Finance (No. 2) Bill, 1947—Second Stage.

Mar is eól do Theachtai, sé is cúis leis an mBille seo ná éifeacht na Rún Airgeadais do bhuanú go ceann na bliana. Mura mbeadh an Bille seo ní bheadh d'éifeacht ag na Rúin Airgeadais acht éifeacht ceithre mhí d'réir téarmai an Achta um Bhailiú Sealadach Cánach. Leis sin úsáidtear Bille Airgeadais chun rudai eile a bhaineann leis an gcóras airgeadais do cheartú nó leasú, acht maidir leis an mBille atá againn iniú is beag rud atá ann seachas a raibh ins na Rúin Airgeadais mar chífear ar ball agus mé ag déanamh mion-léiriú ar an mBille.

As Deputies know, the purpose of a Finance Bill is to confirm and give continuing effect to the Budget Resolutions which would otherwise lapse after a period of four months in accordance with the terms of the Provisional Collection of Taxes Act, 1927. Occasion is also taken in a Finance Bill to embody any other outstanding matters connected with the financing of the year or incidental to or consequential on the Resolutions. So far as the present Bill is concerned there is very little in it that was not contained in the Resolutions or foreshadowed in my Budget speech, as will appear when I go through the Bill section by section, which I now propose to do.

PART I.—INCOME-TAX AND SURTAX.

Section 1, which corresponds to Financial Resolution No. 1, provides that income-tax deductions in respect of the period from 6th April, 1948, to the date of the 1948 Budget will be made at the rate of 7s. 0d. in the £. The section does not fix the rate of income-tax for the next financial year but simply indicates in advance that the rate of 7s. 0d. will be imposed by the 1948 Finance Act.

Section 2, which corresponds to Financial Resolution No. 2, provides for a new scale of rates of surtax for the year 1946-47, that is, in respect of the surtax payable on 1st January, 1948.

The existing margin of £1,500 has not been altered, but the tax payable on the excess over that amount is increased in each range of income. In the highest range of income (i.e., over £20,000) the combined rate of income-tax and surtax amounts to 15s. in the £ for the current year and 15s. 6d. in the £ for next year.

PART II.—CUSTOMS AND EXCISE.

Section 3, which corresponds to Financial Resolution No. 3, provides for an increase in the customs duty on toilet preparations to double the former rates. Duty is now chargeable at whichever of the following rates produces the greater amount of duty: 100 per cent. ad valorem or 10s. the pound or £5 the gallon (as the case may be). Cosmetics are chargeable under this heading.

Section 4 corresponds to Financial Resolution No. 4 and provides for doubling the customs duty on fur clothing. The full rate is now 75 per cent. ad valorem and the preferential rate 50 per cent.

Section 5, which corresponds to Financial Resolution No. 5, provides for an increase in the full rates of customs duty on wines to double the former rates. The preferential rates are also doubled. The ratio of the preferential rates to the full rates varies from 50 per cent. to 70 per cent.

Section 6, which corresponds to Financial Resolution No. 6, provides for an increase in the rates of customs and excise duties on spirits. The duty on home-made spirits is now £6 17s. per proof gallon, an increase of £2 2s. on the duty imposed in 1946. The customs duties are similarly increased.

Section 7, which corresponds to Financial Resolution No. 7, provides for increases in the rates of customs and excise duties on tobacco, the basic increase being 6/8 per lb.

Section 8, which corresponds to Financial Resolution No. 8, raises the entertainments duty at present in force on cinematographic and other forms of entertainments by approximately 100 per cent. The new scales do not come into force until 16th January next owing to the necessity for printing new stamps and tickets.

Sections 9 and 10, which correspond to Financial Resolutions Nos. 9 and 10, provide for increases in the customs and excise duties on beer. The increase in home manufactured beer and the effective increase in ordinary imported beers is £4 19s. 0d. per standard barrel of 36 gallons. The sections also provide for a corresponding change in the drawback rate.

Section 11: This section, in addition to confirming the new rates of motor vehicle duties mentioned in Resolution No. 12, provides that the increased rates shall not apply to small public service vehicles and certain other types of vehicle, e.g., travelling creamery, mobile crane, etc.

Section 12: This section extends to mechanically-propelled vehicles used solely for transporting equipment of any kind for saving life at sea the exemption from road tax already enjoyed by vehicles used solely for hauling lifeboats and their gear. As a corollary it is provided that a vehicle not usedsolely for these purposes will not become liable to a higher rate of duty merely by reason of such user. Thus, an agricultural tractor taxed at £6 per annum will not become liable to a tax of £21 per annum merely because it is used at times to haul life-saving equipment of the coast life-saving service.

PART III—STAMP DUTIES.

Section 13 provides for an increase in the stamp duty chargeable on conveyances and transfers of lands, tenements and hereditaments where the conveyance is executed on or after 1st December, 1947. The existing rate of £1 per cent. is increased gradually to £5 per cent. according as the consideration rises from £500 to £950. The rate of £5 per cent. applies where the consideration exceeds £950.

The special rate of duty—10/- per cent. applicable to conveyances where the consideration does not exceed £500 is being maintained. The increased duty will not apply to conveyances from local authorities to tenant purchasers or to conveyances from public utility societies to their members. Neither will it apply to voluntary dispositions in favour of lineal descendants nor to certain cases where the contract for sale was completed before the 29th October, 1947.

