Financial Statement.

It is six months to a day since I introduced the Supplementary Budget, and though we have had many other major grounds for anxiety since then, I am happy to be able to inform the House and to congratulate the country that the revenue has shown an unexampled resilience despite the strain of adverse conditions. This is due in part to the fact that the war in which our neighbours are involved has since November last pursued a course entirely different from that predicted either by the experts or by that legendary figure "the man in the street". Our import and export trade consequently did not suffer as seriously as was expected, and in the result our customs, excise and inland revenue yields proved satisfactory. On 8th November last, in the light of all the available data, it was estimated that if the then existing rates of duty were left unaltered the total yield of tax revenue, apart from motor vehicle duties, would be £1,550,000 less than the Budget Estimate of £25,320,000. To offset this anticipated decline, I imposed additional taxation which was expected to yield £603,000, thus bringing the total tax revenue up to £24,373,000. The yield to the Exchequer has, in fact, been £25,165,000, which, though below the original Budget Estimate of May last, is considerably in excess of the November expectations. Deputies must not rush to the conclusion that the extra taxation then imposed was unnecessary or excessive. It was unfortunately, as circumstances showed, only too necessary, because expenditure proved recalcitrant to all my efforts at reduction and the economies which I anticipated were, for reasons referred to later, not realised.

In estimating the various heads of revenue we came near the mark in the great majority, the principal deviations occurring in regard to customs where the desire to replenish or add to stocks, to forestall rising prices or increased taxation, or to avoid subsequent scarcity was manifest in many directions. The increased value per unit of the imports also added substantially to the yield of ad valorem duties, which, as Deputies are aware, are calculated on the landed price, including cost, insurance and freight.

The total yield of customs was £10,579,000 as compared with a revised estimate last November of £9,653,000. This difference of £926,000 may, in the main, be explained as follows:—

Motor cars, parts and accessories yielded £158,000 as against an anticipated £100,000; mineral hydrocarbon oils, £1,636,000 as against £1,470,000 anticipated. In the beer and spirits group we have, I suppose, to thank the severe winter, in part at any rate, for an unexpected £250,000 in excess of the estimate, while tobacco was £35,000 better than we had hoped, and marked improvements were recorded in clothing and apparel and in piece goods of all kinds—cotton, linen and wool.

This frantic rush to lay in stocks will not be repeated; indeed, in many cases it cannot be repeated, and the yield of customs revenue in the coming year is bound to suffer under a number of heads, both by the existence of these large stocks and by inability to replenish them as they become exhausted.

Exceptionally, sugar imports were disappointing, yielding only £593,000 against an expected £778,000.

Coming to the excise side, a number of improvements were also noticeable, beer at £3,141,000 being £16,000 better than the estimate, though spirits at £1,735,000 were lower than we had expected by £185,000. On home-made sugar the excise duty exceeded the estimate by £140,000, clearances being much higher than anticipated, just as those of imported sugar were much lower. Home refiners of oil did not find their supplies of crude interfered with to the extent anticipated, and the yield of excise duty at £77,000 was £35,000 more than had been reckoned on. Entertainments duty was £28,000 over the estimate, despite war conditions, but betting duty and dog licences both receded, being £6,000 and £5,000 respectively worse than the estimate. Whether there is any necessary relation between these two duties I do not pretend to know.

On the inland revenue side, quite a number of declines are recorded on the revised estimates, estate, etc., duties being £157,000 down at £956,000; income-tax, surtax, corporation profits tax and excess profits duty (the last-named now nearly extinct) all showing trifling declines of about £10,000 in the aggregate.

Motor vehicles duties showed up handsomely despite the higher price and reduced quantity of fuel available. The yield at £1,138,000 fell short of the estimate by only £27,000. The motorists are stout-hearted and do not quail before a little taxation. I do not propose to add to their burdens, which have not been lightened by recent increases in the price of petrol.

On the expenditure side I wish I had a more encouraging picture to present to the House. The total issues for Central Fund and Supply Services amounted to £34,395,000, as compared with £33,110,000 in the year 1938-39— an increase of £1,285,000.

Expenditure of an abnormal character on capital undertakings is, of course, included in the figures I have given but such elements are less for 1939-40 than originally estimated. The items which we set apart for borrowing usually comprise part of the Votes for Employment Schemes, Army, Public Works and Buildings and Afforestation. As shown in Table I of the tables in connection with the Budget which are being circulated to Deputies to-day, in the case of afforestation alone has the actual borrowing been greater than that contemplated. In respect of airport construction, military buildings and defensive armaments it has been less. It follows from this that of the aggregate expenditure mentioned above a much greater proportion is of the ordinary recurrent type which must be charged to revenue, so that, apart from the actual growth in the aggregate figures, the character of the expenditure has disimproved from the point of view of the Minister for Finance. The result is seen in a deficit of £892,000 on the year's transactions, an amount equivalent to that by which the actual borrowings fell short of those anticipated. In the circumstances, I think it is, perhaps, not unfair to charge the deficit to borrowing inasmuch as by doing so we do not inflate the borrowing figure beyond that originally anticipated.

The steady, and one might almost say relentless, growth of expenditure which has characterised Government operations in recent years, not only here but in all countries, is almost as disconcerting to a Minister for Finance as his inability to make any impression on it when the axe or the pruning hook is brought to bear. In the course of my Statement on the Supplementary Budget, I felt confident that, profiting by the labours of the Economy Committee, I might curtail State outlay to the extent of some £400,000. I was bitterly attacked from many quarters for even suggesting this modest economy, and those Deputies who joined in the attack will, presumably, consider it a matter for congratulation that my ill-intentioned efforts did not succeed.

While capital expenditure for defence purposes has been reduced below the estimate, recurrent expenditure on this service has risen considerably, due to increase in personnel, in personal allowances, transport costs, etc. Expenditure on the Army last year reached the high figure of £2,973,000, which was £1,206,000 in excess of that for the previous year, an increase of nearly 70 per cent. All the Education Votes were up with the exception of Universities and Colleges and the National Gallery, which showed trifling declines. Posts and Telegraphs, Agriculture and other important services also showed increases. Public Works and Buildings were up by £203,000. The cost of Unemployment Assistance was higher by £132,000, in consequence of greater numbers and the more liberal rates of assistance given under the Unemployment Assistance Act of 1938. Despite these adverse changes, the position of the Exchequer would not have disimproved to the actual extent shown had not the excess of recurrent expenditure on the Army been, because of the emergency situation, so unusually heavy.

