Finance Bill, 1936—Committee.

Question proposed: "That Section 1 stand part of the Bill."

The Minister has simply denied that the average yield from income-tax has decreased. I think the Minister, in asking the House to pass an income-tax rate of 4/6 in the £ ought to give the House some information. The total yield per 1/- of income-tax in the year 1931-2 would appear to be £1,170,000, but the yield per 1/- since the income-tax rate was raised to 4/6 has substantially diminished. I suggest to the Minister that it has diminished by at least £170,000 in spite of the fact that he has been having a very large screw put down on the income-tax payers of all kinds. It is a matter of interest that the House should hear from the Minister what are the reasons why this fall in the capacity of the income-tax payers to pay income-tax has come about, and whether he has any remarks to make.

Do I understand the Minister is refusing to reply?

The Minister asked if he was to be called on to conclude.

It is not necessary. The House has an opportunity of hearing the Minister. The House has never heard the Minister say anything except that certain reliefs were given to people with small salaries. I should like to ask the Minister what is the total of that relief which has been given. It is a matter of interest to the House to see that, on the surface, at any rate, in so far as the figures provided by the Minister are concerned, the income-tax payers are not able to make the same return per 1/- income-tax as they were able to make before the present economic state of affairs came about. It is a matter upon which the Minister should say something to the House because the facts are that there has been a drop of about £750,000 or £800,000 that the House would have expected would have been raised in income-tax if the income of the people was sustained in the same way as it was in the year 1931-2. Although the rate of income-tax has been raised by such an amount as would warrant getting in more than we did last year by the sum of more than £750,000 that £750,000 has vanished. It could only have vanished, apart from what the Minister said in regard to any reliefs that have been given, through a falling off in the income of income-tax payers. When the Minister is asking the House to pass such a large income-tax rate as 4/6 in the £ we are entitled to hear some explanation from the Minister of the manifestations that the income of the income-tax payers in the country has fallen.

Silence is might!

The Minister might as well be at the Curragh races.

There is another aspect of this——

Could not the Deputy make his speech at once?

I have asked the Minister on several occasions in a reasonable way for some comment on this very serious aspect of our finances, not only of our national finances but of the domestic finances of our people. We are dealing this year with a Budget which has put a burden of taxation on the people higher by probably £200,000 than the Emergency Budget of 1932-3. We have every indication throughout the country of the way in which farmers, labourers and wage-earners are hit by the present conditions. Here we have a burden being placed on income-tax payers that was in fact reduced—had to be reduced —a year or two ago by reason of the fact that it was apparent to the Minister that the income-tax payers could not bear the taxation which was being then imposed on them. With even this reduced tax of 4/6 it is obvious to the Minister and must be obvious to the Government generally that there is a substantial fall in the capacity of income-tax payers to bear this tax. Surely when we are starting off on what the Minister himself promised last year was going to be our first normal Budget, and when the size of that normal Budget is bigger than the Emergency Budget which the Minister first introduced four years ago, we are entitled to hear from him some comment on the situation disclosed by the falling off in the returns for income-tax.

I do not know if this section is the one which makes Schedule A operative, but I should like to protest against the continuation of the purposes of the Schedule A assessment in that last year it was made on five-fourths, and this year it is continuing at that rate.

I think that matter arises on a different section, Section 5.

I think, Sir, on this important matter we ought not to pass Section 1 without hearing the Minister.

I really think the Minister ought to give us some indication of the reasons that have compelled him to have income-tax remaining at what it is. When the Minister was in opposition I remember the very forcible case he made from this side of the House that the income-tax levy at that time was a handicap to the extension of industry in this country. I am sure the Minister does not forget all that himself. As a matter of fact, the Minister was very impressive in pointing out that, unless there was a very substantial reduction in income-tax, there could not be expected in this country any expansion of industry. The Minister seems to have forgotten all that. He appears to think that the right thing to do now is to extract, in any way he can, all the money that can be extracted by way of income-tax.

Surely, when the Minister says that there is a dwindling-off in the income-tax returns, and when he is not able to collect what he thought he would be able to collect on a certain figure, he ought to see that there is something wrong and to realise that it is the writing on the wall. If we are to have any faith whatever in his sincerity and to hark back to what he said when he was in Opposition, there is every reason for him to be nervous of the present situation. If the Minister has any information, I think he ought to take the House into his confidence and tell us exactly what he thinks of the position that exists in the country at the present time. The Minister knows the way in which the farmers are crippled at the present time, and he knows the way in which they have had to be spoon-fed. He knows that that spoon-feeding is at the expense of the nation, and that it has to be done in order to keep the farmers on their feet at all. Will the Minister tell us how long is that going to continue, and does he think that he can keep up that position indefinitely either by increasing income-tax or by maintaining it at a figure which is not making a proper-return? Surely, the Minister will realise that we are entitled to some information on the matter and that we ought, at least, to have his mind on the present situation in the country?

I should like to add a further word, Sir, as to why we must regard the situation disclosed by the income-tax returns as being so serious. We do know that the wages of agricultural labourers throughout the country have been very substantially reduced, but in spite of a growing population in the country there were less agricultural labourers employed last year than in 1931. We know that farmers' prices for the produce that was their main source of income are practically halved. We know that their condition is such that farmers, generally, throughout the country, for the last two financial years, have ended up owing the Land Commission and the county councils £2,250,000—a position they were never in before— and that for two years' running now, that position has been stabilised. Yesterday a reference was made to the large number of farmers in the country who, from the point of view of the Land Commission, are not able to pay their way. We have now final information from the Minister for Industry and Commerce with regard to the position of those industrial concerns that are covered by the Census of Production, and we know that such additions as have been made to the number of industrial workers in these industries in the last three years of the Fianna Fáil régime were additions to industry at average wages of 18/7 a week.

That discussion is rather wide of income-tax.

Well, Sir, it shows how heavy the burden of government is, if any portion of it has to be borne substantially, on the one hand, by farmers, and, on the other hand, by agricultural labourers or by the new additions to the wage-earning classes in industry. We now have our first normal Budget. The first normal Budget shows an increase in expenditure over the emergency Budget, and, from anything that the Minister has indicated to us, the burden of government is going to increase rather than to decrease, and any increase in the burden of government must be borne by an increase in income-tax rather than by an increase in the costs of the various necessities of life that have borne the burden of taxation in the last two years—costs that are daily becoming more burdensome to the people of the country, who are in the position that they are spending less on clothing, less on boots, and less on the necessities of life than ever they spent before.

A speech on the Budget generally would not be relevant now.

But, Sir, the position disclosed in the Minister's statement is that we are going to have an increased cost of government, and income-tax payers seem to be the only people that will be able to bear an increased amount of the cost of government, but, according to the Minister's figures for last year and this year, these people are shown to be people who are less able, to-day, to bear the burden, even of the present income-tax, than they were in the year 1931-32. Knowing that, and realising that, the Minister sits silent before the House when asked to face up to that situation and when asked to relieve our fears, if he is able to relieve them, and to deny the statements we make with regard to the fall in the capacity of the income-tax payers to pay income-tax, if he can deny them. However, it is a nice sample of one-Chamber Government that we should be treated in this way not only in connection with the most important measure that comes before the House in the year, but with a measure in connection with which we have to take into consideration not only the taxable capacity of the taxpayer, but the cost of government generally and the cost to the taxpayers of their own subsistence and the maintenance of their homes and their families; and not only their capacity to pay to-day, but their capacity to pay to-morrow. As I say, it is a nice sample of Ministerial responsibility and of what one-Chamber Government can be in this country.

Perhaps it is no harm, Sir, to point out in connection with this debate that the Minister has evidently decided to adopt this year the same attitude that he adopted on the Finance Bill last year, which, it will be remembered, led to a very protracted discussion in this House in an effort to draw a statement from the Minister or to elicit some information from him. We were accused, at that time, of obstruction, because we tried to get some information from the Minister, and I think it is only right to state now that, if this debate is to be similarly protracted in an effort to extract information that the Minister should volunteer to the House, the Minister himself is responsible for it, and nobody else. This is the most important measure that this House has to consider in the year. It has been the practice in this House, since its foundation, that, on the Committee Stage, the Minister in charge of a Bill would give a short explanation to the House in moving each section of the Bill. The Minister for Finance departed from that practice last year. He ignored it, by refusing to give the House any information, and apparently is adopting the same attitude this year. To say the least of it, that is not treating the House the way it should be treated. Deputies are entitled to get information on any Bill brought before the House, and particularly a Bill such as this, that is going to inflict such heavy taxation on the people. I suggest to the Minister that, in fairness to the House, and for the proper expedition of business, he should conform to the practice that has been followed for a number of years.

I should like to suggest to the Minister, whether it is necessary for him to reply or not, that he should with becoming dignity fulfil the high functions of a Minister by replying to queries raised by Deputies on this side of the House. After all, the Minister's position is recognised as the most dignified after that of the President, and it seems to me that he is failing in his duty to that position, as well as bringing a certain amount of disrespect on it for successors, if he continues his present attitude.

I am willing to answer any points raised in debate, but I am entitled to wait, in consideration of the dignity of the House, until the points are made.

Will the Minister speak out as we cannot hear him on these benches?

Deputy Mulcahy has spoken four times on this debate.

I am perfectly willing not to speak again on this section if the Minister will make some attempt to answer the questions which we put to him. But I should like to ask him: Is the situation so bad, and what he has to say so flimsy, that he is not prepared, in accordance with the ordinary rule of committee discussion, to hear any word of criticism of what he may now have to say? I am prepared to give the Minister a chance of acting in a dignified way on this section.

Why does not the Deputy set the example? He has been like a jack-in-the-box on the Front Opposition Benches for the last 20 minutes. He was up four times in 20 minutes.

I will allow the matter to be put to the House after this section; but it is a most astonishing thing that we should be asked, on the discussion in Committee of a measure of this kind, not to say a word about what the Minister may say.

To conclude.

I must make that position clear. In Committee, particularly in Committee on Finance, the Chair has not power to call upon a Minister to conclude, nor can the Chair ask a Minister to reply.

As the Minister raised the point particularly, I take it the precedent that we propose to adopt on this occasion is not a precedent that will in any way bind us in any other matter.

The Chair has made the position clear.

In regard to that, all I can say is that prior to 1932 the Minister reserved, particularly on the Finance Bill, the right to deal, when concluding the debate, with points made by the Opposition and there are sound reasons for that. The time of the Dáil is very valuable. It ought not to be abused by Deputies who think that the proper function of occupants of the Front Opposition Benches is to rise not once but four times, and to launch interrogatories at the Minister after they had time to make them in debate—first of all on the general Resolution, then in the debate on the Committee Stage and also on the Report Stage of the Resolution.

But got no answer.

At this stage I call the attention of the House to this fact, that the text of the Finance Bill is almost a verbatim copy of the terms of the Resolutions which have already been debated in the House, not once but three times, and, Sir, it was the invariable practice, prior to 1932, of the then Opposition, which had regard for the value of the time of this House, and which was anxious to permit the business of the House, in so far as the legitimate purposes of government were concerned, to be carried on without obstruction, and particularly in regard to this resolution relating to income-tax, to allow it to go to the Vote of the House without any prolonged or discoursive discussion.

There is no necessity for it on the point I raised to-day.

The reason was that then we had an intelligent Opposition which did on the preliminary stage elicit all the facts required. That is the reason why any Deputy or any Minister is entitled to reserve to himself discretion as to when he will intervene. No Minister is called upon to rise in debate and to give information that more properly ought to be elicited by form of Parliamentary Question. For the purpose of eliciting merely information not for discussion of the merits pro and con of any measure, but to enable an intelligent discussion to be carried on, the House has devised the special procedure of Parliamentary Question. If Deputy Mulcahy was really concerned about this question of income-tax, he could have taken the trouble to put down a Parliamentary Question which would have elicited all the information that he thought he required in order to conduct a discussion on this question of income-tax with value to the House and to the country. I have refused to violate or to permit what I believed was a violation of the procedure of the House, by giving information during the course of a committee discussion which in my view would be more properly elicited by the form of Parliamentary Question, and which, if it is put down, I am perfectly prepared to give. That, Sir, is the reason for the attitude I have adopted to-day. There is no question of obstructing or being unwilling to give information. There is merely this, that those who undertake the responsibility of opposing a measure which the Government thinks necessary for the proper provision of the public services will, at least, fortify themselves before the debate with the information which they think they require in order to carry on these debates intelligently.

On the general question as to why it is necessary to maintain income-tax at the present level, a full exposition of that position was given by me in the course of my Budget statement. I pointed out that the House had decided that present services were to be maintained at the present standard and at the present level, and that in order to maintain these services at that standard and at that level, it was necessary to ask the people to contribute a certain amount of taxation. We have divided that taxation between taxation upon incomes and property and taxation upon commodities. The House, and particularly the Opposition, I may say, did not disagree with the Government in its decision to maintain these services at the present level, and it must now face the responsibility for imposing the necessary taxation. So far as the general rate of income-tax is concerned, I think that income-tax payers in this country have a right to congratulate themselves that we have been able to provide for these services without having to increase the rate of income-tax. To-day it stands at 4/6. We have been able to maintain it at 4/6, and that must be remembered. In connection with the point made by Deputy Mulcahy, that the yield per 1/- of the standard rate appears to have fallen off, it is true that the standard rate to-day is 4/6 as compared with 3/6 when we came into office.