If the person becoming entitled to the property is not an Irish citizen or does not come within certain other categories set out in sub-section (4) the rate of duty will be £25 per cent. and, in order to discourage evasion, such a person will be liable to payment of a sum equivalent to twice the amount of the duty chargeable on the conveyance if he fails to have it stamped at this higher rate.

PART IV—GENERAL.

Section 14. This section provides that the increase in the moneys accruing in the current financial year from motor vehicle duties as a result of the increase in rate (and estimated at £200,000) shall be diverted from the Road Fund to the Exchequer.

Section 15 is the usual care and management section and Section 16 the usual section relating to the Short Title and construction of the Bill.

I move that the Bill be now read a Second Time.

Mr. Morrissey

We are opposing this Finance Bill, which embodies the Budget, and we are opposing it, frankly, because it is a sham and a humbug. It is pretended that this Budget was brought in for the purpose of reducing the cost of living. As is known to every person, this Budget increases the actual cost of living. It is specifically designed to reduce the cost-of-living index figure. I had expected that the Minister, instead of moving the Second Stage of the Finance Bill, would, in view of the events which have taken place since the Budget Resolutions were before us, have announced to the House that he was withdrawing this Budget. It has been repudiated in the most emphatic way by the people outside. If the Minister had any doubt in his mind when he framed and when he introduced his Budget Resolutions early last week as to what the general public thought, he, certainly, cannot be in any doubt now. I want to assert that, if the Government, with their present majority, persist, against the expressed wishes of every Party in this House, in going ahead with these heavy additional taxes, they will not only be flouting a big section of the Dáil but flouting what they are so fond of prating about at other times —the will of the people, as ascertained last week.

I repeat that this Budget is a humbug. It is pretended that it will reduce the cost of living. Every sane person knows that it will increase the cost of living and of no section of the community more heavily than those least able to bear that increase. On two items only, there is provision for additional taxation amounting almost to £3,000,000. I refer to tobacco and beer. I am not thinking about champagne or other wines or whiskey. In respect of tobacco and beer, additional taxation to the amount of £3,000,000 will be levied. We have now reached such a position with taxation that the most inferior tobacco on sale costs no less than 2/- per ounce. The Minister has not even attempted to make a case for this tax. When the Budget was introduced, he did not attempt to make such a case. When the Budget Resolutions came up on Report, he refused to make such a case. To-day, he contents himself with reading out short extracts to explain what each section of the Bill means. This Budget is a humbug in many ways but the greatest piece of humbug in it is, probably, the stamp duty. The Minister, in the most muddled explanation I ever listened to from anybody, on the Report Stage of these Resolutions, tried to tell the House that the effect of increasing the stamp duty on our own nationals from 1 per cent. to 5 per cent. would be to reduce the price of houses. He has no doubt whatever in his mind, he says, that that stamp duty will not affect the purchaser but will, in every case, be paid by the vendor. I am talking for the moment about the 5 per cent. It is the greatest nonsense I ever heard.

It is not what I said. I never, at any time, made any claim that the stamp duty would reduce the price of houses.

Mr. Morrissey

This 5 per cent. is a revenue tax pure and simple. Is that not so?

Go ahead with your speech but quote me correctly.

Mr. Morrissey

I am glad to hear the Minister disclaim his belief that it will reduce the price of houses. Therefore, it is a revenue tax pure and simple. When we want to collect more revenue on what do we choose to put the additional tax? On the commodity which is in shortest supply— the most essential, perhaps, commodity in this country to-day—houses. Mark you this. The person that this is going to hit hardest is the person who has to buy the cheapest house on the market to-day because whatever chance there is of the vendor of the very expensive type of house or property having to pay a portion or a proportion of the additional stamp duty, there is such a shortage and such a tremendous demand for the cheaper type of house to-day that in every case, I assert, it means the purchaser will be paying anything from an additional £100 upwards. The Minister talks about a gradual increase from 1 per cent. to 5 per cent. Where is it raised— between £500 and £1,000? What can you buy in the shape of property or houses in this country to-day for £500 or £1,000? What it means is that the purchaser of a three or four-bedroomed house, which is the cheapest type of house on the market at the moment and on which, prior to the imposition of this Budget, he paid stamp duty of £20—if this House passes this Finance Bill and this particular section—will now pay £100. Apparently, I am sure it was my own fault, I was unable to make this particular point sufficiently clear to the Minister on the last occasion. Let me take quite a common case. A man is anxious to get a home. He is pinching and scraping to get together the few hundred pounds to form the deposit for the purchase of the house and to borrow from the building society the maximum amount that he can get from it.

In that man's case, every £5 note counts. He finds himself in the position that he can buy a house to-day for £2,000 with £20 stamp duty while if he buys it to-morrow and if the sale is not closed before the 1st December he will pay £100 stamp duty. What does that mean? It will mean that in order to pay that additional £80 many of those men will have to go on saving for six or maybe 12 months to put that additional £80 together and it will also mean that for those additional six or 12 months they will be without a home. Let the House be under no illusion whatever. I assert as definitely as I can that, particularly in regard to the cheaper type of house if you can use the word to-day in relation to any type of house, in every case this additional duty will be paid by the person who is purchasing the house.