While the emergence of a deficit is definitely disconcerting in view of the additional taxation imposed in November last, Deputies will not deny that this is the common lot of Finance Ministers the world over in these times. I do not wish to appear facetious on so grave a subject, but it was a phrase coined, I think, during the last depression that "Budgets are being worn unbalanced this year". The fashion has come round again, but I hope it will not last. Certainly I shall do my best to return to a more orthodox, if less fashionable, garb in the coming year. Orthodoxy has, however, no appeal to me as such. When I was Minister for Local Government, I did not hesitate to strike out new paths in the realm of local government finance. I tackled housing, public health and other associated problems by methods and on a scale hitherto unattempted, and I can claim to have met with a fair measure of success. Since I assumed office as Minister for Finance, it has been my object, in the course of the necessarily detailed study I have had to make of the many problems arising in the financial affairs of our country, to concern myself, in the first place, with ends rather than means and not to refuse the support of the public purse to schemes and projects which, on a strictly accountancy basis, could not be reckoned as profit-earning or revenue-producing. In this, I was largely following the enlightened policy of my predecessor, but with him, I recognise that, as the Majority Report of the Banking Commission pointed out, there are limits to the extent we can go in the creation of burdens, whether of a capital or a recurrent nature, which must, immediately or ultimately, fall upon the taxpayer.

The tables that have been circulated to Deputies show that, at 31st March last, the gross capital liabilities of the State amounted to £72,588,000, to which must be added £8,500,000, being the estimated capital value of the State liability in respect of housing, making a total of £81,088,000. This represents an increase during the 12 months of £4,740,000, while capital assets rose at the same time from £38,630,000 to £40,900,000, an increase of £2,270,000. Due to the repayment to the Exchequer by the Local Loans Fund, advances outstanding to that fund declined by, approximately, £2,000,000, but this did not in any way affect past or present loans from the fund as the necessary financing to meet the payment to the Exchequer was found entirely from other sources. To the fund it meant merely the substitution of one form of indebtedness for another.

A more important financial transaction during the year was the flotation of a public loan for £7,000,000. The flotation took the form, for the first time, of an issue of Exchequer Bonds, which were offered at par on a four per cent. interest basis, maturing 1950-60. Considering the circumstances of the time, this issue must be counted a success, a distinct success, indeed, if contrasted with the fate of similar issues made in various neutral European countries since the outbreak of war. The result I attribute in large measure to the co-operation of the banks, to whose help in this matter I would like to pay tribute. I feel that special mention should be made also of the assistance given by our leading companies and bodies of a religious or philanthropic character. The Bonds stand to-day at a premium over the issue price of 3½ points, which, allowing for interest accrued since 1st January, represents a net gain of two guineas to the investor. This testifies in an undramatic but no less remarkable way to the confidence felt by the public in the economic and political stability of the State.

Allowing for the estimated capital value of the State's liability in respect of borrowings by local authorities under the Housing (Financial and Miscellaneous Provisions) Acts and setting off the State's assets against total liabilities, the net deadweight Exchequer liability on 31st March last was £40,188,000, compared with £37,717,000 on 31st March, 1939. This shows an increase in deadweight liabilities during last year of £2,471,000. Of the latter amount, £1,180,000, or approximately 48 per cent., is due to the Government's assistance to the housing schemes carried out by local authorities. The remainder of the increase in the net deadweight debt is due almost entirely to:—

(1) the borrowings during last year in respect of capital and abnormal items, i.e., expenditure on airports, defence, etc., amounting to £1,114,000, and

(2) the deficit of £892,276 on last year's Budget, offset to the extent of £716,000 in respect of sinking fund operations and other capital transactions carried out during last year.

I might add that the extra liability incurred is not entirely deadweight since offsetting assets are created in the shape of airports, additional forest lands as well as certain public health works and miscellaneous development works financed from the Employment Schemes Vote.

To get a true picture of the country's public debt, account must also be taken of the indebtedness of local authorities. The latest complete figures on this head are for the year ended 31st March, 1939, on which date the gross indebtedness of local bodies amounted to £31,257,000 as against £28,179,000 at the 31st March, 1938. Allowing for the State's liability in respect of housing, which is included in this total, and for some other small adjustments, the net local debt outstanding on the 31st March, 1939, was £20,001,000 as compared with £18,380,000 on 31st March, 1938. Making further allowance for the capital value of the portion of loan charges paid by tenants in houses provided by local authorities, the net deadweight indebtedness on 31st March, 1939, was £13,201,000 as compared with £12,028,000 on 31st March, 1938. The total deadweight public debt of the State and local authorities combined at 31st March, 1939, was, therefore, £50,918,000. Assuming an increase of about £1,000,000 in the net deadweight debt of local authorities during the year ended 31st March, 1940, the total deadweight public debt of the community on that date works out at, approximately, £54,250,000, and the gross capital liability at just over £100,000,000.

I now come to deal with the matter of more immediate interest in to-day's proceedings, namely, our expenditure during the current year and the manner in which it is proposed to meet that expenditure out of revenue. The latter will, of course, benefit by a full year's yield from the taxes imposed in the original and supplementary Budgets last year.

The White Paper of Estimates of Receipts and Expenditure already furnished to Deputies shows that the total of the Estimates for Central Fund and Supply Services for the current year is £35,584,000, while the total of tax and non-tax revenue at existing rates comes to £32,968,000. My main task is to bridge this difference of £2,616,000.

When introducing the Supplementary Budget in November last, I intimated that the standard rate of income-tax for the year beginning on 6th April, 1940, would be raised from 5/6 to 6/6 in the £. The yield from the extra 1/- in the current year is estimated to come to £750,000. This, added to the figure of £32,968,000 in the White Paper, brings our total revenue to £33,718,000, and the difference between expenditure and revenue is narrowed to £1,866,000.

