Finance Bill, 1944—Second Stage.

Tairgim go ndéantar an Bille do léigheamh don dara huair.

Bille é seo, mar is léir óna Theideal, chun diúitéthe áirithe ioncuim dúiche d'éileamh agus do ghearradh, chun an dlí bhaineas le custuim agus ioncum dúiche (maraon le mál) do leasú, agus chun tuilleadh forálacha i dtaobh airgeadais do dhéanamh. Baineann an chuid is mó dá bhfuil ann leis na Rúin Airgeadais lenar ghlac an Dáil cúpla lá ó shoin, mar is é cuspóir an Bhille seo éifeacht a thabhairt do na Rúin sin ar feadh na bliana. Toisc nár gearradh aon chánacha nua le cáinfhaisnéis na bliana seo, ní dhéanann an Bille seo ach na cánacha atá ann cheana do bhuanú arís; ach athraíonn sé Cáin Ioncuim agus Cáin Bhrabúis Chorpráide ar bhealaí áirithe. Tá cúpla mionrud eile sa mBille freisin, ar a dtiúraidh mé tuairisc ar ball.

For the benefit of Deputies who are new to the House I might explain that the main purpose of this Bill is to give continuing effect to the Financial Resolutions which were passed on the day the Budget Statement was made and also on Friday last. Most of the important provisions have been the subject of Financial Resolutions or were referred to in my Budget speech of last month. That speech was sufficiently publicised, I think, to make it unnecessary for me to repeat what I then said. With your permission, I shall, therefore, refrain from a detailed analysis of the Bill at this stage. It contains no new taxes but has a number of adjustments in regard to income-tax and corporation profits tax, and contains also provisions for one or two minor matters which I shall explain in due course. I propose now to refer briefly to the various sections of the Bill as introduced.

Section 1, which corresponds to Financial Resolution No. 1 passed on Budget day, is the customary "charging" section which provides for the imposition of income-tax, surtax, and excess surtax for the year 1944-45 at the same rates as in the preceding year. It also makes provision for the continuance in force of the existing enactments relating to those taxes. Section 2, corresponding to Financial Resolution No. 2, removes an anomaly whereby a lessee of machinery or plant was in certain circumstances entitled to a deduction for wear and tear, even though the burden of the wear and tear of the machinery or plant did not fall on him. Section 3, corresponding to Financial Resolution No. 3, is designed to effect certain necessary technical amendments in the Income Tax Acts, consequent on the abolition of poor rates as such and the levying of municipal rates in certain city areas. Section 4, corresponding to Financial Resolution No. 4, provides for the reduction to £47 in the current year, and to £40 in subsequent years, of the present deduction of £60 granted to a taxpayer in respect of certain children under 16 years of age. The reduction applies to any such child in excess of two, and is designed to offset, broadly speaking, the cash allowances which will be payable under the Children's Allowances Act, 1944.

Section 5 extends the relief granted in respect of dependent relatives, by providing that a person may claim a deduction in respect of a son who is resident with and maintained by him and upon whose services he is compelled to depend by reason of old age or infirmity. Hitherto such a deduction was granted only in respect of a daughter. Section 6 is also a relieving section to bring up to date the existing exemption from income-tax in respect of wounds and disabilities pensions and gratuities granted under the Army Pensions Acts. Section 7 has for its object the extension to the Red Cross Society of the exemption from income-tax in respect of profits from Sweepstakes which is at present enjoyed by the hospitals in respect of similar profits. Section 8 provides for a special allowance to be granted in respect of machinery and plant which in order to overcome difficulties arising out of the emergency, was installed since 3rd September, 1939, and which may be of little commercial value when normal conditions return. Section 9 is a "machinery" section, to enable assessments to income-tax under Schedules D and E to be made for such districts as the Revenue Commissioners shall direct. Section 10 provides that the holdingin camera in the High Court or in the Supreme Court, of the hearing of a case stated under the Income-tax Acts, shall not prevent the publication in recognised Law Reports of a report of the proceedings or the decision of the Courts. The section secures, however, that any such report shall not disclose the name of the tax payer concerned.

Section 11, in Part II, is a "definition" section. The Finance Act, 1941, is the Finance Act under which excess corporation profits tax was imposed. Section 12, corresponding to paragraph 1 of Resolution No. 5, secures that the expression "remuneration" when used in relation to a director of a company shall mean the total remuneration of all kinds received by the director from that company. The expression was always intended to have that meaning and was always interpreted as having that meaning. Recently, however, in a case before him on appeal, one of the special commissioners decided that the expression covered only fees and not commission, etc., received by the director. The purpose of the section is to restore to the expression its intended meaning.

Would the Minister say if the new interpretation includes perquisites such, for example, as lighting and heat?

I would say that if the perquisities could be regarded as part of the profits of a person's office then they would.

In a particular case an individual may be getting certain perquisites. Would these come within the ordinary meaning of this interpretation?

If they were taken in kind they might not, but if they were paid in cash they certainly would.

Is salary remuneration?

Yes, for this purpose at any rate. Section 13 replaces Section 43 of the Finance Act, 1941, for accounting periods ending after the 31st December, 1943. It relates only to director-controlled companies. Its object is to secure an exact comparison between chargeable profits and standard profits by limiting the deduction for remuneration of all directors in the chargeable period to the deduction for remuneration of all directors in the standard period. There are ancillary provisions relating to cases on the substituted standard and on the minimum standard of £2,500.

Section 14 provides that where a company formed on or after 7th May, 1941, is a subsidiary of a company formed before that date, the profits of the subsidiary company shall be treated as being the profits of the other company. The object of the section is to prevent a company obtaining more than one standard through splitting up its business into two or more components, each component being placed under a separate company. The section applies to accounting periods ending after 31st December, 1943. Section 15 contains provisions designed to counter the effects of transactions which have for their main purpose the reduction or avoidance of liability to corporation profits tax.

Section 16 is a relieving section. It provides for the continuance of the exemption hitherto granted to certain public utility companies—railways, for example—building societies, and the Agricultural Credit Corporation, Limited. That exemption expired on 31st December, 1943, and under the section is being continued until 31st December, 1946.

Section 17 provides for the construing of Part II of the Bill with previous enactments relating to corporation profits tax.

Part 3—Miscellaneous and general: Section 18 concerns the disposition of part of the surplus annual income of the Irish Church Temporalities Fund. Section 34 of the Finance Act, 1931, provides for the payment into, or the disposal of, for the benefit of the Exchequer, of an annual sum of £40,000 for the 15 years ending the 31st March next, and of an annual sum, not exceeding £56,000 for each succeeding 15-year period, the amount to be such as can, in the opinion of the Minister for Finance, be paid without impairing the security for any liabilities existing on the 1st April, 1900, upon the fund. The new section provides instead that for each financial year after the current one the sum to be paid shall be such sum, not exceeding £40,000, as the Minister may from time to time determine. Section 19 provides for the transfer of a sum of £100,000 as in former years from the Road Fund to the Exchequer.

Section 20 is merely for the purpose of removing doubts. Section 23 (1) of the Registration of Title Act, 1942, requires the net proceeds of the winding up of the Land Registration Insurance Fund to be paid into or disposed of for the benefit of the Exchequer in such manner as the Minister for Finance shall direct. The most appropriate way of dealing with these moneys is to pay them into the Principal Reserve Account of the Savings Certificates Reserve Fund. I am advised, however, that it is doubtful whether I have legal power to do so and, as I mentioned, the new section removes this doubt by giving the Minister general powers.

Section 21 is the customary care and management provision. Section 22 is the usual section relating to the short title, construction and commencement of the Bill.

The purpose of this Finance Bill is to implement, by legislation, the provisions of the Budget. It may be contended before this debate ends that, Fianna Fáil, having got an over-all majority at the election Fianna Fáil policy, lock, stock and barrel, has been approved by the people and that criticism of it at this stage is not justified. I want to say that the Opposition Parties represent a very considerable volume of discerning people in this country, of people who believe in Parliamentary institutions and in the supremacy and authority of Parliamentary institutions. We want to ensure that this institution performs its duty by examining, shaping and moulding legislation, by criticising expenditure and ensuring that the expenditure incurred is in the best interests of the people as a whole. The Minister in his Budget statement regretted that we were drifting towards the all-powerful State. It is true that we are drifting towards the totalitarian type—towards intolerable autocracy and bureaucracy. Therefore, we believe that the power and authority of this institution must be alive to that danger. We must fight every inch of the ground where there is any encroachment on the liberty, freedom and rights of the people. The whole trend of recent legislation is more and more towards bureaucratic control. Take the provisions in some of the Bills that have been introduced, and some of those incorporated in recent legislation. Take the Transport Bill which hands over complete control of transport in this country——

Pending legislation may not be discussed.

I am merely pointing out that there is that trend towards autocratic control in this country. This House has the responsibility of ensuring that its power and authority will not be endangered in any way. The main characteristic of the Budget, of course, is the magnitude of the bill presented by the Minister. In my opinion, it is the culminating point in an unbroken record of extravagance and inefficiency over a period of 20 years by a Party that vigorously criticised their predecessors for administration which they described as administration on an imperial scale, costing at least £2,000,000 over and above what the country could afford. At the present time taxation and administration have more than doubled the figure that was criticised so vigorously at that time. Taking our present position into account, with the huge amount of unemployment that there is here, and the fact that something like 160,000 of our people have been driven out of the country to seek employment abroad, I think that the most alarming aspect in the trend of our economy here is the steep rise in the curve of taxation and the sharp downward trend in production. No matter how we may argue about monetary manipulation, no matter how unorthodox we may be inclined to be, coming down to basic principles, in the long run, if there is to be a prosperous future for the country, we must try to relate taxation to production. If we ignore and disregard productive capacity or the trend of production, a day of reckoning is bound to come.

The most alarming aspect of our financial policy at the present time is the ever-growing burden of taxation and the alarming downward trend in our productive capacity. I would not cavil at or criticise in any way the high level of taxation during a war period if, side by side with that imposition, our productive capacity had expanded, or I was satisfied that, in our circumstances and in our difficulties here, our productive capacity was so organised that we were securing the best possible efforts in the circumstances in which we found ourselves. The bill, of course, has reached such a high level that the Minister tells us it cannot be met. There is a deficit of something like £4,500,000. Up to date there have been six unbalanced Budgets. The deficits since the emergency started, from those unbalanced Budgets, has reached the total of £14,464,000. To this, of course, must be added the deficit this year of £4,440,000, being the sum required to bridge the gap between revenue and expenditure this year, and which the Minister has indicated must be borrowed.

Therefore, the total figure added to the national debt in respect of unbalanced Budgets since the war started is, in round figures, about £19,000,000. We are told that the total indebtedness at the 31st March last was £92,312,000. The gross liabilities of local authorities were then £37,000,000. That makes a total liability for the whole State of approximately £130,000,000. There are liabilities in respect of depositors in the Post Office and Savings Certificates, amounting to something like £37,000,000, but there is a credit in the Exchequer which offsets that. That leaves the national debt at £130,000,000. The Minister did not give us any information as to the exact amount required to service that debt.

That figure is published every year in the Finance Accounts.

At any rate, it costs something over £5,000,000 in interest alone, without making any provision for sinking fund. The Bill this year for public services and for the Central Fund amounts to over £50,000,000. If we add for Supplementary Estimates which are bound to arise during the year, the modest sum of £1,000,000, and if we take the Minister's estimate for local authorities, £9,600,000, excluding agricultural committees and vocational committees, we have a sum of £60,824,000. That is to say, in round figures, we have central and local taxation reaching a sum of £61,000,000. That represents roughly something over £2,250,000 per county—or over £20 per head of the population, counting men, women and children.

Side by side with that huge burden, the Minister has told us that the volume of agricultural production is down by 10 per cent., the volume of industrial production is down by 21 per cent., the volume of imports is down by 71 per cent., and that of exports is down by 47 per cent. All these things must affect very seriously the incomes of a considerable proportion of our people. As I have said, a big percentage of our people has been forced to go abroad, to seek a living outside the country, as there are no opportunities provided at home.

Notwithstanding all that, the Minister points out that the enormous sum of £4,000,000 is now collected from excess profits, at a rate of 75 per cent., leaving over and above the standard income an untaxed portion amounting to 25 per cent. In similar circumstances, in Great Britain, to ensure that no income can be earned above a certain level, the income above that level is taxed to the full 100 per cent. The Minister is simply saying that, if excess profits are made in this country above a certain level, he is taking 75 per cent. and allowing a rake-off of 25 per cent. That is a fair offer, from the Minister's point of view, and he has collected through it a sum of no less than £4,000,000. It seems an extraordinary situation that, in circumstances where production has fallen all round to an alarming extent, there are still companies and corporations able to make such huge profits. Some of those companies were incapable of standing up to competition before the war, and were not able to earn dividends, but they are now permitted to earn enormous dividends. Quite a large number of those in that category are providing the Minister with portion of this £4,000,000.

The Minister has not indicated the figure at which our national income stands to-day. However, taking the decline in production all round and the loss of the huge asset represented by the 150,000 or 160,000 of our people, if engaged in production here at home, the expansion in our national income cannot be very considerable. If we take the figure of the national income pre-war as £150,000,000 and relate the present cost of administration, £61,000,000, to that, we find that the State machinery here is costing two-thirds of the total. In other words, we are spending on administration to-day two-thirds of the national income, two-thirds of the average amount of money coming into the pockets of every individual in the country. That is approaching 50 per cent. of our national income and is an intolerable sum.

We must realise that such an imposition is bound to retard production and progress. The Budget in no way helps production. No indication has been given by the Minister that any effort is being made, financially or otherwise, to help towards an expansion in our productive capacity. The national income or the national pool is the object of all production and the source of all consumption. The business of filling it up by production or emptying it by consumption may be called the economic system.