I would like to say just one or two things about this invasion and this 25 per cent. tax. I am not opposing it although I think it is stupid. It is the wrong way of going about the matter. It will not achieve its object. There is another and effective way in which it could be done. I would say, first, that this question of the invasion has been grossly exaggerated—grossly—and I say that with knowledge. I am not saying it did not take place. What I want to say, first, is that it has been grossly exaggerated—grossly exaggerated by some people for business reasons, by some people because they think it is news to put a streamer headline on a newspaper if they think some Indian Prince will buy it, and by other people for political reasons. However, what is going to be the effect of this duty? I should say this, which should not be overlooked, and I say it with a certain amount of knowledge, that quite a considerable number of the so-called invaders, of those who came across from the other side and bought either house property or land in this country in the last two years were Irish people coming back from England and various parts of Britain.

Including the Duke of Westminster.

Mr. Morrissey

The Deputy knows that that is one of those meaningless, cheap gibes that means nothing. I am telling Deputy Davin and he knows it, that a considerable number of the people who came over here, and were classed with the Duke of Westminster, were our own Irish people who had spent the last 10, 20, 30 or 40 years in England and elsewhere. I know what I am talking about. I do not say that that is the end of the story. I do not say that there is not a necessity for putting some check on it, but if there is to be a check, let us have an effective one. The only effect this will have is that it is going to get property in this country for foreigners at the same rate as they got it before this imposition, and that the stamp duty in the case of larger sums of money, say, £20,000 to £40,000, will be paid not by the invader but by the Irish owner of that property. Do not forget that. As I say, this is not going to have the effect the Minister pretends he wants it to have. I do not want to cover or go over all the ground again we covered on the Resolutions, but all this additional taxation of £5,000,000 is being put on, we are told, for the purpose of reducing the cost of living. That has been worked out and the so-called relief will amount to about 1d. per head per day. I venture to say that there is not an average person or an average family in this country that will not lose heavily on this Budget. The Minister tells us that we should smoke less, that we should drink less and that we should go to the pictures less often or not go at all. As I said on a former occasion we are a normal, average, plain people and we like to have an occasional drink and we like to have a smoke and we like occasionally to go to the pictures. Is there any reason on this earth why we should not enjoy these things? Is that just another of the fruits of Fianna Fáil's 15 years' administration?

There is only one way in which to reduce the cost of living—one effective way—and that is to reduce the crushing burden of taxation which is being piled on locally and nationally by the present Fianna Fáil Government. Again I assert to this House that it is costing between £80,000,000 and £85,000,000 in national and local taxation to run this country of less than 3,000,000 people. No Minister will convince me that there is no room inside these immense figures for a very substantial saving. This year we had a few fancy items in the Budget. Might I remind the House that in the principal Budget this year we had one item of £2,000,000. For what? To reconstruct Dublin Castle so that we would be able to accommodate there 4,000 civil servants instead of the 1,000 e have there at the present time. Have we nothing better to do with that £2,000,000 worth of material and labour both of which are in short supply? Could it not be more usefully spent on building houses for the people? We are going to spend £30,000 on the house in the Park to make it more luxurious. I do not want to go through all these items but if we have to make a choice in this country of putting 2/- an ounce on tobacco for the old age pensioner and the blind pensioner and spending £2,000,000 on Dublin Castle and £30,000 on Arus an Uachtaráin I think we can all pretty well realise just where we stand.

There is £60,000 for renovation.

Mr. Morrissey

I know, but they are only going to spend part of it this year. There may be some people in this House who believe that this Budget is going to reduce the cost of living. I am satisfied that it is going to represent a substantial increase in the cost of running the average home in this country. I am quite satisfied on that. I have spoken to all classes of people throughout the country since this Budget was introduced, including people who neither smoke nor drink, and I have not heard one word said in favour of this Budget.

Any Minister who hopes to convince anybody in this House that you can reduce the cost of living by increasing taxation to the extent of an additional £5,000,000 is living in a fool's paradise. The Taoiseach, the Minister for Finance, the Minister for Industry and Commerce, the Minister for Agriculture and some of our higher civil servants have spent quite a deal of time over the last two months in London discussing trade agreements and the exchange of goods between England and this country. The only hope of any favourable exchange is by having increased production here and a greater output. The Taoiseach has told us that himself. He has said unequivocally that all we want is greater production and an increased output. Can anybody with one grain of common sense suggest that it is possible to increase production by increasing the already existing crushing burden of taxation laid upon the entire country? The greatest incentive that can be given to production in agriculture or in industry is to reduce taxation. Every time taxation is increased production machinery slows down. The colossal sum collected in customs duties is a direct taxation on the people and has a more deterrent effect on production in this country than any other single item. In the last analysis, is it not a fact that the biggest single factor and the most significant one is that this country, both nationally and locally, is grossly overtaxed?

Like Deputy Morrissey, I am surprised that the Minister for Finance and the Government should proceed in pushing this Supplementary Budget through the House in view of the recent decision of the people. The Minister knows better than anybody else that the people's vote in the recent three by-elections were cast on the basis of this wholly bad Budget. Some people may suggest that the Locke Distillery case may have influenced the people in making their decision. It had nothing whatever to do with it. It was due solely to the Budget. The Minister, if he is as candid on this occasion as he has been on so many occasions in the past, will tell the House what he heard from the people during his own tour of the country and will admit that.

The Taoiseach and the Minister for Finance introduced this Supplementary Budget. The Taoiseach, in his opening speech, gave the impression that immediately he sat down the cost of living would automatically go back by 13 points to the figure at which it was supposedly to have stood in mid-May last. Everybody knows that the cost of certain essential materials has increased since the introduction of this Supplementary Budget, quite apart from the increased prices charged for certain essential commodities arising out of the introduction of this Budget.