In response to numerous representations made with a view to increasing agricultural production, it is proposed to provide an extra £100,000 as a subsidy for the purchase of artificial manures in addition to the sum of £80,000 already provided for that purpose in the current year's Estimate for Agriculture. This concession will, I hope, help to sweeten the element of compulsion associated with the tillage scheme. While corn crops have largely gone into the ground, root crops, I understand, have still to be sown and the benefit accruing to farmers from this large additional provision should be considerable later on. We hope to get between 300,000 and 400,000 additional acres under the plough in the current year, and this should remedy, in part at any rate, the deficiency in imported foodstuffs as well as provide a more bounteous surplus for export.

This substantial addition to the existing provision for Supply Services is made possible by an offsetting reduction, amounting to £125,000, in the Estimate for Unemployment Insurance and Unemployment Assistance, as a result of a further scrutiny of the requirements in respect of unemployment assistance for the current year.

It will be suggested that it should be feasible to effect savings on Supply Services in addition to that just mentioned. The total net provision in the Estimates for these services in 1940-41 is £30,511,359. The net provision in 1939-40, including Supplementary Estimates, was £31,422,626. There is thus a reduction this year of £911,267. As some critics object to the inclusion of Supplementary Estimates in the old year's figures when comparison is made with the new year, I shall compare the original net provision in 1939-40 wtih the current year's net provision. The original net figure in 1939-40 was £30,248,897, to which £370,000 was added in the Budget, and later provided by Supplementary Estimate, for Supplementary Agricultural Grant, making a new total of £30,618,897. As compared with this latter figure, the 1940-41 provision is down by £107,538, admittedly a low figure, representing only one-third of 1 per cent.

Provision for cost-of-living bonus on Civil Service salaries in the 1939-40 Estimates was based on an index figure of 75 for six months and 80 for six months. In the 1940-41 Estimates provision for bonus is based on a figure of 85 for the whole year, involving an increase of roughly £150,000. Allowing for this bonus addition and for the increase of £103,221 in the current year's Army Estimate, the other Supply Services are, therefore, down by £360,759 as compared with the original provision for 1939-40. In the first Budget for 1939-40, £100,000 was taken off the Employment Schemes Vote, leaving a provision of £1,400,000, which is repeated this year. Allowing for this deduction of £100,000, the various Supply Services, other than the Army, and apart from the cost-of-living bonus on Civil Service salaries, are down by £260,759 by comparison with the original provision for 1939-40. This saving, if not very encouraging, is, at any rate, a move in the right direction.

On this question of bonus, it will be recalled that, when introducing the Supplementary Budget on the 8th November, I adverted to the danger to our economic position which would arise if increases in prices caused by war conditions were allowed to be reflected in wages, salaries and profits. I stated then that the Government had a duty to do everything in its power to avert such a development and was determined to set its face against the efforts of any class to obtain compensation for the rise in prices at the expense of the community. I also indicated that action to this end was contemplated with regard to all classes of public servants. In the discussion on the Finance (No. 2) Bill on the 29th November last, I gave an assurance that, when the general position was clarified so far as the Civil Service was concerned, consultation with the service would take place before proceeding. I, accordingly, arranged a meeting on the 11th April between representatives of my Department and the staffs to afford the latter an opportunity of expressing their views on the question of stabilising the Civil Service bonus at the present figure of 85.

The Government, in coming to its provisional decision to stabilise the bonus at the existing figure, was not unmindful of the fact that, generally speaking, since 1st April, 1922, the bonus figure showed a downward trend, which continued until 1st July, 1937, when it started to rise again, and that, during the period in which the bonus figure was falling, the remuneration of civil servants fell as a consequence. They benefited, however, from the fall in prices, which helped to re-establish the equilibrium of their family budgets, while those not on the maximum of their scales drew further benefit from increments. Most other sections of the community suffered from contractions in income over the same period, and the Civil Service had no reason to complain.

The position now is entirely different, by reason of the European war. My representatives, when they saw those of the Civil Service, pointed out that the effect of increases in prices being followed by increases in wages could only result in prices of commodities being forced up still further. An artificial price structure would thus be built up which would inevitably collapse at the end of the war, if not before, leaving behind widespread unemployment and depression. Those who remember the last war and its economic aftermath are already familiar with the dangers of this kind of inflation.

At the meeting to which I refer, the representatives of the civil servants contented themselves simply with demanding that the cost-of-living bonus arrangement should continue as if there were no emergency. To that proposition I cannot agree for the reasons already stated. Civil servants have fared rather well in having already received compensation in respect of a ten points increase in the cost of living since the European war began. In that respect, they have been much more fortunate than the general body of the community. Members of the Civil Service, like other people, must recognise that these are exceptional times which call for some sacrifice and that no section or class of the community can be exempted from bearing a reasonable share of the burden. Nothing more is being asked of the Service than what is reasonable.

After hearing the views of the civil servants and further consideration of the matter, the Government feel that, in present circumstances, they would not be justified in allowing the cost-of-living bonus to rise above the present figure of 85, and it is proposed to take all necessary steps to implement that decision.

Reverting to the question of economy, comparison is sometimes called for with the expenditure on Supply Services now and in 1931-32, and I am quite agreeable to that course. For instance, the actual expenditure in 1931-32 on the following group of services, old age pensions, unemployment insurance, relief schemes, Land Commission and Department of Local Government and Public Health, amounted to £4,161,000. The actual expenditure in 1939-40 on this group, with the addition of unemployment assistance and widows' and orphans' pensions, and with the substitution of employment schemes for relief schemes, was £9,390,000, and the estimated total for 1940-41 is £9,476,000. There is, therefore, an increase of £5,250,000 in respect of this group of social services. Rather drastic economies were suggested in regard to some of this group and various other services, but, after mature consideration, the Government came to the conclusion that undesirable results might follow from such economies. It was felt that we could not reduce the provision for ths group of socal services without a degree of hardship and injustice or without adding to the numbers of unemployed. I would also remind the House that, instead of suggesting economies, most Deputies are clamouring for even more expenditure on these services and for their extension in the form of family allowances and other desirable but expensive measures.

