When the House adjourned on the last day, I was speaking on this amendment. The case that had been made on the amendment by the Minister was that, first of all, it is not so significant so far as the amount it brings in is concerned. The Minister told us the amendment would mean a loss to the State of about £120,000 in the year. It is quite clear how to make up one-third of that on other measures introduced to-day if they were sent back, so that the loss would be reduced to £50,000 or £60,000.
Particular attention was directed to excess corporation profits tax, which amounted to very many millions, as confessed in the accounts presented. Those who were liable for that tax were allowed to pocket a certain amount of the money which they made by charging extra prices. In addition, there was the question of evasion. There was a considerable amount, but whatever it was, it was last year handed back to those who previously had paid it. I have even introduced for comparison here the tale of the five drapers in the City of Dublin, some of whom had losses and some gains, but balancing all out, the five had between £5,000 and £6,000 profit for a particular year. Four years later, after payment of tax, it was discovered that they had accumulated £82,000 profits. That was after paying tax—after paying some of the heavier taxes imposed. They have been enabled to make all that out of the pockets of the public and the Minister last year gave them a present of whatever these firms were paying in excess corporation profits tax.
In opposition to that we have put a deserving class of people who had been induced to get a stake in the country. The most valuable stake is to have a place in which they can live and bring up families—a house that will be the centre of their family life. We ask for the remission of this tax which was introduced simply because it was one more method of bringing in a little more money. I pointed out the last day—and I fancied the figures would be questioned—that previously, before a tax of this type was paid on house property, there had been a statutory allowance for repairs amounting to one-sixth. Since Fianna Fáil came to control matters, that allowance was removed and people were made pay income-tax, not alone on the poor law valuation of the premises but on that valuation increased by one fourth.
The difference between the amount which a person pays now as opposed to what he used to pay when he got the benefit of the one-sixth for repairs, and paid only on the valuation, less that, is 50 per cent. up and my calculation on that—and I do not think it can be gainsaid—is that instead of at the 6/6 rate, people are actually being asked to pay at the rate of 9/9 on house property. That is very near the British rate and that is something scandalous. Whatever might be said for this in the days when other people were being made pay income-tax, surtax, corporation profits tax and excess corporation profits tax, nothing can be said for it now, when the Government can treat so well people who are better able to bear the burden of taxation.