand the racket when Deputy Mrs. Concannon and Deputy Miss Pearse get up to point out the flaw in that part of my philosophy. I assume that Deputy Mrs. Concannon and Deputy Miss Pearse will accept as the test the amount of employment given to men or women. Let us adopt that view to make the point clear. The first consideration should be the amount of employment and the second consideration the conditions under which these people will be called upon to work. Employment must be of good quality, for fair wages and suitable to the type of person to be employed. Then, there is the consideration of the added cost to the consumer. That can be best illustrated by areductio ad absurdum. We can, in this country, manufacture anything if we are prepared to pay a sufficient price for it, but nobody would suggest that it would be desirable or prudent to manufacture here an article which would cost the consumer 45/- and which could be bought abroad for 1/-.

Lastly, I want to suggest that the tariff policy must be planned to avoid a situation developing in which one tariff offsets another. Given a decision to impose a tariff on a certain commodity, I submit that it is contrary to the best interests of the community as a whole that the Government should be induced to put a tariff on the raw materials of an industry already protected by a tariff. One tariff offsets the other and the ultimate result is that you have a rise in the cost of living and no advantage to the first manufacturer at all. It simply means that the consumer has to pay revenue into the Exchequer through the medium of a tariff which the House was persuaded to impose on the representation that it was designed to protect industry. I believe that tariffs can be desirably employed. I believe that the tariff policy as operated by the Fianna Fáil Government is fundamentally rotten, root and branch. I believe that there is nothing to be said for the general tariff policy of Fianna Fáil. If tariffs mean what Fianna Fáil believe them to mean, I believe they are wholly evil. I believe that whatever virtues there are in the tariff weapon become nothing but poison when used as Fianna Fáil have used it.

I believe that unmitigated free trade, with all that it implies for agriculture and industry, would be better than the scale of tariffs which is at present being imposed by the Fianna Fáil Government. And while saying that, I would regard unmitigated free trade under present circumstances as a very great evil, an evil that would involve the community in very great suffering and loss; but great as that evil would be, and substantial as the suffering in the community would be, I do not believe that in the long run it would be as dangerous an evil or that it would involve as great suffering for the people as the policy which the Fianna Fáil Party is at present carrying out. The Fianna Fáil Party is founding its whole philosophy on a most unsound belief and faith in economic nationalism. That is going to leave this country in the ditch, as it threatens to leave the whole world in the ditch. I want a decent standard of living for our people. I want democracy and liberty to survive. I want various social services for our people, but I do not want futile bankruptcy for this country. I want the Government of this country to believe that Catholic philosophy in government can be successfully carried through. Catholic philosophy in government does not involve crime or anarchy. It does not involve injustice for any one. If properly put into force it secures for the community as a whole the highest standard of living and the happiest conditions that can be secured under any human dispensation. It carries with it at the same time that quality of conservatism which prevents a nation running riot and squandering on futile and visionary pursuits and fads the resources which should be available for the sick and destitute.

On a previous occasion, when considering a Finance Bill introduced by the present Minister for Finance, I described it as something like the curate's egg—good in parts. But it is very bad in other parts. I should like to ask the Minister one or two questions in connection with the Schedule attached to the Bill. Under Reference 16, in the First Schedule to the Bill, the Minister is putting a duty of 50 per cent. on parchment (including vellum) having matter printed thereon and imported in bulk quantities. The Minister must be aware, and if he is not aware I want to inform him of this fact, that one of the firms which will profit by this duty is a firm which has been established in the town of Naas. That firm does not employ trade union labour, and has no intention of employing trade union labour. I should like to get some assurance from the Minister that when tariffs of this character are put on trade union labour will be employed.

To what particular item is the Deputy referring?

To item 16 on page 19 of the Bill—the First Schedule. I would like to have an answer from the Minister that in the case of those firms manufacturing parchment (including vellum) having matter printed thereon, he will take steps to secure that the commodity will be produced under trade union conditions. However, I am not concerned with these one or more items in the Schedule. I am certainly concerned, perhaps to a greater extent, with some statements made on the introduction of this measure by some Deputies on the Government Back Benches. My experience of the Fianna Fáil Government has been this, and I think it is the common experience that they are making the rich richer and the poor poorer. Every commodity that the ordinary working-class person uses in his home has been increased in price when compared with the prices charged in England and in Northern Ireland for similar commodities. We are paying higher prices for tea, sugar, butter and so on. All these commodities which are consumed in the working-class homes have gone up in price and, so far as I can gather, having made many enquiries, I cannot find that there has been any increase in the wages paid to the workers concerned. I make a present of that point to the Labour Party in the hope that they will agitate to bring the wages of the workers in the Free State to such a level that they will be able to pay the increased prices now demanded as a result of the Finance Bill of 1936. I am rather sorry that Deputy Mrs. Concannon is not here. She is a lady for whom everybody in the House has the greatest respect. She interrupted Deputy Dillon a moment ago and her interruption was to the effect that free beef was not comparable to the free soup in 1847. I think Deputy Mrs. Concannon was wrong there. I can see a very great similarity between them, with this distinction that while the free soup was used to subvert the religious faith, the spiritual faith of our people, the free beef was used to destroy the political faith of our people and, to a certain extent, the Minister may be congratulated on the result there.

Would the Deputy tell us what political faith in the people was destroyed?

I am referring to the interruption by Deputy Mrs. Concannon.

But will the Deputy tell us what political faith of the people was destroyed by the free beef?

The Sinn Féin faith—depending on their own efforts to do their own work.

I did not ask Deputy Mulcahy.

And I am telling the Minister what it is his policy is destroying.

I am asking Deputy Anthony. I am more interested in his theology than in Deputy Mulcahy's.

I do not know what the Minister's theology was in Belfast.

Or your own in Cork with your wooden gun.

Or what the Minister was doing in Belfast slinging porter.

Come to the Finance Bill.

I would like to tell the Minister that I want none of his impertinence now. What I am concerned with at the moment is the condition of the wage earners in this country. Of course, the Minister is above that. He is not concerned with the condition of the wage earners. He is far removed from that and so are most of his associates. The Minister has a free motor car now which his predecessor did not get. The Minister has other amenities which his predecessor did not get and yet the Minister is able to get away with the boast in the country that he and his colleagues are working for lower salaries than their predecessors. But they forget to remind their constituents that they have a lot of free motor cars and free chauffeurs and that they do not pay income tax——

These matters have nothing to do with the Finance Bill.

The Minister has interrupted me and I am replying to him.

Deputy Anthony will be amenable to the rules of order of this House. The Deputy offers himself to deal with the Finance Bill. What he is dealing with has no reference whatever to the Finance Bill. The Deputy must confine himself to the Bill.

When I stood up I intended to be very brief. But the Minister with his usual tactics has, unfortunately, drawn me, and I do not think it was to his advantage he did so.

But to the discomfiture of your colleagues.

Yes, especially that of your Parliamentary Secretary behind you, that unknown quantity in Irish politics.

Deputy Anthony is entitled to make his speech without interruption, especially irrelevant interruption.

I hope the Minister is satisfied with the rebuke from the Leas-Cheann Comhairle. I have referred to Reference No. 16—Parchment (including vellum) having matter printed thereon and imported in bulk quantities. I asked the Minister, and I hope the Minister will reply, having full knowledge of the facts, whether the firm I have just mentioned, which will benefit most by the imposition of this duty, is a firm that does not employ trade union labour. I want to know how far the Minister will be supported by the official Labour Party in protecting a nonunion firm catering for this kind of work. The Minister and his colleagues have told us from time to time that they have not alone increased the number of persons employed in industry but that by the imposition of all these tariffs, the lot of the ordinary worker in this country will be considerably improved.

Surely the Minister must be aware that heavy tariffs or duties are bound in the long run to increase the cost of living, and have very materially increased the cost of living in this country. The Minister must also be aware that many commodities have been tariffed and taxed almost out of the range of the ordinary purchaser. That has not resulted in decreasing the cost of living, but rather has it increased it. If the Minister, at any time in the future, is prepared to go into the matter with me, as I do not want to delay the House very long, I am prepared to submit figures to show that many of the commodities mentioned in the Schedule can be bought infinitely cheaper on the other side of the Channel and could also have been bought infinitely cheaper here and were produced under trade union conditions. What the Minister is doing is enriching many industrialists in this country at the expense of the ordinary worker.

Let me relate an experience I had to-day. I had to appear over at Lord Edward Street at one of the offices of the Department of industry and Commerce resisting a demand made by a number of industrialists who, not satisfied with getting 50, 60 or 80 per cent. profit on their products, wanted to evade by every possible method the provisions of the Conditions of Employment Act. Numbers of these people who are making money hand over fist want to evade by every method that they can the provisions of that Act. I feel that the Minister and the Government have not contributed in any way to the prosperity of our people. Rather have they, by a number of provocative tariffs and impositions under the heading of "rate of duty" put our people, particularly the working-class people, into a state of poverty which they were never in before.

I can give the Minister several instances in which many poor working-class homes have been impoverished as a result of the Minister's impositions. I refer particularly to dockers. The dockers in Cork City form a very large community. They were able to get a fair remuneration for their weekly labour. Those dockers, since this Government came into power, are in a state of poverty, with the result that many of them have been prosecuted because, getting only a half-day here and a half-day there, they fell into the mistake of applying for unemployment assistance. That is all the result of the Minister's policy and he cannot get away from it. Hundreds of these dockers in Cork have been prosecuted. Because of the operation of the Minister's policy they were almost pauperised and most of them are living on home assistance. I make that assertion here and I challenge Deputy Flinn to deny it. Most of the Cork dockers, I say, are living on home assistance and I challenge Deputy Flinn to deny it. Do you deny it, Deputy Flinn? He is as silent as the sphinx.

As and when I am ready I shall speak.

You were always a coward.

There is a fairly good example.

This challenging of Deputies across the floor in the second person is not according to the rules or the procedure of the House and should not be indulged in.

Is it in order to call a Deputy a skunk?

I did not hear the expression.

I heard him distinctly.

It is all right.

It is not all right; it is all wrong.

I assert that, as a result of the Minister's policy, there are hundreds of dockers unemployed in Cork.

Will the Deputy tell the House what they were prosecuted for?

I shall talk about that afterwards. Another point I should like the Minister to understand is that one of these grain boats or five or six heavy coal cargoes would distribute more money amongst the dockers, which would percolate into every shop in the City of Cork, than is now distributed by the establishment of at least some of the industries for which the Minister and his Government are responsible. I just want to mention these facts to let the Minister understand that while there may be something good in this Schedule there is a tremendous lot in it that is bad. The policy of the last Government was to have selected tariffs. Long consideration was given to every application for a tariff, and that consideration in the end proved to be effective. When that consideration was given it was found that perhaps a relatively small tariff might be put on. A tariff of 15 per cent. on boots was considered sufficient not alone by the Tariff Commission, but by many of the boot manufacturers. But this Government went further than that and put up an almost prohibitive tariff, and perhaps it would be news to the Minister to know that it did not result in such a large amount of employment.

There is the feeling now that saturation point has been reached in the establishment of factories. While some cities and towns may clamour for factories, especially boot factories, it is generally felt that the number of factories established is quite sufficient to supply the needs of the country. The Minister is an apostle of the policy of self-sufficiency. If that is going to be the future policy of this State, then I think we ought to have a clear announcement on it both from the President and the Minister, and let us know where we stand. It is my opinion, and the opinion of many people who have given any thought to the subject, that we will soon have to face up to a position in the very near future because of the stoppage of emigration, not only to the other side, but to the United States. We are told that a stoppage of that kind would mean an addition of 35,000 people a year to our population. The census figures do not prove that. That was good propaganda for the Government Party at one time, but it is no longer good propaganda. What is happening as a result of the Government's policy? We have thousands of our people going over each year to the land of the hated Sassenach, moryah, and glad to get a living there. Is that a result that those who went out in 1916 anticipated, or that many members of the present Government contemplated? I suggest that it is not. I ask Deputies to mark this, that there may be a revolt on the other side against a further importation of our people into that country. The people there would be quite justified in protesting against a further influx of Irish nationals into their country because of the attitude of this Government. That is one of the things that the Minister will have to face up to. What would we do in similar circumstances? What would our green-as-grass patriots say? They would immediately say: "Why should we allow aliens—foreigners"—in the land of the Sassenach where Deputy Hugo Flinn made all his money—"into our country?" Suppose the British Government to-morrow said, "We are not going to allow any more of those Irish into our country to take the places in employment that should be filled by our ordinary common or garden Britishers," what would we say? Another injustice to Ireland. That is the kind of stuff we would hear. But they would be quite justified in doing to our people what we have attempted to do to them. Can anybody deny it?

I suggest to the Minister for Finance that the Schedule to this Bill contains many good things, but, like the curate's egg, it is good only in parts. I do know, of course, that there is a machined Party which will steamroll this Bill through the Dáil, but like other members of the House I want to have it on record that I am opposing the Bill for the reasons I have stated. The Bill, I admit, is good in parts, but under it we are antagonising the people on the other side by our provocative regulations, by all the searchings and all the rest of it that take place at our ports. It is only a week or two since I had personal experience of that myself. That kind of thing between two nations is very provocative. It would be to our mutual advantage to be on friendly terms, and not have big tariff barriers set up between us. I do not want to do or say anything that might be regarded as provocative, but I do ask the Minister, and his Executive Council, if, and when, they produce another Finance Bill to remember what I have just said. Perhaps I have travelled a little more than the Minister; perhaps I have mixed about with the common people more than the Minister has; perhaps I have mixed about with people more cultured and educated than the Minister, and because of that experience I want to suggest to him and his colleagues that in framing this Finance Bill they have made one of the greatest mistakes in their lives. They have made many mistakes, some major and some minor, but this Bill I regard as their biggest mistake.