I would ask the Minister if he is not aware and if his advisers have not informed him that following on the increased duty on tobacco and beer there is likely to be a considerable reduction in consumption, irrespective of whether they are essential commodities or otherwise. Those people engaged in the selling of tobacco or beer will tell you that consumption has gone down considerably. If that is even partially true the Minister is not going to get the estimated revenue under this Supplementary Budget. The Taoiseach told the House—and it was not merely the House but also the workers of this country—that this Budget was really introduced for the purpose of preventing further inflationary tendencies. He told them that if this policy of allowing wages to race after prices were allowed to go on we were running headlong towards a crisis. He gave the people the impression that the real cause of inflation is the attempt on the part of the wage earners to get some compensation for the increased cost of living. But that is not the whole story with regard to inflation. There are other and much more dangerous inflationary factors which are not dealt with under this Budget at all. Perhaps they are dealt with to some slight extent.

We had a statement in the House of Commons yesterday from the British Chancellor of the Exchequer—the new-found friend of the Minister for Finance—that during the last 12 months there has been a transfer of £10,000,000 to this country by the people who left the country in 1922, in 1932 and in 1939 because they disagreed with the policy of the particular Government of the time for one, two or three different reasons. Some of them, even though Irish-born, went to their spiritual home when we got some limited measure of freedom in 1922. Another batch left our shores in 1932 because they disagreed with the newlyelected Government—the Government which is still in office and which is responsible for this Supplementary Budget. In 1939 a still bigger number left the country because they disagreed with the policy of the people on the question of neutrality. Deputy Morrissey says that this thing is exaggerated. I am reliably informed when I say that during the first nine months of this year, apart altogether from last year, almost 600 furniture vans and containers were brought into this country at the North Wall by one cross-channel shipping company. It is not the contents of the furniture vans but the contents of the pockets of the people who own them that is one of the principal causes of inflation here. Contrary to the expressed land division policy of the Government, these people have been allowed to come in here and to purchase land, houses, food and every other commodity against our own people who have no money or very little money. They have been allowed thus to increase the cost of living and the cost of houses and land and every commodity that money can buy. I have been challenging the attitude and policy of the Government for the last three or four years in the matter of the suspension of land division.

That is administration, Deputy.

It is associated very definitely, if you will allow me, with the tax of 25 per cent. contained in this Supplementary Budget. If you will allow me to develop the point, I will not detain you very long. The Minister for Lands has told us that the Government—and it is the Government that is responsible for this Budget— could not see their way to resume land division activities unless and until the price of land was pushed back, as far as it possibly could be pushed back, to its pre-war value. How can it be pushed back to its pre-war value if non-nationals are allowed to come in here in large numbers with millions in their pockets and to compete for land against nationals and thus put up the price of land—which is supposed to be quite contrary to the Land Commission policy in relation to the acquisition and division of land?

This case cannot be exaggerated. The 25 per cent. tax provided in the Supplementary Budget may go some way to curb the activities of these people but I do not think it goes far enough. If the Government desire to resume the acquisition and division of land for the benefit of nationals, further and more effective steps will have to be taken. It is a very serious matter and has a great deal to do with the inflationary tendencies that prevail. It has much more to do with it than has the matter of increased wages.

As far as I can see, what is wanted in this country is that money should be rationed amongst the poorer sections of the community. Half a million people are forced to live on low State incomes: old age pensions, widows' and orphans' pensions, national health insurance benefit, unemployment assistance, and unemployment insurance benefit. Nearly 500,000 people are obliged to exist on the amount of food these low incomes can purchase. As to the position in Great Britain, while there is a shortage of essential commodies there, everybody has a minimum ration. Everybody has not got that here. I do not say that we should copy everything that is being done across the Channel but the surest way to implement the rights of the citizens under the Constitution, namely, the right to food, clothing and shelter is, if you cannot give them food at a price which they can afford to pay, to ration money in order to enable them to get the wherewithal to keep body and soul together.

We have had, and will have for some time, people paid by the Government to operate a means test, to prevent people in receipt of low State incomes from getting this miserable maximum allowance laid down by regulation. I have come across some scandalous cases of that kind in recent times. From what I know of the Minister, personally, I would not like to say that he would stand for it. Take the case where a 5/- pension of a widow in a rural area was reduced to 3/- because charitable neighbours are prepared to give here a couple of shillings per week for doing a simple job. I have come across a case recently where the 5/- was reduced to 3/- and where the person concerned has to pay a rent of 3/- per week. Yet we are called Christians and this is supposed to be a Christian country and it is a workers' Government that is responsible for this kind of thing. The Government will answer for a lot of this in the coming months or whenever they face the people again and, unless this Supplementary Budget is withdrawn or altered to suit the requirements of a nation with a peasant population, this is the writing on the wall. I hope that the Minister and his Government do not imagine that this 25 per cent. tax on non-nationals who purchase land, houses and everything else in this country will stop that form of inflation.

We have wages chasing prices. Wages is always the trouble and when the workers, as a last resort—and it is always a last resort as far as my experience goes—strike in order to enforce their rights they get new names from some of the people who sit on the Government Front Bench.

