That a supplementary sum not exceeding £136,310 be granted to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending 31st March, 1945, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Office of the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs (45 & 46 Vict., c. 74; 8 Edw. 7, c. 48; 1 & 2 Geo. 5, c. 26; the Telegraph Acts, 1863 to 1928; No. 14 of 1940 (Secs. 30 and 31); No. 14 of 1942 (Sec. 23); etc.), and of certain other Services administered by that Office.
The Estimate for the Department of Posts and Telegraphs already approved by the Dáil for the financial year ending 31st March, 1945, amounted to £2,928,345. Due to causes which could not have been anticipated, this provision will be insufficient and an additional sum of£136,310 will be required to cover essential expenditure up to the end of the financial year. The actual excess over the approved Estimate amounts to £159,980, but there are offsets of £22,794, representing increased Appropriations-in-Aid, and of £876, a saving in respect of conveyance of mails by air, leaving the net excess at £136,310.
Increased cost-of-living and emergency bonus under sub-heads A (2), A (3), 1 (1), N (1) and O (1), payable as from 1st January, 1945, accounts for £55,855 of the additional sum required. The causes of the other increases are broadly as follows:—
Sub-heads A (2) and A (3): £29,580. This represents the cost of additional staff to meet general expansion of business arising from emergency conditions, including revision of sub-postmasters' remuneration for increased work, etc.; unanticipated expenses of general election and distribution of ration books.
Sub-heads E (1) and E (2): £9,530. The extra money is required to meet the cost of increased parcel traffic by rail, increased cost of conveyance of mails by road and the cost of special journeys to railway stations owing to the irregular running of trains.
Sub-head G (2): £9,000. The additional provision needed is due to credit from other Government Departments for goods supplied being less than anticipated in the financial year owing to difficulty in obtaining raw materials and consequent delay in placing contracts.
Sub-head I (1): £9,045. This is due to the curtailment of telephone construction work, the cost of which falls on telephone capital, in favour of maintenance and renewal works, which are provided for under the Vote. The restriction of construction work has been rendered necessary by the scarcity of engineering materials.
Sub-head N (1): £15,950. This is due to higher cost-of-living bonus and to an unanticipated increase in the number of retirements.
Sub-heads O (1), O (4) and O (6): £14,020. The increased provision is to meet growth of savings bank business, cost of a savings publicity campaign and unanticipated losses due to savings bank defalcations, etc.
Sub-head Q (2): £17,000. This is due to provision for payment in the United States of outstanding accounts for radio equipment supplied for the civil aviation and meteorological wireless services.
As stated at the outset, the Appropriations-in-Aid are expected to be £22,794 greater than anticipated, which is attributable mainly to increased receipts from savings bank funds. I might add that, perhaps, we might do as we did on the last occasion when a Supplementary Estimate was introduced—we might postpone anything in the nature of serious criticism of the Department until the main Estimate is introduced.