The Minister spent a very short time to-day telling us what was in the Finance Bill. In view of what was said by Deputies on the Budget resolutions the House would expect that the Minister, after listening to all that, would tell us why this Bill contains the taxation proposals that it does. On the Budget resolutions the Minister was reminded that he had told a meeting of manufacturers in the City of Dublin in the beginning of last year that this year we would reach normalcy in a matter of Budgets. More than one speaker of the House considered that it was more important that we should understand what was meant when we received the crushing proposals in the matter of taxation this year, this being the first year of normalcy, according to the Minister.

The Minister's attention was drawn to the fact that he and his Party, and his colleagues in the Ministry, approached the House in the Spring of 1932 and presented it with what they called an emergency Budget. Under that emergency Budget they took between tax and non-tax revenue, which included the Land Commission annuities collected from the farmers, and which must now be described as tax revenue although the Minister for Finance is not prepared to so describe it, the sum of £4,494,000 more than was collected in the year before or in any previous year within a reasonable period. As well as that they had an additional £2,000,000, which normally would have gone to meet local loans and other payments to the British Government, to spend. The Minister, I think, has had his attention drawn to the fact that, in every one of the four years that has passed since the present Government came in, he had £7,333,000 more each year in revenue—not to talk of the money that he had in borrowed money—to spend as a Government than the Government that preceded the present Government.

Recalling that, and dealing with the effect of that on the people's resources and on the general economic conditions in the country, the Minister was asked to face this situation to-day: that he was presenting us with his first normal Budget and was proposing, in tax and non-tax revenue, to take £5,620,000 more than the previous Government had taken during their last four years of office. So that with the £2,000,000 additional that he was holding for Government spending purposes here instead of paying to Great Britain, he was proposing to have in his first normal year £7,627,000 more to spend in the country than the previous Government had.

We waved aside in the discussions that took place here on the Budget any reference to the Minister's promises that he was going to reduce the taxation of this country by £2,000,000, and we started off looking simply at the facts, and the facts are that £7,627,000 are to be handled by the Government this year, a spending out of revenue that was not available to the previous Government, when we take the average of their last four years of office into consideration. We asked the Minister for some explanation of that, and the Minister's explanation was simply a list of social services that he alleges are bringing benefit to the people of the country. He had to throw in, I think, Land Commission improvements to bring the increased expenditure on these social services to anything near £4,000,000, but why, in the first normal Budget year of the Fianna Fáil Party, are we having this frightfully excessive bill additional to what the previous Government wanted?

Deputy Dillon made some reference to-day to the national income of this country and to the effect on the general prosperity of the country and the well-being of the people if we would safeguard our balance of payments. One of the City's leading newspapers to-day asks why is it that nothing has been done during the period of office of the Fianna Fáil Government to examine and state what the national income is, although the Minister for Finance had his own ideas and figures on that subject before he took office. The question is asked, is the Minister for Finance afraid to make any estimate of the national income to-day? Personally I think he ought to be, and I think nothing keeps the Government from giving us more information both as regards the position of our invisible exports and imports than fear, because in spite of what Deputy Moore asks, that we speak in realistic terms and that we place facts as concrete lumps in front of the members of the Fianna Fáil Party when we address them, the last thing the Minister or the Deputy wants is to have the facts brought forward.

We would like to know what percentage of the national income the Minister thinks, having regard to the well-being of the country and the development of its resources by the initiative of the people themselves, he can reasonably and safely handle and deal with as Government expenditure. During this current year he is going to deal, apart from borrowing, with over £7,000,000 more than the previous Government would have had to deal with. I would like to know what the increase represents as a percentage of to-day's national income. The Minister will not say that the national income has not been substantially reduced since 1931. I would ask him to address himself to that point, and to let us know to what extent it has been reduced, and, if he thinks it has been increased, will he, when presenting us with this enormous bill, tell us what reasons he has for thinking that the national income has increased since 1931?

I would ask him to look at a few figures. Deputy Dillon has pointed out that the visible trade balance last year was £3,300,000 additional in deficit to what it was in 1931. He indicated that in fact the year before it was more than twice that; it was £7,000,000. So that our national income on our visible trade balance has gone down by over £3,000,000 and by £750,000 on emigrant remittances between the years 1933 and 1934 alone. The whole conduct of the Minister's policy has been a blow at the income from sweepstakes. There is not a year that has passed that the whole conduct of their policy has not tended to undermine that, and there is nothing left to be sure about but the investments of our people abroad. The President, shortly after he came into office, was able to declare at a meeting in Cork that the income our people had from investments abroad was £12,000,000 a year. The last figure quoted by the Minister for Industry and Commerce in respect of 1933 was £9,000,000.

I suggest to the Minister for his consideration to-day that when we take the fall in the income from our investments abroad, and when we take a more than likely increase and perhaps a substantial increase in the payments made abroad from investments in this country, some of them arising out of the new industrial policy of the Minister for Industry and Commerce, I would be happy to think that we were only £3,000,000 down on balance, when we consider the collecting of investments abroad owned by our own people and investments by foreigners in this country. If you accept that figure of £3,000,000 alone for that, we are down in our national income anything from £7,000,000 to £8,000,000 this year as against 1931. The Minister is spending to-day more than £7,000,000 additional as against the year 1931 and previous years, and he is taking that from a country whose national income is substantially reduced.

If there are people who will charge the Ministry with doing nothing to examine in strict detail what the national income is and letting the people of this country, upon whom such very big political and economic experiments are being tried, know what is the foundation upon which the experiments are being carried out, if there are people who charge the Minister with being afraid to have an examination as to what that foundation is in the national income, I feel that it is nothing but fear of the same kind that has made the Minister for Industry and Commerce, when questioned comparatively recently, withdraw such figures as he had given us in respect of income from investments abroad, and moneys paid out of this country to foreigners in respect of investments in this country. Everything that the Minister can obscure is being obscured. The way in which he has treated the discussions on the Budget Resolutions seems to emphasise to the House that he is going to put his proposals before the House, that he is going to carry them by his Party vote, and that neither Deputies nor the people of this country, in so far as he can help it, are going to know what road they are travelling or where they are going. They are simply going to be asked why should they not pay.

The experiment that was started off in the emergency Budget of 1932 was going to be carried out on moneys which, in the words of Deputy Aiken, were going to be taken from the rich, but as succeeding Budgets and Finance Bills passed from one year to the other, that tune was changed. We had Deputy Hugo Flinn last year and the Minister for Education this year asking why should not the working man pay. Deputy Anthony very properly points to the Schedule of new taxes of a customs kind in the Finance Bill to-day, because, contrary to promises, there has been shifted on to the backs of the ordinary working people of this country every bit of taxation, I might say, that the Minister is raising. The Schedule of which Deputy Anthony speaks to-day is a Schedule of the same kind as was attached to previous Finance Bills, and brought in to the Minister last year £2,000,000 in customs duties more than was received in the years before Fianna Fáil came into office. Customs duties are placed before this House and we are told those are for the purpose of establishing industries. Those industries are to absorb the unemployed in our towns. They are to give the farmers of the country a market in this country instead of the markets which have been destroyed abroad. But the fact is that they brought in last year £2,000,000 customs duties in pence and shillings and pounds lifted out of the pockets of the ordinary people here for goods which it was necessary for them to have in order to run their homes and carry on their ordinary life.

We asked the Minister to look at the condition in industry and the condition in agriculture, and to point out to us what were the signs, either in the industrial situation here or in the condition of our agriculturists, which show either that our people could get a decent living out of industry and agriculture here at the present time or that they could support the burden of taxation which was placed upon them. Deputy Moore does not like general terms. The sum of £2,000,000 received in customs duties means nothing to him, but those duties have come in from a tax on every pound of tea, a tax on every bit of sugar, a tax on every pan, pot and pot-lid, a tax on the wallpaper on the walls of their homes, on the linoleum on their floors, on the glass in the window, on the mug on the dresser—a tax on every article which the tax-gatherer going into the poor man's house can see not only in one visit but after several visits.

We should like to know from the Minister what we are to think of a normal Budget which imposes this taxation as far as revenue is concerned, which imposes it under circumstances in which during the last two years the National Debt of this country has been increased by £11,297,000, a figure which the Minister has interrupted, let me say—not controverted or denied—and a figure that has been added to the National Debt of this country at the same time as £2,689,000 was being added yearly to the ratepayers throughout this country as debt, not counting the kind of frozen debt position which has arisen with regard to the ratepayers in county council areas, who have found themselves for the last three years with a substantial pile of debt lying at their doors on 31st March each year in respect of rates and land annuities. The people to whom that £2,689,000 has been added as a deadweight debt are people who have been unable to pay their current expenses to the Land Commission and to the local authorities for the last two years without having £2,250,000 debt lying at their doors after the financial year was up.

The Minister says that everything is prosperous in this country, and his Press quotes the increased price of shares of Irish companies. This country, facing its first normal Budget of that particular kind, is being hoodwinked, in so far as Government propaganda can hoodwink it, into believing that everything has been going on splendidly during the last few years. There have been quoted to us, as showing the sound foundation of industry, the increased business activity, the increased turnover, and the more satisfactory trade conditions generally. There has been quoted an increase in the value of the shares of certain industrial concerns in this country. Again, Deputy Moore wants concrete facts. He wants realities. The reality, and the full extent of the reality given to us by the Government is that Guinness's shares have substantially improved in their quotation price, certain bread companies, certain manure companies, certain brick companies, certain coal companies, certain printing companies——

Are those the only kinds of concerns included in the list?

Irish Independent Newspapers are quoted here, but I am confining myself, for the purpose of getting at some facts, to certain items which are here. I want to say, in the words of the leading article, that this was not a matter where a selection was made in order to prove the case we were making. This is a matter of selecting material put before us by the Government Press and commenting on it in so far as we have the other side of the information, because it is not easy to get from Government Departments the information we would want in order to deal with the industrial situation as it exists here. The country that is presented by the Minister with this Budget is told that the industrial situation is magnificent and the case for that is these figures. This is intended to mean that our workers in the towns have more work and are better off, that the farmer in the country has a better market, and generally that "the blatant assertions that the financial position of the country was bad, the lugubrious descriptions of the people as being broken and beggared, and the predictions of widespread industrial ruin and inevitable national insolvency" were all wrong. They were proved to be entirely wrong by these quotation figures.

By these and other facts.

The House has been clamouring for the Minister to open his mouth and to tell us some of the other facts. We should have been glad to hear the Minister even trying to tell us these facts from the Government Press in this House, where we think we have a right to hear them. We think that a Government which presents a country with a Bill of this kind ought to come into this House and place every relevant fact before it when asking the House to join them in responsibility for putting this Bill to the people.

The Deputy heard them on 12th May, but he has forgotten them.

I heard very little from the Minister on 12th May. I heard that this was this, and why should not the workers as well as anybody else be asked to bear a portion of it?

On the 12th of May?

On the day the Minister was introducing this Budget and during the comments that were made after it. We heard a thing on 12th of May from the Minister which the Minister would like to forget, or to paraphrase or to put in another way.

I am afraid the Deputy's recollection has misled him.

If the Minister could contain himself while we endeavour to say what we have to say, we should be thankful. The Minister is not prepared to be thankful for having Deputies speak what they think here. The Minister is anxious, as I have indicated, and I am perfectly convinced of it——

What hurts the Minister is to hear Deputies speak without thinking.

What hurts the Minister is the fact that he is called on to think and to give information to the House. Guinness' shares have increased in value, but the Minister for Industry and Commerce has provided this House with figures which show that the average wages paid in the malting industry in 1933 were £23 10s. per year less than in 1931, and that, in 1934, they were £24 8s. less than in 1931. The people who are suffering in wages in this respect are the people who are going to pay this bill which the Minister puts before the House to-day. The value of the shares in some of the manure factories in the country has gone up, but the Minister for Industry and Commerce has given us figures which show that the average wages paid to wage earners in the fertiliser industry in 1933 were £34 5s. a year less than in 1931, and, in 1934, £24 5s. less than in 1931. The workers in the fertiliser industry are part of the main mass of people upon whom the Minister's Bill is going to fall.

The Government case is that this country is prosperous because some brick companies' shares have gone up. The Minister for Industry and Commerce has given us figures which indicate that the average wages of the wage-earner in the brick industry in 1933 were £17 13s. less than the 1931 wages and, in 1934, £19 18s. less than the 1931 wages. The workers in the brick industry are part of the main mass of the people to whom this bill is being presented. Some printing companies' shares have increased in value, but the figures of the Minister for Industry and Commerce show us that, in 1934, the average wages paid in the printing industry were £6 10s. less than were paid in 1931. The value of some coal companies' shares in Dublin has gone up, but the unfortunate people of this country consumed substantially less coal last year than they did in 1931, and it was not because of all the turf that was in use. Even in the Government offices last year, the consumption of turf went down, but the people of this country consumed last year 328,000 tons of turf less than in 1931, and half of that fall took place as between 1934 and 1935. The people are not able to pay for the quantities of coal they were normally able to use. I am speaking of household coal only here. The householders of this country are not able to keep up their normal requirements in the matter of coal for household consumption, but that is only a detail. That is not one of the concrete facts.

The increased use of gas and electricity had nothing to do with that, I suppose.

I should like to hear the Minister intervening in this debate and discussing these points. I say that while the turf cut in this country was down by 220,000 tons in 1934, and we know by a comparison of the turf carried by the railway companies over a number of years that it was down further in 1935, the people were not able to use as much coal as they used in the past. I should be glad to hear the Minister producing anything that would show that there was any substitute. If anything is driving the people to a substitute for coal, it is the Minister's policy.

Does the Deputy consider it undesirable that the people should use a substitute for imported coal?

I think the people who want coal ought to be able to use it, and, at any rate, if they are going to be prevented from using it, it should not be through necessity, through not having the money to pay for it as well as paying him his taxes. One of the things that strengthens me in that belief is that coal is not the only thing the consumption of which by the people has gone down. The figures of the Minister for Industry and Commerce with regard to imports and productions in this country show that the people are buying less boots——

They may be wearing better boots.