Housing also is a very serious matter at the moment, and I am inclined to think that the Government have been doing very little to enable local authorities to commence housing operations where local authorities have schemes ready to put into operation. I am talking about housing for the poorer classes.

Is not that administration, Deputy?

It is administration when you have money to administer it.

It is administration.

The Minister, in this Budget, is not raising money for that purpose. I have a case in mind.

I am not prepared to hear the case. That is administration and it may not be discussed on a Budget.

Administration, as you know better than anybody else, is very definitely related to Government policy.

And may not be discussed on a Budget. The Deputy knows that.

If you cannot discuss it on a Budget, you cannot discuss it at all. I understood that a General Resolution and a Budget, supplementary or otherwise, was the one occasion on which you could discuss every aspect of Government policy.

That is quite true. Administration is discussed on the Estimates, as the Deputy surely knows.

If we wait until we get a suitable opportunity, the number of people looking for houses will have increased and the racketeers who are trying to get what they like for themselves in the shape of prices for building materials will carry on because there is no attempt to stop them in this Supplementary Budget. I want to know from the Minister for Finance, when he is replying, what his own experience is or whether he asserts—if so, let him produce evidence to prove it—that the cost of living has actually dropped 13 points since the introduction of this Budget, or what is the new wages policy of the Government if they have any policy in connection with wages and prices.

I have said before—I do not think I said it here—that the majority of the workers of the country, even those who were forced to live on low wages in preemergency days, would far prefer to go back to the pre-war standard of living and wages rather than tolerate the present impossible state of affairs. The purchasing power of the £ to-day for the wife of the average wage earner is far less than is indicated by the index number which is supposed to expose the real cost of living. That is only a paper figure. When the wife of the wage earner goes to the local shop for essential commodities she finds the price of those commodities far removed from the figure taken in estimating this miraculous cost of living number that is prepared and published by the Government.

Can we have any assurance from the Minister that something effective will be done in the immediate future to bring the cost of clothing down to a reasonable figure and to cut out the excessive profits that undoubtedly were received during the whole of the emergency by those engaged on the retail side of the drapery trade? I have seen evidence myself where such retailers have been allowed to get away with a 100 per cent. profit. If the Minister is really anxious to get proof of that he should instruct his inspectors, and get more inspectors if necessary, to check up on the prices charged by the clothing manufacturers and the prices charged to the ordinary members of the community by retail drapers. Where did the money come from that the Government collected in excess profits? No one knows that better than the Minister for Finance. I throw out a friendly challenge to him to give detailed particulars as to the sections of the community from whom he collected nearly £50,000,000 during the six year period of the emergency. The Government dropped the excess profits tax, and now they come along with this Supplementary Budget putting up the price of beer and tobacco on the poorer sections of the community.

I have worked nearly all my life at the Port of Dublin where about 12,000 dockers of every kind are employed. The Minister would not parade along the North Wall and receive any cheers from the dockers of Dublin after he had introduced this Budget. The pint of beer or the pint of stout is an essential food for the average worker in the country, whether he is employed at the Port of Dublin or at any other port or in rural areas.

In Dublin the average wage earner lives a distance of five or six miles from the port. He is away from his home from 7 o'clock in the morning until 7 o'clock at night. In the case of the majority of them the only food they have during that period is a sandwich and a bottle of stout or a pint of beer. They did not say any prayers for the Minister when they read his speech introducing this Supplementary Budget.

I think that this money could have been found in some other way, for example from the gentlemen, and they must be gentlemen, who have more than doubled our bank deposits since the commencement of the emergency over six years ago. Bank deposits to-day are two and a half times higher than the figure at which they stood in September, 1939. Why does not the Minister collect some part of the £5,000,000 that he is seeking under this Finance Bill from the working class people from those other people who have increased our bank deposits by two and a half times as compared to the pre-war figure? The Minister must not have reliable information in connection with the position of our banks because otherwise he would not have supported the bank directors in the recent dispute against the bank officials.

That has nothing to do with this Bill.

It is a fair representation of the attitude of the Government towards the average wage-earner of the country. That attitude is fairly well represented in this Budget because about three-quarters of the £5,000,000 which is to be raised under this Supplementary Budget is to come out of the pockets of the average wageearners and workers of the country. They are going to have their wages pegged down to the figure at which they stood on the 15th October, according to the Taoiseach's speech.

I have a fairly good knowledge of what is going on in my own area. It was not necessary for me to make any detailed inquiries about it, and I can say this that there are workers in my constituency who did not receive as much as one penny of an increase in their wages from their employers since the commencement of the emergency. That applies to certain people who try to cover themselves up by giving a subscription to the St. Vincent de Paul Society and to other charitable organisations and getting their names published.

There is nothing about subscriptions in this Bill.

It would be far better if they would pay their workers a decent living wage instead of advertising themselves by giving subscriptions to these charitable organisations. I know workers who received an increase of only 5/- on their pre-war wage of £2 10s. But while that is so, the Minister and his Government saw fit to increase Ministerial salaries and the salaries of highly-paid State officials by not less than 25 per cent. and by 30 per cent. in some cases. This Budget was not born in the mind of any man who can prove that he is a member of a workers' Government. I am amazed that, after the three to one vote that was given against the Government in the recent by-elections, the Minister should persist in pushing this Supplementary Budget through the House.