While solicitous in the interests of the taxpayer about economy, the Government has at the same time not been unmindful of its paramount duty to help in remedying unemployment. Apart from direct employment given to members of the Civil Service, Army and Gárda Síochána, there are large sums included in the various Votes which in many ways afford or stimulate employment. I will refer briefly to a few of the main items: first, of course, comes the £1,400,000 for employment schemes, to which an additional £270,000 will be contributed by the local authorities. There is next a sum of £900,000 in the Public Works and Buildings Vote for new constructional works of many kinds, national schools, Army and police barracks, airports, etc. In the same Vote are included sums of £175,000 for maintenance and £13,000 for drainage. The improvements sub-head of the Land Commission Vote, which is utilised in all parts of the country, totals £560,000; £320,000 is included in the Estimate for Posts and Telegraphs for the conveyance of mails and contracts work; £207,000 in the Army Vote for civilian employees and A.R.P. grants; £200,000 in the Local Government Vote for housing grants; £130,000 in the Forestry Vote for labour in cultural operations and maintenance; £83,000 in the Industry and Commerce Vote for turf development; £69,000 in the Gaeltacht Services Vote for Gaeltacht housing, rural industries and the collection of kelp and carrageen; £68,000 in the Stationery Office Vote for printing and binding; and £19,000 in the Fisheries Vote for grants to the Sea Fisheries Association. All these items, contained in the Supply Service Estimates, total £4,146,000, but our contribution towards the relief of unemployment does not end there. If Deputies will turn to the White Paper of Receipts and Expenditure, they will see provision for capital issues in 1940-41 totalling £2,337,000, of which £1,015,000 is for electricity development, £297,000 for telephone development and £250,000 for advances under the Local Loans Fund Act. The figure of £2,337,000 added to the £4,146,000 above gives a total of £6,483,000. Our help to the Local Loans Fund extends far beyond the £250,000 mentioned, as provision is being made for advances from other sources of £1,650,000, making a total capital provision for that fund in the coming year of £1,900,000, which, added to the £6,483,000 referred to, gives us a grand total of £8,383,000. No serious student of public affairs can deny that for a small country this represents a huge effort. I wish I could translate for the benefit of the House into terms of actual employment the large financial provision mentioned, but I may say that, in the case of the Employment Schemes Vote alone, the average number employed from November to March last was, in round figures, 28,000, while the maximum number employed at any one time during the year was 38,000.

The net result is that no further economies are at present possible, and we are thus faced with the problem of finding revenue to meet an expenditure of £35,559,000 on Central Fund and Supply Services. As the House is aware, some Supply Service Estimates were prepared about six months ago, that is, 15 months before the end of the relevant financial year. It cannot be expected, therefore, that the forecasts are absolutely accurate considering the many unforeseen contingencies that may arise. Most Estimates have to be prepared on a relatively conservative basis and contain safety margins. There may be savings on some and overspending on others, necessitating the introduction of Supplementary Estimates at a later stage. Normal experience, however, indicates that, in the aggregate, over-estimation generally occurs. The actual over-estimation varies from year to year and, on last year's out-turn, it was much lower than in previous years. After allowing for all factors, I propose to adopt this year a figure of £600,000 for over-estimation. Deducting this, the net provision for Central Fund and Supply Services becomes £34,959,000.

Included in the Supply Services are certain items of a capital and abnormal nature which can justifiably be charged against borrowing rather than against current revenue. Apart from the provision for replacements and for current requirements of equipment and stores, etc., the Army Estimate for 1940-41 contains a capital and abnormal provision for the purchase of torpedo boats, reserves of general and warlike stores, and A.R.P. equipment, amounting in all to about £390,000. The Vote for Public Works and Buildings contains a sum of, approximately, £280,000 in respect of barracks, magazines and other new military works. The total provision in the two Votes for these special and abnormal items is about £670,000. Following last year's precedent, it is proposed to borrow £500,000, which is, approximately, three-quarters of this provision, and to charge the remaining quarter to current year's revenue.

Similarly, the provision for airports and for the equipment of meteorological stations connected therewith, spread over the three Votes, Public Works and Buildings, Transport and Meteorological Services and Posts and Telegraphs, amounts to £417,000. As was indicated previously, the cost of airports is being spread over a period of 15 years, and the annuity to be met out of revenue in each of these 15 years amounts, approximately, to £142,000. Deducting this from the total provision in the current year's Estimates, the difference is £275,000 and that sum is to be met by borrowing in the current year.

The current year's Estimate for Forestry provides £45,000 as a Grant-in-Aid for acquisition of land and £108,250 for new cultural operations. It is proposed to borrow £69,000 in respect of these two items. Many of the works financed from the Employment Schemes Vote, such as public health works, road schemes, land reclamation and other improvement and development works are of a capital and durable nature and it is, accordingly, reasonable to charge against borrowing portion of the provision. I propose, therefore, to charge to borrowing one-fourth, i.e., £350,000 of the current year's Estimate for Employment Schemes.

The total of the four capital and abnormal items to be charged to borrowing amounts to £1,194,000 and deducting this, the net provision for Central Fund and Supply Services to be charged against current year's revenue amounts to £33,765,000.

On the recommendation of the Minister for Industry and Commerce, I am proposing certain minor changes in existing protective duties. These relate principally to articles of iron and steel, manufactures of clay, earthenware, etc., and soap, soap powder and substitutes, and comprise a few reliefs from existing duties, a few reimpositions which are required for purposes of clarification or convenience, and one new duty—on wadding. The net result of the various changes, if approved, will be a slight loss of revenue, estimated at £2,000 in the current year.

This further widens the gap between revenue and expenditure, which I must now set about closing. Certain proposals regarding surtax come first on my list. I am recommending an increase in the charge to surtax for the year 1939-40 payable 1st January, 1941, in the case of incomes exceeding £20,000. From this alteration I hope to get something like £12,000 per annum.

The second proposal extends to private limited companies registered before the 6th April, 1914, the provisions of Section 21 of the Finance Act, 1922, which was designed to prevent avoidance of surtax by an undue limitation of dividends. Hitherto, private companies registered before the 6th April, 1914, have been excluded from the scope of these provisions. The consequent increase in surtax revenue is expected to amount to about £5,000 per annum in due course.