For the operative part of the year.

There is one thing about the Deputy I admire. I often admire his parliamentary industry while at the same time I pity it because it seems to be very much like the efforts of poor Mother Partington who tried to keep back the tide with her broom. For the last four years he has been trying to sweep back the tide of social reform in this country with a broom, with the broom of the empty vapid speeches which he makes here hour after hour and day after day upon every motion that comes before the House until, Sir, when he has uttered one sentence, or given us one set of figures, we know inevitably what is going to come next. When he tells us about the 600 people less who are employed in agriculture, we know that inevitably he is going to talk next about the £10,000,000 that this Government has disposed of during the last four years. I venture to say that, if we were to change places, I could get up in the Opposition Benches and make the same speech, possibly a little more effectively, which Deputy Mulcahy makes every day in every month that the Dáil is in session in this country. That is all beside the point. I say that I admire the Deputy's parliamentary industry while I pity it because, Sir, he comes along here, entirely without the proper equipment—without the proper factual equipment that any person who presumes to lead such an Opposition as sits opposite should have—and makes a foolish speech. He has asked me to-day why it is that the yield of income-tax, though the standard rate is 4/6 in the £, appears to be less than it would have been if the conditions of 1931-32 still obtained. In reply to a question which was put down by Deputy Maguire, which I answered some weeks ago, I gave the Deputy information which would have enabled him to answer that question. May I refer to these figures again in order to show why it is that, although the standard rate is 1/- higher, nevertheless the yield of income-tax would seem to have correspondingly declined, or rather would seem not to have increased by a corresponding amount?

The House of course will appreciate that income-tax payers constitute a sort of pyramid. Underneath we have a large broad stratum of people with comparatively small incomes who pay comparatively little. Above that there is a stratum, more restricted in extent, of people who pay slightly more and so on until we come to the top where there are one, two or three comparatively limited classes, who pay greatly increased amounts. With that fact before them the House will appreciate, when I give Deputies the figures which I am going to give now, why it is that, though the standard rate of tax has been increased, the yield of income-tax has not increased by a corresponding amount. I gave these figures to the House once, in answer to a Parliamentary question; again just a week ago on the Second Reading of this Bill, and I am now going to give them to the House for the third time. I hope that this time Deputy Mulcahy, and those who are associated with him in the Opposition, will be capable of assimilating and understanding them. In 1931-32, this halcyon year to which Deputy Mulcahy so often harks back, a married man enjoying an earned income of £325 and who had to maintain himself, his wife and two children had to pay 7/10 income-tax each year when the rate was 3/6 in the £. To-day that man pays nothing. In 1931-32, if the same person had an income of £350 he paid £2 7s. 3d. in income-tax. To-day he pays nothing. If his income were £375 he paid £4 6s. 7d. To-day he pays nothing. If he had an income of £400 he paid £6 6s. 0d. To-day he pays nothing. If the same person instead of having two children, had three children and had an earned income of £375 in 1931-32, when the standard rate was 3/6, he would have been paying £1 19s. 4d. To-day when the standard rate is 4/6, simply due to the fact that we have had regard to the position of a man who has family responsibilities, he pays nothing. He would have paid £3 18s. 9d. if he had an income of £400 in 1931-32. To-day he pays nothing. If he had four children in 1931-32, with a standard rate of 3/6 in the £ and an income of £400 per year, he would have paid £1 11s. 6d. To-day he pays nothing. If he had had, as is quite common in this country, a family of five children in 1931-32 and had an earned income of £425, he would have paid £1 3s. 7d. in income-tax. To-day with a standard rate of 4/6 in the £, he pays nothing.

I think that if the House ponders over these figures even Deputy Mulcahy—I am not quite so sanguine about Deputy Morrissey—will apprehend why it is that although the rate of tax to-day is 4/6 as compared with 3/6 in 1931-32, nevertheless the yield from income-tax has not increased correspondingly with the increase in the standard rate.

Does the Minister suggest that these reliefs amount to £750,000?

I am telling the Deputy that they amount to a considerable sum and that they are enjoyed by the great body of people who have comparatively small incomes, much less income even than Deputies receive here, not as income indeed, but as an allowance towards their expenses.

What has that to do with the total amount of the relief?

It has this much to do with it, that I hope it will bring home to the Deputy an appreciation of the circumstances under which people live outside, with whom he has lost contact, with whom his Party has lost contact, and for whom he is not entitled to speak.

But the Minister will not say what the total of the reliefs amounts to.

They amount to a considerable sum as I have said already and they fully and adequately answer the question which the Deputy put to me, why it was that although the standard rate was 4/6 in the £ this year as compared with 3/6 in 1931-32, there had been no corresponding increase in the yield from income-tax. Again I want to come back to the point which I made early in this debate, Three times already the House has had an opportunity of discussing this Section of the Bill.

And did not get any information yet.

The Deputy, after all, is not the judge in this matter. The majority of the House is. The Deputy is one of those on the benches opposite who talked about the sacro-sanctity of majority rule. The majority of the House has decided quite clearly that it has had all the information it wants on this matter. It has been given completely, not merely upon the discussion of the Bill, and on the resolutions, but in the discussions that have taken place here, year after year, ever since the standard rate of tax was fixed at 4/6. I suggest that no one wants any more information for the purpose of being able to discuss this matter intelligently. The Deputy's attitude is merely for the purpose of holding up, and obstructing the passage of the Bill.

Surely you must be appalled, A Chinn Comhairle, at the procedure as announced by the Minister for Finance.

It would be very difficult to appal the Chair.

I grant that, after the experience of the Minister for Finance——

I made no reference to the Minister.

That is not the point I am going to make——

I understood that the question would be put, when the Minister for Finance had concluded, without establishing any precedent.

I want to make this point. It is rather serious that the Minister has made the case that the should not be a discussion upon the Finance Bill. The Minister has made the case—and I want to emphasise it lest the Minister has something else at the back of his mind in regard to Single Chamber Government—that the House should be satisfied with the discussion on the Budget, and that the sees no reason whatever for discussion on the Finance Bill. That means that he sees no reason whatever for giving any information on the Finance Bill. The House should take notice of that attitude and see the lines upon which the Minister's mind is running.

Question put and declared carried.
Question proposed: "That Section 2 stand part of the Bill."

This section, as I already explained, is to enable us to make certain adjustments in regard to the Local Services (Temporary Economics) Act, 1934. These adjustments are likely to work both ways either by reducing income-tax in some cases or increasing it in others.

Question put and agreed to.
(1) Section 8 (which relates to time limits for making assessments) of the Finance Act, 1925 (No. 28 of 1925), shall be and is hereby amended by—
(a) deleting in sub-section (1) the words "not later than six years after the expiration of the year of assessment," and.
The following amendments were on the Paper:—
1. In sub-section (1) (a), line 56, after the word "assessment" and before the word "and", line 57, to insert the following words:—"and in lieu thereof to insert the words ‘but only where fraud or wilful neglect is established'".—(Deputy Costello.)
2. In sub-section (1) (b), page 5, line 3, after the word "charged" and before the word "and" to add the following words:—"and in lieu thereof to insert the words ‘but only where fraud or wilful neglect is established'".—(Deputy Costello.)
3. In sub-section (1) (c), page 5, line 5, after the word "assessment" to add the following words:—"and in lieu thereof to insert the words ‘but only in a case where fraud or wilful neglect is established'".—(Deputy Costello.)

Amendments Nos. 1, 2 and 3 cover the same point.

I beg to move amendment No. 1 standing in the name of Deputy Costello. As I understand it, there were statutory limitations beyond which a person's account could not be gone into in order to impose income-tax in certain circumstances. The Minister now proposes to delete the statutory period, and to make it possible to go back and investigate the accounts of any person arising out of any circumstances over any period of time. Deputy Costello's amendment, if adopted, would mean that it would be only possible to go back in circumstances in which there was fraud or wilful neglect established. I take it the Minister himself would be inclined to accept that and I should be glad to hear if that is so.

I am not in a position to accept this amendment. I do not know whether Deputy Costello, who put forward the amendment, was himself aware of what happened. I think the amendment would, in effect, go much further than Deputy Mulcahy has said.

If that is so, and the Minister is not accepting it, I would be prepared to withdraw it so that Deputy Costello would have an opportunity of putting his case to the Minister at another stage.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendments Nos. 2 and 3 not moved.
Question—"That Section 3 stand part of the Bill"—put and declared carried.
The following amendments were on the Paper:—
At the end of the section to add a new sub-section as follows:—
"(2) Sub-section (1) of Section 21 of the Finance Act, 1920, is hereby amended by the insertion after the words ‘full time' the words ‘or part time' and by the insertion after the word ‘establishment' the words ‘or is apprenticed to any trade or profession'".—John A. Costello.
At the end of the section to add a new sub-section as follows:—
"(1) Section 21 of the Finance Act, 1920, shall have effect as if the references in sub-sections (1) and (2) thereof to a child receiving fulltime instruction at an educational establishment included references to a child undergoing training by any person (hereafter referred to as ‘the employer') for any trade profession, or vocation in such circumstances that—
(a) a child is required to devote, the whole of his time to the training for a period of not less than two years; and
(b) the emoluments, if any, receivable by, or payable by the employers in respect of the child while undergoing the training do not exceed £13 a year, exclusive of any emoluments receivable or payable by way of return of any premium paid in respect of the training;
For the purpose of paragraph (b) of this sub-section all emoluments at any time receivable by, or payable by, the employer in respect of a child in respect of whose training a premium has been paid shall be deemed to be receivable or payable by way of return of the premium, unless and except to the extent that the amount thereof exceeds in the aggregate the amount of the premium.
(2) In this section the expression ‘emoluments' means any salary, fees, wages, perquisites, or profits or gains whatsoever, and includes the value of free board, lodging, or clothing."—Daniel Morrissey.

If amendment No. 4 were negatived, amendment No. 5 could not be moved.

I was going to suggest that the first part of Deputy Costello's amendment could be moved and that the real question arises on that.

Quite. I take it that if the amendment read:

(2) Sub-section (1) of Section 21 of the Finance Act, 1920, is hereby amended by the insertion after the words "full-time" the words "or part-time"

and stopped there, the House would agree to that course. There are two points involved in amendment No. 4 and one definite point in amendment No. 5.

What would be the procedure then?

That amendment No. 4 should stop with the words "or part-time."

Does that mean that on the Report Stage we would have to discuss this all over again?

The second portion of Deputy Costello's amendment No. 5 covers the point raised explicitly in amendment No. 5 by Deputy Morrissey. I suggest that the lines dealing with apprenticeship should be deleted from Deputy Costello's amendment. That would save Deputy Morrissey's amendment.

The object would be to enable that part of amendment No. 5 which covers the point more fully to be moved. If amendment No. 4 were moved as it stands on the Paper, and the House rejected it, amendment No. 5 could not be moved.

I quite appreciate the reasons why Deputy Costello is not here at the moment and I would facilitate him by holding over the amendment standing in his name to the Report Stage. But I am concerned that if the House devotes time now to the principle involved in Deputy Costello's amendment No. 4, and in amendment No. 5, there should not be a repetition of all that on Report Stage.

Deputy Morrissey's amendment deals with apprenticeship. If that matter were then decided the second or latter portion of Deputy Costello's amendment could not be moved on any later stage.

I have Deputy Costello's permission to enable the first part of his amendment to be taken.

The question of apprenticeship could not again arise.

What I am concerned about is that we should not have a second discussion or repetition of this discussion.

I formally move, on behalf of Deputy Costello, the first portion of amendment No. 4.

I hope it is quite clear that we shall not be able to discuss the second portion of Deputy Costello's amendment.

The point will be decided on amendment No. 5.

I have formally moved the first portion of amendment No. 4.

Ending with the words "or part time".

What is now the procedure?

It is proposed to take amendment No. 4 as amended.

What happens amendment No. 5?

It will be taken when amendment No. 4 has been disposed of. Amendment No. 4 is being taken, with deletion of the last two lines, and will read:

Sub-section (1) of Section 21 of the Finance Act, 1920, is hereby amended by the insertion after the words "full time" the words "or part time".

That places me at a disadvantage. I do not know where precisely we shall stand. Shall we discuss amendment No. 4 now and vote on it or shall we reserve the discussion for amendment No. 5?

Discuss the portion of amendment No. 4 which relates to amendment No. 5.

It does not relate to No. 5.

Would not the proper course be to take amendment No. 5 before amendment No. 4? If the Deputy wants to debate amendment No. 5, he can make his case.

Are there not two points raised in amendment No. 4?

I think that the onus is on the Deputy who moves to make his case.

It is not a question of onus.

It is. When the Deputy takes the responsibility of moving a motion or amendment, he is bound to give reasons for his action.

That comes very badly from the Minister, who has been moving section after section without giving any reason whatsoever. I have moved the first part of amendment No. 4 on behalf of Deputy Costello.

The Deputy should give his reasons for the amendment.

Will the Minister give his reasons for not accepting it? If he refuses, I shall not move it at all and it can be moved on Report Stage.

Amendment No. 5.

What happens amendment No. 4 in its present form if amendment No. 5 be rejected by the House?

Amendment No. 4 has been changed by the deletion of the last two lines.

Not with due notice.

If the House does not consent, the question assumes a different aspect.