One thing the Government have done is to establish the incubus of an ever-growing Civil Service. The cost now is more than double what it was 10 or 12 years ago. The amount indicated by the Minister is something like £7,000,000. The Government have not tried to help production by way of organisation or by the provision of capital and they have not ensured that taxation will not hamper production. The Minister goes gaily along imposing further heavy burdens on the people. He said there were no new proposals in the way of taxes. Is he satisfied that taxation has reached saturation point? Is he satisfied that he has sufficiently mortgaged the future by having raised within the last few years some £19,000,000 in order to try to balance his Budgets? No private individual and no company has borrowed on the same scale.

We are experiencing, in those circumstances, all the evils of inflation. The increase in the amount of money in circulation represents about 120 per cent. over the pre-war level, when the amount of currency in circulation was something like £16,000,000. According to the report of the Central Bank in March last, the sum then in circulation was about £35,000,000. The price of goods has increased all round, salaries and wages have increased and there is a substantial reduction in our production. The primary producer, in my opinion, is getting few of the advantages of a war situation. The cost of much of his raw materials is far too high to afford him a fair margin. No constructive effort has been made to grapple with the problem caused by the superfluity of currency. Many of the maladjustments that have appeared in our economy could have been prevented by a wise and far-seeing policy, but in my opinion foresight is not a characteristic of the Minister. No effort has been made to provide capital for agriculture in the same way as for other enterprises.

In order to avert the evil of inflation some effort should have been made to promote thrift among the people, to establish a campaign of saving. I might point out that 80 per cent. of the private incomes in Great Britain have gone into savings. No effort has been made here to induce the people who have money in their pockets, and who are spending extravagantly, to take it out of competition against those people who find it very difficult to live. Those people who have so much money at their disposal should be encouraged to save it.

So far as the development of agriculture is concerned, very little has been done and no effort has been made with respect to the reclamation of land. We have an Arterial Drainage Bill presented to us. The Minister indicated in his Budget statement that there will be no financial provision necessary this year. Surely in our circumstances some attempt should have been made to provide large capital sums to keep our people at home in order to bring thousands of acres now in a waterlogged condition into production and not wait until the post-war period, with its inevitable handicaps and difficulties.

The Minister gave us a long list of schemes for the post-war period. He expressed some very pious platitudes as to the future and indicated how vigorously the Government are planning at the present time. I think those schemes are little more than pious platitudes. There is no indication that there is any real attempt being made to ensure that the schemes will be carried out. According to the Minister, plans are being hatched out by the bureaucrats in the different Departments, with the co-operation of Ministers. No attempt has been made to bring practical, experienced men into consultation. No country circumstanced as ours is has experienced such rigid bureaucratic control as we have experienced here. Decisions that are being made, and that are likely to be made in the future, are the work, and will be the work, of Government Departments purely.

There are many proposals which the Minister suggests will give employment in the post-war period. He instanced mineral development, arterial drainage, school accommodation, afforestation, the tourist industry, various development schemes in connection with electricity and rural electrification. He said that these matters are receiving the active consideration of the various Departments, but the representatives of the people and people with experience in those matters are not being brought into consultation. Whatever provisions are necessary to carry out those schemes, they will be hatched out by officials in various Departments. Surely the Minister does not expect the House to believe that our resources can be most effectively organised by the officials in Merrion Street? Apparently the experienced business people and technicians outside are not to be consulted.

The whole trend is towards handing over more and more control to the Civil Service. If you take any of the committees functioning under the Department of Agriculture you will observe that tendency. The Pigs and Bacon Commission is composed absolutely of civil servants. Then there is the Flax Board, and there is no representative of the producer there. It, too, is composed absolutely of civil servants. The Milk Board is composed absolutely of civil servants—the producers or consumers are not represented. As regards the post-emergency employment committees referred to by the Minister in his Budget statement, they will contain no representatives of employers or employees. The people within the Departments are going to consider and to operate whatever schemes they feel are in the interests of the country or desirable from their point of view. There is a Committee of Inquiry on Post-Emergency Agricultural Policy. The Government did not think it worth their while to appoint on that committee one practical farmer. They felt that a number of civil servants and possibly a few technicians were the best people to plan for post-war agricultural production. I do not wish to reflect on persons who are trying, so far as their ability allows, to tackle these problems. It is not their fault, it is not their responsibility, if the Government has not seen fit to go outside a narrow group to find persons of experience and ability to help solve the huge economic and social problems that exist. Quite recently an effort was made by a group of outsiders calling themselves the National Planning Conference, who showed in a variety of ways their ideas for dealing with the big problems of production and development in agriculture and industry with a view to securing a better future for our people. Deputy MacEntee was very piqued about the matter, and indicated that, so far as the Government were concerned, they had no belief in the capacity of people outside the Government and outside Government Departments, to use intelligence and ability in planning a better future for our people.

Industrial and agricultural production, even allowing for the difficult circumstances in which we live, are unsatisfactory and most disappointing. When one compares agricultural production here with the successful development of that industry in Great Britain and other countries, countries that are involved in the war, in my opinion, there has been an ignominious failure here. That is all due to lack of organisation, lack of any attempt on the part of the responsible Minister to organise and harness our people to the effort of production. It is owing to the fact that we have merely individual effort, without co-operation and organisation, that our production has declined at a period which, from a price point of view, ought to be most favourable for food producers. If our production is in such a stagnant condition during a war period, what will be the position post-war if some effort is not made to improve our methods and to make them far more efficient? Scientific investigation and research have brought new methods and new ideas to agriculture and technologists in other countries have applied these ideas. Undoubtedly there must be a time lag between the discoveries and their application in a practical way to the industry, but in this country, in my opinion, the time lag is far greater than it is in any other country in the world.

In our circumstances then, we have higher and higher taxation, huge emigration, a falling population, late marriages and fewer children; disease rampant—the incidence of tuberculosis was never higher—crime definitely on the increase—the Minister for Justice told us that crime was stabilised at exactly twice what it was before the war. That is the picture we get. Towards the end of his Budget the Minister indicated all the wonderful things they were holding out to the people. In my opinion, it was merely the carrot being dangled for the people to nibble at, and I suppose they did nibble at it during the election. We are leaving the planning of agriculture to a Minister who has destroyed the pig industry and almost destroyed the dairying industry so that our exports have completely disappeared. According to the Minister for Local Government, when he was speaking in Kildare about a year and a half ago, and again in University College, in the post-war period our live-stock export trade is likely to disappear. Is this House satisfied to leave post-war planning for agricultural and industrial production to men who think our live-stock industry, so far as exports are concerned, is likely to disappear in the post-war period? Are we to leave that responsibility to Deputy Lemass, Minister for Industry and Commerce——

Ministers are referred to as such—Minister for Industry and Commerce.

——the Minister for Industry and Commerce, who showed a defeatist attitude in regard to securing supplies when he told this House that our power to bargain was nil, and the sooner we made up our minds about that the better; the bargain weapon we had—bacon, eggs, butter and other commodities had disappeared and we had no longer any bargaining power. Later, a couple of months ago, when he went to University College, he said our exports at the present time were exactly double our imports, that we were exporting twice as much as we were importing, and he was quite satisfied and quite complacent about that situation; that we were accumulating sterling assets that would be available for purchasing our capital requirements in the post-war period. Can any individual, examining the situation and realising the enormous financial strains that have been imposed on Great Britain, and the fact that she has liquidated much of her foreign assets, anticipate that she will be in a position to liquidate her debts in goods in the post-war period? Personally, I believe that is an aspect of our economy that is particularly alarming—the fact that we will have huge capital commitments and will have to replenish the industrial larder. In the first place, we will have to replace the worn out machinery of industry which will be a long overdue replacement. We will have to purchase all our road transport requirements, and all our requirements under the proposed transport legislation should it become law, as I presume it will.

If we are to modernise industry and our agricultural methods, if we are to have the mechanisation that is necessary by the provision of tractors and other implements that will be worn out; then we will require a huge capital expenditure and the foreign exchange for that. I do not believe for a moment that Great Britain will be in a position, no matter how willing she may be, to permit us to use our sterling assets in the post-war period; that it will be expedient for her to permit us to use our assets without any limitation whatever in the post-war period. For that reason we should strain every muscle and every nerve so that we will have the goods in the post-war period to exchange for whatever import commodities we may require. Judging by the downward trend in our productive capacity which the Minister very complacently referred to in his Budget statement, we will not have the goods. Let us hope that even to secure the essential goods in the post-war period we will not have to do what Russia had to do under her five-years plan, when she had to deny her people the essentials of life in order to export food to secure the essential machinery and other commodities to lay the foundation of what eventually proved a great economy for Russia. When we compare the results that we have got from agriculture with the results that Great Britain has got —as I said before, in Great Britain they have expanded production by 70 per cent., notwithstanding all the handicaps, difficulties and disadvantages of a war situation as compared with a reduction of 10 per cent. here— it is a very sad reflection on our capacity and our failure here under self-Government.

I see no attempt to apply modern scientific methods. In that respect, recently there was a very valuable paper read at a symposium at the R.D.S. to celebrate the centenary of Sir Robert Kane by one of our prominent agricultural scientists. What amazed me was that there was no representative of any sort from the Department of Agriculture, the Minister, the Secretary, or anyone else, interested in what, in my opinion, was a first-class and very essential contribution so far as the organisation of agriculture here was concerned. There is no indication from the Minister as to the Government's policy so far as foreign trade is concerned or what is the Government's policy on the matters to which I have referred; how they expect to secure those essential commodities in the post-war period or even the raw materials that are necessary at the present time. No effort, in my opinion, has been made to barter even what we have for export by the Government or by any Minister. The Minister's reference to organisation and development and the Government's indication to provide machinery to deal with it is, I think, in strange contrast with Fianna Fáil policy.

The Minister talked about "induced fertility". I wonder where did the Minister get his information of what he knows about inducing fertility. It was rather amusing to listen to him in his Budget statement referring to "induced fertility", and how it was brought about, and the examination that had to be made so far as the conserving and building up of fertility here is concerned. That is the reason why I referred to the paper read by an eminent scientist at the R.D.S. symposium, because he is an expert in soil science. We had the Minister for Finance talking about inducing fertility in the land and, at the same time, the Department, of Agriculture are not taking any interest whatever in modern methods, in new ideas or in scientific development, so far as soil treatment and fertility generally are concerned. Therefore, we cannot feel that there is any sincerity about the elaborate plans for the future, indicated by the Minister in his Budget statement. There is no real, sincere effort made to face up to the realities of the situation, to tackle these immense problems, to tackle the present stagnation so far as agriculture is concerned, to change the decline in industry, to stem the decline, and to swing it over to an expansion in production. That will require energy, determination, organisation, capital provision, technical advice, and co-operation from the top if we are to ensure that we can look the world in the face in the future and say that this country is capable of governing itself and that it has the capacity to produce in competition with any other country in the world.

The Minister in his Budget statement also referred to the fact that countries engaged in the war would be very efficient in the post-war period and that we will have to appreciate that. That is absolutely true. In addition to the tremendous material destruction which the war has caused, it has also had the effect of producing new means, new ideas and the power and the organisation to carry them out. It has had precisely that effect in Great Britain and other countries, while we have failed completely to adopt new means or new ideas or a new technique or to organise the people in any way. In my opinion, that is the reason why we have failed ignominiously in our efforts. That is not due to the individuals. I believe the individuals have done their best so far as production is concerned, notwithstanding their many handicaps and the failure to organise and to give them new ideas and a technique, and that the Government, and the Department of Agriculture particularly, have been responsible for that failure.

In his Budget statement the Minister said that the farmers are doing very well at present and he advised them to pay up their annuities; he said that any arrears of annuities should be cleared off. The Minister has not given any proof that his contention is correct; that the agricultural industry generally is in a healthy condition and that the farmers are getting a substantial amount of profit at present. I should be glad if he were correct in his assumption that the agricultural industry is in a prosperous condition and is being strengthened and fortified for the difficult time which is inevitable in the post-war period—the time of depression which is bound to come. No matter what effort is made by the Minister or by the Government to paint a better and more prosperous future for the country in the post-war period, it is inevitable that the depression will come, and we should anticipate and endeavour to minimise so far as possible the difficulties which are bound to confront our people in that period.

That all needs vision, foresight, and, if you like, planning. I do not want to use the word "planning" in any unusual sense. It is very difficult in our circumstances to foresee what is necessary, and to plan in detail for our agricultural production; but I do say that, regardless of what may happen or what may be our position in the post-war period, we can lay certain foundations in relation to agricultural production on which we can build in any circumstances. Since the war, scientists have brought enormous developments in the treatment and use of the soil—the basis of all our production and the prime essential for the existence of all mankind—to the aid of agriculturists, and by utilising that knowledge, we could lay the foundations of a far better, a more effective and more efficient agricultural economy.

The Minister, in his Budget statement, indicated that a number of people on fixed salaries and wages found themselves in a very difficult position, and were, in fact, worse off than they were pre-war. That is true, of course, and it is due to the pegging of wages and salaries. There may be something in the contention that it was necessary and desirable to do that in order to prevent the evils of inflation, but, side by side with it, every effort should have been made rigidly to control prices and the cost of living. Salaries and wages generally have been pegged down at a very low level —about 19 points above the pre-war level—while the cost of living has increased by 70 per cent. over pre-war. When we compare that position with the position which exists in Great Britain, we find a very different situation. Wages in Great Britain have increased by 40 per cent., while the cost of living has increased by only 30 per cent.; in other words, there is 10 per cent. in favour of the salaried man and wage earner. The Minister expressed his sympathy with these people, but these people, I am sure, expect much more than lip-service from the Minister in that respect. To a very large extent, the fair treatment of people in this category rests with the Government.

The Minister went on to say that he was quite satisfied with the position of the agricultural community, and that they should pay up all their debts. He said that the evils resulting from the economic war had all been cleared away; that farmers were in a very prosperous condition now; and that, as a class, they were getting off lightly. As a class, he said, they have got off lightly in the matter of taxation, and the halving of the annuities leaves them no excuse for non-payment of their annuities. I wondered at the time if there was a threat behind that very simple sentence. I now find in the Finance Bill a section, Section 9, which appears to be very harmless and which the Minister, in explaining the various sections, glossed over as being harmless. I want a very full explanation of that section. It reads:—

"Notwithstanding anything contained in the Income-Tax Acts, assessments to income-tax under Schedules D and E shall be made for such districts as the Revenue Commissioners shall from time to time direct."