Will the Minister, in respect of that, look at the figures already quoted to him here, and will he reply to Professor Duncan, a member of his Banking Commission, who has recently addressed himself to this subject? In so far as it is possible to stuff any set of what Deputy Moore would call concrete facts down the throat of the Minister for Industry and Commerce or down the throat of the Minister for Finance, I have endeavoured to do it here, and, of course, we get them coughed up with other matter. However, I have not seen the reply of the Minister for Finance to the member of the Banking Commission who, from a different aspect, has challenged the position with regard to the consumption of goods. I am strengthened in my opinion that we are using less coal in this country and less turf in this country, because we cannot pay for them, by knowing also that our consumption of boots in the year 1934, the last year for which we have the information, was £378,637 below what it was in 1931; that our people paid less for clothing by £551,000; that while we have not the information for hosiery for 1934, never- the less our people in the year before spent £250,000 less than in 1931; that the consumption of jams and sugar confectionery and of soap and candles...

Would the Deputy relate all those facts to the fact that the cost-of-living figure was less in 1936 than it was in 1931?

If the cost-of-living figure is less to any household in this country, it is less by reason of the fact that there has been a bankrupt sale going on in this country of farmers' stock and farmers' produce. I ask the Minister to give me any one unit of the cost-of-living? The Minister can controvert the people who say that the cost-of-living has gone up by producing the various items upon which the cost-of-living figure is made out.

The Deputy can get that for himself.

The Deputy cannot, and the Minister for Industry and Commerce will take very good care that he cannot. The Minister for Finance knows that a certain number of headings are utilised for the purpose of information in association with other things in regard to costs and that the cost-of-living figure is built up from these. I challenge him to say here now that he will produce the various headings under which the cost-of-living figure has been prepared for the most recent date and make a comparison with the previous years past and show the headings.

I shall refer the Deputy to the report of the Committee that was set up in 1932 to deal with the question of the cost-of-living figure.

It is because I know the Committee reported and because I know the structure of their report that I know the Minister has the information if he would only produce it to this House. I suggest to the Minister that, instead of giving us one figure for the all-in cost of living and another for food prices, he could give us quite a whole series of figures, and that if the Minister was able to argue that the cost-of-living figure had not gone up substantially, he would produce these figures. What is keeping it down, I suggest, is that the farmers of this country have been put into the position that everything they had in the place, from their cattle to their eggs, has been turned into a bankrupt stock sale. Does the Minister deny that?

The Minister, at any rate, ought to make a speech and tell us something about these things, or he ought to keep quiet if he has nothing more to add to his intervention with regard to the cost of living than to sit back with his mouth shut when he is asked to give additional information that I know he has, or when his position is that he is afraid to produce these figures, just as he is afraid to tell us what is our balance on invisible imports and exports, and as he is charged with being afraid to tell us what the national income of our people is—a people that is being asked to bear this particular demand here. The Minister, however, sets out to tell the country, or at least his Party sets out to tell the country that everything is all right now; that what their opponents said was all wrong and that what they said was all right. The Minister would even nearly get back to showing that their promises had come true by quoting an increase in certain industrial stock here. I have indicated that it is possible, without going further into it, to have an increase in industrial stock here for printing concerns, breweries, manures and coal, at a time when, as in the malting industry, the annual wages of the workers are gone down by £24 8s. 0d. a year, in the manure industry by £24 a year, in the brick-making industry by £19 18s. 0d. a year, and in the printing industry by £6 10s. 0d. There are other industries in which there have been substantial decreases in wages, but I relate these decreases to the Minister's claim that, because certain industrial shares are up, everything is all right.

The significant thing about trying to dope the country in this particular way is that the writer must have had in his hands the report of the Director of the International Labour Office. He can hardly have laid the report down out of his hands, if he pays any attention to these things, when he wrote his article. However, I think the House would be interested in seeing what the director has to say on the subject of Stock Exchange quotations. On page 16 of his report for the year 1936 he said:

"It is no longer by Stock Exchange quotations or by statistics of production or by trade returns that progress is now judged so much as by the number of persons out of work. When all has been said, unemployment still remains the crucial test of economic and social policy. A community which has failed to enable all its citizens to contribute by their work to their own well-being, and to the common heritage of the society to which they belong, has faíled to solve the fundamental problem of statesmanship. It is tolerating not only untold distress among individuals, but also a corresponding waste in the use of its own human resources or the development of its potential wealth."

Does the Deputy subscribe to that?

I do. I suppose the Minister controverts it?

Oh, no. I merely want the Deputy's point of view.

Well, that is my point of view. The Minister will not tell us what his point of view is, Sir. He has carefully avoided, during the whole of these Budget discussions, telling us what his point of view is on anything, and on the only occasion upon which he went near telling us his point of view—that is, that some of the people of this country were too lazy to walk to work that they could get—he had hardly gone near expressing that point of view when he was in a hurry to kind of gloss it over or change it a bit. He wants to know, however, do we accept the view expressed there by the director that it is no longer by Stock Exchange quotations or by statistics of production or by trade returns that progress is now judged so much as by the number of persons out of work. Why, the very figures I have quoted to the Minister here, in answer to his figures showing the increase in certain industrial stock here, to the effect that at the time these stock quotations were increased the average wages of the workers in these industries were substantially decreasing, should be enough to answer the point with regard to Stock Exchange quotations.

The Statistics of Production that were published here painted the picture that an increased number of persons are in employment, and an increased wages pool, and that has been used by the Ministry, and by the Party opposite generally, to show how improved things are here, while over a whole string of industries the average wage paid to workers has been reduced. The people who had to bear this reduction in average wages are people on the industrial side and also a very large section of the community who are farmers. Deputy Moore described the present Government Party as the friend of the farmers. The Deputy does not like general figures but we have only general figures with which to give a picture. We had an export market in Great Britain for agricultural produce that was twice the size of our home market. That market has been practically destroyed. When we buy back bits of it now we have not only to do so by handing over the proceeds of taxation, such as the 5/- that was supposed to have been taken off coal, to British miners, but we have to pay very substantial bounties on cattle, bacon and other agricultural produce. Let us see what the friend of the farmers has done. In 1931 our farmers had in Great Britain a market value for £23,340,000 for live animals and animal food products alone. In 1935 they lost £11,000,000 of that market, and the year before that, £12,000,000. These farmers lost practically an equivalent sum on the home market, because of the reduction in the prices they got for their stock. There is not a single item of stock, with the exception of milch cows, upon which there has not been an enormous reduction. If Deputy Moore does not understand what £11,000,000 of a loss last year means to farmers on the sale of live animals and food stuffs alone, he may understand what it means when farmers instead of getting the £14 7s. 0d. that they got for one animal in 1931, in 1935 got £6 17s. 0d. He may understand the position of farmers who got £16 19s. 0d. per head for fat cattle in 1931, and who only got £8 12s. 0d. last year. On every head of store cattle that Irish farmers had to sell at fairs they got £7 10s. 0d. less last year than they got in 1931, and for fat cattle that were sold at Irish fairs they got £8 7s. 0d. less. That is the position of farmers who as a result of the operations of the friend of the farmers have to bear the cost of this Finance Bill.

While we did barter the coal trade, and while apparently we did make an agreement in the beginning of this year which, according to the Government Press, was tantamount to taking £350,000 that came into the revenue of the Minister for Finance and transferring it to British miners, according to the May returns which have just been issued, an extra 11/- per head was got for cattle that went over to Great Britain this year, as compared with last year. The friend of the farmers, as a result of the Coal-Cattle-Cement Pact made at the beginning of the year has been able, apparently, as far as the May sales are concerned to get back 11/- out of the £8 7s. 0d. per beast that the farmers lost. What we want to know is: when is the other £7 16s. 0d. coming back? If we accept Deputy Moore's statement that there are no farmers who are not behind the Government then, as well as the farmers who are in that happy frame of mind, the agricultural labourers are supporting them. One of the things that the Ministry has been particularly silent on, and one of the matters brought before the Minister for Finance in the Budget Resolutions was the position of agricultural labourers. He was asked how he expected agricultural labourers to support this Bill. In the first place the number of agricultural labourers employed permanently has been reduced. The official figures for 1935 show that there were 619 less agricultural labourers employed permanently than were employed in 1931. Was there an increase in temporary employment? There was to the extent of 2,400. But when you take 2,400 temporary labourers, and take into account the fall of 619 permanent labourers, it can be seen clearly that there is no increase in the employment of labourers in agriculture, in spite of an increased acreage in wheat, an increased acreage in beet, and in spite of the additional price that the people of Dublin and elsewhere are paying for flour, bread and sugar, on the plea that these payments are necessary in order to increase agricultural employment.

Not alone is there no increase in paid agricultural employment, but the agricultural labourers who are employed are being paid substantially less than they were paid in 1931. For those who are employed the wage pool has gone down, on the figures published by the Department of Industry, by nearly £900,000. I pointed out before, when asking the Minister for Finance to deal with this matter, that if we take the opinion on wages paid agricultural labourers, by bodies like Wexford County Committee of Agriculture, or by the officials in the South Tipperary County Council, who had occasion to report to the Commissioner appointed by the Minister for Local Government to discharge the duties of that Council, then the fall in the agricultural wage pool has gone down much more than £900,000, because both the Wexford Committee and the officials in South Tipperary claim that the wages quoted as being paid agricultural labourers by the publications of the Department of Industry and Commerce are three times greater than are actually being paid in Wexford or South Tipperary. I am asking the Minister for Finance to explain why this Bill is so enormous, and how people engaged in industry or in agriculture can bear it.

Even if the agricultural industry in this country were allowed to live, even if the farmers could get back the additional £11,000,000 that they had in 1931 and of which they are now deprived, it would be difficult for the farmers to support the costly structure of Government imposed upon them at the present time. Deputies on the Fianna Fáil Benches must know as well as anyone in this country that that is so. They must know that there is nothing but rubbish talked by Deputies like Deputy Moore when they get up in this House and say that the Government are the farmers' friends, that everything is going on splendidly and that the Opposition deal only in generalities. The latest threats to which the Minister for Finance is reduced to help the farmer is shown by the few remarks he made on the Budget. The farmers of this country were promised alternative markets in lieu of the markets in Great Britain of which they were deprived. These alternative markets did not materialise. Now, he is going to bring the market to them so that we are going to have alternative imported markets. He says that the reason we are going to spend £600,000 on roads and for additional public health works—works for which the local authorities will have to pay the greater amount—is that these works will make the country an attractive place for tourists. As reported in column 517-518 of the Official Debates, on the 14th May, 1936, he said:—

"If we are no longer shipping cattle to England and bringing in manufactured goods in exchange, still the volume of traffic in our ports is not going to diminish. Its character will change. Instead of having goods we will have people coming here. We will give them in exchange for the money they will leave with us our services and a great deal of our produce. I do not think there is any industry that is so intrinsically remunerative as the tourist industry. People come along. You entertain them and they spend money here on your agricultural produce."

I think there was a deputation which, in the early enthusiasm of the Government for alternative markets, went to Germany seeking for markets there. I think they got very good advice from the Germans, namely, that they had a market at their door which they should be glad to have. It was a market that was traditionally ours. The industrial and agricultural circumstances that existed here developed by reason of the fact that we were dominated by an English Government, and we had not alone a moral right to demand that we should be left in these markets, but that every right we had there in the past should be retained for us. I think nothing is more discreditable than the attitude that has been taken up by the Party opposite with regard to the Ottawa Conference. They went over there to consider the conditions of this country and to consider making arrangements to bring back to this country, not markets to the value that it had in 1931 but markets to the value it had in 1930. It has been stated on more than one occasion here that they could have had in Ottawa what they wanted. The Vice-President himself has made a statement practically to that effect. The President has denied that but the Vice-President has been dishonourably silent. When we are considering the interests involved for this country, the Vice-President has been dishonourably silent in the matter. It was suggested that an Imperial Economic Conference was to take place this year. I do not know whether it will or not, but this country should not be presented with this Bill without being told what the Government's policy is in regard to our economic relations with Great Britain. It is essential that we should again hear the Minister for Finance speak on the various aspects of this matter that have been touched upon in the Budget discussion. It is humiliating to the country, apart altogether from its being harmful, that its affairs should be conducted here in the way in which the Minister for Finance conducts them.

Being at the moment alone, amongst the daughters of Eve in this House, it may not be unfitting that I should say a few words about the Finance Bill for, in the ultimate analysis, it is in the homes of the country, the peculiar domain of woman, that its soundness can be tested and, therefore, what a woman thinks of it counts. The Budget of 1936 will, I think, be memorable for this to us women that, for the first time in the history of western civilisation, it makes a determined, business-like attempt to grapple with the world-wide scourge of unemployment. It proposes to mobilise the resources of the State and of the local authorities to bring work crying out to be done to people crying out for work to do. I do not accept the proposition made here that enormous "relief works" are going to be started. "Relief" is an appropriate word, if you like, in so far as it has reference to the relief of unemployment. But there is infinitely more than that to it. The works in contemplation are necessary works for the development of the country, works that add to the permanent value of the country. We are to have improved roads, airports and harbours. I, speaking as a Galway woman, hope that a good deal of this £2,500,000 will find its way towards us in Galway.

Hear, hear! That is the spirit.

It is proposed to have a harbour and an airport there. Naturally, as a Galway woman, I am delighted with that part of the Budget and hope that it will set us a long way on the road to achieve our objective. Then from the point of view of women in general, I am very much interested in the effect on unemployment. The condition of a workless man is something very pathetic and deplorable; but the wife of a workless man, what is her condition? What must it be to face in the workless home the bearing of children—giving life to boys and girls who, if things continue as they are, might be condemned to grow up without knowing the blessedness or the discipline of work, whose whole lives might be stunted and starved, not only materially and physically but morally and psychologically, for the want of work? It is for that reason that I, as a woman, welcome, in a very especial way, this provision for a system of public work in this year's Budget. I, in the name of the women of Ireland, say "God speed you" to Deputy Hugo Flinn, whose great constructive genius and energising courage have been put at his country's service to bring it into effect.