Can we have a division on that, if necessary?

The Ceann Comhairle put the matter to the House and the Minister raised no objection.

The Ceann Comhairle did not put the matter to the House. I want to know what exactly the position is before anything is decided.

The Minister is now getting heated under the collar.

No, but the Deputy is very tricky.

The matter is very simple. Amendment No. 4 is not moved. Amendment No. 5 has now been moved and any point in amendment No. 4 decided on amendment No. 5 cannot again be tabled.

In that case, I want to put the question to the House. The Minister is, apparently, in a difficulty which he has only just now discovered. It has made him quite hot and a little more insolent than usual.

The Deputy has to remember that, when he seeks concessions, he asks for them, not demands them.

Asks for concessions from the Minister!

I do not ask any concession from the Minister. I should be very sorry to do so because it would only provide the Minister with an opportunity of being more insolent than usual. I am moving the first part of amendment No. 4 on behalf of Deputy Costello.

I protest. An amendment cannot be moved in part.

Protest when I am finished. I am moving the first part of the amendment down to, and including, the words "part time."

The Deputy should be satisfied to take amendment No. 4 as not moved since objection has been taken to amending without notice. It may be moved at a later stage in so far as it is not covered by amendment No. 5.

I am not going to ask the Chair to say now, because it would not be right to do so, whether the rejection of amendment No. 5 would prevent amendment No. 4 from being moved on the next stage. However, in view of the attitude taken up by the Minister, I have no choice, in order to safeguard both amendments, but to put the first part of amendment No. 4 to the House.

I understand that you, Sir, have already ruled that that cannot be done.

Deputy Morrissey is asking the permission of the House to move amendment No. 4, as he proposes to amend it, and he is entitled to do that.

I think that the Deputy should withdraw amendment No. 4 and have it moved on Report Stage so far as it is not covered by amendment No. 5.

Deputy Morrissey still thinks he is in the Chair.

It is no pleasure for any person to be in the Chair when the Minister is in the mood in which he is now. The Minister is just as irrelevant and disorderly while occupying the Front Ministerial Bench as he was when in opposition.

Shall we take amendment No. 4 as "not moved"?

Very well.

Amendment not moved.

I move amendment No. 5. It is rather a pity that Deputy Crowley would not give the House the benefit of those words of wisdom which he uttered on the back bench. This amendment is one which speaks for itself and I am sure the Minister does not want me to elaborate it. This matter was brought before the House on the Finance Bill of last year. One of the Minister's reasons for not accepting it was that he had not had sufficient time to consider it. He promised to look into the matter before the present Finance Bill would come before the House. The object of the amendment is to secure the concession extended to others for parents whose children are apprenticed to trades or professions. As the law stands at present, it is only when children are sent to the universities that parents get this concession. The amendment is fairly tightly drawn because the Minister pointed out last year that the amendment then tabled would open the door too widely and that there would be too many demands for the concession, resulting in substantial loss to the Revenue. For that reason, the amendment is restricted as much as possible. I should like if the Minister would tell us whether he is accepting the amendment or not or whether he has had time fully to consider the matter. I think nobody will dispute the fairness of applying this concession, which is given to parents who send their children to a University, to apprentices, particularly in view of the declared policy of the Government on the industrialisation of the country, and in view of the shortage of trained and skilled men in this country, which is so much that we have to bring in a number of the natives of other countries.

The Government is not prepared to accept this amendment but I should like to hear other arguments in support of the amendment and of its principle.

We are anxious not only to learn the Government's attitude on this amendment, but also their reasons for not accepting it. The Minister for Finance asks for additional reasons why this amendment should pass and that additional income-tax relief be given to parents who are bearing the cost of the higher education of their children in this particular way.

Would the Deputy repeat that statement?

I am saying that I am prepared to urge on the Minister and on the Government further reasons why this amendment should be passed and that further relief should be given to parents who are bearing the cost of the higher education of their children. I take it the Minister does not disapprove of parent doing their best, according to their means, to give the highest possible education to their children. I take it that with the position as it is in the country and in view of the various discussions we have had about the difficulty of getting Irish technical experts in the sugar factories and other factories throughout the country, that the Minister realises the importance of the amendment, and that he does remember the ideal that has been held up in Fianna Fáil propaganda throughout the country about the great industrial development there is going to be here and the brains that will be necessary to direct that not only administratively but technically. I take it too that the Minister realises that nobody can better prepare the way to provide the educational requirements to meet developments of that particular kind than the parents who have children who have the capacity to absorb higher education. If the Minister knows anything of the cost of even primary education or secondary education he will realise that parents with large families have a very heavy burden to bear in meeting the heavy expenses involved in a three or four years course of University education as well as meeting the expenses in the case of apprenticeships in engineering, architecture or anything like that. I take it that the Minister's Department will have some estimate of what this would amount to. The Minister, in dealing with Section 1, declined to give the House any information——

We are discussing amendment No. 5, not Section 1, at the moment.

I want to discuss the capacity of parents to give their children higher education, and I do want to say that if a labouring man, or an agricultural labourer, is in the position by any hook or crook of giving higher education to his children he should be assisted to do that, and so should the farmer and so should a member of any other section of the community. The Minister has indicated the type of relief that recent actions of the Government have given to persons with families. A very small amount has been saved to these people, but except relief of this particular kind is given you are going to deprive quite a large number of children—whose parents cannot without some additional assistance give them the benefit of University education—of getting this University education. If there is anybona fides at all in the Minister's contention that we are having higher industrial development here and that we do want better trained technical brains to assist in that development, and that we do want these to be Irish brains, and that we want them quickly, the Minister will approach this matter in a sympathetic way. We would like to know if his position is that that relief must be a class reservation for people to whom the amount of money they spend on their children's education is of little concern because of the size of their incomes? If this is not to be a class reservation, the Minister will give more consideration to the amendment. The Minister knows that the income of every class in the community has been reduced and the capacity of every class, except those very well off, to give their children a higher education is substantially reduced. I am putting these arguments to the Minister and I would like to hear on what grounds the Government are refusing to accept the amendment.

Are we not to have the attitude of the Government on the matter stated to the House?

Is the Deputy able to advance a single reason why the Government should change its disposition in regard to this matter? If so, I shall be glad to hear that reason. I am very anxious to hear any argument from the Deputy in support of the amendment. If the Deputy has considered this amendment at all, will he place before the House his reasons why it should be passed, or why it ought to be adopted by the Government?

If the Minister is not going to treat this amendment seriously and if he is not going to give any reason to the House for opposing it——

I have heard no argument from the Deputy in support of the amendment.

I would appeal to the Chair if it has any control over the Minister to ask him to behave himself. If the Minister is not inclined to treat this seriously and to refrain from play-acting, he should be compelled to do so. This is a serious and important matter. There is an amendment down on the Paper and certain reasons have been advanced in support of that amendment. The weight to be attached to these reasons is a matter of opinion. The Minister may consider that the reasons put forward are not sufficient or he may consider that they are bad reasons or that they are badly put, but these things have nothing to do with it. We are not all as glib as the Minister and in any case we are entitled to be told what is the reaction of the Minister to this amendment; whether he is prepared to accept it and, if not prepared to accept it, to give the reasons for its rejection. That is all we are asking.

I have already indicated to the House that I am not responsible for the fact that Deputy Morrissey did not hear when I told the House that I was not disposed to accept this amendment, but that the Government was anxious to hear those in favour of it. We have heard Deputy Morrissey and we have heard Deputy Mulchay. If there is any other Deputy who can add anything to what they said, I should like to hear him and to deal with him.

Might I remind the Minister that when this matter was before the House last year the Minister's plea was that he had not had sufficient time to consider it and he promised the House he would look into the matter before the next Finance Bill—that is the present Finance Bill. Apparently, the Minister has attempted to carry out that promise to make fuller inquiries into the matter to see if it could be given effect to and perhaps he will now give the House the benefit of those inquiries.

May I point out that, notwithstanding what Deputy Morrissey has said, I do not think it would add to the dignity of the House if I were to keep bobbing up and down in this debate, but I would like to ask Deputy Morrissey to tell the House what was before the House last year. The amendment which is on the Order Paper is not the amendment which was before the House last year. Possibly, Deputy Morrissey has not grasped that fact yet.

The Minister is simply play-acting. The amendment was not worded in the same way, but the principle was the same.

The principle is the same. It was to extend the exemption to apprentices last year.

Might I interrupt the Deputy just to ask one question? Will he tell me where in the whole length of the amendment he has down in the Order Paper the word "apprentices" occurs?

Did the Minister read it?

I must protest against this. I do not know, Sir, whether you have heard the explanation of the conduct of the Minister. I doubt if the House has.

I am not responsible.

I am glad you are not. I would be sorry if anyone was responsible for the Minister in his present state. I would not for a moment think of imputing such a thing to the Chair. I would be extraordinarily out of order if I did anything of the kind. Luckily, I have only been in the House for about 20 minutes. If the proceedings before I came in bore any relation to what I have been a painful witness of in the House for the last 20 minutes, I am glad I was not here during the opening stages of the debate. The conduct of the Minister in the present instance is lamentable from the point of view of the House. Two Deputies of standing—any Deputy in this House is a Deputy of standing —but two Deputies whose views certainly require attention have stood up here and put forward their views. These views have been treated with open contempt by the Minister. I suggest that is an abuse—I admit that the Chair cannot remedy it, but merely because the Chair cannot remedy it and deal with the conduct of the Minister, does not make it less an abuse of the position which the Minister holds in this House. An amendment has been moved. The Minister may object to the form of the amendment, to the words of the amendment, but at least he might have addressed himself to the subject of the amendment. He might even have used this opportunity——

Is this in order? Might I ask what the Deputy is supposed to be speaking to; whether there is a motion before the House to censure the conduct of the Minister in debate for failing to comply with some standing order, of which I am not aware, that if one Deputy or two Deputies, whether of standing or otherwise, speak, the Minister is bound to reply, or whether the Deputy is trying to discuss an amendment on the Order Paper?

Before you rule on that, Sir——

I have not yet heard sufficient from the Deputy to decide.

Notice taken that 20 Deputies were not present.

I move that we adjourn for half an hour.

The Chair is not accepting that motion.

Will the Chair accept the motion that the President be sent for, or will the Chair have regard to the Standing Orders with reference to the dignity of this House?

Might I ask how long we shall have to wait before you will be prepared to accept a motion in these circumstances?

The Chair will not give a ruling in advance.

House counted and 20 Deputies being present.

Before you rule, Sir, on the point of order raised some considerable time ago by the Minister, might I point out that in discussing this amendment, the conduct of the Minister, his failure to answer the points put forward by two Deputies on this side of the House, is relevant to the attitude that the House ought to take up towards this amendment. Arguments were put forward by Deputy Morrissey and Deputy Mulcahy in favour of the amendment. The Minister refused to deal with these arguments. He had several opportunities of doing so. He might have done so after Deputy Morrissey sat down. He invited then further discussion. Deputy Mulcahy intervened and once more the Minister could have given reasons why this amendment before the House should not be accepted by the Government. He could have pointed out what was unsound in the reasons put forward by Deputy Mulcahy and Deputy Morrissey. He did not do so. The only articulate expression of opinion that we heard from the Minister was, mainly, in the form of interruptions to the Deputies in question. One was the plea—I suggest it is to a large extent a quible, a matter of mere words—that as the word apprentice ship was not mentioned here, therefore the amendment before the House was in no way connected with the matter that was before the House 12 months ago in connection with apprenticeship. But apprenticeship is training, a very important type of training. If apprenticeship is not training then again — I was in a similar difficulty yesterday—I fail to know what apprenticeship is meant to be.

I suggest, Sir, that when the Minister asked for reasons he might at least have the courtesy to listen. I suggest that the conduct of the Minister is disorderly, and I ask your ruling on that point: that when we are addressing the House the Minister should at least listen.

The Chair cannot compel the Minister to listen.

The Chair can at least ask the Minister not to indulge in conversation when arguments are being addressed to him.

The Chair cannot compel the Minister to listen.

I again point out to you the way in which, from the start, the Minister has treated this particular matter. If training is not apprenticeship, why do people pay a fee for an apprenticeship? It is quite obvious that it is regarded as training, and why there should be exemptions for certain grades in this country who are undergoing training, who are taking out professional courses—why exemptions should be made for children of that class and no exemptions made for the children of the labouring classes, why no voice should be raised, even on the Government Benches, on their behalf, and why it should be considered that the man who is not rich enough to send his son for a profession should get no exemption, even though his son or daughter is undergoing a course of training subsequent to the primary period, a course of training that is absolutely necessary for the acquirement of a trade or profession in which that young person is to spend his or her life: why that person should not get exemption and why a person, for instance, going on for medicine or the higher branches of engineering should get exemption does, I submit, require very careful consideration by the House and, if not by the Minister, certainly by those who are interested in the proper development of training in industry in this country.

I think that for a long time now, since the establishment of the State, there has been a fair amount of effort to stress the importance of training of all kinds, to try to raise, so to speak, the level of technical training to the level of other types of training. Why should not every help that the Government can give be given? In vain, efforts have been made to know what the attitude of the Minister and of the Government is to the case put forward by Deputies Morrissey and Mulcahy. I see no reason why there should be this disrespect for, this looking down upon, technical training: why there should not in that particular case be exemption and why help should not be given. Training of that kind is quite as essential to the future participant in the industrial life of this country as is university education to the future professional classes, and the main purpose of the amendment is to restore a certain amount of equality in that particular matter. For that reason I recommend it to the House. I think it does require not merely the careful consideration of the House, but I should be very much surprised if the House, if left to itself, would not give it very hearty support.