We are familiar with the statement that you cannot fool all the people all the time. The Minister, in this Budget, has been attempting to fool the great bulk of the people, down at least to the time of the recent by-elections. The result of those struck back like a boomerang. I do not think that the bulk of the people minded so much being made fools of as being ridiculed. Did the Government think that the people would be fooled by the camouflage the Minister tried to put over on them in this Budget? The ordinary citizen resents ridicule of that kind. I think every citizen realises that, instead of affording any relief whatever to the ordinary family, this Budget will mean an imposition on it. With Deputy Davin, I do not believe that this Budget is going to mean a 10 per cent. or indeed any other percentage reduction in the actual cost of living for the average family in the country.

I want to refer in particular to the increases in the tax on tobacco and beer. Deputy Morrissey said that the average person in this State was opposed to this Bill. Even non-drinkers are opposed to it. I speak as a non-drinker and, I think, for the majority of non-drinkers or temperance people. I think that a good many temperance people are not at all temperate in the opinions which they express. Speaking for non-drinkers, I am of the opinion that we can describe the increased tax on beer as an iniquitous tax.

Some days ago I challenged the Minister to define the difference between a luxury and a necessity. He did not do so. A pint of beer or a pint of stout is a necessity for the ordinary working man whether he is employed at any of our ports or engaged on hard work elsewhere. The meagre ounce of common tobacco is a necessity for the majority of our workers. Most of them have been smoking for the last 40 or 50 years. They commenced to smoke when tobacco was very cheap, so that now a smoke is a necessity for the great bulk of our people. Of course, the Minister has said that if a man does not smoke or drink he will not have to pay any of this tax and need not feel the effects of it. He might have gone further and said that if they live on bread and water they can easily manage on their present income, and that the cost of living will not matter much to them.

There are a good many families at the bread-and-water point now. There are a good many poor people in Dublin, Limerick and Cork who are really at the bread-and-water point. Milk in Dublin is in many cases unobtainable. The same applies to Limerick and Cork. Butter is rationed to two or three ounces and, if they are lucky, they will get it. The poor people in some parts of Dublin that I know of who used to live on bread and tea coloured with milk are now practically existing on a bread-and-water ration, because they have very little butter and practically no milk. The Minister said that if people gave up drinking and smoking they could exist. He might have gone further and said that the people could do without the ordinary amenities of life and live on bread and water and they would be all well off. It is an extraordinary statement for a responsible Minister to make, that if people could give up what have become necessities for the majority of the people, they would be better off.

If there was nothing else in this Budget but these taxes on beer and tobacco I would vote against it. I think it is an imposition on the majority of the people. I can only describe it as an iniquitous camouflage; an attempt to bamboozle a certain section of the people into believing that these taxes will benefit them by reducing the cost of living. During the election I quoted an incident that happened to myself and I think it describes the situation fairly well. I happened to visit a certain house some months ago where there were three children ranging from two to four years of age. As many a man does when he visits a house, I gave the eldest child a shilling. But the daddy took the shilling from him and gave each of the children three pennies. The children forgot all about me and were all over the daddy, they were so delighted at the economic revolution which gave them big money for little money. That is the sort of thing that the Minister is trying to put over on the people of the country. The Government have been trying to do it for 15 years, but the boomerang has come back with a bound.

Bad as are the taxes on beer and tobacco, the last section, Section 13, caps all. Some people have to do without their bottle of stout and their smoke, but what about the young people who are hoping to get married? The tax on the sale of a house is not alone a tax on savings, but to a certain extent a tax on borrowing. Many a young couple have been saving up for years to buy a house; the girl tries to save as well as the man. Very few houses can be bought at present under £2,000. The Minister said that this tax will not be payable on a £500 house. As I interjected when Deputy Morrissey was speaking, you could not buy any house for £500 except a doll's house or dog's house. Any kind of a decent house will run into £2,000. The tax on the sale of a £2,000 house will be £100. The Minister suggested the last day— he tried to run away from it to-day— that a person buying a house who had to pay £80 extra in tax would pay £80 less for the house. The Minister is trying to insult the intelligence of Deputies when he makes a statement like that. The Minister cannot go back on it because I took it down when he was speaking. He said that the man who was buying a £2,000 house and who had to pay 5 per cent. stamp duty instead of 1 per cent., or £80 more, would pay £80 less for the house. The Minister forgets that there is such a thing as competition, that if there is a house for sale at the moment there are probably 20 people trying to buy it, and most of them are not perturbed about the extra £80. On the other hand, many people trying to buy a £2,000 house have not got the money. They have to go to a bank or to some building society to borrow half of it or more than half. Very few young couples who are getting married have got the full price of the house and they have to borrow the money. The Minister is taxing these people, not alone on any savings they may have but on the money they are borrowing, by putting an extra 4 per cent. tax on the transfer.

This Budget will put a great many people on the bread-and-water line. They will have to deny themselves some things that cannot be really classed as luxuries, such as a pint of stout for the working man or a smoke for the ordinary person. Smoking has become a necessity for many people, even for a great many women.

I believe that some of them could not give up smoking now. It has become such a habit with them that it is almost a necessity. The Minister H.M. tells all these people that if they do not smoke or drink they will not be paying anything extra in taxation. He tells the people who want to buy a house that if he puts an £80 tax on the sale of a house they need not pay it; that all they have to do is to pay £80 less for the house. One might preach that sort of economics on the roadside on a wet day when the people's attention was diverted. It is a sort of economics that you cannot put over on people who have come at last to realise that they have been fooled long enough and are determined that they will not be fooled any longer.