Is that an attempt by the Minister to get at the class of people who the Minister thought were getting off lightly?

It is not. There is nothing the Deputy need worry about in it.

We would like an explanation.

The Deputy will get a full explanation if he wants it, and, when he has got it, he will probably not be much wiser.

We shall have to be wiser and we shall have to get the information from the Minister, so that we may know what he is getting at in this section.

It has no connection with what the Deputy has in mind.

If the Minister schedules a particular area and says that individuals must pay income-tax under Schedules D and E——

It does not give power to ask them to pay any more.

It does not, but the vast majority of farmers paying income-tax pay under Schedules A and B. Is that not so?

And the Minister can compel them to pay income-tax under Schedule D. That means on an account. Most farmers are not in a position——

It has nothing to do with that.

Let us hope that the Minister's assurance——

Will the Deputy not take my word for it?

Very good; I am glad to have it. This Bill is to implement the provisions of the Budget, and I want to draw the Minister's attention to one or two points. He has given the House an assurance that it is not a follow-up of his reference to a particular section as getting off lightly as a class. Sub-section (2) of Section 9 says:

"This section shall apply in respect of any assessment made after the passing of this Act, in relation to tax chargeable for any year of assessment, whether beginning before or after the passing of this Act."

That is retrospective in its effect. The Minister will agree that in the past it has been held to be undesirable to introduce retrospective legislation and I should like him to make the position clear in this respect.

Section 4 deals with children's allowances and the Minister should take into account the representations already made with regard to certain individuals who are paying income-tax at the higher rate. If it is a children's allowance, it ought not to penalise those families with more than two children and, in effect, this section is a penalising of certain individuals with big families as against those with small families, in relation to the payment of income-tax at the higher rate. There will be a differentiation of £1 per child against the man with the bigger family, and surely it is not desirable to penalise such a man. I suggest that the Minister should reconsider that matter and ensure that there will not be any such penalising.

Under Section 19, the Minister takes £100,000 from the Road Fund. He gave us no information as to the present condition of the fund—the amount of money going into it annually, and how far he is justified in raiding that fund to the extent of another £100,000 this year in view of the fact that the amount contributed to it must be very small. Surely the money that is contributed in that way was intended for the upkeep of the roads. Surely the tax imposed on road vehicles, on the importation of motor vehicles, and on petrol, was not intended for the purpose of bolstering up the Minister's Budget. Particularly now, when the contribution made to the Road Fund is very low, the Minister is scarcely justified in raiding that fund to the extent of another £100,000. I think the size of the bill presented here to the Dáil has not been justified by the Minister, and that no effort has been made to direct some of that money towards extending our productive capacity or helping to encourage and stimulate it. The vast bulk of that taxation is a burden on our productive effort and will, therefore, reduce production here.

While I feel that, in present circumstances, a high level of taxation could be justified, surely we should plan our economy so as to ensure that a good deal of that money will be directed towards ensuring increased production. If we do not secure that, the day of reckoning is bound to come. The Minister cannot merely continue year after year to balance his Budget by borrowing a substantial sum of money and postponing the day of reckoning. He is now imposing on future Ministers burdens which will have to be dealt with at a future date. A high level of taxation at the present time could be justified, but our efforts should be directed, and in directing those efforts we should bring to those charged with the responsibility of government the assistance and co-operation of people with expert knowledge and practical experience outside in order to plan a better future for our people.

The outstanding feature of this year's Budget is the enormous demand which it makes on the taxpayers of this country—a demand for close on £50,000,000 for national expenditure, in addition to £9,000,000 required for local administration. I am not one of those people with very orthodox ideas about finance. Nevertheless, I believe that the expenditure of such an enormous amount of money on unreproductive services, and the direction or inducement of such a large section of our people into unproductive work in the national administration, is undesirable. If the expansion which has taken place in national expenditure were equated to a similar expansion in production in agriculture and in industry, it would not cause any alarm, but when we have a position in which there is no expansion but rather a decline in all important branches of production, and particularly in agricultural production, the citizens of this country must be alarmed at the amount of money which is being expended on public administration. The public must also be alarmed at the number of potential producers who are being drawn from the work of production and employed in work for the State, which is to a large extent of an unproductive character.

It is an old trick on the part of burglars who are interrupted in their operations to try to be the first to give the alarm, so as to divert suspicion, and in his Budget statement this year the Minister for Finance has expressed alarm at the increase in national expenditure. He thinks that, by so doing, he will be able to divert the responsibility from his own shoulders to the shoulders of other people, but the Minister for Finance must bear the primary responsibility for national expenditure as long as he holds his present office. Until there is a real effort made to reorganise the public services, to investigate every possible branch of these services in order to find out where leakages occur, where there is overlapping and where there is waste, the Minister for Finance must bear the major share of responsibility for the huge bill which the taxpayers are called upon to pay.

It is no use for the Minister for Finance to come into this House and give us a graphic description of the fight which he claims to put up in the inner conclaves on behalf of the taxpayer. He tells us that he is engaged mainly in fighting delaying actions, and not always successfully. First of all, I think it is a pity that those big fights are not broadcast from Radio Eireann. It would certainly give the taxpayers of this country a thrill if it were announced on the wireless: "I am now taking you over to Government Buildings to hear another big fight between the Minister for Finance and his colleagues."

I do not think the Minister is going to deceive anybody by claiming that he is putting up a fight on behalf of the taxpayers when we have the evidence of these figures that the burden of taxation is steadily increasing, and that the burden of national debt, which at the establishment of this State was practically nothing, has risen to £130,000,000, a large part of which is dead-weight debt and not balanced by national productive assets. I believe that, with the possibility of five years in office before him, the Minister for Finance should now get down to the task of effecting economies and securing efficiency in public administration. He has apparently slept on the job, notwithstanding his assertions that he is putting up a fight. I understand that in some big business organisations in the United States there are men employed continually to check up upon every branch of work and administration in order to find out where there is overlapping and where economies could be effected. I think similar machinery should be set up in the public services here.

The Minister for Finance, in the course of his statement, expressed alarm also at the growth of bureaucracy. He expressed alarm, as a matter of fact, because he seemed to think that we are becoming more and more a servile State: that the State is entering more and more into the lives of the people, and controlling, to an ever growing extent, all branches of our economic, social and industrial life. But is not that the fundamental policy of the Fianna Fáil Party? Has it not been the policy of the Fianna Fáil Party, ever since they came into office, to endeavour, so far as possible, to have the largest number of people possible eating out of the hands of the Government: to be dependent for their very existence on the Government? That has been good Party policy, but it has not been good national policy, and there is no use in the Minister for Finance expressing alarm that we are drifting into becoming a servile State. The State is not supposed to drift. After all, the Minister for Finance is the second-in-command of the ship of State here, and anybody who knows anything about seamanship knows that on every ship there is a gadget known as a wheel, and that it is one of the functions of the chief officer of the ship, or his chief lieutenant, to see that the ship is steered in the right direction. Now, so far as this country is concerned, the ship of State has been allowed to drift, within the last ten or twelve years, in the wrong direction, and the responsibility for that must rest on the shoulders of the people who were in charge of the ship of State during those years. There is no doubt that a certain tendency has grown up here, and has extended its operations into almost every walk of life in this country, the effect of which is that practically nobody can live or breathe in this country without the consent or authority of the administrative machine. That tendency, undoubtedly, has grown up here in the last few years, and the only way to end that tendency is to give more encouragement, first of all, to individual enterprise and individual initiative.

Yet, at the very moment when we talk of the growth of bureaucracy, we have the Minister for Finance expressing apparent approval of the decision of the State to take over transport, thereby increasing the liabilities of the State by over 40 per cent., and thereby compelling still more people to eat out of the hands of the Fianna Fáil Government. Surely, a stop should now be called to this steadily progressing policy of making the people of this country dependent upon the State, even in the matter of transport?

The Minister for Finance adopted a very patronising attitude towards the farmers. He said that it was regretable that, even in those days of a war boom, the State still has to subsidise agriculture and to subsidise the farmer. I challenge the Minister to say in what way the State is at present subsidising the farmer. I admit that certain subsidies are paid to the farmers, but the object of these subsidies is to keep down the price to the consumers, and not to help the farmer to pay the increased cost of production. As a matter of fact, everybody engaged in farming knows that farming is going through as difficult a period to-day as ever it has gone through before, with the exception of the first four or five years of the Fianna Fáil Administration. Deputy Dillon, in this House, only last October, in an endeavour to prove that farming was a very profitable occupation, advised members on these benches to go out and buy store cattle—that was last October—and he forecast that in the following spring we would be very grateful to him for the advice he had given. Well, all I can say is that I should like to introduce Deputy Dillon to any farmer who took his advice at that time, and who still has store cattle on his hands and cannot get the price the Deputy mentioned. I do not think the meeting between Deputy Dillon and those farmers would be very cordial.

I mention that because of the difficult situation that exists, and because of the struggle that the farmer has to make in order to make his business pay or even to make ends meet. The store cattle trade in this country is, and has always been, a most profitable form of agriculture in this country, but in the last 12 months instead of a profit having been made there has been a considerable loss on store cattle. From what other source, then, has the farmer been making the huge profits that we are told about? Go out into the fields of wheat and calculate what it cost to plant these fields, and what price will be got for the crops. Owing to weather difficulties this season, these crops are barely struggling to live.

How, therefore, is there much hope of securing from the farmer increased taxation as a result of increased production? Look at the beet crops. They are also just barely struggling to live, as a result of weather conditions. In any branch of farming, you will find that there is a struggle, and a keen struggle, even to make ends meet, and you will find that the greatest skill and the hardest work are required to reap even a modest crop. Yet, this is the time when the Minister for Finance comes into this House and says that the farmers are getting off lightly in the matter of taxation. Is there any section of the community that is more heavily taxed than the farmers? Does the Minister for Finance suggest that the farmers get off lighter in the matter of indirect taxation than any other section of the community? Surely, the farmer pays as much for his beer, if he is a drinking man, or for his tobacco, if he smokes, as any other citizen? Then, take the question of direct taxation. Direct taxation is divided, mainly, into two forms: local taxation and income-tax. In the matter of income-tax, the farmer pays his full share in proportion to his income, but in the matter of local taxation he pays far more than his share to the upkeep of the local services, because the source from which the farmer pays his taxes—that is, the valuation of his property—is much higher, in proportion to its income-tax-producing capacity, than any other conceivable kind of property. I am referring to agricultural property. Now, the Minister knows all those facts, and yet he dares to accuse the farmers of getting off lighter in the matter of taxation than any other section of the community. That assertion, that the farmers are getting off lighter in the matter of taxation than any other section of the community, should open up a serious prospect for those engaged in agriculture, because it reveals the fact that the official mind in this country is turning towards the farming community as a source that may be exploited for further taxation. I can assure the Minister that any attempt in that direction will be sternly and strenuously resisted.

It is a very nice thing for the Minister for Finance, or for any of those people who study farming mainly from books, to talk about the ways and means by which agriculture in this country can be improved. We hear, frequently, as we heard in the Minister's Budget statement, of the low milk production of our cows per head, as compared with the milk production of the cows in Denmark and other countries. That, of course, is foolish talk. Everybody knows that in this country we carry on a different system of farming from that carried on in Denmark or other countries. Everybody knows that we are largely engaged in the production of store cattle, and that that forms an important part of our agricultural economy. Everybody knows that you cannot continue to produce store cattle and, at the same time, have the same productive capacity in our herds, so far as milk production is concerned, as in other countries where the entire concentration has been on milk production instead of beef. This, however, is another way in which the position of the farmer in this country is misrepresented and in which he is held up to ridicule, whereas the people who are really inefficient, and who are falling down on their job completely, are the people who direct agricultural policy in this country and who, it would seem, are allowed to control agricultural policy here.

We had the Minister for Agriculture coming into the House and saying: "To hell with exports" or "What the hell about exports". So long as we have that type of Minister in control of agriculture there is not much hope of development in our agricultural industry.

The Minister for Finance suggested that the best hope for agriculture is to remove the obstacles that are impeding its progress. I consider one of the greatest obstacles impeding the progress of agriculture in this country is the Minister for Agriculture. The second great obstacle is the Minister for Finance. Both of them happen to be constituents of mine and I, therefore, feel it my duty to take a keen interest in their mental development. I think it is about time that a serious effort was made, first of all, to reduce the cost of administration. I have already mentioned that the second big development which is demanded from the Government and for which the co-operation of all Parties in this House is demanded is the expansion of production. We should like to see the machinery of Government reduced in size and in expenditure and the people who would be disemployed as a result, directed into productive work, into agriculture and into industrial development.

There is a wide field for development in this country but so far it has been left untouched because it has been, as I say, good Party policy to keep the largest number of people absolutely dependent on the State. I suggested in this House some time ago ways and means by which agricultural expansion could be brought about. I suggested that we should follow the example of progressive countries such as Denmark. There you have a country where the number of people employed on the land is almost twice the number we have employed here. I think it is a very modest estimate to say that production is 50 per cent. higher in Denmark than here. So long as we have a Minister for Finance who has antiquated ideas in regard to agriculture, city inspired ideas which lead him to believe that because prices of food are high, naturally the farmers are in a prosperous position, we can expect no assistance from that quarter.

The Minister for Finance referred to sections of the community other than farmers who may be suffering acutely during the present time owing to the rise in the cost of living. He did not, however, refer to the rise in the cost of production in agriculture, the rise in the cost of machinery, of implements and of everything the farmer requires, or the rise in the cost of labour which, of course, is influenced by the rise in the cost of living. All those increases in the farmer's cost of production have tended to restrict his profit and his ability to expand production because it has become every day a greater struggle for the ordinary agricultural producer to carry on production even up to the pre-war volume, not to speak of expanding or increasing production.