I shall move a Resolution to bring to an end a considerable loss of revenue arising from a device arranged by certain charitable bodies with their subscribers as a result of which the charity obtains in effect a subsidy from the State and the subscriber secures a deduction in the computation of his income for surtax purposes. As the Resolution will not affect existing covenants during the period expressed therein, unless such period extends beyond seven years from the end of the year 1939-40, there will be no immediate increase in revenue, but it is estimated that the ultimate gain, calculated by reference to the existing rates of income-tax and surtax, will be, approximately, £13,000 per annum.

I shall also move two further Resolutions which are not on the Order Paper to-day but will be introduced later on as Supplementary Resolutions. One of them is designed to defeat a device for avoidance of surtax by the declaration of a company that its dividends are paid "without deduction of income-tax". The other is designed to ensure that in certain cases in which married persons are legally separated double allowances for relief in respect of children cannot be claimed. As these Resolutions will be designed merely to prevent future losses in revenue and will not produce any increase in the existing yield, they do not affect the figures of the Budget which I am submitting to the House.

There will be three Resolutions designed to obviate possible losses of estate duty in the future by means of devices which have been adopted in Great Britain. These Resolutions will be moved to-day and I will explain their individual scope at the appropriate time. They do not affect the Budget figures.

Owing to the discontinuance of sponsored programmes broadcast by Hospitals Trust, Limited, the loss in revenue from that source in the current year will amount to about £38,000. Apart from this actual loss, reflected in the White Paper Estimate, the substitution of alternative programmes will entail heavy additional expenditure on wireless broadcasting. In order to make good, in part at least, the loss of revenue involved, it is proposed to increase wireless licence fees from 10/- to 12/6 per annum. For this purpose, it will be necessary to issue a new Regulation under the Wireless Telegraphy Act, 1926, formalities in connection with which are now being completed. As wireless licences run from the first day of the month of issue, the increased fee will apply only to licences issued or renewed after the operative date for the increased fee, 1st June, 1940. It is estimated that the change now being made will bring in an additional revenue of about £16,000.

There is still a difference between estimated expenditure and estimated revenue, and I propose to bridge it by asking for authority to transfer £150,000 from the Road Fund to the Exchequer to meet general charges which will fall upon the Central Fund. This follows on similar action taken last year. One justification for this course is that a considerable portion of the provision in the Employment Schemes Estimate is spent on road works. Last year, for instance, approximately £800,000 was sanctioned for rural and urban road works to be financed from the Employment Schemes Vote. It is only reasonable, therefore, that the Road Fund should not be entirely relieved of responsibility for this heavy outlay on road works and the £150,000 may be regarded as a somewhat inadequate contribution towards such outlay. Apart from this, I might add that there is no more justification for appropriating the proceeds of taxation on motor vehicles for road improvement than there is, say, for appropriating the proceeds of the excise duty on beer to the improvement of public-houses. If we do not transfer £150,000 from the Road Fund to the Exchequer, the only alternative is to impose additional taxation, and, in the circumstances, I think that the transfer is moderate in amount.

During the discussions on the Supplementary Budget of November last and the subsequent Finance Bill which raised by 12/- per barrel the excise duty on beer, several Deputies appealed for some relief for our small brewers. I have since had the benefit of a full and frank discussion with a deputation representing these breweries. My predecessor did something to help them in 1932 when a rebate of 5/- per barrel of beer was given to each brewer in respect of the first 5,000 barrels brewed, provided at least 80 per cent. of the cereals were malted or roasted in this country. This concession has, undoubtedly, been helpful, but while it has kept the wolf from the door, it has not scared that ubiquitous animal completely away.

Nothing, I am convinced, can do this short of a general reduction in the excise duty on beer, which I cannot contemplate at present. I should be sorry to see any of these small breweries disappear, as they form little hives of industry outside the capital and give considerable employment, in the aggregate amounting to something like 1,000 persons. Further, they absorb a certain amount of agricultural products from their immediate neighbourhood, and, besides, their disappearance would be a blow to our declared policy of decentralisation of industry. The further increase in the excise duty imposed in the Supplementary Budget of November last has hit them very severely and, in all the circumstances, I have decided to seek power in the Finance Bill to double the amount of the rebate, making it 10/- per barrel of beer on the first 5,000 barrels brewed.

I am also satisfied that the small brewers are suffering unfairly from the competition of the rather potent cider made in this country. At present, this home-made cider is not liable to duty, and I propose, therefore, to impose an excise duty as from to-morrow, at the rate of 1/- per gallon on cider made in this country. At the same time, in order not to diminish the margin of protection enjoyed by cider makers in this country, I propose to increase, as from to-morrow, the rates of customs duty on imported cider by the same amount as the excise duty, viz., 1/- per gallon. This will bring the customs rates to 5/- per gallon (full) and 3/- per gallon (preferential). The additional rebate to the small breweries for beer will involve a loss of £13,000 to the Exchequer, which will not be fully felt this year, while the proposed duties on cider will bring in an additional £10,000. The net effect of the two proposals is, therefore, a loss of £3,000 in revenue.

During the discussions following the Supplementary Budget, I also promised to consider the strong representations then made from all sides of the House as to the effect of the increased tobacco duty on those people who smoke pipe tobacco and who are obliged to use the cheapest varieties. I realise that the increased rate of duty on leaf tobacco brought into operation last year has resulted in hardships which, though unavoidable in the circumstances, pressed with undue severity on many of the really poor.

Even now I am not in a position to make as generous a gesture as I would wish, but, as proof of my practical sympathy, I am prepared to explore the possibility of reducing the duty on leaf tobacco so as to bring about a reduction in price to the smoker by 1d. per ounce of the cheap varieties of pipe tobacco. Normally, a reduction in price of 1d. per ounce would follow on a reduction in duty of 1s. 4d. per lb. on the unmanufactured tobacco taken from the bonded warehouse to the tobacco factory, but I understand that the attempt to charge some leaf tobacco at a lower rate than other leaf might create serious difficulties for the manufacturers. I propose, therefore, to ask the tobacco manufacturers to discuss the problem with the Revenue authorities and, if an agreed scheme is formulated, I will include the necessary legislative provision in the Finance Bill. The scheme, if evolved, will cost, at least, £120,000 this year and £180,000 in a full year.