With regard to the Minister's reference to the amendment that it does not refer to apprentices, I would ask the Minister to read the words: "Undergoing training by any person (hereafter referred to as ‘the employer') for any trade, profession, or vocation." If that does not mean apprentices, I do not know what it means.

It is very difficult to discuss a matter here with any sort of rational approach because some of those who venture to put down amendments do not, apparently, appreciate the meaning or significance of words. Deputy Morrissey charged me with discourtesy to the House because I had refused to deal with a matter which had been discussed in the House last year, and with the arguments in favour of which I ought to be perfectly familiar. I asked Deputy Morrissey to tell me what the House discussed last year. The Deputy, of course, did not know what the House discussed last year. He said that his amendment had been discussed in the House last year.

I did not.

I beg the Deputy's pardon, it is on record.

I said no such thing.

I beg the Deputy's pardon, it is on record. I asked him to show me where the word "apprentice" appeared in this amendment. He stood up and referred me to certain words in his amendment, but among them the word "apprentice" does not appear. The proposal which was discussed here in the House last year referred to "indentured apprentices." That was the phrase used in the amendment which was under discussion and which was rejected by the House last year but it does not appear in Deputy Morrissey's amendment to-day. Why not? Because the Deputy had not sufficient originality to try and put, in his own words, the proposal which he wished the House to discuss. The proposal which appears on our Order Paper is part of an amendment which was discussed in the British House of commons some weeks ago and which the Deputy lifted holus-bolus and put down here in order to show a certain section of the people how much concerned he was about their welfare; but he could not sit down and give one half hour of his time to think out a form of words that might meet the situation. He expects that the Minister is going to waste his time discussing a proposal lifted, as I say, out of the records of a discussion elsewhere, and then flung at the House without a single argument to commend it. Deputy Mulchay jumped in after Deputy Morrissey to make confusion worse confounded. The whole of the Deputy's speech was related to the advantages of higher education and why we ought not to encourage it. There is not a word in this amendment about higher education. Deputy John Marcus O'Sullivan's speech—Saladin turned Crusader—was the gem of the debate, because the Deputy said that this amendment was designed to assist the children of the labouring classes. The Deputy's colleague has been telling us all through the week that the labourer in this country receives something between 18/-, 23/- 24/- and 25/- a week.

I mentioned 18s. 7d. in the new industries.

Very well, 18s. 7d. in the new industries. How many 18/7's received during the year will put a labourer, the father of one of these children, into the category of an income-tax payer?

That has nothing to do with the principle.

It has something to do with the principle and with the amendment. The Deputy's colleague, with all the ponderosity, the mental ponderosity, which characterises him has recommended this amendment to the House as something which is designed to benefit the children of the labouring classes. The labourers, according to Deputy Mulcahy, earn 18s. 7d. a week. Will the Deputy produce to this House that unique specimen, the labourer who is earning 18s. 7d. a week and who pays income-tax and who will come within the terms of the income-tax section? I think if the Deputy is able to do that, he would die as rich as Barnum and will supersede him as the greatest showman the world has ever known. Where is this labourer with an income of 18s. 7d. a week who is called upon to pay income-tax?

Who is it pays income-tax in this country? Deputy O'Sullivan was not here to listen to me, but let me again cite some examples from the category of income-tax payers. Unless a married man with two children has an income of over £400 a year, he does not pay any income tax in the Free State under the present régime. If he had been living in the halcyon days when Deputy John Marcus O'Sullivan was here instead of there, and the standard rate was 3/6, he would have been paying £6 6s. To-day, if he has two children and an earned income of £400 a year he does not pay anything, and it will take quite a big revolution in this country before there is any child the son or daughter of a labourer who has £400 a year earned income. I think I have disposed of that sort of sentimental tosh which Deputy John Marcus O'Sullican trots out to the House in support of this and other amendments.

We know the sort of speech the Deputy is always prepared to make on a resolution of this sort. I believe at one time the Deputy had quite a reputation as a philosopher. He turned from his earlier avocation and became an historian, and we, of course, know that the muse of history is often allied to the muse of rumour. Now he has become a politician, where few regard the truth except those who have the responsibility for Government and sit on these benches. Surely the Deputy might learn another speech when he comes to discuss financial proposals in this House? He gets up here and talks day after day, and all of us know his heart is not in his work. He has learned a speech by rote from the Complete Speechmaker and he makes an oration which, I have no doubt, if I had the book from which he conned it, I would say was headed "Speech for any Budget, or for any section of a Finance Bill." That is the sort of thing we have had from Deputy John Marcus O'Sullivan this afternoon.

The Deputy was in a position at one time, in days when taxation was so much lighter and so many other things could have been done, when there was so much more money at the disposal of the then Administration than there is at our disposal now, to do quite a lot of things of this sort, but he never did them. Remember this, that if we were to accept the proposal contained in this amendment, it would cost us a considerable sum of money and it could lead to further demands for further concessions and would mean that whatever we lose by making these allowances we shall have to make good, not at the expense of the income-tax payer, but at the expense of the labouring classes and the children of the labouring classes for whom Deputy John Marcus O'Sullivan has expressed so much concern this afternoon. The Deputy was in power here from 1923 to 1931. Why did not Deputy John Marcus O'Sullivan, Deputy Richard Mulcahy and Deputy Morrissey, who was running with them if he was not actually one of their team—why did not they during that period press upon the Government the desirability of making the concession which is asked for here? Now they are full of concern, but when they had the power it did not give them any concern at all. I do not know if it would be quite Parliamentary for me to say that they did not give a damn about the children of the labouring classes, but if it cannot go on the record, at least it expresses very tersely what was the position when Deputy O'Sullivan, Deputy Mulcahy and Deputy Morrissey had power to influence the financial policy of the Government.

This is not as simple a thing as appears on the surface. We are asked under certain circumstances to do certain things. I may say that since a similar matter was mentioned in this House, not last year but two years ago, I have given it the closest possible consideration. I have come to the conclusion that it would not be possible to grant a concession on those terms. In this year's Budget we have gone very far. We have increased the children's allowance—not merely in respect of children who happen to be engaged in trade or in respect of children who are being educated, but in respect of every child. We have raised the allowance from £50 to £60, and I think that is a very substantial concession in a year like the present. We are asked now to go further. We are asked to give the concession where a child is required to devote the whole of his time to training for a period of not less than two years. That misses the whole point. The reason why this concession was given originally was to encourage people to educate their children. Of course, Deputy John Marcus O'Sullivan, who was Minister for Education in the last administration, has not yet grasped the full ambit of the concession. He and Deputy Mulcahy have been talking as if the concession were confined to those who are enjoying the benefits of University education. Of course it is nothing of the sort. It is given in respect of any child who is receiving full-time instruction at a university, college, school or other educational establishment. There is quite a number of children in this State who are at school after the age of 16 years, and who are not students of a University. Most of those who are studying for the leaving certificate are over the age of 16, or may be over the age of 16. They are benefiting, and they are not going to a University and do not intend to go to a University. They will go into trade or they will go into commerce, or they will go into the Civil Service. The reason why the concession was given in the first place was in order to encourage people to educate their children.

The position, of course, is quite different in regard to people who have children who may be employed. In effect, what this amendment asks us to do is to grant the concession in relation to children who are employed; in relation to the boy who is fortunate enough to get inside the closed borough of a trade. Mind you, that word "apprentice" is not mentioned here. It is not mentioned because if it were mentioned it would be quite impracticable to grant the concession in respect of what were described last year as "indentured apprentices," because the term has no legal significance, and neither has the phrase that is used here. The parent of a boy—it does not matter how wealthy the parent may be—who is assumed to be engaged in any avocation is to receive an allowance in respect of that particular child. What happens to the parent of a boy who is not fortunate enough to get inside the closed borough, or to the parent of a boy who is not disposed to work? Of course that particular boy will notsay that he is not disposed to work. He will say that the one ambition of his boyish soul is to become a bricklayer or a tailor or an engineer or a plasterer— to get into one of those trades which, as I said before, are virtually closed boroughs—but that he cannot do it, and he does not want to thwart the natural abilities which he has; he wants them to flourish and expand. But at the back of his mind he has no desire to work or train or equip himself. Supposing we are to do as Deputy Morrissey says, how are we going to confine it to this, the really fortunate section of the taxpayers? Mind you, the whole thing has been put up to me under the guise of a concession to the working-class people of this country. If there are any working-class parents who would be benefited by this concession—I contend that there are not, because I gave the House figures which show quite clearly that the ordinary artisan in this country does not in any conceivable circumstances, if he is a married man with a family, become chargeable for income-tax—how are you going to justify giving this concession in regard to the boy who is fortunate enough to get inside the closed borough and be in training for a trade, and refuse it to the father of the other boy who has not got the same chance or to the father of the boy who is not disposed to work?

The whole thing, as I said before, is quite impracticable. Again I repeat that in this year's Budget we have given a very substantial concession by increasing the children's allowance from £50 to £60. We cannot do more. If we are called upon to do more we can only do it—again I want to repeat and emphasise this—at the expense of the great majority of the people of this country, that is, at the expense of the people who are not fortunate enough to enjoy sufficiently high incomes to be called upon to pay tax on them.

The Minister gave as his first and, I may say, his main objection to this amendment the fact that it had been lifted bodily from the British House of Commons; that it was all amendment which was moved to the British Finance Bill. I thought myself that it was quite a good amendment, and that it went some way to meet the objections of the Minister as to the necessity for some redistribution, so that the door would not be opened too wide. The Minister tried to make capital of the fact that it was an amendment which was moved in the British House of Commons. Of course, he overlooks the fact that Section 4 in his own Bill deals with a section of an Act passed in the British House of Commons in 1920, and that the whole code of income-tax legislation in this country was lifted bodily from the British Government. The Minister's next objection to it—of course, it is part of an article which we had last week or the week before last in the Fianna Fáil bulletin—is that it would cost a good deal of money; that the money would have to be found at the expense of the social services for the poor people, and that it would be found nowhere else. Might I suggest that he might find it out of the £2,000,000 he was going to save in taxation or the additional £10,000,000 he has added on?

The Minister has not tried to meet the amendment. I suggest that the reason why he has talked so much around the amendment was that it was more difficult for him to make a case against this amendment than the ones previously moved. The Minister found fault with the amendment because the word "apprentice" did not appear in it, and then proceeded to tell us that the word "apprentice" had no legal significance at all, and even that the phraseology of this amendment had none. It is quite clear that the Minister is not prepared to give the same concession to persons who apprentice their children to professions or trades as he gives to parents whose children go to a University. That is the net point, and all the Minister's talk around the subject is not going to get away from it.

It is quite obvious, Sir, that in the course of his speech the Minister did realise that the amendment does include apprentices. He says he has given consideration to the matter since it was last before the House. All he has told us is that, as a result of that, he does not feel inclined to make any concessions. He has given no reasons; he has only said that he is not going to do it. He is satisfied that he will not give the concession but he has not told the House the grounds on which he bases that refusal. He has refused to do that, and the House is still wondering on what grounds the Minister makes the discriminations, or stands for the discriminations, that now exist in this particular code. One is that, in the ten years in which his predecessors were in office, they did not do it. Am I to take it that it is the settled policy of the Government that even in minor matters—I know that in major matters they are doing the very opposite, even in financial major matters—am I to take it that in minor matters they are determined to make no advance whatsoever beyond what their predecessors had made?

There is a reference in another part of the amendment to the amount of any earnings being taken into account, but this is an instance of a person being in training, training that is supposed to be for a trade. I presume the father is not a person of great wealth, at all events, or a person who can afford to give his children the educational advantages that have already been provided for. That was the gist of the case made to the Minister. I now see that the Minister accepts as the proper wage for the workman 18/- a week. That was the wording of his statement—that that was the typical and normal labourer. Leaving that aside, however, is there any reason why the parent, whose child is undergoing or receiving training of this kind, should not get relief as well as the parent who is better off and who can afford to send his child to a regular educational establishment? It is training in both cases.

I have not that contempt that the Minister seems to have for this particular type of training. I never had it. In introducing the Technical Instruction Bill in this House, I made it perfectly clear that mental training of any kind was important for this country and that it was a mistake and a piece of snobbery to rate certain kinds of mental training higher than others. Now, there is a certain kind of training given here. It may be apprenticeship, it may be indentured apprenticeship, that is included, but it goes farther than that. There is no reason why it should be confined to that. Why should not that type of training be measured along with the other type of intellectual training to which the Minister has referred? That is the case the Minister has not met and that he has not attempted to meet. He has met it with an argument that, coming from the Minister who has imposed the amount of taxation that he has imposed, does not seem to us to be meeting our point at all—and that argument is that he cannot afford it.

Now, for a Government, famed for its extravagance like the present Government, to bring forward an argument of that kind in itself shows the weakness of its case. He gives no indication as to what the amendment would cost, what the burden would be, or what would be the number of people who would be likely to find relief under it. All kinds of arguments are put forward about people who are usually inclined to waste their time. That class of person seems to have become a fixed idea with the Minister, and now, because a certain number of people, apparently, do not want to work or to learn a trade, therefore, according to his argument, the number of people who do want to work or to learn a trade are not to be helped.