The Minister for Finance may well ask: "Well, what do the farmers want? Do they want to have prices forced up to a level which the people cannot pay or do they want the State to come along and subsidise the industry so as to fill the gap between the cost of production and the price which the consumer can pay?" He is entitled to ask that question. I hold that the agricultural producer generally has only one claim on the community and that is to secure from the rest of the community a price for his produce that will enable him to continue in production and make a reasonable profit.

If the Minister for Finance has any difficulty in his mind in regard to finding out what constitutes a reasonable profit for the farmer, I say he can solve that difficulty very easily by ensuring that the State will acquire in every county or in every agricultural region, because districts differ in regard to the quality of land and type of farming, an agricultural holding and work it as a demonstration farm. By so doing he can find out exactly what the farmer's costs of production are and what would be a reasonable price to fix for agricultural produce and thereby see, first of all, that the farmer gets a reasonable price for his produce and that the consumer is not unduly victimised by having to pay excessive prices. That is one of the most urgent needs at the moment and it is a need which must be met immediately.

Obviously, this is a matter for the Minister for Agriculture and was advocated on his Estimate, the debate on which was of record duration.

It was mentioned.

It was, slightly.

Agriculture was referred to very extensively in the course of the Minister's Budget statement and, as a farmer, I feel it my duty to reply to some of the points which he made, points on which he seemed inclined to score off the agricultural community by representing them, in the first place, as being very prosperous during the emergency and, in the second place, as being inefficient. I deny that they are prosperous during the emergency or that they are inefficient. I challenge the Government to set up various farms throughout the country and prove their contention that the farmers are prosperous or inefficient. I think it is highly undesirable that the State should continue to reach out further and further into the life of our people. I think it is highly undesirable that private enterprise should be checked and restricted.

I think that the alarm which the Minister has expressed in regard to the growth of bureaucracy is well founded. I hope that, during the coming year, he will seek to check that growth. Wherever decentralisation can be effected, it should be effected. Wherever functions which are at present performed by the State can be transferred to a local authority or any local body or co-operative organisation, they should be so transferred. Wherever private enterprise has any chance of operating in a particular industry, or in a business such as transport, it should be given a full and fair opportunity of proving itself and of delivering the goods. In other countries, we have had some disquieting examples of the dangers associated with control by the State of every avenue and activity of the people's life. We have seen the danger of the growth of graft and corruption under such a system. For that reason, I think that all the energies of the Minister for Finance should, as indicated in his Budget statement, be directed to encouraging the small man, whether engaged in business or manufacture or farming, to carry on his business without direction, control or dictation by the State. The efforts of Government Deputies and of the Deputies of all other Parties should likewise be directed to that end.

I regret that I see in this Finance Bill no evidence that the Government is conscious of the fundamental fact which dominates the economic life of this country, that is, that, in the last analysis, every citizen of this State, whether he be doctor, lawyer, shopkeeper, civil servant, farmer or labourer, derives his living from the land. I differ from those who take the view that, by the creation of artificial prices for agricultural products in the home market, you can restore prosperity to the land. I believe that, ultimately, the price which will obtain for the produce of Irish land is controlled by the price secured for our exportable surplus. I have no reason to alter the view I have held since I first entered public life—that the only available market for the surplus agricultural produce of the land of Ireland is the British market. When Fianna Fáil came into office, they attempted, for a protracted period and at immense expense, to find alternative markets. That effort was a dismal failure and was admitted to be so by the Leader of the Fianna Fáil Party, speaking as Taoiseach in this House. Faced, then, with the inescapable fact that the only market available to this country for its agricultural surplus is the British market and that every man and woman in this country depends ultimately on the land for his or her livelihood, our duty is to ensure that our farmers will get not necessarily the highest price but the highest profit it is possible for a farmer who sells his produce in the British market to get. It is a most unfortunate thing that a great many of our people in every walk of life are dazzled by price when, in fact, what matters is profit. If it costs you £30 to produce a bullock, £28 for that bullock is a very bad price. It is costs you £12 to produce a bullock, £15 for that bullock may be a splendid price Yet, I venture to say that very few people, if asked to envisage conditions under which £15 would be a better price than £28, would be able to realise that such circumstances could obtain. Yet, there is the very essence of our problem.

Once we make up our minds to face the inescapable fact that the British market is our only market and that the price for our agricultural produce is, ultimately, going to be fixed by the price we get in the British market, we have got to realise that no sovereign Parliament in Ireland can control prices in Great Britain. We have got to take in Great Britain the best price we can get and the only way of getting the best price available in Great Britain is to put into the British market the best agricultural produce to be found there. On that aspect of the problem, I might say much, but what I would have to say would be more relevant to the Estimate of the Minister for Agriculture and the Estimate of the Minister for Education than to this Bill. Granted that these Ministers will do their part to enable our farmers to offer in the British market the finest agricultural produce in the world—which they are well fitted to do, given the equipment and education—their concern remains not primarily price but profit. That is where this Finance Bill reveals the utter ineptitude of the Fianna Fáil Government.

What is profit? A farmer's profit is the difference between his cost of production and the price he gets for his produce. If, by any Act of Parliament, we could raise that price, we would widen the gap. That gap is the farmer's profit—the gap between the cost of production and the price realised. But we cannot raise prices by act of this Parliament. Is there no other means, then, by which that gap can be widened? I suggest that there is. I suggest that there is a means within our power, and that is to bring down the cost of production. Do Deputies realise that by Finance Acts of our own Parliament we have put a tax on artificial manures, a tax on feeding stuffs, a tax on all agricultural machinery, on the fork, on the slean, and on every single thing that the farmer buys wherewith to produce the finished product of his industry? Bear in mind that the farmer has to pay that tax on every form of raw material, and admittedly is constrained to sell his produce in the open unprotected market, and to meet competition from the four corners of Europe.

Compare his condition and the condition created by Finance Acts of this Parliament with that of industrialists. If a man with the name of Stackalovitch from Czecho-Slovakia comes into this country to manufacture God-knows what, in the back streets of Dublin, when he arrives at the Department of Industry and Commerce there is a red carpet laid down, and the officials choke themselves pronouncing his name as it is pronounced in Czecho-Slovakia. High officials of the Department are unreservedly at his disposal as long as he cares to remain in Kildare Street. All his machinery is exempted from tax at once, whether it comes from Japan or from Ecuador; credits will be supplied to finance him, licences will be issued and monopolies granted to Mr. Stackalovitch which will prohibit anyone else in Ireland entering into the trade which he intends to enter into, when the machinery gets here, so that out of what accumulates from the monopoly conferred upon him during his period of waiting, he can reap profits from Irish farmers sufficient to pay for the machinery and all the transport charges involved. Then, when the machinery arrives, anxious inquiries are made as to whether he requires any raw material, can the Department of Supplies give any assistance, or can our Consular agents in the four corners of the earth do anything for Mr. Stackalovitch? All his raw materials are promptly exempted from taxation, ample credit is given by the Industrial Credit Corporation, while all the time Mr. Stackalovitch is enjoying a monopoly of imports as well as of the wholesale distribution of the commodity which he intends to produce when the machinery he expects arrives, and when the raw materials have been delivered.

Then when Mr. Stackalovitch gets under way if his price is such that the tariff fixed in the first instance is not sufficient, or if anybody interferes with his monopoly, then let us raise the tariff higher and, if that is not enough, what about a quota? If the prices he charges for his merchandise are high and if the finished article can still be brought in from abroad by paying the 75 per cent. tax, and can undersell Mr. Stackalovitch, a quota is put on. There is a limit on the quantity coming in, so that Mr. Stackalovitch will be free to charge any price he likes.

If anybody thinks that Mr. Stackalovitch is charging too much the matter will be referred to the Prices Commission and after considering it for a protracted period, perhaps 1/9 will be struck off 75/6 and the price control machinery of the Department is vindicated. Mr. Stackalovitch walks away from the room after confidently expecting that his price would be reduced by at least 35/-, but the farmer still continues to sell in an open market, continues to pay the tax on the raw material, continues to pay an inflated price to Mr. Stackalovitch and to his friends and relatives of the sixth degree of kindred who continue to live in Czecho-Slovakia. I am not asking for the poor common farmer of this country the privileges which Mr. Stackalovitch claims and gets from an Irish Government. The people on whose behalf I speak cannot expect from Kildare Street the same deference as the man who rejoices in the name of Stackalovitch. All I ask is that if they have to sell in a market in which all the winds of competition from the four corners of the earth play unrestrained, at least they should not have to pay the tax on raw materials in order to fatten the Stackalovitch family to the sixth degree of kindred in Czecho-Slovakia.

I ask all Parties to combine with me in pressing the Government, not to reverse their industrial policy in the course of the next five years, not that we should institute a system of complete free trade—though I would like to see it—but if all sides in the House admit that the farmers of this country have nowhere else to sell save in the open market in Great Britain, at least they should be allowed to purchase the raw material of their industry free from taxes and free from deduction. If I can get that from this Parliament I am convinced that our farmers can earn not only a decent living for themselves, but that with that modest concession they could carry the rest of the community on their backs. Remember that if farmers do not carry them on their backs nobody else can. Other countries besides agriculture have minerals to depend upon, oil deposits, gold mines, shipping interests, or some other natural resources, but in this country we have no natural resources at all except 12,000,000 acres of arable land.

The future of every individual in Ireland depends on whether that land yields a profit to those living on it or not. There are thousands of things in the policy of the Fianna Fáil Government that are well calculated to make it difficult for a man living on the land to make a profit out of it to-day. Very many artificial burdens have been placed on the backs of the agricultural community. There is, on the occasion of a Finance Bill, only one way that they can be put right, and that is by taking the tax off the raw materials of the agricultural industry. That is a very small demand. I remember standing behind my shop counter in Ballaghadereen before this war commenced, when supplies were available to us of Indian meal which, despite what any experts say, was and ever will be the best feeding for pigs when given with a due proportion of other suitable feeding material. Indian meal, or as it is honourably known in the province of Connaught, "yellow meal," was then approximately 7/6 per cwt., when it was free to come in from mills outside this country, or when it was supplied by mills inside this country. Bear in mind that at that time 85 per cent. of the yellow meal sold in this country was supplied by mills inside this State at 7/6 per cwt. At that time I saw no barefooted millers in the streets of Dublin. I saw no ragged mill proprietors starving. Most of them managed to have a decent appearance and to own a pony and trap. Most of them ran a motor car—some of them two— when the price of meal was 7/6 per cwt.

It was represented that it was an unpatriotic thing for a pig to eat Indian meal from Belfast. No pig that ate nasty orange meal could expect to mature into quite a good green, white and orange pig, and so the sea-green incorruptibe porkers of this country were put on native meal with this astonishing result: that what cost 7/6 on Monday, and what was being sold by the millers in Eire at a profit for 7/6 on Monday, cost 8/9 on the following Monday as soon as a tariff designed to prevent the imports of Indian meal into this country was put on. It has been costing that ever since.

The common calculation is that if you buy a ten weeks old sucker or, as we call them in the country, a bonham, it requires seven cwt. of meal to turn him into a 12 stone pig. The day that the tariff went on Indian meal the price went up by 1/3 per cwt., so that the price became 8/9. That meant that off every pig that went into a bacon factory in Ireland the farmer who fattened it paid a tax of 8/9 per pig to the millers whose weekly income amounted to a sum ten times greater than the average annual income of a small farmer. Is that just? Is it fair to ask the small farmers of this country to pay a tax of 8/9 per pig since they are carrying on their backs every other section of the community? Would you not think it more becoming that they should be given a bonus of 8/9 from the Exchequer for every pig they raise to feed the rest of the population? I am not asking any dole or any subsidy for them. I am simply asking that this tax should be taken off: that they should not be taxed in order to maintain the "fly-boys" who come in here by night to pluck what they can out of the country, or the plutocrats who want to establish monopolies to pluck those who are really doing the work.

Take superphosphate of lime. Is there any man in this country who will not agree that the more phosphates we can put out on the land of Ireland the better it will be? Super was coming into this country—and I sold it—at 6/- per two cwt. bag. It came from Belgium. If I could get it cheaper in Cochin-China or in the farthest corner of the world, I would bring it here to improve and enrich the land of this country. I would do so provided I could get it at a price which was within the reach of our poorest farmers so that they might improve their land. But the patriotic manure ring in Ireland remonstrated with the Government by saying that the nasty foreigner was putting up a degree of competition that made it impossible for them to live in the style and dignity that the manufacturers of this bag muck should enjoy. We had a tariff put on superphosphate of lime. The super that used to sell at 3/- per cwt. was being sold at 5/- before the war began. The two cwt. weight bag that I spoke of a moment ago which used to be sold at 6/- was fetching nearly 10/- per bag before the war. Therefore, if you put this six cwt. of phosphate on a statute acre of your land, you were paying a tax of 12/- per acre to the manufacturers of artificial manure in this country. Conceive what would happen to Clanricarde's bailiff if he dared go to Portumna to levy 12/- an acre on land. I am asking that this tax should be taken off. If we would not allow Clanricarde to levy it, why allow the manufacturers of bag muck in this country to levy it?

I will offend Deputy Corish now. There was a time when you could buy a plough in this country. The patriotic agricultural machinery manufacturers in this country, however, represented that it was a wicked thing to allow in a dirty Saxon plough to this Emerald Isle. It is costing us about £1 a plough to ensure that nothing but a patriotic furrow will be driven into our soil. The horse rake, the hay rake, the mowing machine, the shovel, the spade, the graip, the potato fork—every single one of these is paying its toll of tax to the vested interests which manufacture them in this country. Anyone who protests against that will be dragooned by associations rejoicing in the names of the Federation of Irish Manufacturers and Patriotic Association for the Development of Irish Industry, by men who, of course, are concerned with nothing but a disinterested service to Kathleen Ni Houlihan, individuals who think of money, profit and pelf as nauseous, men who have never given a thought to dividends, interest or sordid matters of that kind. I am thinking of sordid matters. I am thinking of the right of men who are on the very verge of poverty, men who have nothing exalted about them, nothing poetical, nothing glorious or romantic, but who just desire the right to live at a very modest level of comfort with no plush chairs, no grand pianos, no artistic interiors, but who simply just want the wherewithal to buy food to feed their families, to clothe their children, and, possibly, by great indulgence from the patriotic industrialists of this country, an occasional half-crown to buy a half-quarter of tobacco. That is the measure of luxury that I am asking for the rural community.