I take it that the only excuse given for introducing this Supplementary Budget was that it was necessary in order to reduce the cost of living. Our cost of living has gone up nominally by 82 per cent., but, in fact, by about 120 per cent. on the 1938 figures. The reduction proposed by the Government in the cost of living will enable a person to save less than 1d. per day. But, if that person smokes or drinks or goes to the pictures, then the cost of living of that person is increased. No reduction in the cost of living of less than 30 per cent. would have the slightest value, having regard to present conditions. We allowed our cost of living to rise, in reality, by approximately 120 per cent. since the war began. Wages and salaries on the average rose by 40 to 50 per cent. and 60 per cent. in some cases. At all times, our cost-of-living figure was allowed to soar above the rate of the increase in wages. We are living next door to a country which is competing for labour. In Britain the cost of living has gone up by only 31 per cent. since the war began. Wages, on the other hand, have gone up by 67 per cent. In other words, in Britain at all times the increase in wages and salaries was twice the increase in the cost of living. That is the fundamental cause of emigration. The fundamental cause of emigration here is that we allowed a position to develop whereby the wageearners, the small farmers, the agricultural labourers, were unable to earn an economic living in this country, whereas they were able to go across to England to earn an economic living there which enabled them to send money home. Therefore, if we really want to stop emigration, we must reduce the cost of living to at least the level which prevails in the neighbouring island.

Any reduction in the cost of living of one penny per day is childishly futile, stupid, nonsensical and a waste of money on the administration of the new taxes. In any case, this Budget is introduced on the basis that smoking, going to the pictures once a week, or taking a pint is a luxury. We are living in the twentieth century. People do go to the pictures. Every section of the community is entitled to go to the pictures and to enjoy themselves. Every section of the community is entitled to smoke and is entitled to have an odd pint, and to some, as Deputy Davin and the last speaker said, the pint is no luxury, to the working man, the farm labourer in the country or the docker in the city. A pint is part of his regular diet and yet that is one of the things being taxed.

We have heard about the hair-shirt policy, about tightening our belts and generally about undergoing a period of austerity. Yes, that might be necessary; but, if it is necessary, what justification is there for the Ministers of this Government to increase their salaries by £10 a week and what justification is there for members of this House to increase their salaries by 120 per cent. since the war began? Is that the example which any Government or any Parliament should give to its nation in a time of crisis? I would suggest that, before introducing a Budget of this kind, the Government should come to this House and say: "We are returning to the Exchequer the £10 a week we gave ourselves three months ago." If the Government did that, if the Government tightened their own belts and if this House tightened its own belt, the people would possibly understand the introduction of a Budget of this kind. Otherwise, the people will naturally look upon advice concerning austerity and the tightening of belts as being sheer hypocrisy.

There are other methods of raising taxation. One of the reasons for the increased cost of living, certainly in our cities, is the influx of tourists, of foreigners, who, quite naturally, come in here because they can buy more food and various luxury articles. Why not tax the tourist traffic? Why not have a purchase tax on luxury articles? Why not tax the exports taken away by these tourists? I suggest that if a purchase tax were put on luxury articles, it would yield a return more than enough to meet adequate food subsidies.

The question of the influx of persons from England to purchase property here was brought up by one of the Deputies who suggested that it was exaggerated or did not exist. I think the House saw the statement in to-day's paper that at least £10,000,000 had been sent over here from England in the past year and the House will also have read Sergeant A.M. Sullivan's letter which appeared in one Irish paper some time ago and which indicated that the people coming over here with money to purchase property were of an undesirable type. That such a traffic exists and that such a traffic must be fairly considerable is evidenced by the fact that at least one firm of auctioneers puts advertisements in our daily newspapers and in English newspapers, giving the address of its London office—a firm of auctioneers, one of whose leading members is not very far removed from the Government Benches. What about increasing the taxation on the profits from these sales ?

An tabhairt seo gan aimhreas, is déirc dá chuid fhéin don amadán é, nuair a thug an t-Aire beagán beag allúntais ar an mbeagán beag tae agus ar an siúcre atá na daoine dhá fháil, agus dhá bhaint uatha ar a laghad faoi dhó ar an méid tobac atá siad a cheannacht gan caint ar bith ar dhuine ar bith atá ag ól pionta; go mór mhór na sean phinsinéirí nach bhfuil tada acu faoi láthair os cionn a sláinte. Cuid aca seo a shiúlanns cúig nó sé de mhílte ag tógáil an phinsin, an bhfhuil blas ar bith sóláis le fáil acu ach an píopa tobac a chaitheann siad? Nach é oineach Ui Bhriain agus a dhá shúil ina dhiaidh atá an t-Aire seo ag tabhairt dóibh? Iarraim ar a laghad an cháin atá sé a chur ar an tobac a bhaint den tobac a fhághas na sean-phinsinéirí. Ní mórán a chosnódh sé ar an Stáit agus tá mé cinte nach bhfhuil teachta ar bith sa teach seo a bheadh ina dhiaidh orthu.