I wish, Sir, with your permission, to make a few supplemental remarks to what has already been said on this amendment standing in Deputy Morrissey's name. The amendment that I had on the Order Paper—No. 4—embraced a somewhat similar, if not identical, principle to that contained in Deputy Morrissey's amendment, and I regret that circumstances, over which I had no control, precluded me from being here to move that amendment. Consequently, I must take Deputy Morrissey's amendment as it stands. The principle is the same. It came as somewhat of a surprise to me to learn that people who were attending, say, a university for lectures, and who were, at the same time, apprenticed to either a profession or trade, were not entitled to the relief in the relevant section of the Act of 1920. I had always understood that that section was, shall we say, administered, if not interpreted, in a very liberal spirit. There had been no public demand that I had ever heard in reference to the subject matter of the amendments in my name or in Deputy Morrissey's name.

I should like to know, Sir, to which amendment the Deputy is referring.

We are dealing with amendment No. 5.

If the application of the proposed new sub-section or the relevant section of the Act of 1920 is not relevant to either a profession or a trade, then, Sir, I am in your hands. That is the topic to which I am addressing my remarks.

The Deputy misunderstands the Minister. The Minister only means that he thinks the Deputy is not entitled to question him at all on this matter.

I understood, Sir, that I was dealing with Deputy Morrissey's amendment on the question of giving relief to people who were apprenticed to a trade or profession as if they had been, within the terms of the Act of 1920, receiving full-time education at an educational establishment.

The Chair has not ruled the Deputy out of order.

I understand, Sir, but the Minister interrupted me and I was not sure where I stood. Apparently the Minister has learned some of the tricks of the advocate's trade and, when he meets a point that he fears he cannot deal with, he interrupts.

The Deputy has had some experience of that trade.

Yes, certainly, I have had some experience of being able to deal with that sort of point. At all events, however, I have not had the pleasure of hearing the Minister's explanation on this point.

Neither has anybody else.

We awaited his explanation with some interest, but I am afraid, after this stage of the Bill goes through, we will be awaiting his explanation still—without interest. This amendment was put down in the British House of Commons and I suppose the Minister will say that Deputy Morrissey is copying the British Labour Party. I put down my amendment without any consultation with Deputy Morrissey, because it occurred to me, from a case brought to my knowledge by one of my constituents, that it was an injustice that required to be remedied. But the attitude of the British Chancellor of the Exchequer was in striking contrast, I understand, with the attitude that the Minister has taken up on this amendment. He received it with complete sympathy but regretted that the circumstances of the time would not permit him to meet it.

The Deputy can have all my sympathies if he accepts also my regrets.

I understand that up to the present the Minister did not express even sympathy with the amendment, until I pulled out that observation. To that extent, there is this difference between the British Chancellor of the Exchequer of a Conservative Government, who expressed sympathy with the Labour view, and the Minister for Finance here, who, up to the present, did not express any such sympathy. The point, as I understand it, is that the British Chancellor of the Exchequer would accept it only that he could not afford it. That the Minister for Finance was not in sympathy with the amendment was I think the natural deduction, as I understand, to be drawn from the observations made by him. At all events, neither he nor the British Chancellor of the Exchequer is affording this relief which is required in my view in the interests of ordinary decency and justice. It will cost the Exchequer very little. The Minister has not told us how much it will cost. Such as it is, the Minister says it would fall on the labouring class. I am told the Minister said so in his answer. I would like to know how it will fall on the labouring class. Does the Minister take up the attitude that his Parliamentary Secretary took up last year and say: "Why should not the tax fall on the working class?" That was the attitude of his Parliamentary Secretary last year when taxation was imposed by the Minister in the Budget. Why should not these taxes fall on the working class? If the Parliamentary Secretary was correct, why should it not fall on the working class? Apart from that aspect, how does the Minister suggest that the cost of the scheme suggested in the amendment would fall on the working class?

There is only one possible explanation of that remark, and that is that the Minister has so heavily taxed everybody in the community, even to the working class, that there is nobody left to take on the residue but the working class that has not yet been taxed by the Minister in his depredations in the Budgets and the Finance Acts of the last few years. I cannot see any other explanation why the principle behind the Act of 1920 should not apply, whether in part or in whole, to people receiving instruction and education or those apprenticed in trades or professions. During that period in a young man's life he is a liability on his parents, and it was in order to meet that situation that the provisions of the Act of 1920 were inserted by the British Parliament. They will not be extended by the Minister in the circumstances of this country, when it is eminently desirable that people should be apprenticed to trades of an expert character. If there is any substance in the policy of the Government, or in the claim that they make that they have established some industries here —let us take it that some of their claims are correct, and let us take it as a hypothesis that there is to be industrial expansion—you must have expert people trained in industry, or if not you have to bring over foreigners. We have the claim of the National University graduates that they should be employed in these industries that are supposed to be established here. Assume that they are here, you must have specialists trained if they are to be a success and if you are not to be providing employment for foreigners.

In order to get factories started, in many instances expert assistance had to be brought over and, incidentally, at very high salaries. I mentioned the sugar factories, where very high salaries are paid to the managing directors. In order that they will be able in the future to take up positions in these factories, you have got to make a start now by apprenticing young people to trades and industries. If you do not train the youth of the country now, in 10 or 15 years' time you will be carrying on the same policy, of bringing over foreigners to do expert work that ought to be done by trained Irish experts. One of the ways in which assistance can be given, not merely to ordinary people in trades, but assistance towards the establishment of something in the nature of Irish industries is by giving a benefit of this kind. This is a practical test of the sincerity of the Government in their industrial policy. There are large numbers of people unemployed here at present. One of the greatest problems that will face this country for some time to come is the problem of what is to be done with young people from 17 years upwards who are leaving secondary and primary schools. The Government refused to raise the school-leaving age, having adopted the policy that the school-leaving age as it stands is sufficient. We are in favour of raising the school-leaving age, so as to contribute in some way towards a solution of the very pressing problem that exists of providing some sort of hope for future careers for young people from the primary, secondary, and even technical schools. If they could be assured of some training in trades or professions, and if there was some inducement held out to their parents to put them into trades or professions, considerable advantage would accrue to the community. One of the ways in which the Government might, at small cost to the Exchequer, show their sincerity is by giving this small relief in reference to people apprenticed to trades and professions, limited, if the Minister likes, to any class, as an earnest of his intention to meet in some way the problem of young people leaving school and the problem of unemployment that must be solved by any Government. I suggest that the way to have any decent industries, and the way to have people employed in these industries is to have them manned by Irish people. This is a method by which a beginning could be made, but the Minister did not express even sympathy with the amendment until it was dragged out of him by the observation I made at the opening of my remarks.

The Minister, above every other Minister, should know something of what the cost of education means to parents. He has had to do with a big body of civil servants throughout the country, and I am sure he has had drawn to his attention the examination into the distribution of expenditure in the incomes of a certain number of civil servants in connection with an examination into the cost of living that took place some years ago. Some 63 budgets were submitted by members of the Civil Service with a view to indicating how expenditure ran in the various classes of incomes. The incomes ranged from £300 and under to £400, from £400 to £500, and from £500 upwards, and taking the average incomes as £250, £350, £450 and £600 of persons in the Civil Service, the expenditure on education is recorded as £5 on £250; £7 10s. on £350; £18 on £450, and above £40 on £600 and over. There was a rise in the figures from £5 on £250 to £40 at £600 as expenditure on education. We see from that something of the desire to spend such moneys as can be made available on education. It has been the complaint in the past that instead of education being directed towards trade or technical lines, there was too much clerical or office work about it. Even with the development of technical education since the new Act was introduced some years ago, that tradition of office work has stuck to a great extent to these schools generally throughout the country. If, as Deputies have said, there is anything behind the protestations of the Ministry that they want to prepare the people of the country for a better class of industrialisation, then certainly some sympathy should be shown for the position indicated here, that people who have money show only too great an anxiety to expend it on their children's education. That being the attitude on the part of the parents, the attitude of the Government should be to hold out any inducement that would indicate to them that the education of their children should, as far as possible be directed along technical lines. The Government should be prepared, by such assistance as can be reasonably given in accordance with the principles they have already laid down in respect to giving relief on educational expenditure, to give them the relief that has been asked for here in order to induce a greater tendency towards education on the technical side.

I had not intended to reply, but the last speech coerces me to get on my feet again. It is quite clear that there is no proper appreciation of the position in the minds of the Opposition. First of all, let us remember what we are considering. We are considering an allowance granted under the income-tax code. I have already given figures to this House to show that unless a married man who has two children has an earned income of £400 per annum or over, he does not have to pay any income-tax. Therefore, so far as the overwhelming body of the people of this country is concerned, they pay no tax. I think our population is about 3,000,000. I doubt if, in present circumstances, the total number of our citizens who are assessed for income-tax exceeds 100,000. That is to say that roughly income-tax payers are less than 3 per cent. of our population. These are rough and approximate figures, but at any rate they will help the House to visualise what the position is. Deputies will, therefore, understand the significance of my statement when I say that until the average head of a family in this State has a total income, all of it earned, of more than £400, he is not likely to be called upon to pay income-tax at all. The plea has been made for this amendment that it is designed to encourage people to see that their children are properly trained for industrial occupations. What is the proper way to train them and prepare them for normal industrial occupations? It is to give them the best possible primary and technical education the parent can. The original purpose behind this children's allowance was to encourage parents to see that their children were educated. educated in the broadest sense, as distinct from the manual training which a person will get in a workshop. With the growth of technical education, a boy who desires to become apprenticed to a trade will be much better served if he delays going into that trade a little and instead spends a year or two at a technical school. Technical and secondary education is to be had nowadays in any of our urban centres. It does not matter whether the boy is going into an industrial occupation or into commerce. Technical and secondary education is to be had in most of our towns and cities at very little expense, so far as fees are concerned, to the parents. There is nothing in the income-tax code confining the benefits of the concession which at present exists to parents who send their children to the universities. It is very difficult to discuss these matters intelligently——

—— if the people who are advocating the concessions are themselves not familiar with the existing position. We have heard Deputy Costello, Deputy O'Sullivan and Deputy Mulcahy. They all argued on the basis that the existing concession is confined to the parent who is able to send his boy or his girl to a university college. That is not a fact.

Nor is it a fact that my argument was based on that.

The fact is that the concession is granted to a parent of a child over the age of 16 years who is receiving full-time instruction. Deputy Costello argued about the part-time or half-time case. There are sound reasons why the concession cannot be given in that case. An essential condition is that the boy or girl should be receiving full-time instruction at a university a college, a school or other educational establishment and that covers vocational educational establishments as well as primary and secondary schools and university colleges. The reason it was given was to induce parents to give their children a better opportunity for education. As I have said, it has been argued here that we ought to extend it, or rather, not that we ought to extend this concession but grant another one on an entirely different basis, that, instead of including parents to see that their boys or their girls are properly educated before they send them for technical or commercial training, we ought to induce them to neglect the long-term advantages which a good education will give to a boy or girl and snatch at the short-term advantage by putting the boy or girl into a job in which that boy or girl will get a few shillings and thus relieve the parents of their ordinary obligations to their children.

The whole basis of the concession, as I have said, is to induce parents better to educate their children. Remove that inducement by widening the limits within which these concessions may be given and you at once adopt an attitude which is not consistent with, and which I think would negative, the general policy which was behind this concession originally. No boy or girl going into any technical occupation loses anything by spending a year or two extra at a vocational school. Any boy who goes to apprenticeship, whether to engineering or otherwise, knowing something of trigonometry and of draughtmanship, and knowing something about physics and mechanics and natural philosophy generally, if properly trained, is going to receive the greatest benefit from the manual training which apprenticeship is intended to give him, and it is only manual training that apprenticeship is likely to give him. He is going to benefit by having this training. The purpose of the inducement at present is to give the boy that training. The amendment now before the House would negative the advantage that the State seeks to secure for those children by granting this concession. Apart from that altogether, there are other reasons why, in principle, this amendment could not be supported.

We all know the difficulties in drafting amendments for the purpose of giving effect to certain proposals. In the wording of this amendment there is nothing defining training or specifying the amount of training that would be required. It is quite possible we might have one boy put into a draper's shop and running messages. If we take the case of two brothers, one might be a draper and an income-tax payer and the other might just as well be an income-tax payer and a grocer too. One of these boys might be in the draper's shop, another in the grocer's shop running errands and the parents of each might claim reduction in income-tax, on the grounds that both were receiving vocational training, as this amendment is drafted. There is nothing in the amendment and I propose to ask the House to reject it.

On each occasion the Minister gets up he demolishes the case he made on his previous incursion into debate. I gathered from his previous statement that the particular objection he had to this amendment was the immense cost it would involve to the State. If there is any validity in portion of the argument to which we listened, surely it was that it would involve the State in very little cost indeed. If the Minister could spare a little of the heat which he brought into this discussion, and turn his attention to his own argument, he would see that he tried to demonstrate to the House how so few people of a certain class are in position to take advantage of this amendment—and he mentions this in the speech which he has just concluded— because they do not pay income-tax. The Minister in his responsible position as Minister for Finance refuses to give the House the necessary information when he speaks of the immense cost this would be to the State.