During the debate we heard a great deal about the amount of taxation necessary to be raised. As a woman who has been accustomed all her life to try and balance, with varying success, a very modest domestic budget, I was very much awed by the figures given in the statement of the Minister for Finance. Although we women are not political economists by any means we have, I think, a great fund of common sense. This is our strong point. Applying it here, I think we recognise that what might be pure expenditure in the case of household budgets may prove to be long-term investments—and profitable investments—in the case of the State. I think a great deal of the money now raised by the State has been invested very profitably. We see already rich dividends accruing from that investment. We see them in afforestation, in the development of the nation's resources, in the resettlement of the ancient race on the land, in providing better houses and homes for the people and better schools for their children. We see them in the enlargement of the social services which Deputy Dillon and I are specially concerned with—in the provision of free milk and cheap meat and all these things that all Christian Governments ought to try and do for their people. The Minister has claimed that it is by the manner of spending the results of taxation that it is justified or condemned.

I, as a woman, accept the Minister's test, and I think that the manner of spending the nation's money has justified that expenditure. The money, in my opinion, has been well spent. As a woman, I rejoice that the Minister for Finance has been able to relieve us to a little extent in the price of sugar. But women living near Tuam and the other sugar factories do not begrudge the tax still remaining. We see its results reddening in the beet fields; we see it built into the walls of the factories. We see it providing work for our young men in farm and factory, and for these reasons we do not begrudge it. For the same reasons, we see with gladness provisions made for the alcohol factories and welcome the work which they will give. As a woman also I welcome the reduction of the tax on cinemas and the increased allowance in income-tax relief for children. Indeed from every point of view I welcome the Budget.

I would like to feel as optimistic as Deputy Mrs. Concannon has felt as to the value of the proposals contained in the Minister's Budget statement in which he proposes to deal with the unemployment problem. It has been pointed out repeatedly that the effort of the Minister is not everything it appears to be. In fact, the amount of money given by the Minister, over and above the money allocated for other services, is less than £200,000. The one thing the Minister has succeeded in doing is to increase the liability of the local authorities and to narrow their borrowing powers. No public body can out of current expenditure be able to put up a scheme if they do not get a free grant from the Minister under these proposals. As a matter of fact we do not yet know what the Minister's proposals are, and though I have alluded to schemes we do not know what works are to be carried out.

When Deputy Hugo Flinn was given charge of the committee which had been set up a couple of years ago public bodies were asked to send in schemes which hitherto had not been under their control—extraordinary schemes which public bodies would not ordinarily be called upon to undertake. Certain schemes were sent in, some of them to my mind wild-cat schemes. I hope a thorough examination of these schemes will be made before the money is spent on some of them. I suggest to the Minister that the time has arrived when he should acquaint the public bodies as to what his intention is, and as to what schemes he proposes to allocate this money for. Above all, I suggest to him that the contribution asked from local authorities should not be very large. Most of the money local authorities have at the moment is being used in connection with sewerage and waterworks and schemes of that kind, and they find that their borrowing powers are very limited. If, in addition to doing these essential works, they have to do the Government work as well, I think many local authorities will find themselves in bankruptcy before long. Deputy Mrs. Concannon referred to Galway Harbour, so I suppose it is no harm for me to refer to Wexford Harbour. The question of piers and harbours was mentioned in the Minister's statement. For the last couple of years Wexford Harbour has had a scheme before the Board of Works. We were told it would be examined by engineering experts, and although considerable time has elapsed we have not yet heard anything about that scheme, although we have made inquiries.

That seems to be a matter of administration.

It is under the administration of the Minister for Finance.

The administration of the Department of Finance cannot be discussed now.

Very well. I will leave that, but I express the hope that the Minister in allocating his £2,500,000 will not forget the requirements of Wexford Harbour. We are asking, by way of grant, only for a small proportion of the amount of money to be expended, in order to develop the harbour. I hope, therefore, the Minister will let us know what his intentions are in that matter.

Cement has figured very prominently in this debate. There is a tax upon cement which should not be. We have been told that two cement factories are to be established, one in Drogheda and one in Limerick. The people of County Wexford have cement works which are situate at Drinagh, and they now ask the Government to fulfil the promises they made before the General Elections of 1932 and 1933. They made, in my opinion, some foolish promises at that time. But they said very definitely to the constituency I represent that if they were returned to power Drinagh cement works would be reopened. I know that they could not do that unless and until they nationalised the cement industry, and many people do not believe they will do that. But I suggest to the Minister that we ought to have the promises fulfilled that were made that industrial questions in certain areas would obtain first consideration. That first consideration, so far as the cement industry is concerned, should be applied to Drinagh. I suggest now at this late hour that some consideration should be given to Drinagh.

By the Minister for Industry and Commerce?

Finance has got statutory power to do it.

The Minister primarily responsible is the Minister for Industry and Commerce.

Very well, but I suggest, Sir, that you would permit me to ask that consideration be given to this particular place which was robbed of an industry established there years ago, especially as under the effect of the scheme of the Minister for Industry and Commerce a good many people employed there as cement workers were deprived of their dole recently. I think the time has arrived when the Minister should give some indication as to what his intentions are in reference to the spending of this £2,500,000. I would suggest that we should not wait until the winter is upon us before spending this money. It may be a very desirable thing to hold the money until the winter arrives, as the best time for relieving unemployment. The unemployed are perhaps in a worse plight in the winter than they are in the summer, but I do not mind saying that a good deal of money is wasted in winter that would not be wasted if expended under summer conditions. As many local authorities are prepared to undertake and go ahead with certain schemes that will require a good deal of consideration, I think it is due to these local authorities that an early announcement should be made as to the Government's intentions in respect of the expenditure of these moneys.

This evening Deputy Dillon referred at some length to all the literature he had recently read. He mentioned some literature in connection with the present municipal elections. If he had studied theEvening Mail the other night, he would have seen correspondence with reference to the identity of the man who declared many years ago that a great statesman was suffering from “the exuberance of his own verbosity.” I believe that statement was made with reference to Mr. Gladstone. Mr. Gladstone is dead and I know he has nothing to do with the present Budget. I am sorry that verboseness is not yet dead. Unfortunately it lives here, and we have been extensively troubled with it for a long time. I would suggest most respectfully to the Party opposite that they would be doing a service to themselves if they suppressed, at least for a time, Deputy Dillon's verbosity. During his speech I asked him if he would give way so that I might read a reference to his own constituency. He was criticising the Minister because of the free beef scheme. He suggested that it was political souperism or something of that sort. He would not give way to me, but he said he would be very glad to listen to me later. I am sorry he is not here now.

Here I am.

Mr. Kelly

I am sorry the Deputy was not here a few minutes ago.

I was listening behind you.

Mr. Kelly

If you heard me from behind, there is no use in hearing me in front now. This is the extract I proposed to read:

"A correspondent writes: `There has been a lot of talk about the free beef scheme and its benefits or otherwise to the community. I do not propose to enter into a discussion of the merits or demerits of the scheme as such, but my first contact with it occurred last week on a visit to County Donegal. I had to stay in a little town for a night and a day, and the day I chose for my visit happened to be that on which the free beef was distributed to the people in the district. I noticed that the usually deserted village street was considerably more animated than usual, and, thinking it might be a fair day, I made inquiries and was told that the reason for the congregation was the distribution of the free beef. Curious to see something of this scheme, I crossed the street to where the distribution was taking place. It was not in a shop, but in a shed behind a house, for, like many of those small Irish village, this particular one owns no butcher's shop. On the gate of the yard there was this notice, and I think it is well deserving of record, for it read, `Free beef sold here.' I was rather taken aback with the notice, which was a contradiction in terms, but on making further inquiries I found it was really free beef and there was no question of sale. There was a good crowd of people obtaining their supplies, and for a good many of them this free beef represented the first constant supply of beef they had ever known. Sad to relate, many of them had had as their staple diet all their lives mostly potatoes, salt and buttermilk, with an occasional egg or piece of bacon, but beef—never before."

That is taken from theIrish Times. Deputy Morrissey made reference to all the taxation now imposed on the poor. He spoke about kettles, pans, pots, and all these other domestic utensils being taxed and suggested that these would yet put the lid on the Government. This reference to the poor man's home smacks of hypocrisy, in my opinion. Last year I remember that, on the Finance Bill, we were kept for months listening to foolish talk. I do not think that the Dáil adjourned last year until well into August. Nearly six weeks were wasted, or almost wasted, in discussing the Finance Bill. Deputy Belton, who, I am sorry, is not present, almost cried with anguish—I was listening to him intently because I was wondering what he was going to say —over the hardships of the poor and the loss incurred by them, when a tax of 2/- a cwt. was put on rice. He said that would destroy the poor man's dinner, as it would deprive him of rice pudding on Sunday. I inquired into this matter. There are 112 lbs. in a cwt. of rice and I do not know what fraction of 2/- would apply per lb. to the 112 lbs. but it would be infinitesimal. I wonder how, if he is a sensible man at all, he could make such statements. I did not like to ask at home, lest they should think I was becoming weak-minded, how much rice would go to make a pudding for the average workman's table on Sunday, and I could not find out. I read in a book that a tablespoonful of rice for each person should be put in a pot, that it should be allowed to come to a boil, then skim the scum, add raisins and currants, let them boil, skim the scum again, and then you had pudding.

You ought to set up as a cook.

Mr. Kelly

Imagine the terrible hardship inflicted on the poor man who has to pay 2/- a cwt. on his rice. However, I came here this evening to do business. The business I had specially to do was to inquire if the Minister would take into consideration a representation made at the Trade Board of the National Association of Mineral Water Manufacturers and Wholesale Bottlers, who have written to me as follows:—

"With reference to your kind offer, at a recent meeting of the Aerated Waters Trade Board, to raise a question in the Dáil for the abolition of the duty on table waters, I give herewith a few particulars for your information. This duty, which amounts to ½d. on each ordinary half-pint bottle of soda water and ¼d. on lemonade and other sweetened mineral waters, was introduced originally by the British Government as a war measure and has, for several years, been abolished on sweetened minerals in Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The claim made by the Association for the abolition of the duty is that practically every article for production of mineral waters is now taxed —i.e., sugar, flavouring essences, bottles, crown corks, and increased cost in coal, petrol, insurance on transport and workmen's compensation."

Hear, hear!

Mr. Kelly

"All these heavy additions to the cost of the manufactures have been borne by the manufacturers and the increased cost of taxation on delivery cars has also been paid without increasing the cost of the products to the public." Deputy Dillon need not applaud. We are not afraid of this class of thing. I have here the Minister's speech on the Budget and I am going down in half an hour to Moss Street and I am going to read it to the quay workers there. I will have personally to contradict several statements that have been made here and in other places.

Will you read the little bit about a big number of men being unwilling to walk to their work?

Mr. Kelly

I will read the portion that it is proper for them to know.

Hear, hear!

Mr. Kelly

They are generally very inquisitive. They do not take me at my face value. It would be a bad job if they did. They ask questions and on that matter to which the Deputy refers they may ask a question leading up to that particular portion, and if they do I shall be very glad to read it for them. Further to that, I wish to announce that on that very question I have engaged to meet them in Lombard Street on Friday evening next. I only wanted to inform Deputy McGilligan that we are not afraid of criticism; we are not afraid of reading anything here that would be for the public good or for the discharge of public business in the right way. We do not make tremendously long speeches here, taking up hours and hours and producing nothing. We do not speak for hours on a 2/- tax on 112 lbs. of rice and tell the people that the poor man is suffering thereby.

It is an interesting prelude to the changed economic situation of this country as viewed from the angle of the Fianna Fáil Government that Deputy Kelly should find it right to pride himself upon the fact that some town in Donegal was turned into a sort of fair, but that instead of there being any purchase or barter of goods from anybody to anybody else, there was only a huge distribution of free beef. The Deputy is not ashamed of backing the Government which has brought a Donegal town to that state. He is not ashamed of backing a Government who have transformed a town where a big exchange of goods used to take place in the past into a soup kitchen with the whole surrounding territory disorganised and demoralised.

According to the Minister, the people who got unemployment assistance up to the 2nd of June are not now getting it because the Minister was able to discover a sufficient reason for making a particular Order. That Order deemed that certain people were not entitled to unemployment assistance because work was available for them. It was deemed that people who were not able to get work on the 2nd of June were employed on the 3rd June. That applies to widowers and unmarried men who are now deemed to be able to get employment. If Deputy Kelly considers what he read just now and inquires into the matter, he will find that the fair days in that town have been replaced by a different sort of days. In the past the people were able to exchange goods in those towns. But if the Deputy considers the matter fully, he will certainly find now that the notion implanted in the mind of the Minister for Industry and Commerce as to prosperity in rural towns is the distribution of free beef. Again, unemployment assistance is now deemed not to be necessary for widowers and unmarried men in certain areas because they are supposed to be at work now, whereas on the 2nd of June they were not supposed to be at work. I referred to this before as the greatest modern miracle. Deputy Kelly should visit the place and get his faith renewed in the circumstances that have brought about this miraculous change.

But let me leave Donegal and get to a wider field. Let us survey the finance position in this country in the light of this Finance Bill. We should try to find out in surveying the economic position in this country where we differ from other countries; we should try to find out in what it is that we have stolen a march on other countries and where we have defeated other countries, and we should try to ascertain if the policy that has been adopted here runs counter to every sane policy practised in other sane countries. We must either conclude that we are the only sane people in a completely mad world or else draw the opposite and lamentable conclusion that we are the only mad people in a sane world.