I allege that successive Finance Acts passed here have challenged the right of the farmers living on the land, the small farmers, to enjoy those things. I am asking no doles; I am asking no subsidies and I am asking for no silly undertakings that we are going to raise the level of prices in this country to a figure which will enable the farmer to bear any burden of expense that is put on him by the legislation of this House because that is all chimerical. The attempt to remedy the situation in which the farmers are at present by fixing prices on the domestic market is utterly fallacious. It can do nothing to relieve them. They have got to sell their produce on the open market and have to take on that market the best price they can get for what they produce.

We cannot raise it and they cannot make a profit if their costs of production in that task are infinitely raised. There is a solemn duty on every Deputy to combine with me in forcing down the costs of production of the agricultural community. I do not care whether the Deputy is elected from a Dublin constituency or a Cork constituency, or comes from Leinster, Connaught, Munster or Ulster: whomever he represents in this House, those for whom he speaks ultimately depend for their living on the land. Unless we make that land profitable, labourer, professional man, farmer and everyone else must perish. There is a duty on every Deputy, no matter to what Party he belongs, to join with me in bringing pressure on the Government at this stage to do only one thing and that is take the taxes off the raw materials of the agricultural industry.

It is six years since I first adumbrated, in an unsympathetic House, a proposal for family allowances. Six years' remonstrance brought the whole House round to my view and a great social service has been initiated. To-day I am starting a new campaign, to take the taxes off the raw materials of the agricultural industry, as certain as that I am standing here that, sooner or later, the whole House will come round to my view. Every year they wait to do so, the economic existence of our people will be put in greater jeopardy. Could they but persuade themselves to join me now, they would have taken the first really effective step in the task of post-war planning. Is it too much to expect that even those Deputies groaning under the lash of the Fianna Fáil Party Whip will consider this question on its merits? If they have not the courage to speak out here, will they speak in the discreet secrecy of their Party room? I do not expect—none of us could reasonably expect—the Minister for Finance, with his city traditions, to understand the full implications of what I am saying here now; but he has behind him many Deputies who in their heart know that what I am saying is true. It took me six years to bring them round to family allowances: do not let it take as long to bring them round to this.

When he was opening to-day, Deputy Hughes seemed to me to express some slight temerity, for that he challenged the economic policy of a Government which had just been elected in this country. Would that he were here now, that I might give him heart of courage. Surely the dullest Deputy will agree with me that it would be a travesty of the truth to suggest that it was the economic policy of Fianna Fáil that was being argued on the hustings during the general election? The general election was fought and won on the issue of whether de Valera kept the bombs off or not. That issue is past and, whether by fair means or foul, Fianna Fáil has won, but the fact that the argument that he kept the bombs off has won de Valera a victory causes me no doubt, no hesitation and no temerity in pointing out the detestable fallacies that have inspired the Fianna Fáil policy up to date.

I do not believe that we are confronted with a situation like that of the Walls of Jericho, which were brought crashing down by the blast of a bugle. All I am hoping to do is to dislodge one of many keystones. Ultimately, the pressure of events will bring the arch of their economic heresies crashing. This is the first stone which must be dislodged and, if they part with it willingly, instead of forcing us to hammer it out, it will come out intact and may be used for a laudable purpose, as the corner-stone of a new structure of agricultural prosperity in this country. Whether we have to take it out in splinters and find a new stone for the new building, or whether they are prepared to surrender it to usin toto, with the consoling thought that it will be turned to a newer and better purpose, is a matter of indifference to me. I am starting now to take it out, if necessary in splinters, and, in anticipation, I tell them that I should be grateful if they surrender it to me intact.

I would rather pass on to Deputy Dillon the invitation extended to him by Deputy Cogan, in speaking a while ago, and suggest that he go out to meet a few of those farmers whom he advised to buy store cattle last November. He might drop out now to meet them and see how they got on and what profit they made out of his prophecy. For the last hour, Deputy Dillon has dealt with the Finance Bill of 1937 and did not go beyond it. I take it that he was quite in order in doing so. He dealt with the tariff on Indian meal and on artificial manures. He also made a rather despicable attack on the efforts made by the Irish people to start industries to provide employment for our own people.

The Deputy started by saying that the only hope for the farmers and for everybody else—who, he said, were living on the farmers' backs—was the price we could get for our exportable surplus in Britain. Other people thought in that way before Deputy Dillon thought so, and other Governments tried that before the Deputy expounded that doctrine here. I do not think the farmers have such short memories that they cannot go back to 1928, 1929, 1930, and 1931, when that policy was in full swing, when the price of our butter on the English market was such as to allow us to pay only something like 2½d per gallon for our new milk at the creameries, when the price of our beef was the price that could be got for tinned meat from the Argentine. To-day, 95 per cent. of the produce of the Irish farmer is sold on the Irish market. I am not going to say that he is well off, but if he was —as I described it here in those days —one jump ahead of the bailiff, when his job was to provide John Bull with cheap beef and butter and half-starve his own people here on Canadian butter and on eggs imported from China and Egypt, he is at least three jumps ahead of the bailiff to-day, though he is practically 95 per cent. dependent on the home market.

I do not want to follow Deputy Dillon along the lines he has followed. However, in so far as we have succeeded in establishing industries to give employment to our own people, in so far as we are producing here what was produced for us previously by the foreigner, we have advanced to the benefit of agriculture as well as of everything else.

We had three commissioners—if you like—on agriculture this evening. Among them was Deputy Hughes. I warned Deputy Hughes on another occasion that he should not be reading so many books and picking out of them long phrases that he endeavours to tie up together in such a way that there is no head or tail to any of them; they really lead him into a regular quagmire out of which he finds it difficult to get. Deputy Hughes spent a long time here tying up big phrases, telling us what Sir This said about agriculture and what Lord That said about it. He talked about progressive and non-progressive agriculture, and he wanted to know why our Minister did not attend Sir John So-and-So's lecture about agriculture. What the dickens does Sir John So-and-So know about agriculture that our Minister should go to hear what he has to say about it?

Deputy Hughes then told us all about mechanised agriculture. That is a grand phrase. I remember a few years ago looking at a Ford Ferguson tractor giving a demonstration. Two members of the Opposition Party were present, and they told me all the fine things that tractor would do for agriculture. I pointed out that if we were to put one of these tractors into every farm, our unemployment figures would be far greater than they are at the present moment. If we abolish the horse and the plough, and introduce mechanised agriculture, that would be one of the results. I happen to have a farm on which I have eight men working. If I introduce mechanised methods, and work with only two men, what will help to feed the other six and their wives and families? That is the type of question we should ask ourselves before we start out with these ideas.

We had Deputy Cogan making various complaints. He told us all about the Minister for Finance, and the big fights he was having with his colleagues. If he had not so many fights, perhaps the farmer might get a little more. Deputy Cogan complains that the Minister did not fight enough, but I would rather he did not fight so much —I think we would come out so much better, and there would be a little more food in the country. Then Deputy Cogan brought out another matter when he said that the principal obstacle to the advance of agriculture is our Minister for Agriculture. That was a great phrase. I can cast my mind back to the days when we were told all about wheat-growing. When people talk now about the need to advance in the matter of production, and tell us we should be producing much more, I wonder do they take into account the fact that practically the whole of our bread to-day is produced by our own farmers from our own land? There was a gap in our production that was previously filled by the foreigner. That gap has been filled up by our farmers, and, whilst the farmers to-day are not fattening on the job, at least they are better off than during the period when we were depending on the foreigner.

Deputy Dillon told us a lot about the yellow meal. I remember when Deputy Dillon was sitting where Deputy Costello is sitting now, and he told us about the rotten Irish barley on which you could not fatten pigs. He said it was stuff with blue mould through it. We have had complaints to-day from Deputy Hughes because we are not producing more pigs. Deputy Hughes was sitting beside Deputy Dillon that day when he made that famous speech. There is none of the yellow meal coming in now, and are we to fatten the pigs on the rotten, blue-mouldy Irish barley produced by the Irish farmer?

The main reason why there is a scarcity of bacon to-day is that we have increased our acreage under oats and barley only by something like 167,000 acres over the acreage cultivated in 1939. It means that there are 167,000 tons of oats and barley to replace the 500,000 tons of Indian meal that came in here in other years. If our Irish oats and barley are as good cwt. for cwt., ton for ton as the Indian meal previously imported, then we can fatten only one pig for every four we produced in those days. That is why there is a scarcity of bacon and there is no use in blaming the Minister for Agriculture for something that does not exist.

Our agricultural policy as introduced by our Minister for Agriculture in 1932, and carried on right down the years, has proved its worth. It has been, as it were, an insurance policy, because it has ensured that to-day our people are self-supporting in regard to bread, sugar and other commodities. That, after all, is the main object of agriculture in any country—to see that you have sufficient food to feed your people in time of stress. I do not want to spend too much time speaking on agriculture. Our agricultural policy has justified itself in no uncertain way. I am not saying our farmers are well off, but they are at least far better off than they were when we were depending on foreign markets and were given no protection in the home market; when we had to sell our eggs in competition with eggs brought in from China or from Egypt, and when we had to sell our bacon in competition with the American long bottom or with Polish imports. Almost everything in our country had to be sold in competition with the foreign article and our exportable surplus had to be thrown on the British market. So far as our butter exports were concerned, they were thrown on the British market at 70/- per cwt., and you can make up how much a gallon for the milk delivered at the creamery that would work out at.

We had from Deputy Hughes and Deputy Cogan complaints about the cost of administration. We had complaints about "that enormous burden" from Deputies who cheered to the echo every proposal brought in here that added to the burden already imposed on us. I saw Deputies of all Parties welcoming with open arms the Drainage Bill. They say to-day that the farmers are not deriving much benefit. I know farmers in my constituency who will gain 7/6 an acre by way of relief, through the Drainage Bill, in respect of rates put on under other drainage legislation enacted here.

I saw Deputies from all sides of the House nearly falling over the Minister for Local Government when he introduced the Children's Allowances Bill, they were so delighted with the good thing he was doing. The farmer who wants to help himself, if he wishes to make a road into his farm, will get a free grant of 50 per cent. of the labour cost; if he wants to erect a silo he will get 50 per cent. of the cost of the silo; if he wants to remove a fence that he considers to be a blot on his farm, he will get 50 per cent of the cost of removing it. Then we are not helping agriculture at all!

Who pays for it? Does not the farmers pay it himself?

We paid it, through the nose. Those gentlemen over there when they were in office did not do it. I remember a Minister for Local Government telling us that he would not give any grant whatever to a farmer for the repair of any house and that he had no money to spend on building cottages for labourers. I am concerned with a few other matters. It is laid down in the Constitution that there should be equal rights for all citizens. I am very deeply concerned for a part of my constituency where that principle does not obtain. I am concerned to see that the social benefits conferred by this Government on the poorer classes of the people are at least equitably distributed. I think I described already in this House how, in the old days, a malefactor, a robber or a thief was stoned and driven outside the walls of the city. It happens that in Cork City a man need not be a malefactor, a robber or a thief to have that done to him. All he need be is poor and living in a slum. If that be so, he may be taken and put outside the walls of the city. I have two particular men in mind, one a man living in number 11 Gurranebraher Road, with a wife and four children——

Surely this has nothing to do with the Finance Bill.

It has to do with the definite benefits that are conferred in this Budget.

Acting Chairman

Would the Deputy listen to me, please? A debate on the Finance Bill must not have reference to the detailed administration of a particular Department except, perhaps, the Department of Finance itself. The matter to which the Deputy is referring has certainly no relation to the administration of the Department of Finance and would appear to be relevant to the detailed administration of another Department or, perhaps, of a county council. Therefore, if that is so, it is entirely outside the scope of this debate.

If the Acting Chairman would wait until I had finished he would find I was far more in order than the Deputy who spent an hour discussing the Finance Bill of 1937.

Acting Chairman

The Deputy had better let me decide what is order and what is not. The Chair is to decide that. If the Deputy is referring to anything that Deputy Dillon said during his speech, he was entirely in order from first to last.

Thanks. What I am particularly referring to is not administration at the moment. I am referring to the Constitution of this State which lays down equal rights for all citizens, and I am concerned with provisions made in this Finance Bill——

Acting Chairman

Will the Deputy quote the section?

——and the manner in which these provisions apply in the case of a married man with four children, living in No. 11 Gurranebraher Road, who has 35/- a week unemployment assistance, and a man living in No. 13, who has nothing. I think that is particularly concerned with finance—the difference between 35/- and nothing.

Acting Chairman

The Deputy said that there is a provision in the Bill—and he took the Bill in his hand—which deals with that matter. Will the Deputy name the section, please, because I can see nothing in this Finance Bill under which he would be relevant?

I will take Section 4:—

"A children's allowance under the Children's Allowances Act, 1944 (No. 2 of 1944), shall be exempt from income-tax (including surtax) and shall not be reckoned in computing income for the purposes of the Income Tax Acts."

That is a provision for a man who is paying income-tax. The man who is paying no income-tax, because he has no income out of which to pay it, and who happens to enjoy this children's allowance is going to have a city manager coming down on him to extract from every half-crown, one shilling in increased rent.

Acting Chairman

Does the Deputy blame the Minister for Finance for that, or is it in any way relevant to this debate?

Certainly; it is the job of the Minister for Finance to see that the money is distributed equitably.

Acting Chairman

It is not, as a matter of fact.

The children's allowances do not come into operation until 1st August, and in the meantime I want the Minister for Finance to make provision to ensure that if a man who has an income is going to be relieved of income-tax, the poor devil who has no income, and for whom this allowance was primarily intended, the fellow living in No. 13 Gurranebraher Road, and the fellow living above in Spangle Hill, will not have extracted by the city manager from the half-crown he gets to support his little children, so much in increased rent.