A small relief will appear in the Finance Bill in the shape of the exemption from musical instrument duty of that portion of the projector apparatus used in connection with cinematograph films which attracts that duty. This liability hampers the circulation of small films for use in schools, etc., which have an instructional value, and I propose to remove the liability on projectors for all films. The cost will be about £2,000.

A further relief will appear in the Bill to the effect that any premises registered as a betting office will bear only one £20 charge of registration duty in any one year though there may have been changes in the proprietorship of the premises during the year.

The last item to be mentioned under Customs and Excise is a small imposition for purposes of control and not for revenue. It is an excise licence duty at the rate of 20 shillings per annum on each licence granted or renewed under fishery legislation to persons who are registered under such legislation as exporters for sale of salmon and trout. The revenue yield from this duty will be trifling.

In conformity with the promise made by the Minister for Defence in the Dáil on 7th June last, I intend to include in the Finance Bill a clause to grant relief in respect of income-tax, Schedule A, chargeable on premises occupied by the owner and used wholly as A.R.P. works, and I also propose to grant certain income-tax reliefs in respect of funds established by various concerns for the benefit of dependents of deceased employees. The cost of these reliefs is at present uncertain, but it is not expected to be of large proportions.

With the minor additions to Exchequer income that I have mentioned and the not unsubstantial reliefs that I have been able to give, we have a total estimated yield from all sources of tax and non-tax revenue for the year of £33,769,000. The total expenditure on Central Fund and Supply Services, after including £100,000 for fertilisers and after adjusting for capital items and for over-estimation, works out at £33,765,000, and so we arrive at a modest, I might almost say microscopic, surplus of £4,000. The achievement of this result, without making further drastic calls upon the taxpayer, affords me genuine pleasure and will, I suppose, be the occasion for a sigh of relief from the country. The Budget has, I am afraid, too long ceased to be a dispenser of benefits and has come to be associated in the popular mind with impositions and inquisitions of one kind or another.

In the critical world situation with which we are faced, the whole present efforts of the Government and of the people of Ireland must be devoted to maintaining stability of conditions at home during the period of the conflict. If we fail to achieve this objective, we risk the loss of all that we have already won—political freedom, economic independence and some measure of social justice. But, if we do achieve it, we can reasonably look forward, after the war has terminated, to accelerating the progress of our national life. For the moment, ordered progress, planned development and social betterment are ideals which cannot be carried forward with the same degree of intensity as in the past. This is part of the price that we, in common with belligerents, must pay for a world at war.

No one acquainted with the facts would be so foolish as to suppose that the maintenance of things as they are can be achieved without effort. There must be sacrifices, not merely of our expectations but of much that we at present enjoy, so that the burdens will be distributed as evenly as possible over the whole community. There must be work, so that, in a world of wasting values, our increased production may still hope to command its price in terms of necessary goods and services. There must be patience and goodwill, so that our country can present a united front to danger, from whatever quarter it may come.

I wish to stress in particular a few other aspects of the situation. The last European war introduced the conception of a cost-of-living bonus by which it was hoped to nullify for the individual the impact of additional taxation and rising prices caused by the outbreak of hostilities. Now that we have another European war, the demand for a cost-of-living bonus which will maintain the standard of living of the individual unimpaired is being raised again. But we have learned much since 1914-18, and it should be realised now that the attempt to maintain unimpaired standards, in the face of the additional burdens and losses caused by war, is not only doomed to failure in its immediate objective but will cause the greatest economic difficulty and social injustice. There is set in motion a vicious spiral of mounting costs and prices in which settled values are destroyed, economic standards are upset, national credit is shattered and the less advantageously placed groups and individuals are ruined. There is left behind a burden of debt and of social and economic injustice which paralyses the country for a generation. No Government could dare to accept the view that any limited section of the community can claim to be exempt from the effects of war at such a cost to the remainder of the country and to the country's future, and we will use every effort to ensure that no such situation develops.

This brings me to another point—the character of our export trade. The demand from our principal market may increase by direct war buying and by the withdrawal, in whole or in part, of other suppliers. But it is too often and too hastily assumed in this country that such demand takes no account of cost, and that, accordingly, we are relieved for the present from any obligation to produce for that market on sound commercial lines. There is also a widespread belief that quality does not matter, that big profits are going to be made, and that the burden of rising costs can be lightly accepted and easily passed on to the consumer. Whether we take the short-term or the long-term view of the position, it should be realised by all that this is far from being the case. Costs of production must be kept down to the minimum. There is not going to be now, as there was a quarter of a century ago, a continuous upward surge of demand and of prices, due to unregulated buying and defective monetary policy. Larger profits, except as a result of increased and more efficient production, cannot be counted on.

It is also overlooked that we are in a vulnerable position ourselves. It has scarcely yet become a seller's market for our exports, but it has certainly become a seller's market for our imports. We have to rely on our export trade—and that means on our agriculture—to ensure that in spite of vast war demands we will obtain the wide range of imports required to maintain stability of conditions at home. On the long-term view, it cannot be too repeatedly stressed that quality and orderliness of production should be kept at high standards and that charges, whether on capital or on current account, should be kept down. On the maintenance during the war of a sound basis for our industrial and commercial life will depend our ability, when peace returns, to retain and develop our productive capacity and our export trade, and to restore and improve the standards of living of our people.

In conclusion, I must utter a word of warning. Our expenditure is heavy and certain; our revenue, though heavy, is by no means so certain. It depends upon our ability to maintain, and even increase, our exports as well as our imports. In the brief eight months of war that have elapsed—brief by the calendar but not so to those who have had to bear the responsibilities and anxieties of public affairs throughout that period—we have seen small nations subjected to all forms of outrages by some of their powerful neighbours. National rights and liberties have been ruthlessly invaded and suppressed by brute force. Peoples have been mown down in thousands for defending their freedom. Nations renowned in history for their industry, culture and refinement have been abolished as national entities.

Through the sacrifices of our own people and the foresight and statesmanship of our national leaders of to-day and yesterday, we have, so far, escaped being involved in this conflict. I pray that this evil may not come any closer to our shores. I have prepared this Budget on the assumption that no such major catastrophe will befall us. No spirit of false optimism can, however, carry us through those difficult days. Constant vigilance and a firm determination of a united people to defend boldly its rights are the price of the freedom this nation possesses. We may have to face difficult days. Let us not be caught unawares. If hardships have to be faced, they will be nothing new in the history of this country and we will, I am sure, respond to the call for national effort no less heroically and effectively than we have done in the past.