If one is to take a view of world conditions, there is at any rate this lightening of the clouds, that the depression appears to have lifted somewhat in Europe and less else where. If we survey the means that have been deliberately employed by Governments elsewhere in an effort to try to relieve the depression, we find that all Governments, except the Irish Government, concentrate specially on one thing—agricultural production, the very thing on which we did not concentrate. Possibly I am going too far when I say we did not concentrate on agriculture. We did concentrate on agriculture, but from a view-point exactly opposite to that which was held in every other country in the world. In every country in the world we find the view-point prevailing that the towns depend upon the countryside, and that if the towns do not prosper you may look for the root and seed of the evil in the countryside. The people all over the world are guided by that principle in dealing with their economic positions. With the exception of two very big nations who were mainly dependent upon extern markets, all the nations said that the first thing they had to do was to rehabilitate their agricultural production. Even these two nations, which depend upon their industrial side and on external markets for the export of their goods, eventually were driven back to create purchasing power amongst their own agricultural community.

Alone amongst all the Governments of the world this Government set out with deliberation to destroy agricultural production. It came into office with detestation of a certain type of agricultural production. This Government went out of their way to destroy a certain type of agricultural production. They were to a certain extent successful in their aims. They attempted haphazardly, lamentably, and very unfortunately to substitute other production for what they destroyed. They tried to substitute other types of production for agricultural production. At any rate the signposts of our economic policy point entirely in the wrong direction if we are prepared to decide that all the rest of the world is right, or that agriculture is the basis of all wealth.

In nearly every country the Government have set out to raise agricultural prices. These Governments set out on that policy in order to bring about a corresponding result in their various cities and towns to which that policy would be beneficial. These Governments made up their minds that the general population could not thrive on a decaying industry, and they set themselves to rehabilitate agriculture and to cut themselves clear away from anything that would depress agricultural prices. But here we have our free beef policy. Ministers tell us we have too many agricultural goods for export. The Government promised the farmers markets for their agricultural produce, but they were unable to get these markets. They promised the farmers new markets amongst the industrial population here. The farmers did not get these markets. Then we have forced the slaughter of a particular product and the free distribution of that product. The Government pride themselves that that is a good policy. Deputy Kelly shakes his head. He does not. The Minister for Agriculture said here one day with great self-satisfaction that there would soon be no agricultural surplus in this country. There is the first division as between ourselves and the rest of the world. We alone have decided that our farmers can sell less quantities of agricultural produce and at smaller prices than what they used to get. We decided that it was politic to bring about that situation, although there is a market open wide for everything we produce and ready to give us a good price. We turn our backs on a market that everybody else is scrambling to get into, where we have a natural advantage that no other country possesses. We find Great Britain entering a period in which war seems to be imminent. War, at any rate, is more of a possibility and more of a probability than it was at any time in the last 10 or 15 years. We lie beside Great Britain, a Great Britain that cannot, notwithstanding all the efforts made to achieve a particular object, yet produce what foodstuffs she requires. We can send these foodstuffs. We know that, and Great Britain knows that. We know, in addition to that, that Great Britain, even if we have not, has a particular sentimental viewpoint as regards this country.

We have bargains of a trade type to make with Great Britain, because we can offer a market here to British producers as well as to our own producers. We can offer a good market to British producers for things we cannot economically produce here, and, by diverting the people from uneconomic production in certain articles, we can make them concentrate more and more on good production of an economic type at home. We can have a well-balanced economy between this country and the country to which we are bound to export our surplus production. We decided that we are going to throw that away because of a war that we rashly ventured into, and having rashly ventured into, have not the courage to end.

We may do things of an absurd type and justify them on account of patriotism, but we should, at any rate, take care that whatever we do does not work irreparable damage on the people of the country. We may pride ourselves on certain things we are doing at a cost to the community which will have beneficial effects hereafter. We should, at any rate, know after three and a half or four years what are the proper calculations to make. There are facts and figures open to us, and we can decide what production we have been driven into of an uneconomic type, what we have been driven into which, although uneconomic, is justifiable on the ground that it gives diverse opportunities to our young people, and we can certainly judge what are the types of manufacture we have been driven to attempt here which are ludicrous from beginning to end and can only be continued by the exhaustion of the resources collected over generations by a sound type of economic production in this country.

The Minister for Industry and Commerce, priding himself on being the most modern exponent of the most modern economic policy, speaks in derogatory terms of international trade and agrees that if progress in this country were to be measured by international trade the signs are against us. But he argues that this is a wrong sign-post, that it is a wrong way to judge progress, and that progress is to be judged by counting destruction where international trade is concerned. The Minister appeals to people around him, who are selfishly interested in certain industrial developments, and points to them and whoops with them and gets them to acclaim him for his particular declamation that "All is well; we are on the high road to saturation point in economic nationalism."

At the moment there is meeting at Geneva a group of employers, employees and Government representatives at an International Labour Conference. Amongst other things they are discussing the report of the Director of this year. So far as I have been able to trace the records from the newspapers, the only person who has spoken in opposition to the general viewpoint expounded in that report is a Government representative of the Irish Free State. This report is the Director's report, but it is not the viewpoint of the Director alone. It is the Director's summary of what he has learned from the economic experts who have gathered at Geneva from time to time on various economic committees, deliberating with him about the affairs of their own countries. That report of his represents, so to speak, the greatest common measure of agreement in the world with regard to economic tendencies.

Our representative is put up to challenge the Director's statement on three points. Let us see what the three points are. He challenges the Director's statement, that international trade is the barometer of real economic prosperity. He challenges the Director's statement, deliberately made, that measures of self-sufficiency run counter to all teachings of economic reason. Might I paraphrase that by saying that the Director states, very nearly in these terms, that economic nationalism is economic insanity. The third viewpoint which our representative was put up to counter is that the self-sufficiency ideal is something economically irrational and pernicious. So far as I have been able to discover up to this, the Irish Free State representative is the only person who has spoken against the tendency summarised fairly enough by these three phrases and running through the very many pages of this report.

That report, if studied, will, at any rate, draw attention to two or three things. One is the matter to which I referred, whether the Director is able to draw any satisfaction from world conditions. He draws it for this reason, that there appears to be an improvement in great agricultural countries, such as the Argentine, Australia, Brazil and the United States of America, and the pivot of all his prognostications of a favourable type for the future depends upon agricultural prosperity in a great agricultural country. He goes on to say how that has been brought about by a variety of measures aiming at certain things. But he has this phrase, which might have been written about this country, that notwithstanding a variety of devices, deliberately agreed upon by Governments to meet the depression, there are still bad conditions prevailing amongst the farming communities of the world. This is the quotation:—

"The problem of agricultural plenty at prices which will mean prosperity to the agricultural population has not yet been solved, and remains one of the major shadows in the general economic picture."

Agricultural plenty at prices which will mean prosperity to the agricultural community. Will Deputy Kelly ponder over that thought and think of the agricultural plenty in the way of free beef at prices which do not mean prosperity for the agricultural producer and he might get an object lesson of the fatuity of some things done here?

We are told that there is something of an uptake in the cattle business. Why? Because through the Government intervention in the ordinary natural growth through the prices paid and put upon calves' heads, through the destruction of these animals before they came to the profit-bearing point, there is something in the nature of an artificial scarcity brought about here, and there are better prices going for a smaller number of animals than there used to be, say, two years ago. Are we anyway within a distance of getting agricultural plenty? Might I translate that into terms appropriate to this country? Are we near getting in this country better numbers in live stock, able to be sold at prices that will mean prosperity to the general agricultural community? We are receding from that point every day.

We may hide our retreat by a variety of measures. We may hide it a little bit by causing, as I have said, this artificial scarcity that got prices to rise for a less number of livestock, but in so far as the capital of this country amongst the farming community depended upon the numbers of animals in it, that capital has been sadly wasted and exhausted in the last three years. The report does say that "international trade and the resumption of it is the barometer of real economic prosperity." It says that "measures that lead to economic self-sufficiency run counter to all the teachings of economic reason," and it quotes the German Chancellor, speaking of the achievement of economic self-sufficiency, as saying: "We are threatened by that to-day; we, the world community, are threatened by that to-day." He says "it is undesirable and cannot fail to have harmful consequences for all nations." He remarks finally that "if persisted in this programme will one day have very unpleasant and disastrous consequences." He goes on to remark that a revulsion in economic feeling had set in against the self-sufficiency ideal because "it would seem to be economically irrational and pernicious." These are the phrases that Mr. Butler puts into his director's report gathered from the economic general commonsense of the world. We have there a description of self-sufficiency, of the economic type, as "irrational and pernicious," as leading "to disastrous consequences," and as "running counter to all the teachings of economic reason."

We have our heads still set in the direction of economic self-sufficiency. Our Minister for Industry and Commerce would like to pride himself still more that he is advancing still further on the road towards that end, and the only lamentation that he has from time to time is that he is not advancing as quickly or as far on that road as he would like to go. We are doing that at a time when every nation in the world that has got into a mess of that type is trying to struggle out of it. I quoted here in another debate the various measures that different countries have taken to disentangle themselves from this sort of economic nonsense. I quoted the example of the arrangements made between Italy and some of the States around the Danube; the series of treaties entered into, all founded on the one principle that the complementary economics of the four or five countries around that particular area demanded the lowering of international barriers and the resumption of international trade. The Baltic countries have done the same. The Scandinavian countries have a close-knit arrangement, and the tariff barriers between these groups have been lowered.

The biggest example I quoted in this House twice already. It is referred to here as "the first bold effort on the part of a great industrial nation to stem the tide of economic nationalism." Last year, before Congress in America rose for the summer vacation, President Roosevelt got carried through that House a law which enabled him, on his own order and decree, to lower any tariff as long as he did not lower it by more than 50 per cent. He suggested to the American representatives that he should get that power because it was necessary in the interests of American trade. He did not halt at the implications of his particular reasoning. He said:—

"We cannot sell abroad unless we enable countries to export to us. We must lower our barriers in order to enable the goods to come in that we are prohibiting. If we allow these nations to send in goods to us we get the wheels of commerce and of international trade whirring once more and we will gain in the end from the general uplift that there is going to be all over the world.

That is referred to here as "the new commercial policy of the United States of America and as a bold effort on the part of a great industrial nation to stem the tide of economic nationalism." Following that phrase is a description of the Act that I have described, the President being given power to negotiate commercial treaties and to reduce tariffs to the extent of 50 per cent. He has already concluded nine treaties under that power and has nine more under consideration. His object has been put in this way: The Secretary of State, Mr. Cordell Hull, who inaugurated two discussions at Geneva on the necessity of breaking down these international barriers is quoted as saying:—

"It is urgent in the interests of American trade and of world recovery to exert a determined leadership in the direction of liberal commercial policies in order to restore the equality of treatment upon which alone our foreign commerce can thrive."

That is a generous statement of his viewpoint but nothing very remarkable, nothing that could not have been said by any nation indulging in tariffs. There is then this phrase peculiar to and specially appropriate to the United States.

Speaking on behalf of America he said:—

"Just as we set the vicious example of erecting the trade barriers and high tariffs which induced others to follow us so now we are asking other nations to join us in an attempt to undo the damage our collective action has worked."

Can we pride ourselves that we have more economic sense than all those other countries? Can we even take this to ourselves: that we have circumstances here which are not met anywhere else in the world? Must we say that nowhere else in the world is there a country situate as we are? Is there no one single country about which we can say: "That at any rate is something approaching a model, something approaching an analogy with our circumstances"? If there is any one which people here will admit as being even so slightly comparable that we might get a lead from what those people were thinking in similar circumstances, I would like to hear where it is. I can say without hesitation that if there is one country in the world like ours, then we must further conclude that we are the only country which has taken a different line of reasoning economically to every other country.

The United States ask us to join with them in undoing the vicious system that they themselves created. I think that they have taken a big burden on themselves in saying that they set the vicious example. I should have put France in the forefront of the people who set that vicious example. What is the French situation to-day? Government after Government has come and gone in the last two years. Over 18 months ago the then Prime Minister of France announced that he was setting a policy in France, as far as he could, away from economic nationalism and towards international trade. He followed that up by saying that "in no country in the world could there be given an example where economic self-sufficiency had been a success." In other words, there was no country successful as a result of indulging in a policy of self-sufficiency. Here are we going to set our faces against every modern current, against every economic idea now prevalent, putting our faces towards what was modern politics and modern economics five or seven years ago, and setting ourselves in favour of this, although, after five or seven years' trial, every other country in the world has discovered that this type of self-sufficiency did not pay.

The only thing that the International Labour Office Report laments in this connection is that this wholesale tendency against economic self-sufficiency has been blocked. By what? By the fear of war, and, because there is a fear of war, nations are again running back into what they have tried and found wanting as an economic expedient, and they are running back because if war comes they feel they want themselves to be as self-sufficing as possible and they feel they must do what they believe is economically wrong in order to leave themselves nationally in some position of strength. If we are not too big to learn from other countries, if we have any information about what other countries are doing, if we have even the capacity to analyse what other countries have attempted, and to follow out the attempts they have made; if we have sufficient knowledge of the world to see where these things went wrong; if we had any one of these approaches to an outside situation and had not blinkers on the side of our head, fixing our gaze on this country alone and not allowing it to stray outside, we would have abandoned as a bad concept this whole idea of economic self-sufficiency, particularly in a country like this where there is no raw material except for about three trades, where, if we are to be industrialised, we are up against the handicap that, with three exceptions, we have to import all the raw materials from which we are to fashion goods. And we do all that while at the same time we neglect the only real raw material we have in the country; we seem to be determined that we have no use for that, that we will not use it in so far as getting it into an exchangeable shape and exchanging it with a country that is gasping for our production.

After speaking of economic nationalism, this report has certain mournful chapters on devices about which, at the end, the conclusion is drawn that they have, at any rate, helped to mitigate the hardships of the world depression. They have helped to mitigate these hardships at severe economic pressure upon the people, at the mortgage of the resources of a country, at the tying-up of their capital for years to come; but they are to be blessed in so far as they suffice or help to keep people alive until some other effects of economic nationalism can be discovered and policy reversed in that matter. There are a variety of statements made here about different countries, some of them bearing a moral for this country. The general run of the comments is on this line, that vast sums have been spent on public works, on unemployment insurance, on the dole, and recently the tendency deplored in this report is the further expenditure of vast sums on the unproductive matter of armaments.