It is not in this Bill.

I am sure Deputy Corry did not say that during the election campaign.

I did, at a public meeting at which the Taoiseach was present.

Why do you not——

Acting Chairman

Deputy O'Leary had better let Deputy Corry continue.

It is because my constituents know very well that what I tell them from the public platform I will also state here that I am able to do it.

You will not vote against them.

If I went to Wexford you would not be here.

If I went to Cork you would not be here.

I want to have this very definite injustice that I feel very keenly remedied. The Minister for Finance has a very big power in this State. He has from this until the 1st August and he should remedy that injustice in the meantime. As the question of agriculture was brought up here, I have dealt with a few points that were made. But if, as Deputy Dillon says, the doctor and the lawyer and everybody else are depending on the farmers in the first instance and if the whole lot of them are to be depending on the prices for our exportable surplus to the British market, then I say: "May the Lord help the whole of us."

We are passing through a period which I would refer to as one of spurious inflationary prosperity. That has been brought about by a variety of circumstances, one of the chief reasons for it being easy money. We are considering a Finance Bill which provides for the largest expenditure which the citizens of this country have ever been called upon to face. We are the deliberative Assembly who have to deal with that question. Public finance has certain things in common with the ordinary finance with which we meet in our daily lives; it is not completely like it, but in many ways it is like it. One of the things we have to ask ourselves is: what value are we getting for our expenditure and are we being asked to expend more than we should? I have said that this is the largest sum which the citizens of this country have ever been called on to face and they are not getting value for that. The productive capacity of the country has not increased; on the contrary, it has fallen. Employment has not increased and the supplies are not there to enable industry to produce the goods to meet this increased money which is floating about.

As I have said, certain people at present are getting easy money. There are remittances coming from the other side; there are profits made by certain concerns, and so on. Those people with that money are going into the market and scrambling for a very limited quantity of supplies—not only are they limited but they are decreasing. That results in very great hardship to practically the great majority of our people because, whilst there is that easy money going around, it is by no means universal. There are people whose wages have only gone up by a small amount. They have not gone up in proportion to the increase in prices. Those people are forced to draw in their belts and to do without things which they rightly feel are necessary for their way of life, or in fact for their sustenance. You might say: "What remedy have you for that situation?" I would say that more than one remedy is required, because the finance side of this Bill presents only one side of the picture. The other component parts of it are supplies, employment and production and those have in no degree kept pace with our financial expenditure.

The older economists when dealing with financial matters adopted a very cautious method and they said: "If you borrow, you should pay back as soon as you can." We seem to have fallen between two stools. We have discarded the more cautious financial method of the older economists and we have not gone forward into the newer and bolder method which the modern economists tell us is the way to run the country. The result, as I say, is that we have fallen between two stools. At present we have a measure of inflation in this country. The £ is not worth 20/-. If you assume that the £ was worth 20/- in 1939, it is worth considerably less now; something in the neighbourhood of 11/- or 12/-. But we will have to pay back the debts which we are now incurring. We have incurred deficits which we will have to pay back later on. Eventually the £ will swing back to something in the neighbourhood of 20/- and we will then be forced to pay back, in the more difficult period which will then ensue, the debts which we will have incurred in these times of easy money. We will have to pay back a debt which we will have incurred at the rate of 11/- to the £ at the rate of 20/- to the £. In that way we are causing a good deal of difficulty for those who will come after us. I therefore urge on the Minister for Finance that every effort should be made to pay off our debts when we have a high rate of taxation and what I may call a larger turnover in the State, because it will be very difficult to do so in the years that follow.

In connection with the present financial policy of this country we have heard a good deal of talk about post-war planning. But I am afraid post-war planning has remained very much in the air. We have not heard what the Government proposes to do in that respect. Last July the Taoiseach stated in this Dáil that the postwar plans were at that time before a sub-committee of the Cabinet. We have not heard anything about those plans since then, although last July many people thought they were considerably overdue.

In connection with children's allowances and income-tax, I should like to stress the point that any income-tax payer who has more than two children is at a disadvantage of £1 per child. That is not a very large amount but the principle is all wrong. The Children's Allowances Act was designed to help parents with over three children, and it is manifestly very unfair that the children of income-tax payers should, instead of being helped by the Act, become a liability. In other words, a man who is an income-tax payer and who has children comes worse out of the Children's Allowances Act than the income-tax payer with no children. The bachelor or the childless married man is better off to-day than the father of a family, if he is an income-tax payer, and it is fundamentally unjust that the Act should hit any section of parents.

With regard to the question of the salaries or remuneration of directors, some people think of directors as being very wealthy people who run trust companies or such bodies. Perhaps some of us are influenced in that respect by films which show directors as very wealthy persons, but I want to remind the Minister that the great majority of directors are what are known as working directors. They are men who perhaps joined a business in a very humble capacity, worked up to the position of manager of a department or reached a good position in the office and who were then taken on the board. For that, they usually get something in the neighbourhood of £50 or £100 salary as directors. They might be earning £500 a year as managers, but, by virtue of the fact that they are directors, they are prevented from getting any increase in their salaries, although the £50 salary as a director, which perhaps they have enjoyed for only a very few years, is only one-tenth of their total earnings. That inflicts great hardship on them.

If this section of the Bill relates only to corporation profits tax—as seems to be the case, although there is a certain amount of ambiguity about it— there is some justification for it, because I hold no brief for the company director who wishes to hide corporation profits by increasing his salary. That, as I think, very rightly, the Government does not allow, but I know of very many cases of men who are directors, the director's part of whose earnings is only a very small proportion of their total earnings, but who, by virtue of that fact, have been kept at a level which is not in keeping with that enjoyed by people around them. There are people in their departments who have practically more money than they have, but, because they are directors, these men are prevented from getting any increase. They do not like to resign their directorships, because they are useful, and so on, and they stay on and suffer quite a considerable amount of financial loss as a result.

In conclusion, I should like to say that we in this country are not following the bold financial policy which we ought to follow. We have great unemployment; we have decreased productivity; and we have decreased supplies. I would urge the Minister to relate his financial policy more closely to the total picture of the country as it is, because the present system is causing very great hardships to many people, and the State as a whole is not getting the financial benefit which is its due.

I want to make a few and, I hope, very cogent observations on behalf of a section whose plight and condition is not very frequently put before this House, but who receive very considerable attention outside the House during the financial year, namely, the ordinary taxpayer. This debate has turned to a great extent on the condition of agriculture, the policy of the Government in reference to agriculture, and the necessity for doing everything possible to buttress up the agricultural industry, inasmuch as it is recognised that the whole economic structure of the State rests upon that industry. The Party to which we on these benches belong has recognised—and not to-day or yesterday—the principles enunciated by Deputy Dillon. I have in my possession at home a pamphlet written by the late Minister for Agriculture, Mr. Paddy Hogan, on the necessity for not taxing the raw materials of agriculture.

Deputy Corry referred to the fact that from this side of the House there had been three missionaries who spoke on behalf of agriculture. It was perhaps fortunate that he did not put any particular label on the rôle which he played in reference to his speech on agriculture. I do not propose to adopt the role of missionary for agriculture, or to speak at all on agriculture, beyond commenting on this fact which emerges from the speech of Deputy Corry, that the policy in relation to agriculture which was put into effect during the years 1928 to 1931, resulted, as he stated, in the farmer being only one jump ahead of the bailiff. Having eulogised the agricultural policy of the present Government and asserted that that agricultural policy had justified itself in no uncertain way, he described that success by stating that at present the farmer, instead of being one jump ahead of the bailiff, was three jumps ahead of the bailiff. It seemed strange to me, as a representative of an urban constituency, that, after all the millions which had been extracted from the taxpayers of this country, the only effective results of Fianna Fáil policy could be so described by Deputy Corry. The greatest financial crisis that ever hit the entire world, from 1929 to 1931, resulted in the farmer being one jump ahead of the bailiff, and the benevolent policy of the Fianna Fáil Government and the millions of the taxpayers' money spent for the benefit of agriculture in the last 11 or 12 years have resulted only in getting the farmer two more jumps ahead of the bailiff.

There are very many advocates of agriculture in this House, whether they be described as missionaries or otherwise, but as I said at the outset there are very few advocates of the people who pay the piper, as it were, for all the political Parties in this House. Motions are put down by the Farmers' Party and other Parties calling on the Government to do this, that and the other thing, and the Government does what it is asked, in order that the political Party which put down the motion may not have political kudos subsequently at the general election by being able to come out and say: "I was the first to think of it." All this results in the taxpayer, for whom I am saying a few words to-night, having to pay increased sums either in his income-tax or in indirect taxation on the necessities of life.

The Minister for Finance in his Budget statement said that the farmers as a class had got off lightly in the matter of taxation. The taxpayers have not got off lightly as a result of the policy of the Fianna Fáil Government in the last 10 or 11 years. We pay income-tax at 7/6 in the £ although we are supposed to be at peace, while the country across the water, which is engaged in a struggle for its very existence, can carry on that titanic struggle and maintain an expenditure which staggers the intellect with income-tax at 10/- in the £. I think there ought to be some consideration for those people who are referred to even by the Minister for Finance in his Budget statement as representing a substantial part of the population whose income has either remained stationary or has contracted. There is to be gleaned from the Minister's Budget statement or even from this Finance Bill with which we are dealing here to-day some possible hope that the Government has at last realised that taxation has come to saturation point, or that perhaps even if it has not come to saturation point generally speaking it is bearing down on a certain section of the community far harder than upon any other section, namely, those people to whom the Minister referred in his Budget speech as representing a substantial part of the population whose income has either remained stationary or has contracted. The increased cost of living is bearing very heavily indeed on people employed in the public services, whose salaries have remained stationary and whose bonuses have been cut or, if not cut, stabilised, without any compensation being given to them to meet the situation that has arisen in consequence of the greatly increased cost of living. The same is true of professional men, who have had to meet grave difficulties, far more difficulties than the farmers have had to meet in the last three or four years. Their incomes have contracted while they have had to meet very high increases in the cost of living, in the cost of keeping on their staffs, and matters of that kind. Those people who are on fixed salaries, people in the professional classes, even people who are not in the public services but are employed in small concerns and have to pay income-tax, men in insurance companies and other people of that kind, have had to bear the crushing burden of taxation imposed by this Government in the last three or four years to a greater extent and to a more inequitable degree than any other section of the community. I think it is about time somebody spoke on their behalf; it is about time this section of the community got some consideration.

It is not to-day or yesterday that the Party to which I have the honour to belong advocated the claims of the farming community. It was the very basis of the policy of the Cumann na nGaedheal Party and the Cumann na nGaedheal Government that the agricultural industry was the foundation of the economic fabric of this country. It did not require any Farmers' Party, no matter what label may be put upon them from time to time, to advocate the claims of the farmers in this House. The Party which is now the Fine Gael Party, and which is the successor to the tradition of Paddy Hogan's agricultural policy, still has as its basic policy the maintenance of the agricultural industry in this country. At the same time, while we recognise, as Deputy Dillon said, that all sections of the community depend for their prosperity on the prosperity of agriculture, nevertheless I think it is time, as I have said—I make no apology for repeating it—that the claims for that section of the community which is not vocal and which has perhaps nobody to speak for it in this House should be listened to. The income-tax payers are not numerous, but they have been paying over a number of years a considerable amount of the money that goes in the relief of other sections of the community. I think—I hope I am not wrong in thinking—that, from the Minister's Budget speech, and also from this Bill, there is recognition of the fact that income-tax is far too high at the present moment. Income-tax is, of course, a tax which is imposed on a very small section of the community. For that reason, income-tax payers have little or no political value. They are fair game for everybody, because their votes count for little or nothing in an election in any given constituency, but they have to pay the piper to a far greater extent than justice requires or demands, or even than the interests of the country demand. Although it has sometimes been said that income-tax is the fairest kind of tax, I think when that statement is examined it will be found that there is no real justification for it. The burden of taxation should be equitably distributed, and in the last few years the income-tax payers have been subjected to a strain which they are really not able to bear.

Income-tax, although it is supposed to be a tax on income, really affects everybody. It is not merely the small section of income-tax payers who are affected by the unduly high rate of income-tax. When income-tax goes beyond a certain figure the weight of that tax stifles initiative. Therefore, it decreases employment, and consequently affects the wage earner and the unemployment situation in the country.

By reason of the enormous increase in income-tax and other taxation, I have noticed that there has been practically a complete neglect of the policy of thrift. I have listened to wireless broadcasts from England and from America, and have read statements about the necessity for thrift in wartime, but I do not think I have ever seen any kind of propaganda worth talking about in this country urging upon our people the necessity for setting aside something for the rainy day which is bound to come with the cessation of hostilities. Perhaps it is because there has been no possibility for the ordinary persons in the country to make savings to any great extent in the last four or five years that the policy of thrift could not be advocated. There are numbers of people making far too much money in this country at the present time. It has sometimes been a source of surprise to me that the undoubted hardships of income-tax payers and other people who are paying a considerable amount of their income in direct taxation, although, perhaps, not paying much in indirect taxation, did not render them more vocal. I was surprised to hear about the amount of money which was indicated by the Minister as pouring into the Treasury as a result of taxation in the last year. I got the explanation, which appears to be the true one, that in this country at the present time there are individuals and firms making huge amounts of money; they are charging such high prices for commodities to the unfortunate public that they can afford to pay the highest possible income-tax, super-tax and corporation profits tax, and still be able to have a vast fortune at the end of each financial year.

Now, I think, and I respectfully suggest, that it is a short-sighted policy to allow that state of affairs to go on. Each individual taxpayer who has to pay more than his fair share of taxation is being put into the position where he has to retrench in his own personal expenditure, where he has to make certain economies in his expenditure, and where those economies will pinch hard on himself or upon his family, and he is asked to do this at a time when it is abundantly clear to all of us that, since the outbreak of hostilities, which have led to the present emergency in this country, not one step has been taken by the Government to effect economies in State administration. The ordinary taxpayer, as a result of the emergency, has to bear a crushing burden both in respect of direct and indirect taxation, but, so far as the cost of the administration of the State is concerned, or the administration of State services, the State is living exactly as it did before the war, and, in addition to that, its tentacles are spreading themselves out in every possible, and so to speak, almost impossible direction.