I did not use the word "immense" in any part of my speech.

I wish the Minister would keep quiet.

I say the Deputy is putting words into the Minister's mouth that he did not use.

We find it hard to put words into the Minister's mouth that he ought to use.

Why not talk about the children of the labouring classes?

May I ask you, A Chinn Comhairle, to try to keep the Minister in order when other Deputies are speaking? We listened to him and did not interrupt him. I must appeal to the Chair, for the sake of the dignity of the House, to keep the Minister in order. How many people are there paying income-tax who are likely to avail of this particular concession? A certain type will—the thrifty type—and it is the thrifty type that is going to be hit by the proposal of the Minister. The Minister gave a long disquisition on certain types of education. It may have been relevant to the amendment, but I doubt if it was. It certainly was not relevant to any part of the case put forward by any of the Opposition. I admit it is most useful that young people should get full primary education and full technical education. Even if they have such education, that may not relieve them of the necessity of entering into apprenticeship and learning a trade and learning something which the Minister so much despises— a kind of hand-work or handicraft, which they would learn in the workshop. I value that very highly, not merely as a necessity for the acquiring of particular trades, but also highly as a method of training.

Again, I protest against the snobbery that would limit education to a particular type. It is because the Minister really refuses to put any value on that particular type of training that I am supporting this amendment. There is no reason why any young man should be an expense to his parents because he remains at a primary school up to the age of 16, if necessary, or takes a post-primary course after 14 years of age in a technical school or a vocational school. There is no reason why, when parents make sacrifices of that kind, and then send the child to be apprenticed, that relief should not be given to them to the extent that the State can afford.

The main argument brought forward by the Minister was the argument that was used by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in England. But there is a tremendous difference between the circumstances in the two countries. Incidentally, the Minister indicated what that difference was, namely, that it is very few people indeed, comparatively speaking, who will be in a position to take advantage of this concession. The better-off class are already provided for, and the Minister is satisfied, apparently, with that. His idea is that a labourer with 18/- a week is already provided for, but there is a class not provided for. Parents may have gone to the expense of educating their children as far as possible in a post-primary or vocational school, and may then send them to a technical school. Why should these people not get the concession which the richer parents get who send their children on for University education? The Minister made no case against the amendment. The case he attempted to make, at the conclusion of his speech, demolished the case he made at the beginning.

Question put and negatived.
Question proposed: "That Section 4 stand part of the Bill."

The Minister, in introducing his Budget this year, referred to his intention of giving this relief of £60 in respect of children. I had proposed in the amendment, which I was, unfortunately, unable to move, that that allowance should be extended to a certain type of children who, though not technically receiving full-time education, were receiving what was, in fact, full-time education. The Minister made great play in his Budget speech with this relief. He told us that he was going to rake the pockets of the taxpayers, to put his hands deep down into their pockets under an earlier section of the Bill which enables him to go back for arrears of income-tax to the beginnings of the code in respect of people alive and, in respect of people dead, to the year 1922. He was going to collect by that process £50,000, and he proposed to apply that sum to the financing of Section 4 of the present Bill. The Minister did not tell the House at that time that the British Government proposed to insert a precisely similar section in their Bill. There is a precisely similar section in the British Finance Bill of this year, and it occurred to me that perhaps that was not pure coincidence, that there might be a very real reason why the Minister was forced to give this concession in respect of Irish children. I should like if the Minister would give me the real reason why this provision appears in the present Bill.

Would the Deputy be good enough to give us the hypothetical reason?

It is not my business to give hypothetical reasons. I want the real reason from the Minister. I discovered, by a glance at the British Finance Bill, that there is a precisely similar provision there. That struck me as peculiar. I put it no further than that. Will the Minister say if that is due to mere coincidence or, if not, how it comes about? Section 4, as a whole, is almost identical with a section in the British Finance Bill. As a matter of curiosity, I should like to know what is the explanation of that singular phenomenon? It may be that it is pure coincidence. If it is not, I should like to know what is at the back of it. The Minister made a great parade of the fact that he was going to give this relief and endeavoured to justify the quite unwarranted and unjustifiable provisions of Section 1 by alleging that he was going to finance the reliefs under this section by means of them. I should like to know why the Minister did not deal with a specific class of case to which I referred—a case which actually occurred. A person was under what would be popularly called "full-time instruction" at an educational establishment, but because he happened to be technically engaged as an apprentice, his parents were deprived of the allowance under the Act of 1920. Why did the Minister not meet that case which, in justice and decency, was deserving of consideration? Is the Minister not going to reply?

I am waiting to hear if any other points are to be raised, so that I can deal with them in a single reply.

When the Minister cannot give an answer to points raised, he always states that there is nothing in them. I shall put the points again if necessary.

What I said was that I was waiting to see if any other points would be raised by other Deputies on this section.

They are waiting to hear the Minister.

I do not know whether I can become Deputy Costello's mentor in the matter of the Constitution.

I should not be surprised at what you would do with the Constitution.

Without reflecting on the Deputy's eminence at the Irish Bar, which is well deserved——

You had already said that it was disreputable.

If there is one defect in the Deputy's forensic equipment, it appears to me to be want of knowledge of our Constitution, because I have read in the papers that he has put before the Supreme Court most untenable propositions in regard to the Constitution. He wants to know why it is that a section in almost identical terms with a section in the British Finance Bill appears in our Finance Bill. Do I understand that that is one of the points the Deputy is anxious to raise? Deputy O'Sullivan is endeavouring to restrain his colleague.

He thinks it so funny that he does not want me to interrupt you.

I should like the Deputy to interrupt me. We know that Deputy John Marcus O'Sullivan has to make three speeches on every section of the Bill, and I should like if he would make one now. Apparently, Deputy John Marcus O'Sullivan has become suddenly modest. He is blushing.

He is trying to restrain unseemly laughter.

The Deputy's interruptions are generally unseemly. Deputy Costello asked if it was pure coincidence that the increase in the allowance granted in respect of children in this year's Finance Bill was the same as that granted in the British Bill. The answer is "Yes." It happened that we found ourselves in command of the necessary resources as a result of last year's very satisfactory Exchequer income and the improved position of the country, to increase the allowances granted to income-tax payers in respect of children under 16 years of age and in certain circumstances in respect of children over 16 years of age. It was purely a coincidence that we decided that this should be done. But it is satisfactory to note that what we thought, after careful consideration of all the factors and circumstances, was the best and most equitable way of granting relief to the general body of taxpayers appealed also to the Minister on the other side who had the same responsibility as I had and who also decided that if they had a little money to grant relief to income-tax payers that this was the best and most equitable way of granting it. It is satisfactory to me to find that the investigation which took place on the other side in regard to their problem led to the same conclusion as the similar investigation which took place on this side. That is the first point. The second point is this—that the Deputy has asked if there was some esoteric significance in the fact that the relevant section in our Finance Bill was worded in almost identical terms with the equivalent section in the British Finance Act. The Deputy made a point about that.

No. We did not make a point about it; we drew your attention to it.

I grant the Deputy did not make a point. He drew attention to it, but though he did not make a point, he tried to make a point. I presume what he tried to do was to show that sub-section (1) of Section 21 of the Finance Act of 1920 was to be construed and have effect as if it were part of this Bill.

It is precisely the same wording.

I gather that that is the whole kernel of the Deputy's remarks and quintessence of his speech. Why is it phrased in that way? I said that I might have complained that the Deputy should have been a little better informed as to the contents of our Constitution——

I know it by heart.

If the Deputy will turn to Article 73 he will read this:—

"Subject to this Constitution and to the extent to which they are not inconsistent therewith, the laws in force in the Irish Free State (Saorstát Eireann) at the date of the coming into operation of this Constitution shall continue to be of full force and effect until the same or any of them shall have been repealed or amended by enactment of the Oireachtas."

That is, the Principal Act in regard to this question of children's allowances, the Finance Act of 1920 by Article 73 of the Constitution was made part of the general body of our statute law. If we proposed to amend that Act in 1936 we could only amend it by citing that Act in the section which proposes to make the amendment. That is why this section is identical with the section that appears in the British Finance Act of this year.

That explanation of the Minister drove Deputy O'Sullivan out of the House. I am not surprised. I have never heard a more definite and complete piece of nonsense than I have listened to from the Minister in the last few minutes. I was waiting for a definition of the Constitution and the Minister in a sort of whisper paid some tribute to my knowledge of constitutional law and practice. In a speech which the Minister made some time ago he referred to me as being disreputable in my attitude and variable in my opinions. I am glad he has changed his views on that and on other matters. However, I will pass from that. There was one thing that pleased me in the Minister's slightly hysterical observations. He said the reason why this allowance is given in respect of children this year is because the Government were in a position to do so as a result of last year's satisfactory Exchequer income and the improved position of the country. I was glad to hear the Minister saying that. I expect the Minister will now announce to the House that on the Report Stage he will move to delete Section 1 of this Bill from the Finance Act for this year. Because when justifying Section 1 of the Bill which gave power to the Minister to put his hands down deeply into the taxpayers' pockets and to open up transactions long since closed, he said that he inserted this section in the Bill in order to finance the relief given in respect of children. In his opening Budget statement the Minister said that he wished to remove the absurd power in the hands of the Revenue Commissioners to reopen transactions now closed.

We are now dealing with Section 4, not Section 1.

The point, Sir, is this: that the Minister said he proposed to exercise the powers given by Section 1 in order to get £50,000 in the coming year. I am speaking subject to correction, but as far as I remember he said that that £50,000 was to be devoted towards financing the giving of additional relief to children under Section 4 of the Bill. Section 4 is a section which gives relief in income-tax in respect of children. In his speech on the Budget the Minister stated that he proposed to finance this additional relief by the powers which are now contained in Section 1 dealing with income-tax. But we have the fact here to-day that the Minister states that he does not require these powers because of the improved position in the country and the very satisfactory Exchequer income—

I have not said that.

Yes, these are his words and I suggest to the Minister that the only conclusion he should come to now, notwithstanding the fact that Section 1 of this Bill has been passed, is that on the Report Stage he will move to delete Section 1 because the powers sought under that are for the purpose of raising £50,000 for the financing of the allowances in respect of children. Owing to the satisfactory Exchequer income and the improved position in the country of which the Minister tells us he will not want that Section 1 now. That is a very satisfactory statement if he will but follow it to its logical conclusion. We are all for giving relief in income-tax in respect of children. Personally I read that section with delight for it means something to me personally. But I have some regard for my constituents. The vast bulk of the income-tax payers are living in the constituency that the Minister and I represent and these people are entitled to some consideration. It is now no answer to say that it is only people with under £400 a year who are getting relief. I welcome the Minister's statement that the reason why he brought this relief section into the Bill was because of the increase in the Exchequer income and the improved state of the country. I am glad that the Minister has discovered that the statement he made in his Budget speech was wrong and that he does not require, in order to finance this Bill and to rake in this miserable sum of £50,000, to reopen those past transactions in the case of income-tax arrears and go back to 1922 in the case of dead people and to go back years before that in the case of living people. Now we have it that the Minister can under Section 4 of the Bill give this relief. I ask him to draw the logical conclusion from his own statement and to delete Section 1.

Section 4 put and agreed to.

I move amendment No. 6:—

Before Section 5 to insert a new section as follows:—

Section 3 of the Finance Act, 1935 (No. 28 of 1935) shall be and is hereby annulled.

This amendment proposes to delete Section 3 of the Finance Act, 1935. That was the section which, I think, would be regarded in any Parliament of the world as a joke from the way it is framed. It has in it the extraordinary fraction used for the first time of something being five-fourths of something else. The general effect of the section is to increase, for income-tax purposes, the valuation of houses and rateable hereditaments by 25 per cent. This amendment was put down 12 months after the Finance Act, 1935, was passed for the purpose, if possible, of putting an end to what we believe is a provision which has caused hardship and injustice to a class of people who deserve consideration at the hands of the Minister, namely, people who are thrifty.

We believe the operation of the section has caused very considerable hardship to classes of the community who would be described in other countries as, perhaps, middle class or, if I might quote the phrase of a well-known man, now dead, the late Mr. Arthur Clery, "the lower rung of the upper middle class." The Minister has no particular interest in those people. They are the class of people whom he referred to a few moments ago as the people with an income of £400 a year and two children. They are the class of people with smallish incomes, around £400 or £500 per year, many of them civil servants, many who, out of their income, or perhaps by effecting a policy of insurance on their lives, have bought their houses in the hope that, by saving out their fairly meagre income of £400 or £500 per year, they would be in a position before they came to the end of their days to pay off the amount of money required to purchase their houses. They bought these houses in recent years, many of them small villa houses in suburbs around Dublin, where building operations have been going on. They bought the houses at a time when they were valued recently under the provisions of the existing Valuation Acts, with the bias in the mind of the Commissioner of Valuation and his staff that, in modern circumstances, the valuation which should be put upon these houses should be fairly high.