With regard to armaments, the phrase is used that the expenditure is very definitely unsound and the comparison made with it is: "It is as unsound as expenditure on dole or relief because there is no return for it." The report goes on to stress the humanitarian aspect of the dole and unemployment insurance to keep people from destitution and keep them alive, but, from the angle of economics, armament expenditure is being classified with the dole as being unsound because there is no return for it. They do remark that the immense sums put into circulation by a variety of measures have shown beneficial returns in the way of putting people into employment, even though the employment may not be lasting and may be of a bad type. It is because of what is said there that I think there is a moral to be drawn in this country.

The Minister for Finance of Germany makes a series of comments of this type. He says he cannot repeat year after year the policy he followed in 1933 for the purpose of creating employment and which he is following again this year for the purpose of armaments, and he adds: "We must put a stop to this system and bring economic life back to its normal methods." He talks about the slight stimulus there has been in what he calls the development of activity in the production of consumers' goods, and he puts that on one side as being not lasting and not very effective. The production that is only good in a country is that which leads to increased activity in regard to capital goods. He says this in regard to Germany, and here we get a picture immediately for this country, that they are spending money on one single purpose and that is, of course, armaments. That, he says, has this repercussion, that certain necessary economic needs will have to be left unsatisfied for a few years more. With regard to house-building he says: "We will not be able to do what otherwise would be quite possible and is in itself necessary. It will have to be postponed because the capital is urgently required for another purpose." He continues: "We are thus storing up potential demand which will prove very useful in the next few years as a means of preventing a collapse when the present activity comes to an end." Then he talks of the development of home production in agriculture and in industry and the development of motor transport.

So Germany is suffering and she has indulged in a lot of devices in order to keep her people alive. Armaments are one form of activity, and the German Minister for Finance says: "If we have to do that now and it is unsound, we have, at any rate, this to comfort ourselves with, that some time soon we will be able to engage in other activities, house-building, road-construction, industrial and agricultural development and motor transport," and there is a potential demand there which they can let loose later and that will create activity in regard to the production and consumption of goods. I wonder could we apply that series of conclusions here? We are not spending on armaments. Have we any potential demands being stored up that we can unloosen in a year or two? I suggest we are exhausting everything that is possible in the way of demands for house-building. We are told by the Minister for Industry and Commerce that he will stand on the success already attending his efforts and the expenses connected with those efforts in regard to industrial production. We have no field of activity ahead in regard to motor transport, because we have thrown the whole field of motor transport into the hands of one monopolist group. We are told also that the Government have done all that any Government could be expected to do in regard to agricultural production and its stimulus, so we apparently have now got to the point that the German Minister for Finance thinks he might be driven to some years hence, but he has that potential demand there stored up ready to be let flow out to turn the wheels of industry once more. We have unloosend all this stored-up energy—house-building, road-making, industrial production, agricultural stimulus. We have attempted them all. Whatever there is in the way of dammed up energy has been let out and we will have to see just what the result has been, because when we exhaust that particular store of energy it is not a potential one any longer. It has been used, and I suggest is nearing the point of exhaustion so we have nothing to look forward to. If we have not a good economic situation permanently created by the letting loose of all those resources, then indeed we are in a sorry plight.

The German Minister for Finance makes one further statement which is not entirely relevant to this part of the discussion, but I think I should quote it here. He refers to the necessity of the Government getting out of business in Germany; the Government should no longer be the person or the unit looked to to create economic activity; the Government should not be asked to apportion orders between the State and private enterprise, and the only future Germany has is by resurrection of private enterprise. In that connection he says:

"This does not mean that private enterprise cannot or should not develop. The development of private enterprise is not something that theentrepreneurs are asking of the State; it is something that the State demands of them. We want men who deserve the name of entrepreneur—that is, men who are prepared to undertake things at their own risk instead of counting, as it has become so common to do so since the war, on the sweets distributed to good little industrialists by a paternal State from its paper-bag labelled `Subsidies.' We want men who combine the necessary and natural desire for gain with a sense of their duty to God and to their fellowmen.”

Are we setting wheels in motion which are going to encourage private enterprise, or are we driven into a position when we will not any longer have men prepared to undertake things at their own risk, but disposed entirely to count on the sweets distributed from the little paper-bag labelled "Subsidies"? If we have got into that position, as well as exhausting the means which other countries think are still stored up for them to unloosen a little later to irrigate the whole industrial field, then of course our position is much worse.

We have attempted a variety of things in three years and a bit. Two years ago or a year ago if one attempted to summarise the situation the answer could readily be given, and was as readily proffered, that there was not time for the development to show itself yet, that it was too early to look for results. Now we have had three and a half years of it, and nobody can say that at any rate a fair deduction as to the likely future may not now be drawn from what has happened in the immediate past. We have subsidised certain crops in agriculture —wheat and beet in the main. The report here says—and I should like to suggest it as a test—that "the most encouraging feature is the steady penetration of the notion that the real test of economic recovery is to be found in the level of social well-being. It is no longer by stock exchange quotations or by statistics of production or by trade returns that progress is now judged——"

Who said that?

The International Labour Office.

Is it the German Minister?

No. It is the greatest common measure of economic sanity in the world. The report says:

"It is no longer by stock exchange quotations, or by statistics of production, or by trade returns that progress is now judged so much as by the number of persons out of work. When all has been said, unemployment still remains the crucial test of economic and social policy. A community which has failed to enable all its citizens to contribute by their work to their own well-being and to the common heritage of the society to which they belong has failed to solve the fundamental problem of statesmanship."

A little later there is one other statement made:

"There is a general view now prevalent that it is the volume of spending that counts more than anything else. A small number of large buyers consume less, and less regularly, than a large number of small buyers."

Let us see what we have done towards creating a large number of small buyers. We have subsidised wheat and beet. It cost us £3,000,000 a year. What is the return? According to the statistics that we have there is no advantageous return, no permanent labour employed on the farms. We have lost 600 permanently employed and we have gained 2,400 employed for about a quarter of the year. Those two figures balance. We have not gained any paid employment on the farms. For that £3,000,000 per annum subsidy what have we gained? The returns show that as far as the families of farmers are concerned there is a nominal gain of 9,000. The peculiar thing is that last year that figure was higher, and in 1934 it was higher than for 1935. The reason for it is easily enough to be seen; that particular return does not necessarily mean people actually employed on farms, because that particular figure was only engineered by returns made up of people who were qualified for certain benefits. The agricultural grant has taken a new turn. It is distributed according to certain qualifications that are set down, and the necessary impact of that upon the farming population of the country is that farmers gain more through the agricultural grant if they return more of their families as working on the farms. In fact, in the year 1934 the number returned was greater than the 9,000. The figure of 9,000, I suggest, does not represent the actual number of people employed, but only some deflation of the enormous inflation of the actual figure which took place owing to the `persuasion of this extra amount of the agricultural grant.

Let us take the figure of 9,000. Let us say there are 9,000, not extra paid labour but extra members of families of farmers working on the land. What are they working for? Are we to count that we have 9,000 small buyers? If we are, we can add the qualification that they are very small buyers. Are they working for wages? What remuneration are they getting? What addition to the purchasing power of the community do they represent? What extra field for activity amongst industrial producers do they offer? What are they except a nominal figure of extra people on the farm thrown in as working, probably not working any more than they used to, and certainly not to any degree, not a measure in money's worth, not a measure in purchasing power, and at the best if there are 9,000 extra small buyers that is what we get in the whole agricultural community for the expenditure per annum of £3,000,000 on two crops. Is that an economic return? If we had no other production it might be worth while suffering this loss—because it is a loss to the community—to get those people doing something, but it is a different matter when we get them by turning our backs on another good type of activity with a production of goods easy for us; with a market, as I say again, yawning wide open to get those goods, and with circumstances attached to this country which would enable us to get for those goods in that market yawning wide open for them better terms than any other producer sending goods into that market can get.

We neglect that out of national pride, and we decide that we are going to subsidise crops of an uneconomic type. Those subsidies are costing this community £3,000,000 per annum, and the best return we can get is an extra 9,000 people. That is the best; I want anybody who thinks there is anything more to be added as the fruits of the agricultural economic policy in this country to tell me where it is, and I want that related to a figure of employment and to a figure of wages, because then I will get the purchasing power that has been created and the benefit that has accrued to the community. I have spoken about the industrial side before and will, presumably, have to speak on it at length and often again. The Minister for Industry and Commerce told the House on one occasion that there was a real barometer to improvement in industrial employment in the country, and that was the Unemployment Insurance Fund. It is a great test, and, possibly, the only test, and a test in which, I think, there cannot be a mistake, with one reservation. If the Minister were to tell me that there was not very good compliance with the Act, we should have to say that, as a test, this particular fund fails. In my time, I had calculations made, and asserted often in the House, and never met with contradiction, that there was no great evasion of the Act. The present Minister for Industry and Commerce has assured me in the House that there is no evasion at the moment more than would be represented by a figure of 2 per cent. I think he put it even much lower—at point something. The Unemployment Insurance Fund is made up of contributions from every employee in insurable occupation, from every employer who has an employee in insurable occupation, and a State grant of a fixed proportion to these two sums, and, as that fund rises or falls, there is a definite barometer to the increase or decrease of those in insurable occupations in this State. It is even better than that, because that fund, analysed, can be made to bring out a tot of figures, and if we take as our comparison men whole-time employed throughout the 52 weeks of the year, we get an exact comparison year by year.

There may be some little evasion of the Act. If it is not extravagant in one year over another, although these figures may be vitiated some 2 or 1 per cent. of their absolute value, for comparative purposes between year and year they are exact. If the contributions made in regard to a person in insurable occupation over very nearly the 52 weeks of the year are analysed, and the calculation made, this is a conclusion that cannot be denied: that the fund swells by £4 in respect of every man in insurable occupation for whom contributions in accordance with the Act are being paid if he is in an insurable occupation for about the 52 weeks of the year. I have asked questions over and over again to get a comparison, and occasionally there is some question raised in this House as to the standard of comparison. I take the full year 1931 as my basis. I had control of the Unemployment Insurance Fund in all of that year. I do not go into the financial year 1931-32 because I had not control of the fund during all of that period and because the latter portion of that period was overclouded by the general election. The year 1931 is a good test and the test will not vary very much, although it will vary somewhat if the financial year is taken instead of the calendar year. In the calendar year 1931, the income of the fund was something over £1,000,000; in the calendar year 1935, it had gone up to £1,105,000; in my last year, it was £1,009,000; and the comparison I want to make is between 1931 and 1935. The Insurance Fund had swelled by something short of £100,000 in that period. To reduce that to terms of men, or to terms of persons employed in industry in insurable occupations, we divide by four. The increase in that fund means that in the year 1935, there were 25,000 more people in employment right through the year than there had been in 1931.

Is that due to tariffs? Is that due to new industry in this country? To what is it due? I suggest that there is one activity in this country which must strike the ordinary beholder—the building industry. If the ordinary beholder cannot believe the evidence of his own eyes, he has certain statistical information to fall back on. In the month of October, in 1934, the Minister for Industry and Commerce was alarmed at the statements made in the Press about the growth of unemployment, and he summoned the Press into conference and issued a statement to them. In the course of that statement, he asks people to turn their view away from unemployment, and to direct it much more healthily upon the aspect of employment, the actual people put into occupations. One would have thought that the Minister for Industry and Commerce in 1934, full of pride in the industries and the factories and the work houses which had come into being in the country, would have spoken to the Press representatives about industry. He did not. He said:—

"The evidence of substantially increased employment was fully supported by evidence from sources such as the production returns of employment in the tariffed industries——

and then he threw that aside, never to be mentioned again. He then said:—

"—but notably by the following: In house-construction—in 1926-27, the number of houses built was 3,711, giving average direct employment to 7,800 people; in 1933-34, the number of houses built was 6,960, giving average direct employment to 14,700 people.

He was speaking in terms of average direct employment and he went on to say:—

"However, in May, 1934, the estimated direct employment in house-construction was 21,500 people."

That is in the year in which he said there were 6,960 houses built. I was anxious to find out just what that figure meant, and I asked a series of questions to discover whether that related to houses built and completed, or to houses built and in course of completion, and I find that, for the year 1932, the number of houses completed and in progress was 7,316. It is so near the calculation made by the Minister in 1934 that I think that was what was meant. In the year ended the 31st March, 1933, there were 7,316 houses either built or in course of completion by private persons, public utility societies and local authorities, and the Minister tells us that on a tot of 6,960 houses, there is average direct employment to 14,700 people. In the year ended 31st March, 1935, the number of houses completed and in progress had gone up to 25,898, and in the year ending the 31st March, 1936, the number of houses completed and in process of completion had gone up to 38,616. I ask that a simple deduction be made from that.

Seven thousand houses give average direct employment to 14,000 people— it is something over two per house. How many people were given employment when the number of houses had risen to 25,000 in the financial year ended March, 1935, and in the last year had risen to 38,000? The figure must be doubled, at any rate. If a mere total of 7,000 houses under completion can give direct employment to 14,000 people, 38,000 houses, or, taking the earlier year ending 31st March, 1935, nearly 26,000 houses, must have given a great deal larger direct average employment. Suppose we take it at only one and a half per house either completed or in progress, which, I understand, is another calculation, we find that there were 37,000 people getting direct employment in house-building alone. They are not all new because there was some house-building being done in our time.

I asked questions of the Minister for Local Government about that, and was told that the average employment given in 1930 was about 3,000 to 4,000 people. Let me take it at 4,000 people. House-building, therefore, is responsible for a vast total of people employed. I do not attempt to make an exact calculation from that, but if 7,000 houses can give direct average employment to 14,000 people, the direct employment average given by the construction of either 38,000 or 25,000 houses must be many times 7,000. If I take the tot of two to a house, there are 50,000 finding employment in the year ending 31st March, 1935, and the number should have risen, in the year ending 31st March, 1936, to about 70,000 people.