Apart from all this additional expenditure, which might be held to be unnecessary, there is the additional expenditure caused by the necessary provision for defence. Side by side with that necessary war expenditure, however, there is undoubtedly a considerable amount of extravagant war expenditure. One has only to go through the streets of the city to realise that. Then you have an additional amount of Government activity and increased expenditure on Government administration, and you find that Government policy is being carried on with the same reckless disregard for economy as if there were no war. There are certain activities that could be dropped in a time of war, and it must be remembered that, in essence, we here are in a state of war. It must have been realised years ago that the emergency would require a very high degree of efficiency, and that it would entail increased taxation on the people, but while that efficiency and that increased taxation were necessary, and even desirable, to a certain extent, cognisance should have been taken at an early stage of the expenditure that would be necessary, and what economies could have been effected. The Government should have taken steps to deal with that situation at an early stage and to impose the taxation that would be necessary to deal with it during the past few years. I feel that one of the disquieting features of the economic situation in the last few years is that, on the one hand, a small number of people have been making money at the expense of the great majority of the people, while, on the other hand, so far as provision for the generality of the public is concerned, who wish to make provision for themselves and their families in the future, no attempt has been made to relieve their difficulties. I am referring to the people who tried to make provision, by way of thrift and in other ways, for the difficulties through which their families will have to pass, and also to enable them to confront the difficulties that will undoubtedly exist, as soon as hostilities cease.

There is another matter of detail in this Bill—perhaps, not so much a matter of detail, as of principle. I refer to Section 8 of the Bill, which deals with emergency allowances in respect of certain machinery or plant. I do not intend to deal with the particular details of that section of the Bill. To a certain extent, I am not interested in those details but I am interested in the principle with which that section is concerned. In the course of the section, which contains a number of subsections and sub-paragraphs, in at least two, if not more, there is this magic phrase, with which we have become so well acquainted in recent years—perhaps it was not so much confined before, but certainly it has been very much confined since 1932 and onwards—the effect of which is that where a person shows to the satisfaction of the Revenue Commissioners certain things, he is entitled to get certain reliefs. He has to prove his case "to the satisfaction of the Revenue Commissioners". Now, I am not dealing with the details here. I am only dealing with the principle of the matter, and the principle is that the person concerned has to show certain things "to the satisfaction of the Revenue Commissioners". My objection is that the ordinary citizen should be able to have recourse to the ordinary machinery of the law, and should be given the opportunity of putting his case through the ordinary processes of law. In this case, the Revenue Commissioners are entrusted with that duty, which, undoubtedly, they carry out with impartiality and zeal, but, by that very phrase: "to the satisfaction of the Revenue Commissioners", they are made judges in their own case. That is the thing that I object to, and I have voiced my objection to this on many occasions in this House. I have pointed out that no Minister, or no Department, or no head of a Department, ought to be a judge in his own case, and where a Department does not give a measure of relief to a taxpayer, on demonstration or proof of certain facts which may be, in point of fact, very intricate, and which may require a judicial decision, the citizen concerned ought to have the right to have those facts adjudicated upon, not by the person who, in a sense, is his opponent in the case, but by an independent tribunal.

Accordingly, I would ask the Minister to insert an amendment to Section 8, merely for the purpose of establishing the principle to which I have adverted: that the taxpayer, who is entitled to this allowance, ought to have the right to go to the Special Commissioners and, thence, to the Special Court, and that the Revenue Commissioners should not be judges, as I have said, in their own cause. Certain matters of detail are dealt with under Section 8, and other intricate matters of detail may, quite conceivably, arise in connection with that section, and probably will arise, but I am not concerned with the details: what I am concerned with is the principle contained in this section. What I am concerned with is those magic words, which have been contained in so many other similar Acts: "a person shows to the satisfaction of the Revenue Commissioners". In other words, the decision on the facts presented is left to the Revenue Commissioners which, in practice, means that the decision is left to the inspector of taxes. Now, it is inevitable that the inspector of taxes, doing his duty, as he is bound to do by law and as he almost certainly will do—doing it with zeal and impartiality—almost certainly will have to act the part of an advocate on behalf of his Department. For instance, if I have a client in court, that client's case is my case, and I will do the best I can for him, and I am no good as an advocate unless I do it. In the same way, a collector of taxes is charged with the mission of collecting the taxes and he is no good if he does not collect the last ounce out of these taxes. That makes him an advocate, consequently as an advocate he cannot be a judge. The Revenue Commissioners who are his superiors cannot be judges either because they are, in a sense, in the position of advocates, too. I object to this on the ground of principle just as I object to a Minister being put in the position of finally deciding rights as between his Department and any individual citizen. I ask the Minister to concede the principle in this section that at all events there should be an appeal to the Special Commissioners of Income-tax in the same way as there is in income-tax cases and from them to a judge if necessary. For that reason I think it right to bring the matter under the notice of the Minister on the Second Reading of the Bill. I hope he will give every possible consideration to the matter to which I have adverted arising out of Section 8.

Nowadays people generally seem to take very little heed of Budgets because they know that no efforts are made to balance our Budgets. We hear that our people are thriftless and irresponsible but how can one expect them to be otherwise, while the Minister in charge of the finances of the State sets them such a very bad headline in regard to thrift? There is no doubt that during the past 25 years the financial position of this State has deteriorated steadily. Before we took over the Government of this State 25 years ago, Britain was able to administer the Thirty-two Counties at a cost of about £15,000,000. We find ourselves to-day with a known debt of over £50,000,000 and an unknown debt of probably £100,000,000. Still we are told that we are doing well. My belief is that we have made a big hash of this State of ours. We have given the people neither reasonable taxation nor a decent chance of living. I can only come to the conclusion that the majority of our electors are a very silly people, because it seems the more you tax them the more they like it. So long as they continue to vote for you, they certainly will continue to be fleeced by taxation, but some day there will be a rude awakening. Some day their eyes will be opened. While taxation is increasing year by year, the population is continually decreasing. Year after year tens of thousands are clearing out of the country to find a living in a foreign land. It certainly seems very strange to me that people can shout for Fianna Fáil and shout "Up Dev" while at the same time their brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles are seeking passports to enable them to go and earn a living in some other country. There certainly seems to be something peculiar about the Taoiseach when in face of all these circumstances he is able to secure the support of the majority of our people. Even when they are starving, it makes no difference, they will vote for his Party.

Fianna Fáil, since they came into power, have put a premium on idleness, and I believe that that is one of their greatest assets. The honest man when he sees "chancers" getting money for standing at the corner or setting a few snares to catch rabbits on their neighbours' land wonders if there is any use in honest work. The "chancers" who can get a dole of 14/- a week are able to live far better than the agricultural labourer who has to work hard from morning till night. Fianna Fáil can juggle with public funds in such a way as to make Peter pay for Paul and Paul pay for Saul.

That policy has worked for some time now but certainly the time is approaching when we must realise that the few who are working hard and in earnest, are not going to carry on their backs those who are living in idleness and who are able to live even in semi-luxury at the expense of the hard-working farmer and farm labourer. The farming community are bearing the burden but some day this country will react against that system and some Government will have to pay for it. It is not fair that one-third of our people, the hard-working industrious section, must carry the others on their backs. They cannot get even a decent week's holiday although they must provide for holidays for everybody else from the highest official down to the lowest labouring man. They must do it or pay for the consequences. As Deputy Costello said, this country is living beyond its means. Practically every individual in the country is living beyond his means. In fact I think it is one of the most irresponsible countries in the world. There are very few people prepared to put by a penny for the morrow. The outlook of the average person is that of the happy-go-lucky individual; he does not give one damn what to-morrow brings. That holds out a poor prospect for the future of the country. No one appears to give a damn at the present moment except to have a good time, let it last as long as it can, and let to-morrow provide for itself.

One thing we in the agricultural community cannot endure is this so-called industrial drive which we have had in the last dozen years. I believe in industrialisation to a certain extent even though our country is mainly agricultural, but I cannot stand for the sharks who have got hold of the industrial drive here and who have been reaping fortunes in the last five or ten years. To my mind there should be a proper investigation into this industrial drive to find out how men who 10 or 15 years ago had scarcely £100 to their credit are now able to invest £30,000 or £40,000 in anything they like. Where did that money come from? I should like to see a public inquiry into that matter. I think it is high time this so-called industrial racket was inquired into. Agriculture, which is the primary industry of this country, has been left in the lurch by Fianna Fáil. Of course, we are told that that is nonsense, that the farmers are now prosperous because of the markets provided by Fianna Fáil for them. For any markets they have, the farmers need not thank Fianna Fáil, and they are under no obligation to the present Government for them. The farmer is making a profit because of the war and not because of Fianna Fáil.

We are told by the Minister that the farmer is very well off, and that he is letting farmers away very lightly, but the farmer does not care one particular hoot about the Minister, or anybody else in the Government, because he has got nothing else from them except trouble. The farmer is the man who is carrying the country on his back; he is producing the food which is needed in this crisis, and, when he is doing that, he should get more than cheeky talk from Ministers who tell him that he is very well off and that he should be glad he is so well off. One would think, listening to Deputy Corry, that we were living in a paradise and that we did not care two hoots what we were suffering. Everyone knows that that is pure nonsense.

They should not think that the people are fools. They ought to realise that we are dependent on our neighbour for the production of the food necessary to maintain us. Had it not been for the good-will of our neighbour, we would have foundered, and we should have had to ask for help. Every spare part of our ploughs, our reapers and binders, the petrol and other fuel that we used—those came to our shores in our neighbour's ships and enabled us to keep in production. Let us forget this idea of isolation and of standing alone on our own feet. We are not able to do it—even for three weeks or a month. I defy contradiction of that statement. It is time we spoke plainly on those matters. I speak as one of those patriotic Irishmen who did their job when there were jobs to be done. This country is in the grip of political "jumpers" who are trying to fool the people into the belief that it is a mighty empire and could challenge the world.

It could do no such thing. When the history of the past five years is written, the eyes of the Irish people will be opened to many things. I would not mind so much if the propaganda which has been carried on by Fianna Fáil had been carried on against foreigners, but it has been carried on against the Irish people. Had it not been for the decency of our neighbours, we should not be where we are. It is our neighbours who provide a market for our exports —cattle, sheep, poultry, and butter— and in return for these they give us machinery of all kinds for the production of our food. It would be only right and fair for the Government, if it was honest, to make that fact clear both in this House and outside it, instead of pretending that it is the might of our Army that has saved our people. That is all sweet nonsense. We are where we are because of the British navy. I defy contradiction of that.

Perhaps the Deputy would now come to the Finance Bill.

If the tankers which come into our ports stayed away for three weeks or a month, we would know how to measure all this bombast. It is time we realised that we are in the world, and must be part of it. There is nothing in this idea of complete isolation. If we were sunk in the morning, hardly a country in Europe would realise that we ever existed. People down the country are led to believe at election times that we are a mighty empire——

The less talk we have about the election campaign the better. We had an example of such a discussion on Friday.

I was glad I was not here on Friday. It was, certainly, disgraceful. One of the principal things affecting the country is its financial system. The Minister for Finance was at one time very revolutionary in his ideas regarding finance. Now, he is the real, old, orthodox financier; everything must go according to certain standards. We must keep step with Britain and her colonies regarding finance. At one time, the Minister was prepared to crack his whip right, left and centre. I wish he would now get his whip and slash through the present financial methods. If the farmers could obtain the finance necessary to put them on their feet so as to be able to deal with the postwar situation, which will be very critical, there might be some hope. But that cannot be done. We must follow the "old reliable." The whip is cracked in London and the Minister jumps to attention in Dublin. While that is so, we can have very little development. We should take control of finance into our own hands and see what we can do with it. If we cannot make it a success, we are not fit to be free.

If the Fianna Fáil agricultural policy, of which we heard so much for the past ten years, was right, why are we in the deplorable position in which we are to-day? Why are 350,000 of our young men and women in another country? Why are some of them working in factories while others are on foreign battlefields or in battles of the air? Why were they not able to get work here? If the Minister cannot answer that question, his Government is a failure. Deputy Corry engaged in his usual bombast about what the Government is giving us in the way of sops of all kinds—grants for repairs to sheds, family allowances and so forth. I voted for family allowances. I did so because in a country in which there is economic depression a man who is rearing a large family must get some help. But it is a poor day when we have to say to our young people: "Produce a child and the State will give you 2/6." Our fathers and grandfathers reared their children decently and brought them up good citizens without asking the State for anything. Nowadays, we have everybody appealing to the State for aid. I want to see that class of thing abolished. I want to see honest work and honest wages. On those wages, let the honest man rear his family in a proper way and let us not have a pauper State, as we have to-day. Everybody wants something for nothing. Nobody wants to work. I blame Fianna Fáil for that. It is due to their bombast in recent years. They got up on the platform we made for them—the platform which Collins, Griffith, O'Higgins and our great leader, Paddy Hogan——

The Deputy should confine himself to the Finance Bill.

They got up on the platform we made for them and they are trying to shove us off but they cannot. When things are going badly for them, they shout about the republic. They must come back to the fundamental things—fair play, honesty and justice. One more cow, one more sow and one more acre under the plough— that is the agricultural policy which served us for 50 years and which will serve us evermore. That is the policy to put Ireland on its feet. Fianna Fáil should realise that it is the only policy and they should deal with the racketeers who have the country in the hollow of their hands. We have so-called industrial magnates who are now prepared to invest £20,000, £30,000 or £40,000 in anything but who had not £100 a few years ago.

They tell the farmer that he is doing too well and that it is time he was made to pay income-tax. The farmer has to work from morning till night for very little return. He never had a big return for his work. The people who talk in this way never had to dirty their boots and they never had to remove their boots and stockings to clean out ditches and dykes so as to produce food for the people in the cities. The farmers must take abuse from everybody. I want to refer to a remark made by the Minister for Agriculture the other evening. No doubt, it was made in the excitement of the moment.