It is not the case that the section hits houses valued many years ago, the valuation of which, by reason of changed circumstances and different times, is entirely out of all proportion or relation to what ought to be the modern valuation of property. The vast bulk of the houses which have been hit by this section are newly-erected houses, occupied by people with smallish incomes, more or less struggling people, people who have to keep up a certain appearance, people who have to try to put something by for the rainy day. Having purchased a house on the basis of a certain valuation, and paid a certain purchase price on that basis, they find that suddenly by a section of an Act of Parliament introduced last year, not merely have they to pay income-tax on a valuation increased by 25 per cent., but that, by virtue of that section of the Act itself, the market value of the houses has been depreciated. That was a very considerable hardship. By merely introducing that section thousands of people find that not merely have they to pay an increased income tax, but that the asset which they had put aside in a thrifty way, as a provision for themselves and their families, had been depreciated, by the action of the Minister in his rapacity to get in more taxation, by a very considerable amount in market value. The Minister has had 12 months' experience of the working of this section. We have been informed of the injustice which has been brought about.

Will the Deputy cite one case?

I will not cite any particular private individual's circumstances. The Minister must know them as well as I know them. Complaints have been made to us about the hardship of this section. The section is merely another method of increasing income-tax.

Will the Deputy give me the facts in one case without mentioning names?

I am dealing with the general principle applicable to this section which inevitably causes injustice. First of all, it increases the valuation of houses, which had been recently valued, by 25 per cent. Presumably, when that valuation was made in the last five or six years it was the highest valuation that the Commissioner of Valuation could fix upon it. It was, therefore, a valuation that was determined in accordance with the Valuation Acts in modern circumstances. Artificially, for the purpose of income-tax it is deemed by the section to be increased by 25 per cent. The net result is not merely to put an additional tax on the people who own the houses, but to depreciate the market value of these houses by that further increase in circumstances for which there was no justification.

Will the Deputy give me an instance of hardship?

The Minister knows perfectly well that the general principles to which I am referring have their application in particular instances in connection with thousands of houses in his own constituency. He can get the circumstances from the Revenue Commissioners, if he likes. I am not going to give him any private information conveyed to me or my collagues by constituents. The Minister introduced this section last year on the plea, in my recollection, that it had been thought that legislation would have been introduced into this House to enable the property of the country to be revalued and that it was merely anticipating that for income-tax purposes. The real truth of the matter was that he found himself unable to increase income-tax, not because he did not want to increase it, but because it would not pay the Exchequer to increase income-tax, either last year or this year, by reason of the existence of the double taxation relief agreement between this country and Great Britain; and he had to resort to this method of indirect taxation on small property-owners, on thrifty people, who have bought houses in the last five or six years.

I say this section has worked hardship and injustice. In principle it is entirely unjustifiable. If taxation has to be raised by a tax on income, then do it in a straightforward fashion by increasing the income-tax. Do not let the Minister say that he is not going to increase income-tax because he has such regard for income-tax payers: because he thinks it would not be for the benefit of the trade. Let him give the real reason—that he is afraid of it by reason of the fact that money would be lost to the Exchequer in consequence of the operation of the double taxation agreement that exists between this country and Great Britain. Do not let him resort to this indirect method of effecting an increase in income-tax and, at the same time, trying to cover his tracks from a political point of view.

I desire to support the amendment. Last year, when this proposal was first introduced by the Government, I described it as one calculated to penalise the thrifty. The same can be said of it this year. If its introduction last year caused hardship, it is surely indefensible to continue it this year. I understood last year that it was to be a temporary measure, but that does not seem to be so, seeing that we have it before us again this year. I do not know why the Minister should wish to discourage people from purchasing their own houses. That surely, is a desirable thing to do. House-building not only provides substantial employment, but it helps to make available more houses for those badly in need of them. This proposal also alters the basis on which people who are now buying their houses have to make their calculations. There is no doubt whatever but that this proposal will discourage people from entering into agreements to purchase their own houses, while it will also operate as a hardship on those who have already entered into purchase agreements. I do not think that a tax such as this should be inflicted on the section of the community that it affects.

The Minister has asked for examples of cases where this tax has caused hardship. While people have expressed their individual objection to the tax, it would be hard, I think, to bring them to the point in which they would be prepared to say and hold themselves out before their neighbours as suffering from a hardship that they could not bear. In my opinion this is a tax that should not be continued. I rather thought from the Minister's remarks last year that it was to be only a temporary measure, but, apparently, like a good many other things that were said to be temporary, it has now come to stay.

I cannot accept this amendment. The purpose of this provision was to ensure that property-owners would pay their due and equitable tax upon the incomes derived by them, or on the annual value enjoyed by them in respect of property which they own. Play has been made in the House that this proposal has occasioned hardship. I have asked Deputy Costello, and I presume Deputy Dockrell took the request as being addressed to him also, since he referred to the matter in his speech, to cite to me one single instance in which this provision had worked inequitably or had inflicted hardship. It is not necessary to mention names. Deputy Costello seemed to think that he must cite the names of the individuals concerned. That is not necessary at all. Let him give me the facts, let him show me any single instance in which hardship has been inflicted or any injustice done. I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that in no single case which has come under their notice has any person been asked to do more than pay tax upon the actual income which was enjoyed by him, taking one year with another, from the letting of property, or the annual value which was enjoyed by him because of the possession of such property, and if any single instance of hardship has not come under the notice of the Revenue Commissioners or if it has not been brought to their attention. I have asked Deputies to bring it to my notice, and I repeat again that it is not necessary to mention names. I can say this, that if there was such a case of actual hardship it is fully covered by the provisions of the section which would prevent any inequity or any injustice being done.

The real fact is that property in the State, whether it was built prior to the war or subsequent to the war, is considerably under-valued. We hope to bring in a measure which will redress this anomaly : to put those who own hereditaments in this country, particularly in urban areas, upon a more equitable basis as compared with their fellow citizens who have to pay tax upon the full amount of the income derived by them, whether from the exercise of a profession or as a result of gainful employment, or in any of the other ways in which income may be derived, except the ownership of property. We are not doing any person any injustice in placing property owners on the same basis as the general body of taxpayers in the country, and the existing provision in the statute does no more than try to do that, leaving an ample margin in favour of the taxpayer to cover any contingencies or any inequities that there may be in individual cases.

I understood when this tax was originally introduced—this strange vulgar fraction of ours—that there were principally two arguments put forward in support of it, one of which has just been referred to incidentally by the Minister, namely, the desirability of a revaluation of the country as a whole. The two reasons were: first, the inequalities of the present valuations owing to the developments that have taken place since the original valuations were fixed, and, secondly, the increase in the general value of property. I gather that the Minister relies on the advice that he has received from the Revenue Commissioners so far as reason No. 2 is concerned, that the value of property in the Saorstát has gone up over a number of years since the present valuations were fixed. Personally, I do not think that the procedure adopted here by the Minister is calculated favourably to affect the value of house property. Men who yesterday were induced to buy houses, every inducement held out to them, urged to do so, people pointing out what an excellent thing it was to be the owner of a house, suddenly find that they are singled out, though the Minister attempts to deny this, for special treatment, not favourable treatment, but the contrary type of treatment, by the Minister. I think in itself that is against what I might call general policy. No matter what the revenue may get out of it—I think, if my memory serves me right, £60,000 was mentioned by the Minister last year—I find there is never any consideration of the effect of general policy, whether or not it is good policy to do these things.

Turning to the other argument that I have heard frequently put forward, namely, the inequality between the valuations of different houses, certain important aspects arise. Houses that at one time were valued at the same figure, as the result of recent developments no longer have an equal value. It may be that one is half the value or, if you like, twice the value of the other. It seems to me that this arbitrary fixing all round of an additional 25 per cent. to the valuation already fixed increases the injustice that is done to one type of taxpayer. There are many cases where houses are not relatively so valuable now as they were at the time that the valuation was originally fixed, and yet this additional imposition is introduced. Let me emphasise once more that there is definite injustice done to different types of householders. This whole procedure is bad in itself, and to the ordinary taxpayer it must look nothing else except an expedient to raise money.

Precisely, that is what all taxes are for.

Quite, but at least you might endeavour to justify it by trying to do justice between the different types of taxpayers. To me this is purely a dodge to raise extra money which it is inadvisable to raise in other ways for the reasons mentioned by Deputy Costello. As the Minister for Finance and the President expressed it on more than one occasion here in reference to the ordinary raising of taxation, if a certain tax had gone to the limit, the further raising of that particular tax would not be reproductive so far as the Revenue is concerned. On these grounds, therefore, I think there is no case made why this absurd provision should remain any longer on our statutes. As usual, the Minister has confined himself to vague general statements. He never deigns to give the House any solid reasons for the proposals he puts before it, nor did he give any solid reason for the step he induced the House to take last year. He did not give any justification last year, and he is not giving any this year. I suppose it would be useless to expect the Minister to do anything in the present case.

The Minister accused me of not giving him any specific instance of hardship and injustice, and he proceeded to say that the Revenue Commissioners had assured him that in their administration of this section in the 1935 Act they had come across no case of injustice, and they had extracted from the taxpayers under Section 3 of that Act nothing other than a tax which would be produced by a letting from year to year or on the annual valuation. That statement from the Minister meant precisely and absolutely nothing. The Revenue Commissioners merely administered the Act. They are directed under Section 3 of the 1935 Act to collect the tax as if the valuation of the house was increased by 25 per cent. They look through the lists of valuations, increase them by 25 per cent. and make the necessary assessments and adjustments. They have nothing to do with whether there is hardship or injustice. I have never suggested that the Revenue Commissioners were not administering the law in accordance with the provisions of the Act.

I contend that this particular section in its inception, its conception and its working is an unjust section. The Minister asked me to give a specific instance. Take the case of any person who purchased a house before the Minister introduced his 1935 Budget. I submit that that section has done that man, whoever he is or whatever his station in life, an injustice. If he is paying income-tax he has to pay an increased tax on a purely fictitious and artificial valuation of his premises. The Minister suggested that this was done to remedy an inequity between various classes of the community. I drew the Minister's attention to the person who purchased a house and paid a certain figure on the basis that the valuation was a certain amount. The Minister ought to know, in connection with the ordinary business affairs of life, that when you are purchasing a house one of the relevant considerations is the valuation. I will give the Minister a present of a little legal information. If on the face of the particulars of sale of premises sold by public auction there is a mistake in the valuation of the house, that sale could be set aside. So essential in connection with the purchase price, the fixing of a purchase price of a house, is the element of the valuation, that if it is wrongly stated in the particulars of sale by the vendor, that sale can be set aside.

If the Minister wants any specific instance, he can get it from the Registry of Deeds; he can get that information on the telephone; he can ask the Registry of Deeds what transactions by way of purchases of houses were registered prior to the introduction of the Budget in 1935. In every instance the purchaser is suffering an injustice. In the case of every house that was let in this country prior to the introduction of the 1935 Budget, the owner is suffering an injustice. He let it on the basis that he had to pay a certain amount of rates and taxes, and he suddenly finds, when the Minister introduces his Bill, that his rent is decreased. If the arrangement is, as sometimes happens, that the rent is to be inclusive of rates and taxes, then he loses in that connection. If the rent is over and above taxes, that means over and above all taxes except income-tax, the owner is still hit. The Minister may go to the Registry of Deeds, or to any house agent, and ask how many houses were let before the introduction of the Budget last year and in respect of every one of these persons a grave injustice has been done. We ask, not that that injustice be remedied, but that further injustice should cease by the deletion of the section from the Act of 1935.

The Minister has made great play that there has been no injustice done to any person who has purchased a house. I should like to compare the case of two people, A and B. A has, let us say, £700 to invest, and he purchases a house. He entered into that transaction after making careful calculations as to the yield he would get from purchasing that house. On the other hand, B decided that he would not buy a house, and invested the money in some security which gave him a certain yield of interest. Does the Minister deny that as between those two people, A and B, the action of the Government has worsened the yield from one class of security as against another. What we complain of on this side of the House is that there is a discrimination as between one type of investor and another. I do not suggest that there is any personal bias or anything like that on the part of the Minister, but it is most undesirable to single out one section of the community for a tax that does not fall on the rest of the community. I think if the Minister wants to look for injustice he need not go past that aspect of the matter.

Amendment put and declared lost.
Question proposed: "That Section 5 stand part of the Bill."

On Section 5, this is an extension of the allowance for wear and tear of machinery as applied to professions. I understand that the Minister, when he was introducing his Budget, made great play of this section as one of those under which he was giving substantial relief to the community. I want to be quite sure that he is not taking back with one hand what he has given with the other. In the case of professional people who would come under this section it has been the practice to allow replacements of their machinery. I should like to ask the Minister whether it is now intended to continue to allow replacements of machinery and also to allow wear and tear of existing machinery? If it is not, I am afraid he has left people very much as they were. However, I hope he will answer quite clearly as to whether the existing practice of allowing renewals is to be discontinued, or whether it will be continued along with this new allowance for wear and tear of machinery.

I do not know what Deputy Dockrell means by giving away with one hand and taking it back with the other. This particular concession extends the same allowance in the case of plant and machinery used for the purposes of a profession as is at present given for wear and tear and obsolescence of plant and machinery used for the purposes of trade. That is the purpose of the section. It will cost us this year about £3,000 and, possibly, next year it will cost us £6,000. But there is only one concession given. People can either have it in this form—and I have told the Deputy what it is going to cost—or they can have it on the present basis of replacement, but they cannot have it both ways. Deputy Dockrell or any other trader has not got it both ways, and there is no reason why professional people should have it both ways either. They can elect to have it one way or the other, but they cannot have it both ways.