Now, that is the main activity. It must be remembered that employment in house-building is an insurable occupation. Every person who is engaged in building a house stamps a card and gets a contribution into the Unemployment Insurance Fund for him. If you have 25,000 people extra—that is to say, if you have 30,000 people engaged in house-building—you have exhausted the increase in the Unemployment Insurance Fund. You have drained the full tide of new work in so far as that was represented by the Unemployment Insurance Fund. I have recited these figures from time to time. The Minister can tell me, at any moment he likes, that his calculation made to the Press, made deliberately, because he said himself it was backed by statistical information, was wrong and an exaggeration. I should like him to tell us by how much was it an exaggeration. Calculations that I have got, made in another way, do not show that it was very much of an exaggeration, and if I take the tot of a man and a half per house, either completed or in progress, for the year ending 31st March, 1935, there must have been about 37,000 people finding employment through house-building alone. That would mean an increase in the Unemployment Insurance Fund of £148,000, but the Unemployment Insurance Fund only showed an increase of £100,000.

What has happened to industry in the country? Perhaps I may be permitted to refer again to the German Minister for Finance to the effect that the potential forms of energy to get industrial progress going in any country are economic activity, improving agriculture and improving industry, and Germany, looking after motor-transport, house-building and road-making, we have forestalled already on road-making. We are exhausting any demand there is for houses. We have done all that the Government think they ought to do in regard to industrial production. They are subsidising farming to the extent of £3,000,000 a year on two crops alone, and the whole increase represented by the increase in the Unemployment Insurance Fund figures shows that a tot of 25,000 people, whole-time, employed in building will more than account for all that number. Now, there are advantages from building. Building is a good social activity. It is a good amenity. House-building has now become one of the matters that have to be subsidised permanently—at least, relating the term "permanently" to our own lives. There is a fair amount of money put into circulation in this country as a result of house-building activity. The Ministry say that there is a fair amount of money put into circulation through subsidies to wheat and beet. How is the community faring? Is there any improvement? In America, the report says that, although some of this activity may be wasteful, at any rate it has this good result: that during one, two, or three years a big number of people are raised from the ranks of the unemployed and put into occupation; that they become a large number of small buyers and, as such, develop a certain amount of purchasing power, and that creates a demand for goods. We have 27,000 people getting wages for building. We have something in the way of subsidies for agriculture from the moneys being thrown out into circulation through the veins of this country, and what is the return? Wages have gone down. Agricultural wages are down to the extent that the community is losing in purchasing power a sum of over £800,000. Industrial wages are down to an extent that, even if we were to count this 25,000 people or so as being in a good type of employment, the average purchasing power of the moneys they get is defeated by the decrease in the wages paid all round.

Wages in agriculture are down and wages in industry are down. There is no extra purchasing power. What is happening? If the private individual cannot earn enough to pay his way, he must do one of three or four things. He may borrow as long as he can get credit. He may cash in certain reserves as long as they last, or he may just flatly refuse to pay his bills and run into debt. Does there seem to be any increase in debt in this country? Clearly there is. Rates are in arrear. Rates are definitely worse in arrear than they used to be. The moneys that are being withheld from the local authorities in order to pay the arrears of land annuities have increased. In 1934 the amount withheld was less than £500,000. In 1935 it had increased to £1,185,000, and in 1936 it had increased to £1,299,000—and that after all arrears of annuities had been forgiven at a particular period and the annuities have been halved. In regard to the halved annuities, however, the debt as represented by the moneys withheld from the local authorities to meet these defalcations has gone up from less than £500,000 to one and a third million pounds.

The Minister told us, during the course of the Budget discussion, that the National Debt had advanced by £5,885,000, and we know that in two years the local authorities' debts increased by £5,000,000. There is a tot of almost £11,000,000 if there is no overlapping between these two figures, and there is undoubtedly some overlapping. In any event, the ratepayers of the country are running into debt more than they used to. People who have got to pay only the halved annuity are more and more falling into arrear in the payment of the halved annuity. The National Debt has gone up by almost £6,000,000, and the local authorities' debt, in a period of two years, has gone up by £5,000,000 and, in a period of three years, by £6,000,000 and we do not know what increase, if any, there has been up to the 31st March this year from the 31st March last year.

The National Debt is on the increase, the local authorities' debt is on the increase, the ratepayers' debts are on the increase, the land annuities debts are on the increase, and although there has been a fair circulation of money, amounting to very big sums, through activities on building, and through the subsidising of certain uneconomic crops, despite that fact, our resources are being wasted. The waste should have brought about as much good as it brought about in other countries, and there should be better circulation of money, more purchasing power, and some uplift for some type of industry. Our only plus is 9,000 farmers in agriculture, and whatever the building industry shows, but debts everywhere else. Not merely that, but the Government had the advantage of spending a considerable amount more than they took from local authorities through forced debt on the State, and spending it on house-building. They also spent an enormous amount of money otherwise. The extra taxation gathered in —if we add in this year, which we can see in prospect—for the other four years amounts to £26,750,000 more than used to be taken. The Government has had the pleasure and the advantage of spending £26,750,000 more, spread over the five years, than used to be spent. There is still a sum of £2,000,000 that used to be collected— and that is still collected—from the taxpayers in each one of these five years which used to be remitted to England, but which is now kept at home. That is £10,000,000 in five years, and when added to the additional taxation makes £36,750,000, while the National Debt and the local authorities' debt is somewhere between £5,800,000 and £11,000,000.

I can only discover in the Minister's speech an overlapping of £1,500,000, but there is another £10,000,000. There you have £43,750,000—and I emphasise that—gathered from the people and spent. What have we got? Is there anything else? We might abolish the £46,000,000 spent if we were to do like Russia. We are turning from one phase of production which was bad to another phase of production not so good or so bad. We are turning waste spaces and desert places into productive areas. One might tolerate the expenditure of money, but what permanent benefit is this country getting from that expenditure over four years? What permanent benefit is the country going to get for the expenditure of nearly £50,000,000? Let us get back to the speech. As far as activity is represented by men in employment we get a suspected total of £9,000 extra farmers' families working on the land, and we get whatever employment is given by the passing phase in the building industry. There is nothing permanent about building; certainly nothing permanent about building which is being subsidised, and rents which have to be borne by ratepayers other than those who live in the houses. There is nothing of permanent benefit in attempting to have rooted into this country two crops that are entirely uneconomic; certainly two crops about which no man can say he sees the day when subsidies will end and that the crops will continue. For our wasted money there is no return of a permanent type. We can say, as is said in the report, that we have kept certain people from destitution. There need not be any question of destitution if the markets that were open to us had been gripped, and if the old type of production had been allowed to go on. Even if we were to forget the blunders and to count only the plusses we could say that certain people we found out of occupation had been kept alive and kept from destitution, always excepting the orders of the Minister for Industry and Commerce deeming people to be employed who have not got employment. We know that they have been kept from destitution at the enormous cost of nearly £50,000,000 in five years.

But that is not the worst. People may ask: How did we meet the extravagance? We met it in the way that an ordinary individual would meet it when faced with the same situation. Farmers are saving in every way possible. Money is not spent on outbuildings, needed repairs are not being done, while the power of the land, live stock, and the moneys they had are all being exhausted. The banks have noted time and again the tendency of people to withdraw small deposits in order to live upon them, and that is backed also by another movement, that money that this country had invested abroad is being cashed-in by people to live on. It might be a good thing to call home moneys invested abroad if we could get them invested here. Are we getting them invested here? If not, there is a permanent loss, because moneys invested abroad brought in dividends. They brought in certain returns which helped to bridge the gap, and it is a widening gap, between our visible exports and our visible imports. If we lose on a certain part of current investments, and do not get a return at home, we have wasted money, and we have exhausted through taxation all the luxuries of the country. We have got to the point when Ministers must stand up and say, as two of them did say, that they are going to tax the working people because that is the only way to get the taxes; that they are going to tax necessities because they are things that people must buy. We are at the point that we are going to tax these things because the rest have failed. We have dragged in that through mulcting the poor and the middle classes and everybody else on their bread, butter, sugar and tea, and we are getting nearly £27,000,000 extra in forced taxation over what used to be got. The Government has had the advantage of spending nearly £50,000,000 but there is no permanent reduction. There is not even a temporary reduction that anybody could pride himself on.

We get definitely to this point, that if the building industry were to stop to-morrow the Unemployment Insurance Fund goes back to a lower point than it was in 1931, and if we were to decide to save £3,000,000 on it it would be well worth the saving. We did not get any decrease in paid employment. All we got is certain people entered as working on their fathers' farms who would not be entered any longer, and would continue to do the same work as they did before. The report I quoted from does point to that as a distressing feature of world production. If a huge amount of money was spent, although relieving a certain amount of destitution, rather wastefully, from the humanitarian aspect it is praised because it kept people alive, from the angle of pure economics it is derided and the International Labour Office report founds itself in the first chapter and in the last chapter in this—that there is only one hope for the world, and that is that the idea of economic self-sufficiency will be rooted out by hard experience from the minds of the people, and that they will get back to some sort of freedom in international trade. They point out in the pages of the report that the tendency against economic nationalism was developing fast under the hard pressure of economic facts and experience, and they deplore that that tendency is now getting a set-back because of the new fear of war all over the world which is driving people to expenditure on armaments which they describe as unproductive as the dole or relief schemes. Unless we are to imagine that we are more blessed in our economic views and have more forethought in our economic plans and chances of reaching our objectives from the pursuit of these plans than any nation for five years has reached, unless all these impossible things are to be regarded as either possibilities or certainties, we look fair to close some period in which there will be nothing to record as gain. We will have spent a sum of £50,000,000 that might have been used profitably to help people who are in a good type of production to better develop that type of production and to get proper returns.

We are faced at the moment with taxation imposed on all the necessities of life. We get that done at a time when the Minister for Industry and Commerce tells us that the whole unemployment problem turns on 40,000 people. So he said, as reported on the 1st May. Within a week he was saying that under his new Turf Development Bill alone he was going to find employment for 50,000 people. His problem is not merely solvable but is within sight of being solved if that be true. Yet in these circumstances, when we are faced with only 40,000 unemployed, and when the Minister for Industry and Commerce has the answer to that problem, the Government decides on a grand policy of public works to be financed out of savings on other Votes, and by forced votes from local authorities, in order to end a problem that only concerns 40,000 people and that is in process of being solved by the Turf Bill! The Minister for Finance prides himself on doing all this and on having kept within the system. I take it the use of that phrase was in answer to comments made here repeatedly by Deputy Norton and sometimes by adherents of his. Deputy Norton has often asked the President to remember the words that he used here on one occasion, that if he could not get a cure for unemployment within the present economic system he would not hesitate to go outside it. I often wonder when Deputy Norton asks him to go outside the system what does Deputy Norton mean? Has he a scheme? The House is nauseated with schemes and plans but let him risk producing his plan outside the system and let us see it.

The Minister said that he is inside the system. Is he? I take "the system" to be the capitalist system. It does not require the putting on of any white sheet for anybody to say that the capitalist system was notable for many defects. There were many errors connected with the capitalist system and many faults flowed from it. The Minister says he has kept within it. Has he? I always understood that one of the benefits of the capitalist system was that, by a constant process of economic warfare, enterprise was encouraged and that people who had got old and stale in certain types of industrial activity were being urged out by people with better brains and with better enterprise. As long as there was a free field existing in the country, there was an outlet for talent and courage. Whatever might be the evils of the capitalist system —and it was said that there was no appreciation of the human element behind it—the people derived certain advantages from the economic warfare that went on because goods were produced cheaply. A man who had only a small amount of money to spend was able to purchase the necessities of life very cheaply indeed.

What is our situation? Long ago in this country, not by deliberate legislation but by a series of judicial decisions on legislation as it was passed, the licensed trade in this country got into a peculiar position. Men in that trade found after a very short period that premises which they owned had their value considerably enhanced because of the view taken that a new licence must not be granted until an old one was destroyed. The licensed trade became a sort of closed borough but, at any rate, other fields of activity were open to people here. I find resolutions now emanating more and more frequently from industrial associations in this country calling attention to the fact that industry is getting near the saturation point. The Minister for Industry and Commerce has been frequently asked to introduce legislation to license all future industries in order to avoid over-saturation in production. I know that is the viewpoint held by a few industrialists in this country. It was presented to me in such a form that it amounted to a detailed demand to form statutory rings in two industries and to give people in these industries power to prohibit anybody else coming in. Here we get a certain industrial association coming out in the open and demanding generally that all future industries should be licensed in order to prevent over-saturation.

I should have thought that the impact of that would have been realised more keenly by Labour representatives than by anybody else. Do those who stand for Labour in this country want to see industries getting into the grip of small groups so that nobody is allowed to go into those industries except a Government Minister or those to whom the groups will allow a further licence to be given? If that system is developed, does it not mean that we are going to get in every industry a system that pertains, say, in the licensed trade? Yet, these are the demands that are put up. And the Minister, whose Government has brought about a situation for the licensing of almost everything, thinks that he is keeping within the present system. Where is there any of the good elements of capitalism in men coming into this country and getting loans and credits to start industries, getting certain goods declared reserved commodities, getting a free hand by the prohibition of any competition either external or internal—getting all these in circumstances in which the prices of their products cannot be controlled? Not merely do we get that in circumstances in which prices to the consumer cannot be controlled, but there is no possible control of these people in relation to the wages they pay to their employees and the consequent benefits that might be gained through the increased purchasing power of these employees.