The tables referred to in the Financial Statement are as follows:—

TABLE I.

COMPARISON BETWEEN (i) BUDGET (MAY, 1939) ESTIMATES AND (ii) PAYMENTS INTO EXCHEQUER AND ISSUES THEREFROM IN 1939-40.

REVENUE.

EXPENDITURE.

Original Estimates

Actual Payments

Original Estimates

Actual Issues

£

£

£

£

1. TAX REVENUE

26,485,000

26,303,000

1. CENTRAL FUND SERVICES

5,097,103

4,948,664

2. NON-TAX REVENUE

5,969,000

6,085,747

2. SUPPLY SERVICES (net and adjusted for Appropriation-in-Aid of Vote 61)

29,350,897

29,446,359

32,388,747

34,448,000

34,395,023

3. Deduct for Capital, etc., expenditure to be defrayed from borrowing:—

Original Estimates

Actual

£

£

(a) Defence Expenditure on Votes 11 and 65

1,350,000

693,000

(b) Airports

246,350

55,000

(c) Property Losses Compensation

3,650

3,000

(d) Afforestation

55,000

58,000

(e) Employment Schemes

350,000

305,000

2,005,000

1,114,000

2,005,000

1,114,000

32,443,000

3. ACTUAL DEFICIT

892,276

4. ANTICIPATED SURPLUS

11,000

32,454,000

33,281,023

32,454,000

33,281,023

32,454,000

33,281,023

32,454,000

33,281,023

TABLE II.

STATEMENT COMPARING EXCHEQUER ISSUES FOR SUPPLY SERVICES IN THE YEARS 1938/39 AND 1939/40.

A.—SERVICES ON WHICH ISSUES WERE GREATER IN 1939/40 THAN IN 1938/39, OR WERE UNCHANGED.

No. of Vote

SERVICE

1939/40

1938/39

Increase over 1938/39

Principal Causes of Major Variations

£

£

£

1

President's Establishment

3,355

3,048

307

2

Houses of the Oireachtas

121,726

103,770

17,956

Increased allowances for Deputies.

3

Department of the Taoiseach

14,297

13,292

1,005

5

Office of the Minister for Finance

69,707

68,922

785

6

Office of the Revenue Commissioners.

858,540

847,021

11,519

Salary Increments and Bonus.

7

Old Age Pensions

3,506,450

3,484,476

21,974

Increased number of pensioners.

8

Compensation Bounties

50,583

47,272

3,311

9

Commissions and Special Inquiries

10,298

7,679

2,619

10

Office of Public Works

123,856

120,360

3,496

11

Public Works and Buildings

1,108,780

905,513

203,267

Army Buildings, other New Works and National Schools.

12

State Laboratory

9,147

7,966

1,181

16

Superannuation and Retired Allowances.

468,325

449,662

18,663

Increase in number of retirements.

17

Rates on Government Property

115,391

112,631

2,760

18

Secret Service

5,620

4,838

782

22

Stationery and Printing

153,165

146,333

6,832

Purchase of reserve stocks of paper.

23

Valuation and Boundary Survey

32,391

31,693

698

25

Supplementary Agricultural Grants

1,270,989

1,270,989

29

Widows' and Orphans' Pensions

450,000

450,000

30

Quit Rent Office

3,703

3,624

79

31

Management of Government Stocks

15,729

15,578

151

32

Office of the Minister for Justice

40,394

38,752

1,642

34

Prisons

80,555

77,552

3,003

35

District Court

39,153

37,522

1,631

36

Supreme Court and High Court of Justice.

51,594

49,865

1,729

38

Circuit Court

43,736

38,342

5,394

Decrease in Appropriations-in-Aid through fall in fees for execution of Court Orders and Land Commission Warrants.

40

Charitable Donations and Bequests

2,832

2,729

103

43

Dundrum Asylum

15,612

15,340

272

44

National Health Insurance

301,172

295,194

5,978

Increased Grants-in-Aid for (1) Sickness, etc., Benefits, and (2) compensation to ex-officials of old Societies.

45

Office of the Minister for Education

183,219

182,851

368

46

Primary Education

3,746,699

3,714,024

32,675

Free Books Scheme and full year's effect of restoration of 5% cut in Teachers' Salaries.

47

Secondary Education

465,736

444,227

21,509

Teachers' Salaries, Increments and Pensions, and Capitation Grants for more pupils.

48

Technical Instruction

318,519

297,158

21,361

Increased grants consequent on increased contribution from local authorities.

49

Science and Art

58,117

55,020

3,097

50

Reformatory and Industrial Schools

113,188

107,783

5,405

Increased Capitation Grants for Reformatory Schools; grants for first time for children under six years in Industrial Schools.

52

Agriculture

844,870

802,390

42,480

Greater expenditure on Winter Butter Scheme and Fertilisers Scheme.

53

Fisheries

70,747

37,570

33,177

Increased Grants to Sea Fisheries Association, and payment on account of compensation to former occupiers of Erne Fisheries.

54

Lands

1,662,212

1,645,701

16,511

Payment to adjust over-issue of Land Bonds.

55

Forestry

200,959

155,617

45,342

Increased Grant-in-Aid for acquisition of land.

56

Gaeltacht Services

102,285

92,597

9,688

Purchase of extra supply of woollen yarn and other materials.

59

Railway Tribunal

2,904

2,887

17

60

Marine Service

10,566

8,364

2,202

61

Unemployment Insurance and Unemployment Assistance.

1,351,802

1,219,067

132,735

Extra payments of Unemployment Assistance due to effects of the war.

63

Posts and Telegraphs

2,384,704

2,313,598

71,106

Salary increments, larger bonus and purchase of reserves of various materials.

65

Army

2,973,246

1,766,375

1,206,871

All round expansion and cost of mobilisation.

67

External Affairs

85,018

75,923

9,095

High Commissioner, Canada; issuing Travel Permits; and Exchange Compensation.