In a debate which might well be forgotten.

There is just one remark to which I want to refer.

The Deputy may not do so. That remark has been referred to. It was made in the heat of debate on the occasion of many heated interruptions. It is better to regard the matter as closed.

I am not one bit pleased with the position regarding our Budget. Year after year, we have increased Budgets and unbalanced Budgets. We are providing £10,000,000 for our defence services. We know that that is the purest bunkum and nonsense. That sum should be paid by another country. We are defending this country for the purpose of defending Britain. The British navy is defending our shores and it is up to us to ask the British to contribute to the cost of the defence which we are making. The Government is at fault. We know of the secret agreement between the Taoiseach, Fianna Fáil——

The Deputy is introducing quite extraneous and tendentious matters on the foundation for which the Chair is not in a position to judge.

I feel that I have to rise to my feet after listening to speeches from two sides of the House this evening—speeches by farmers in the Fianna Fáil Party and the Fine Gael Party. There has been talk about income-tax. A motion was tabled here by Clann na Talmhan a few months ago that Deputies should pay income-tax. Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael walked into the lobby against the paying of income-tax but they will walk into the lobby in connection with this Bill to compel other people to pay income-tax. They are talking now about the people outside. With regard to family allowances, I voted for the measure which makes provision for them although as a worker I do not regard it as satisfactory because the married worker gets no allowance for the first two children.

The administration of that Act may not be discussed on this Bill.

It is the law.

The administration of the law is not to be criticised on this Bill.

We have criticised it, to a certain extent. Deputy Corry——

Deputy Corry was also prevented from pursuing the matter.

The Act did not contain everything that we should desire, but all Parties in the House welcomed it. There was a good deal said about agriculture. It is not the members of this House who are doing the work on the land. Men who are doing it are getting very badly paid from Deputies in my county. They are only getting £1 19s. 6d. a week, the agricultural rate of wages. I am sure that if the rate was to be increased to-morrow, these Parties would come together and vote against it. Some of the previous speakers spoke about all the good things that Fine Gael did when it was in power. They did some very mean things when they were in power. They cut the old age pensioners by 1/-, and said that unemployment was not a matter for them. That was their policy. I give credit where credit is due. Some of the things done by the present Government did relieve the class that I speak for. Some Deputy said that there was no bacon. The poor people cannot afford to buy bacon. One reason for that is that cottagers and people in the towns who used to fatten pigs for the factories cannot afford to do so now owing to the high cost of feeding-stuffs. That is why we have such a low pig population. With regard to eggs, we see them stamped in the shops. The big ones go to England and we at home get the small ones.

I object to the means test that is applied in the case of old age pensioners and to widows with 5/-. Is it fair that members of the Dáil and Ministers, if they have ten children under 16 years of age, can get up to £1 a week, while the poor agricultural labourer with £1 19s. 6d. a week with two children under age and three over age who may be unemployed, will not get the allowance? I believe that Bill was introduced with the one object that all Parties would vote against it. The Government could then go to the country and say that they were giving half a crown to every child, but that the Opposition Parties had voted against it. We supported the Bill, and hope that the Government will amend it. It is not fair that a worker in the country on small wages should be deprived of the children's allowances. He must have three children before he can get half a crown a week, while bankers, members of the Dáil, Ministers and Senators, can get the benefit of the Act if they have five or ten children.

Some Deputies spoke about the prices on the home market. It is the public who are paying those prices to the farmers for what they produce and not the Government. I resent the statement made by a Deputy here on my left about men standing around the corners. Thousands of our people have gone over to Britain to work. Our workers are not too lazy. I will not allow any Deputy to say that Irish workers would prefer to stand at the corners with 14/- a week on the dole rather than take up work. I am sure that no Deputy made a statement of that sort a few weeks ago from the election platforms. All Deputies must have got Labour votes in order to get returned here. No Deputy should throw a slur on the Irish workers. They should not be slandered in this House which was set up by the blood of fellow-Irishmen.

Mr. Corish

The amount of money asked for in the Finance Bill, which implements the Budget, is a huge one so far as our people are concerned. They will find it a heavy burden to shoulder at the present time. The unfortunate thing is that the burden presses as heavily on the poor as it does on the rich. I wonder what effort the Government is making to relieve the position of the poor so far as the cost of foodstuffs is concerned. The Minister, in his famous supplementary Budget speech, just after the outbreak of war, said that he was going to take steps to ensure that wages would be stabilised, and that the cost of foodstuffs would not rise. The Government certainly took steps to ensure that wages did not increase. Their famous Order No. 83 prevented workers from getting a wage which would enable them to cope with the increased cost of living.

It is true that after a period had elapsed the Government brought in Orders 166 and 260, which enabled representations to be made by trade unions to tribunals in order to secure the cost-of-living bonus for their members. It was only after the cost of living had increased 77 points that trade unions were permitted, through the medium of tribunals, to try to secure a bonus for their members. I submit to the Minister that the poor suffered considerable hardship during that period. Cost of living had increased 70 per cent., and I think it would be right to say, taking the average wage increase, that it would be less than 20 per cent. During the last Great. War the cost of living in Britain increased by 120 per cent. During the present war the cost of living there has increased very little over 20 per cent.

Notwithstanding the fact that the British Government are subsidising the cost of foodstuffs, to enable poor people to live properly, no ceiling has been placed on an increase in wages. British workers have been able to get increases in wagesad lib. Take the position of civil servants, Guards and teachers in Éire; steps were taken by the Government to stabilise the cost-of-living figure and, in consequence, these people have suffered from such action. Even now, I submit that the Minister should reconsider the whole position in connection with Emergency Powers Order No. 83 stabilising the salaries of civil servants, Guards and people of that class.

The unemployment situation has not been as bad as it was in other years, but that is due to circumstances over which we have no control. It is due to the demands that Great Britain has made for workers to go over to work there. During the course of the recent election, advertisements, appeared on behalf of the Government Party indicating what it was proposed to do in the post-war period. One of the schemes mentioned was the widening of roads. I cannot understand why it is necessary for the Government to postpone a scheme of that kind until the end of the war. I do not see any reason why that work could not be taken in hands now. There are large numbers of unemployed in this State and, in addition, I do not think we could be doing anything better than bringing back people who were forced to go to Great Britain when they could not get employment here. I am afraid that when this war ends great numbers of our people will be given permanent employment in Great Britain. I do not think that would be good for this country. We should be in a position to bring back all our citizens. I refer especially to men who have been separated from their wives and families, who I am satisfied would prefer to be in this country if work was offered them. I suggest to the Minister that any schemes in the post-war programme that could be undertaken should be put in hands now, so that those who are employed in Great Britain could return. Ireland can ill-afford to have its population further depleted.

I know that it is hard to keep industry going during the past few years, but if the Government have any schemes in view, such as the widening of roads, there is no necessity why they should be delayed until the end of the war. The amount of material required would be infinitesimal and there are sufficient implements available for the work.

From what I hear the Government have started a sort of economy campaign in so far as the payment of unemployment benefit assistance is concerned. I am familiar with one particular employment exchange and there has been what the officials, I suppose, would describe as a "tightening up" of the process in the payment of unemployment assistance. I heard of cases of men in Wexford whose qualification certificates have been withdrawn because it was alleged they earned £39 inside the period of a year. I do not think it was intended by the Dáil when that legislation was passed that payment of £39 inside a year would disqualify persons receiving unemployment assistance benefit.

That does not concern this Bill.

Mr. Corish

I understood we were dealing with finance.

That is administration alone.

Mr. Corish

If the Chair will allow me I could explain the position I am referring to. We know that economies are initiated in the Department of Finance and, with the permission of the Chair, I should like to develop that point. When the Act was going through this House when £39 yearly was mentioned, it was taken as referring to a case where the amount a man was getting per week over a period of a year would amount to £39.

That is a question of administration with which I have nothing to do.

Mr. Corish

Then I shall deal with it on the Vote for the Department of Industry and Commerce. I urge the Minister to look into the question of the stabilising of the bonus, especially in the case of lower paid civil servants, such as postmen, technical school teachers, national teachers and people who have suffered immense hardship. I say that an unfair advantage was taken of that class by the Minister, and that he should take the first opportunity to do justice to them. The Minister's action was certainly not in keeping with the promises of his Party in 1932 and 1933, when they were seeking office. At that time Deputy de Valera made a definite pronouncement regarding the attitude of the Fianna Fáil Party, at least as far as lower paid civil servants were concerned.

I am afraid the debate we have listened to on the Finance Bill which, I may take it, is a debate on the Budget for the year, can be characterised as not a very enlightening one or as one that would add much to the credit or the eloquence of the Dáil. With the exception of one or two speeches—and I listened to them all—I think the House had very little to keep it awake. I like to listen carefully to all that is said whenever I am in charge of a debate, a Bill or anything else. Frequently I learn something, often I am interested, even when I am criticised, as unfortunately is sometimes the case—I think very unjustly. I like to hear what Deputies have to say, even when criticisms are harsh and unjust. If speakers are sincere and in earnest, an impression is made on a Minister; it is certainly made by such speakers when they speak here in the way I suggest, and something may result from suggestions from those who speak in that fashion. There were only two speeches—with all respect to all the other speakers whom I heard—that for earnestness and value were worth listening to and those were the speeches of Deputy Dillon and Deputy Corry.

Those were the ones the Minister did not hear.

I heard both of them. Deputy Davin did not hear them, I am sorry to say. It might have done him a lot of good if he had heard Deputy Corry.

The Minister said he did not hear two of them.

Deputy Hughes made a speech which I have heard over and over again. There was not a new sentence in it, though he may have put some of the sentences the other way round.

Recitations are interesting, occasionally.

Not to me. As the first and, I presume, the principal speaker on behalf of his Party, it would make me feel that some serious attention was being paid to the Bill if Deputy Hughes had made a speech worthy of the occasion. His speech was not as worthy as I would have liked to hear from his side of the House. It may be that he was called on at short notice or something of that kind and perhaps that was not his fault. However, that was the impression his speech left on me. Deputy Dillon made an eloquent and earnest speech. The House has heard him many times on the same subject and I do not think anybody would regard anything he said as being new. He preached the same economic gospel as he has preached here and outside every time he has spoken on economics—that this country should be the fruitful mother of flocks and herds for Great Britain and should be, as others have described it: "John Bull's cabbage garden". He is still the apostle of free trade, the apostle of an economic policy that was in operation here for a great many years and which we then had no power to change. At least in the last decades before this State was set up, that policy did not mean prosperity for this country and, particularly, for the Irish farmer. As Deputy Corry very properly pointed out, in the excellent speech that he made on economics and agriculture, that is the policy which left the Irish farmer on his beam ends, for some decades before this State was set up.

With that knowledge and with that memory, I do not think the Irish farmer is likely to go back to that policy, which did not mean prosperity for him even for some time after this State was set up. Several opportunities have been given to the farmers, since the present Government came into office in 1932, to change that policy. I need not tell this House how many general elections there have been. That was a subject of complaint by Deputies on all sides of the House.

Mr. Corish

The national pastime.

Perhaps—and, I hope, a profitable one as well.

Not too much so, for those who were in them.

The whole community has had many opportunities— and "many" is not a wrong word there, in view of the number of general elections which have taken place—of forcing a change in our economic policy. Several speakers here to-day have reminded the House of the fact that the great majority of the people derive their living from agriculture. Therefore, agricultural people and agricultural votes dictate our policy; in all Parties, they elect the majority of Deputies, and, therefore, it is the farming community—those who are indirectly as well as directly making a living out of agriculture—who dictate policy here. If the policy which Fianna Fáil inaugurated in 1932 and 1933, and which it has operated ever since were hurtful to Irish agriculture or the Irish farmer, the farmer has had full opportunity to change it, even in the last few weeks.

Deputies of all sides have put that policy, sometimes in great detail, before their constituents. Fianna Fáil has done it, back benchers and front benchers have done it all over the country, before we came in and after we came in. Those on the Opposition benches, those in the Labour Party, and the gentlemen calling themselves the Farmers' Party, Clann na Talmnan, have done the same. They have tried to induce the farmer to change over to what they regard as a more suitable policy for the country and for agriculture. The farmer has refused—that is the truth of it—and has elected the Fianna Fáil Party in as great a majority as ever any Party in parliament was ever elected. Certainly, under the system of proportional representation, no Party has ever been given a greater majority than the people of this State have given to the Fianna Fáil Party.

Why does the Minister wish to abolish it, then?

I have not said anything about the abolition of it. Does the Deputy suggest it should be abolished?

The Taoiseach has said so.

No; he has not.

He never said so.

He has raised the question, he has analysed it and discussed it, which was a very proper thing to do. It is in the Constitution. The country has given a clear verdict on economics, as well as on other matters. Deputy Dillon tried to get away from that by saying that it was on high politics—on neutrality—that the people gave their verdict in this election. The people considered all these matters. The policy of the Government impinges on everybody in some way or another. Somebody is hurt or helped by one action of the Government, and somebody else by some other action or by some section of the Government's policy, but nobody would believe that the people, before giving their verdict in the general election, thought of only one aspect of the Government policy. They thought of and discussed every aspect of it.

Those people of whom Deputy Costello spoke, who were badly hit, and those of the same class, mentioned by Deputy Corish, whose wages or bonus was stabilised, thought of themselves, perhaps, for the most part. I had that brought forcibly to my notice by people whose bonus was stabilised. They made it clear to me that, in my constituency, they were not going to give a vote to the Minister for Finance. When they brought that very forcibly before me, I told them they were the best judges and that, as far as I was concerned, I had stated my policy and would abide by it. The point I want to make is, by what aspect of Government, policy is every section of the community affected most? Some, rising above personal considerations, I am sure—even amongst those who were hardest hit by Government policy —said: "Well, even though I may be hard hit and I have lost so much per week or per year as a result of the stabilisation of the bonus or of wages, the country comes first." Some did say that to me and I honoured them for placing love of country above love of self. I move the adjournment of the debate.

Debate adjourned.