We have a Prices Commission of which I have spoken often before. It met recently to discuss the prices that were charged for certain minerals. The Chairman of the Commission, after certain evidence was given, drew the attention of the witness who was speaking to the fact that the dividend he had declared in his industry for the year—at least what he had given in profits and what he had put to reserve —amounted to 22½ per cent. on the capital. The Chairman of the Commission professed himself aghast that a price could be charged which would bring a return of 22½ per cent. on the capital and, after getting that information and after being astounded by it, the Chairman of the Prices Commission dismissed the witness with the phrase: "Now, you will remember the consumer in future, won't you?" And this is the way prices are to be controlled, and these are the safeguards that the Prices Commission attempts to give to consumers in the country. That is the system that is being developed.

This is the Finance Bill. It is the Department of the Minister for Industry and Commerce the Deputy is referring to.

The Minister for Finance purports to bring in a Bill to tax certain imports, but what he is really doing is closing in certain preserves for certain people with the view that they may exploit them, and we are asked to believe that the Prices Commission will produce a system to protect the consumers, yet when the activities of some of these people were brought to the notice of the Prices Commission we were told that they were not materially relevant. When we come to consider the impossible task that they have to deal with, it is not surprising that they cannot do it. But it is a clear scandal that when 22½ per cent. is revealed, only the mildest exhortation, to remember the consumer in the future, is given. When the Commission dismisses a person with no greater rebuke than that, we need not be surprised if he comes along next year with another increase of 22½ per cent. We have got here a capitalistic system that includes all the evils and none of the good. There is no field now for enterprise.

Everyone now who wants to engage in the sale and production of goods, in certain fields, must waste his time on a Government Minister's doorstep seeing whether he will get a licence, and if he does get it, will the conditions imposed upon him enable him to import raw materials under the conditions allowed to somebody in the same field of activity. Business activity is now at an end owing to the action of one of our Ministers, and as far as development and enterprise are concerned, they are things of the past. That is owing to the position of certain industries. The only hope people have in the future is this: We heard at length in this House of tariffs and how they would act. There must be an impression created, through talk in this House, and an impression created outside this House, that industries represented by tariffs represent the majority of the productive work of the country. They do not. They represent a small minority, and that is the only security the future has. But there are other things.

I do not blame any artisan for determining to get more in the way of wages than he has at present, if he sees uncontrolled prices being charged. No section of the community would stand for a policy of tariffs in order that private owners should get everything rather than that the purchasing power of the community should be increased. We are not having an increased number of small buyers because wages have gone down, and whatever increase there is in industrial wages is more than offset by the prices paid for commodities. We are not having any large number of small buyers. We may generally see a certain amount of display; there may be a small number of large buyers. People have made profits out of the necessities of the community, because they are protected against any competition which would bring their prices down to some sort of level, and the Minister says he is keeping within the system. He is keeping within the system, but it is not yielding what he wants, and, therefore, he has to tax the bread, butter and sugar of everyone in the community.

This is what we have been brought to by what is called Christian Socialism. The truth is there is not much Christianity in it and very little Socialism. I do not think, except in Canada, there is anything to equal the situation here. In Canada it was discovered that not only had they high tariffs as we have here, but the manufacturers were not content with the extra profits they had made, but decided to use these higher profits without giving any benefit to their employees. They got their profits from the consumer and they were determined to keep them from the employees. But the worst reaction of this policy is that some good industrialists in this country are being tarred with the brush of the bad industrialists. And there is a possibility of such a revulsion of public feeling here through the performance of people who use tariffs for their own purposes that there will be no decent tariff policy possible in the future.

The Government will have taxed the people of the country to the extent of £26,750,000 this year, and they are doing that without any permanent benefit accruing to the community. There is to be an uplift, we are told, such as there is in no other country through the expenditure of this money. Despite all this crushing taxation, the Minister is proud of the improved cultural outlook and social development that is reflected in the body of the people this year.

In view of the fact that it is proposed to conclude the debate on the Vote for the Office of the Minister for Justice this evening——

Tell us something about the Budget.

——I do not propose to delay the House in order to answer the vague and rather formless speeches delivered from the Opposition Benches on the Second Reading of this measure. The only really concrete thought which they endeavoured to express was that the country was being overtaxed and that there had been a considerable increase in the cost of living. For instance, Deputy John Marcus O'Sullivan said that he had nothing but condemnation for the extraordinary level of taxation. He referred to the increase—the unnecessary increase, he declared—in the cost of probably every commodity purchased by the poor as well as by the better-off. Deputy Anthony followed in the same strain. He said that every commodity has increased in price as compared with the price in Northern Ireland and Great Britain. The tenor of Deputy Mulcahy's speech was the same. Now, these are statements which can be perfectly well tested by official figures, by figures computed upon a basis which was laid down by a committee of inquiry into the cost-of-living index figure in 1922, and confirmed as a reliable basis by a committee I set up in 1932, ten years later. What do these figures show? They show that in February, 1931—a year fairly comparable with this—the cost-of-living figure for the Saorstát was 164. By February, 1936, the figure had fallen to 154. In August, 1931, the figure was 157. In August last year, it was 156. In November, 1931, the figure was 165. In November last year, it was 162. In May, 1931, the figure was 156. In May this year, it was 157. Whatever else may be argued from these figures, one thing is clear—that is, that, compared with the cost of living in the Free State in 1931, there has been no increase and that, over the average of the 12 months, which ended with May of this year, there has been a decrease.

Will the Minister give us the sub-heads on which the figure is computed?

An attempt has been made to challenge the accuracy of the figures. I think I may fairly claim that our cost-of-living index number is a much more reliable indication of the trend of the cost of living—and it cannot be anything more than an indication of the trend—than exists elsewhere in Europe. There has been a later examination and verification of the basis upon which that figure is compiled than has been made elsewhere. The basis of the computation of the figure is the household budget or basket of the average working-class family. In that conceptual quantity there are included 24 items for foodstuffs; 34 items for clothing; eight items for fuel and light, an item for rent and three items for sundries. I think that that does represent the average distribution of expenditure in a working-class household and, it being the average budget of a working-class household, there are included in it all these taxes upon tea, sugar, and other things which, it is alleged, we have imposed upon the people. After making allowance for these taxes—every one of them goes into the cost of the commodity—we find that the cost of living in the Free State for the year ended May, 1936, is lower than the average cost for the year which ended May, 1931. I do not think that it is necessary for me to say anything more than that. That single fact is a conclusive answer to all the speeches to which we have listened from the Opposition during the course of this debate.

I do not wish to pursue Deputy McGilligan through his commentary on the Report of the International Labour Office. I did not hear the whole of it. I do understand that he quoted some references to show that, whereas economic nationalism was leading the world to destruction, the three countries in which economic recovery was most marked were the Argentine, Canada and U.S.A. As to the United States and as to Canada, I think it cannot be contended that they are low-tariff countries. They seem to have pursued the same policy of trying to make themselves self-contained that the present Government has adopted. They have followed—particularly the U.S.A.—in the footsteps of this Government in regard to one or two important matters. They have endeavoured, as we have endeavoured from the beginning, to raise the level of agricultural prices. They have embarked on large schemes of social reconstruction. If a comparison were made of the efforts by the different countries to deal with the housing problem, it would, I think, be found that the efforts we have made have been on a larger and—shall I say?—better-designed plan than those of any other country.

One of the things in connection with housing which struck me most forcibly a couple of years ago when reading a book by Dr. Sprague, who, I think, was chief adviser to the Federal Reserve system in America, was the statement that the one public work which he— conservative and all as he was in regard to financial matters—was prepared to admit was sound economically was the provision of decent homes for the people. In his analysis of the effects of such a campaign he did show that expenditure of that sort was bound in the end to be reproductive. Even Deputy McGilligan, in the course of his speech here to-night, had to admit that the present repercussions of our housing campaign upon the economic position of the community had been wholly beneficial. In the course of my Budget statement I showed conclusively that of the amount of money which this Government had raised by borrowing, by far the larger part had been utilised to finance the present housing campaign.

Deputy McGilligan, while admitting that there were economically sound features in the housing campaign, went on to quote from statements made by the Minister for Finance in Germany, the exact bearing of which upon the latter part of his speech and some of the other statements he made I did not quite appreciate. He quoted the statement of the Minister of Finance that, while Germany was spending unreproductively on armaments, they were at least storing up a certain unsatisfied demand which would become effective in future years. In commendation of this statement, Deputy McGilligan said: "We"—that is, the community of the Free State—"have unloosed all this stored-up energy, and it will be soon exhausted." In this way he seemed to indicate that if he were able to influence the financial and social policy of this Government, he would urge us to adopt the policy adopted in Germany— that is, to expend our resources upon a wholly uneconomic and unjustifiable increase in armaments, so as to help to make the world a dangerous place for peaceful people. Deputy MacGilligan therefore would compel us to deny to the people who want houses the homes which they want, and to deny to the people who want social and public services the social and public services which they want, in order that the money which should be spent upon bricks, mortar and slates would be spent upon steel, gun-metal, aeroplanes and instruments of war generally.

Now, there is no comparison between the position that exists here and the position in Germany. The German Minister quite properly intimated to the German people that they could not continue to indulge in the policy of expenditure which has been pursued by them for years. Why? Because under every guise and on all fronts Germany has been borrowing in order to carry out a huge programme of public works, and now a huge rearmament programme also. The German Minister himself admitted that, notwithstanding all this expenditure, there had been but an inconsiderable increase in the production of consumers' goods. He seemed to think that even that inconsiderable increase was not a desirable thing; that the economic outcome of the policy which his Government was pursuing, and which he would like to see, was not an increase in consumers' goods, but an increase in the production of capital goods. Yet in the same speech, in which Deputy McGilligan threw this as the authoritative statement before the House of a person whose lead in economics he was prepared to follow, he quoted, and also with approval, another extract from the report of the International Labour Office which said that unless there is an increase in the social standard there is no true economic recovery. How can you have an increase in the social standard unless there is an increase in the production and consumption of consumers' goods? The mere fact that Deputy McGilligan is prepared to put those two quotations before the House, and apparently give them his endorsement, shows how unconsidered has been the whole debate here this evening, because the two statements are inconsistent with each other. Deputy McGilligan must either accept the dictum of the German Minister for Finance, that an increase in the amount of consumers' goods is not desirable, and reject the report of the International Labour Office upon which Deputy Mulcahy as well as Deputy McGilligan relies, or he must accept the report of the International Labour Office and reject the statement of the German Minister of which he seemed to approve.

But Deputy McGilligan did say one thing which merits more attention— that what matters is the volume of spending. The point is that the International Labour Commission had come to the conclusion that what matters is the volume of spending. I would say quite frankly that a large part of the Government's policy for the last three or four years has been designed to increase the spending power and the purchasing power of the poorer elements in the community for the reason which Deputy McGilligan himself put forward in the House this evening, that the volume of spending is greater if you have a large number of comparatively small spenders as against a smaller number of people who could be large spenders but who, because all their needs are satisfied long before their purchasing power is exhausted, do not spend all that they could spend within the community——

Then why did you talk about reducing the taxation by £2,000,000 before you came into office?

At this moment I am concerned merely to point out the inconsistencies in the long speech which Deputy McGilligan delivered to the House this evening. He condemns us because we have apparently increased the amount of taxation. As I admitted in the course of my Budget statement, the tax revenue of the country is up by £3,900,000; the amount we are spending on social services is increased by £4,300,000.

And by how much has the National Debt gone up?

It does not follow that the burden of this increased taxation has fallen most heavily upon the poorer sections of the community. The figures which I have given as to the cost of living in the year 1936 as compared with 1931 show, at any rate, that so far as those commodities which are subject to indirect taxation are concerned, the people are better off to-day than in 1931. There are other significant figures. Deputy McGilligan, I notice, did not deal with the declining yield of income-tax. Each year, in the course of these debates, it used to be his stock argument. I presume the reason was because the figures given in reply to a question in this House some weeks ago show that so far as those who earn smaller incomes and are married and have to support families are concerned, they are much better off now than in 1931, even though the standard rate of income-tax now is 4/6 as against the standard rate of 3/6 income-tax in 1931. In 1931-32 a married man with two children and an income of £350 a year paid £2 7s. 3d. income-tax. To-day he pays nothing. If he had three children in 1931 and an income of £375 he paid £1 19s. 4d.; to-day he pays nothing. If he had four children in 1931-32 and had an income of £400 he paid £1 11s. 6d.; to-day he pays nothing. If he had five children in 1931 with an income of £425 he would pay £1 3s. 7d.; to-day he pays nothing.

There are no children now.

He will pay 10d. a lb. more if he uses the cheaper tea.

The answer to that is that man does not live by tea alone. The cost-of-living figure is lower now than in 1931, when General Mulcahy had a voice in determining the Budget in this country and when he had a voice in determining the amount to be spent on social services. The social services then were managed in a more niggardly manner than they are to-day. When Deputies consider the figures I have given to the House they will understand why it is that the taxpayers last year were able to spend more on tobacco, beer, entertainments, motor cars, petrol transport and on every one of the social amenities of life than they were able to spend in 1931-32, because the economic condition of the country is improving. When the world economic survey comes to deal with the Free State in 1935-36, I am perfectly certain that they will say that among those countries in which improvement was most marked was this country under the present Fianna Fáil Government.

I am puzzled about the cost-of-living figures. Will the Minister explain how the cost of living has come down, as the price of flour is up 10/- per sack, the price of sugar, probably, by 1½d. per lb., and the price of tea by 10d? I represent a rural constituency and, for the information of these people, I should like the Minister to explain how he arrived at these figures.

If the Deputy will ask Deputy Mulcahy how they arrived at his figures in 1931-32 and what the cost of these commodities was then, he will understand.

I should like to say that the Minister's reply to the debate which took place here is only an insult to the House. It is disrespectful to his office and is a sample of what legislation under one-Chamber Government is going to be.

Question put and declared carried.
Committee Stage to be taken on Tuesday next.

Up to what date will amendments be received?

Up to 11 a.m. on Saturday, I suggest, because there are difficulties in connection with printing. Deputies should endeavour to submit their amendments as early as possible.

I appreciate that.