Well, then, is it not like Pat's blanket—as broad as it is long? A person is now going to lose the replacement allowance and he is going to get wear and tear. I described it as taking away with one hand what he had given with the other, and the Minister found fault with that description. Perhaps I would not have described it in that way if he had not so enthusiastically heralded the allowance that he was making to professional people and the amount it was going to cost the Exchequer. My recollection is that the figure was £5,000——

——but I will not quarrel with the Minister when he says it will cost £3,000 this year and £6,000 next year. In any case, I am afraid the professions are not going to get anything over and above what they have been getting for a series of years.

Of course I do not know whether it is a case of Pat's blanket; I never wrapped myself in that symbolical garment. I certainly never mentioned the figure of £5,000 in my Budget statement, and I did not make any great ado about this. I merely mentioned that it was going to cost the Exchequer £3,000 this year and £6,000 next year. As to the advantages or otherwise of the concession to the people concerned, I never put myself in the position of judge. All I know is that the demand for this concession came from them, and I suppose they know what suits them best and whether or not they are going to get anything out of it.

Question put and agreed to.

I move amendment No. 7:—

Before Section 6, but in Part I, to insert a new section as follows:—

Section 4 (which relates to relief from double income tax on profits from the business of shipping) of the Finance Act, 1927 (No. 18 of No. 27), shall apply in relation to profits or gains arising from the business of air transport in like manner in all respects as it applies in relation to profits or gains arising from the business of shipping, and, in order to give effect to such application, the said Section 4 is hereby amended as follows, that is to say:—

(a) by the insertion in sub-section (1) of the words "or the business of air transport" after the words "business of shipping," and

(b) by the insertion in sub-section (6) of the words "the expression ‘business of air transport' means the business carried on by an owner of aircraft" after the words "owner of ships", and

(c) by the deletion of the word "definition" where it occurs in the said sub-section (6) and the insertion in that sub-section of the word "sub-section" in lieu of the word so deleted.

This amendment is to enable the Government to enter into arrangements with other States for the granting of relief from double income-tax on profits from the business of air transport. It applies to the business of air transport the power which already exists in regard to shipping.

When the Minister refers to enabling the Government to enter into arrangements with other States, does he really mean with Great Britain, and, if so, why not say so?

Because there are other States concerned.

What other States, for instance?

I am not in a position to say at the moment, but the Deputy will understand that there are many other States—the United States of America for instance.

Have you got a double income-tax arrangement with America, or is there the slightest likelihood of it? Was I not absolutely right when I said that this section is brought in only with reference to Great Britain, and had not the Minister better say so?

The Deputy is very ingenious, but I wish he would not talk about double income-tax agreements. On the last section, he was in error in regard to a remark be made in that connection.

It is surprising that the Minister did not point it out.

Oh, well now, after all, I allowed——

The Minister ought to speak up; we cannot hear him.

The Deputy can come down, and perhaps he will hear better. He generally sits beside Deputy Belton.

Let us all hear what the Minister has to say. This is not a conversation between two members of the House.

Let the Deputy come down where he can hear.

I cannot hear what the Minister is saying. Perhaps other Deputies can hear.

Their hearing may be better than the Deputy's. However, I was merely saying that this relates to double income-tax on profits on the business of air-transport. It is a provision that has been introduced into our statutes in compliance with an international convention. It has nothing to do with the double income-tax agreement with Great Britain except in so far as it applies to Great Britain as well as to other States. As a matter of fact, I think we have the same thing in regard to the United States and, possibly, Denmark. Deputy Costello is mixing this up ——

I am mixing up nothing.

Again, I would like to emphasise that Deputy Costello is mixing up the 1926 double income-tax agreement with Great Britain with something else.

Amendment No. 7 put and agreed to.

I move amendment No. 8:—

Before Section 6 in Part 1 to insert a new section as follows:—

Any provision of any Act or rule which authorises a claim for repayment of income-tax to be made within a specified period shall be and is hereby amended so as to authorise the making of the claim within a period of 15 years after the end of the year of assessment.

This amendment is so eminently just, so entirely reasonable in its scope and in its intendment that I have not got the slightest hope that the Minister will accept it. The Minister has taken power under the first section of the Bill to reopen all arrangements and agreements with income-tax payers—to reopen all past transactions and all previous assessments. No arrangement or agreement is binding upon the Minister. No burden of proof is imposed on the Minister before he can reopen these transactions. No burden of proof is imposed on him before he can exercise the very drastic powers he has taken under Section 1 of the Bill. The Minister can go back, in reference to any transaction dealing with income-tax with a person who is alive, from the time when that person purports or is supposed to have earned a single penny of income up to the present moment, notwithstanding the fact that the court may have made previous assessments and notwithstanding the fact that agreements may have been made and honoured for many years and that all the references and records of transactions in connection with the case have been entirely lost and destroyed. That is the power the Minister takes.

The power asked for in this amendment merely seeks that the unfortunate income-tax payer, if an error is discovered over a period more than that allowed at the present time, which, I think, is six years, should have authority and right to go back and should have the right to get that error remedied and his over-payment to the Exchequer repaid to him. The period of 15 years is put in merely to draw the attention of the House and of the public outside to the extraordinary contrast that exists at the present moment between the rights of the taxpayer and the rights of the Revenue. It might appear that 15 years is a long time to go back on a past and closed transaction. In normal circumstances, I would not have asked the House to authorise any such reopening of transactions after such a length of time. I think that, in normal circumstances, six years, probably, would be sufficient, but I think that in matters of this kind there should be some reciprocity and that the injustice is so compelling and calls out so compellingly for remedy that some effort, on the part of the Minister, should be made to remedy that injustice.

Now, there have been actual cases where errors have taken place in assessments, and admittedly so, and because six years was the period existing—although it was admitted even in law, and in justice certainly, that repayment ought to be made and reconsideration ought to be given on behalf of the taxpayer—the Revenue Commissioners took refuge in the law and stated: "We cannot do anything because of the law and because of the control of the Comptroller and Auditor-General." If the Revenue Commissioners have power, as they have been given power under Section 1 of the Act, to reopen transactions long since closed—not merely so far back as 1922, but so far back as 1913 and 1912 and subsequent to the War; any period, in fact, that the Revenue Commissioners think right in reference to a living man —I think it is a small thing to ask that a taxpayer should be entitled to reopen cases that have been closed since the establishment of this State. That is what this amendment proposes. As I have already said, I put it down without the slightest hope that it will be accepted. I have no doubt that it will not be accepted, because, as I have said, it is so fair, just and reasonable, and we are coming to the stage now, in connection with income-tax and taxation generally, in this country— and I speak here now with all the gravity I can command—that injustice in connection with income-tax is at such a point that it has become almost morally open to taxpayers to take steps to evade their liabilities. I make that statement with the full knowledge of the responsibility I have in making it— with the full knowledge that I have of the methods that are being employed to extract taxes from the people at the present moment.

The Minister ought to know, because I have made my position clear in this House again and again in connection with Budget proposals and discussions of Finance Bills, that I do not stand, and that nobody on this side of the House stands, for anything in connection with evasions of tax by methods of fraud. Of course, the amendment I wrote down on the paper to-day made that clear again. I have never stood, in this House or anywhere else, for fraud or the condonation of fraud, but the person who is best able to evade the taxes that are being imposed by the Minister and his Government; the person who is best able to evade the exactions of the Minister's officials; the person who is best able to meet the methods of those officials, is the gentleman who does not stop at fraud. The people in whom I am interested are people who, years ago, made what they conceived to be, on proper evidence, a fair return of their income-tax in the circumstances then existing, and I am advocating in this amendment that, if a mistake arose, or if a mistake is discovered subsequently—a mistake, perhaps, due to the depredations of the Minister and his officials in the exercise of the powers conferred on them by Section 1, if it becomes law—if, as I say, a mistake is made and discovered as having taken place more than six years ago, all that this amendment asks is that that mistake should be remedied and that payments made by a taxpayer, which he was not bound to make, and which he made in circumstances under which he was not liable to make them, ought to be refunded to him and that he ought to get back from the Revenue that amount.

The amount of money that will be involved as a result of the inclusion of this amendment is infinitesimal. I will say now that I am not interested in the amount of money that is going to be got back, nor am I interested in the particular people who may be affected by this amendment. I think that the number of people that will be affected by it will be so small as to be negligible. I am interested, however, again, in directing public attention to this unjustifiable exercise of governmental powers, in favour of the Government, to enable them to rake money from taxpayers who will not be able to produce the necessary evidence to rebut claims made upon them, by reason of the stale demands that will be made, and to leave, as the Government intends, such a state of affairs that on one side there is the Minister and his officials with that power, and, on the other side, the taxpayers who have not the power to reopen any transactions over a limited period of six years. That is so unjust as to require no further comment. I have no hope that the Minister will accede to this. What I have hope of doing is of so harnessing public opinion outside against this Government, or any future Government that stands over proposals of the kind embodied in Section 1, that neither will be able to stay in power one day to cause hardship, injustice, torture of mind or uneasiness amongst honest taxpayers.

Any indication from the Minister?

I think Deputy O'Sullivan was not listening to Deputy Costello's speech, because the Deputy virtually admitted that the proposal did not require an answer. He said he had no hope that this or any future Government would adopt such a proposal.

I said nothing of the sort. I said I had no hope that this Government would adopt it, but I further implied in my concluding observations, that any Government which would sponsor any such proposal should not be allowed to stay in power.

I merely read into that remark that the Deputy has resigned himself to the prospect of not having any other Government than this in office.

That would be a shocking contemplation.

I am afraid that is the position.

I am resigned to stay where I am.

Admittedly the Deputy has no hope that the amendment will be accepted. The amendment does not deserve to be accepted. After all, what is the real position? The only person who knows all the facts about his income is the income-tax payer. On the part of the Revenue Commissioners they have generally to make some sort of investigation, the results of which depend on the honesty of the taxpayer in the first place. If he is not as honest as he might be, or if he is more ingenious or more intelligent than the Revenue Commissioners, they may have difficulty in ascertaining what his true income is. Again, it is the taxpayer who has all the facts, and if he, with all the facts in his knowledge, fails to make a claim within such a time as will enable the real facts to be ascertained, then it is he should suffer the penalty, and not the Revenue —not the general body of taxpayers.

Is the Minister suggesting that the Revenue Commissioners are entitled to retain taxpayers' money to which admittedly they are not entitled? That is the point of my amendment.

I say that any claim not made within the proper period is going to be a very difficult claim to investigate. If it is not made within a reasonable time, the delay has probably arisen, by reason of the desire of the taxpayer who makes it to allow such a period to elapse that it will be difficult to discover the real facts. Apart altogether from that, again I come back to this: that it is the taxpayer who knows the facts, and if he fails to make a claim within the proper time he ought to suffer the disabilities that his negligence imposed upon him. On the other hand, if the Revenue Commissioners are not able to make a correct assessment within a limited period it is almost inevitable due to the fact that the true amount of the taxpayer's income has not been disclosed to them. Therefore, they should not suffer the loss, because it is not their fault that they have not been able to ascertain it. It is the fault of the taxpayer who did not make the real disclosure. There is no parallel between the case of the taxpayer and the Revenue Commissioners. The taxpayer has it within his power to make a claim on the true facts of his income. He knows them, and can disclose them; and if he fails to do so within a proper and reasonable time the fault is his, and the disability and the penalty should be his. That is the position and the Deputy knows that.

We have had the usual flippancy, but no attempt to deal with the situation. There was a time when the Minister was arguing against Section 1. Certainly his argument was much more against Section 1 than against the amendment. The Revenue Commissioners and the tax-collecting body in this State are very efficient, and act as a machine. It is quite possible that in his capacity as Minister he does not realise that. But is any other Deputy unaware of it? The Revenue Commissioners seem to ignore very often the ordinary conditions of life in this country, especially the conditions under which business is being carried on. The Minister said that the only person who knows exactly what his income is is the taxpayer. That is all right so far as a person whose income is made up of salary is concerned. He knows his income, but I doubt very much whether the majority of persons, prior to recent activities on the part of the Revenue Commissioners, had any idea of their actual income. Many of them did not keep books or accounts in the way in which the Revenue Commissioners apparently believe that they are kept. Every Deputy knows that men have been compelled by the Revenue Commissioners to get in auditors, not for this year or for last year, but for the last 15 years, as a result of threats of various kinds by the Revenue Commissioners. I have been told, as other Deputies have been told, by men that they had no idea up to this how they stood, or what their actual profits and losses were. That is the way in which men conducted their business, and it is completely ignoring the actual situation as it prevails in this State, for the Minister or the Revenue Commissioners to pretend that up to ten or 15 years ago the ordinary business man knew what his income was. He had no idea what it was and could not form an approximate idea, because he did not keep accurate accounts. Now, as a result of the activities of the Revenue Commissioners, and of the new powers given them by this Bill, investigation has revealed to taxpayers that they were entitled to certain reliefs that they were unconscious of and that they had a right to claim. The injustice came out after examination by the Revenue Commissioners. The Minister was quite right when he said that there was no parallel between the position of the Revenue Commissioners and the taxpayer. There is not. The balance is altogether on the side of the Revenue Commissioners, and against the unfortunate business man, who is constantly asked to keep accounts stretching over ten, 15 or 20 years concerning every item of his business. That is supposed to be fair and just because the State makes the demand, and because the State is all powerful.

Progress reported. The Committee to sit again.