68

League of Nations

13,119

11,545

1,574

71

Office of the Minister for Supplies

3,819

3,819

73

Irish Tourist Board

3,500

3,500

TOTAL £

23,562,329

21,582,660

1,979,669

B.—SERVICES ON WHICH ISSUES WERE LESS IN 1939/40 THAN IN 1938/39.

No. of Vote

SERVICE

1939/40

1938/39

Decrease from 1938/39

Principal Causes of Major Variations

£

£

£

4

Comptroller and Auditor-General

19,260

19,304

44

13

Civil Service Commission

23,648

24,599

951

14

Property Losses Compensation

2,999

28,115

25,116

Disappearing Service.

15

Personal Injuries Compensation

310

496

186

19

Tariff Commission

5,101

5,101

Commission abolished.

20

Expenses under the Electoral Act and the Juries Act.

16,672

16,711

39

21

Miscellaneous Expenses

8,640

9,219

579

24

Ordnance Survey

28,637

30,997

2,360

26

Law Charges

59,288

61,009

1,721

27

Haulbowline Dockyard

4,752

6,000

1,248

28

Universities and Colleges

159,142

160,662

1,520

33

Gárda Síochána

1,809,767

1,849,739

39,972

Change in system of mid-month advance of pay; reserve stocks not purchased.

37

Land Registry and Registry of Deeds.

45,523

46,573

1,050

39

Public Record Office

5,113

5,470

357

41

Local Government and Public Health.

1,198,166

1,303,469

105,303

Less Housing Grants due to slowing down in building.

42

General Register Office

11,502

11,887

385

51

National Gallery

5,293

5,317

24

57

Industry and Commerce

346,236

475,280

129,044

Industrial Alcohol no longer a vote charge.

58

Transport and Meteorological Services.

48,029

61,780

13,751

Surrender of surplus issued in 1938-39 and less expenditure on Civil Airports.

62

Industrial and Commercial Property Registration Office.

13,624

13,753

129

64

Wireless Broadcasting

60,000

72,989

12,989

Surrender of surplus issued in 1938-39 and less expenditure on plant.

66

Army Pensions

540,716

588,973

48,257

Greater amount of arrears cleared off in 1938-39.

69

Employment Schemes

1,222,031

1,290,088

68,057

Delay in initiating Winter Schemes programme.

70

Export Subsidies

253,769

557,500

303,731

Expenditure borne on Vote for Agriculture for Winter Butter Scheme resulted in saving on this Vote.

72

Repayments to Contingency Fund

913

1,090

177

74

Peat Fuel Development

30,000

30,000

No provision in 1939-40.

75

Industrial Alcohol

1,323

1,323

TOTAL £

5,884,030

6,677,444

793,414

Net Increase

Summary:

£

£

£

Total Issues on all Votes

29,446,359

28,260,104

1,186,255

Estimates

31,422,626

29,861,881

1,560,745

Excess of Estimates over Issues

1,976,267

1,601,777

374,490

TABLE III.

STATEMENT SHOWING THE CAPITAL LIABILITIES OF THE STATE ON 31ST MARCH, 1939, AND 31ST MARCH, 1940, AND THE ASSETS (INCLUDING THE EXCHEQUER BALANCE) HELD ON THESE DATES.

On 31st March, 1939

On 31st March, 1940

On 31st March, 1939

On 31st March, 1940

£

£

£

£

LIABILITIES:

ASSETS:

Funded and Unfunded Debt:

Exchequer Balance at Bank

638,124

3,622,659

5% Second National Loan, 1950/60

5,919,296

5,803,667

National Loans Sinking Funds unapplied

92,853

118,573

4½% Third National Loan, 1950/70

5,504,093

5,438,895

3½% Compensation Stock Sinking Fund unapplied

26,670

27,968

3½% Fourth National Loan, 1950/70

5,649,532

5,561,790

Savings Certificates (Interest Charge Equalisation) Fund

3,124,223

3,324,472

4% Conversion Loan, 1950/70

6,785,596

6,696,518

Exchequer Advances repayable:

3¾% Financial Agreement Loan, 1953/58

9,964,440

9,861,580

Shannon Power Fund

6,005,830

6,011,130

Electricity Supply Board

6,244,570

6,887,465

4% Exchequer Bonds, 1950/60

7,000,000

Road Fund

801,091

632,619

3½% Compensation Stock

26,786

28,086

Local Loans Fund (see Item below in regard to Housing)

14,455,084

12,550,084

Savings Certificates (Principal and Interest)

10,979,000

11,041,000

Advances to Guarantee Fund—Capital outstanding

3,750,000

3,710,000

Exchequer Bills

1,750,000

Ways and Means Advances

1,400,000

Land Commission: Improvement of Estates, etc. —Estimated capital value of Excess Annuities outstanding

1,200,000

1,300,000

Other Capital Liabilities:

Under Telephone Capital Acts, 1924/38

Under Land Acts, 1923 to 1939:

Purchase of Creameries

617,000

656,000

Advances for Costs Fund and State Contribution to Price (including 50-55% of tenant purchasers' liability for Land Bond Advances charged on Public Funds under Land Act, 1933)

15,345,024

15,392,000

Advances under Trade Loans (Guarantee) Act, 1939

89,266

Advances to Agricultural Credit Societies

14,238

12,470

Shares of—

Agricultural Credit Corporation

292,118

292,118

Industrial Credit Company

804,517

804,517

Compensation Annuity under Damage to Property (Compensation) (Amendment) Act, 1926

4,470,000

4,444,500

Comhlucht Siuicre Eireann, Teo.

500,000

500,000

Aer Rianta, Teo., and Advance

63,800

100,000

Monarchana Alcóil na hEireann, Teo.

260,756

TOTAL GROSS LIABILITIES

69,027,104

72,587,551

TOTAL ASSETS £

38,630,118

40,900,097

Estimated Capital Value of State Liability under the Housing (Financial and Miscellaneous Provisions) Acts (a) on 31st March, 1939, and (b) on 31st March, 1940

(a)

(b)

£7,320,000

£8,500,000

On the first Financial Resolution the Leader of the main Opposition Party and the Leader of the second Opposition Party usually make some general remarks on the Budget statement. The general Budget debate takes place on the last Resolution, i.e., the General Resolution, which deals with the amendment of legislation.