I should like to express agreement with most of what has been said by the last speaker. I think this is the craziest Budget that has ever been introduced in this or any country. Here we have a proposal to reduce the cost of living, to assist the ordinary worker to survive through difficult times. Yet the net result of that proposal is to increase the cost of living for practically every household in this State. The Minister and other Ministers have said that we could avoid the new taxes by giving up the various luxuries that have been taxed. Can a man who has been smoking for 40 or 50 years give up smoking? Can a man who has been accustomed to a pint or a bottle of stout, now and then, reasonably be expected to renounce that small pleasure? Can we bring about some system by which we can avoid the sale or purchase of land or of houses? If a person wants a house to live in, can that person obtain a house without purchasing it? Surely the Minister insults the intelligence of the people of the country when he suggests that we can avoid purchasing the things that are now taxed?

No really serious attempt has yet been made, and no serious attempt is made in this Budget, to bring down the cost of living. We know that much more far-reaching measures have been adopted in Great Britain ever since the onset of the emergency and that these measures have kept the cost of living considerably below what it is in this country. Here everything that could, and did, tend to raise the cost of living has been allowed to go unchecked. The influx of what I would not call normal tourists but emergency tourists, has been encouraged and promoted. The normal tourist trade is a good trade for any country, particularly for a small nation such as ours with an exportable surplus of food in normal times, but the type of emergency tourist trade created during the war and that has continued up to the present is no benefit whatever because the things we are exporting through that tourist trade are commodities which are in short supply. Tourists are being fed on bacon, butter, bread and many other essentials which are rationed and of which there are not sufficient supplies in this country to meet our own needs. In addition to that, excessive prices are being paid for those commodities by these tourists. That is causing inflation and is forcing up the cost of living. In the same way, we have permitted racketeering to be carried on in connection with our fuel supplies. I think nothing has contributed more to an increase in the cost of living than the profiteering which has been permitted in the distribution and transport of fuel.

I think the Minister should give serious attention to the decision which was registered by the people in the past week. After all, the people are well qualified to decide what is right and what is wrong. They have expressed an opinion on this Budget in a very emphatic manner and I think that opinion should be respectfully accepted by the Minister. It is necessary, of course, to subsidise food but we ought to devise more equitable methods of providing the necessary money. We could have provided the money necessary by a little economy in our various public services. We have failed to do that and the alternative, therefore, was to impose taxes which do not press so heavily on the poor. At least 70 or 80 per cent. of the money raised for the purpose of subsidising food under this Budget is being taken from the ordinary working people in the form of taxation on beer and tobacco. It has been already pointed out that we allowed excess profits to escape absolutely from taxation. We handed back to the people who have been making excess profits enormous sums which accrued to them during the past two years. I think that that handing back of money to those people and the consequent imposition of a severe burden upon the ordinary working people cannot by any stretch of the imagination be justified. There is no evidence whatever that the people who have been making excess profits have returned these profits to industry or utilised them for the expansion of their industries. Do we not all know perfectly well that the greatest profits made during the emergency period were made out of smart deals in commodities in short supply and smart deals in real estate? Those excessive profits have been simply handed over to the smart people who made them. We can rest assured that not 5 per cent. of the money extracted by these profiteers will be utilised for either the extension or development of industry with a view to increasing production.

Nothing is more urgently needed at the present time, particularly in view of the agreement negotiated with the British Government, than a vast expansion in agricultural production. How is that expansion to be brought about or is there anything in the Budget to provide for it? There is a small subsidy on fertilisers which will have the effect only of preventing these fertilisers from costing more than they did last year. Would it not be desirable to consider ways and means of bringing down the cost of fertilisers and encouraging the utilisation of much more phosphates and lime than have been put into the land for a long period ?

Surely whatever supplies of phosphates can be obtained from any source or whatever supplies of lime can be produced in this country should be applied to the land right now. So far as I can see, nothing worth-while is being done. A farmer whose land is poor is usually a poor farmer. That creates a vicious circle. No indication was given by the Minister either when introducing the Budget or at any time that any step would be taken to increase the equipment of agriculture.

Nothing is more urgently needed at the present time than increased capitalisation in agriculture. More money must be put into fertilisers, lime, farm buildings and good-quality seeds. These are essentials if we are to bring about that progress in agricultural production that is so urgently needed. But there is no trace of any awareness on the part of the Government of those urgent needs. We have sent across our representatives to try to recapture the market that we thanked Divine Providence was gone and gone for ever some years ago. We have made provision for the utilisation of those "damn ships" that the Minister was so joyful had been sunk. We are trying now to build up some kind of a foreign trade, an exchange of our surplus for the things we so urgently need. But we are in the unhappy position that we have not a surplus of anything, with the exception of live stock.

Real attention to the poorer land, to the land that is impoverished, to the land that has been drained of its fertility during the emergency, to the land which forms a great portion of our national assets would tend, in the course of a year or two, to increase our supply of food for home use and a surplus for exchange, but no attempt is being made to assist those who own the poorer land and who are trying to work it. They are simply to be bludgeoned and coerced. In many cases farmers are compelled to grow wheat, notwithstanding that that compulsion results in putting good seed suitable for milling into the land and reaping no return. Is not that sheer waste, sheer folly? Is it not time there was a more realistic approach to the problem of expanding production ?

We have permitted into this country millions of pounds' worth of unnecessary goods from the dollar area and other parts of the world. We see the big warehouses in the cities and towns packed with the products of North and South America and elsewhere. What useful purpose has been served by permitting such an enormous quantity of goods into the country, goods which, I believe, could be done without? There has been altogether too large an import of commodities from the dollar areas.

I believe our Ministers have been lacking in their duty. They have failed ignominiously to realise that our best trade is an exchange trade with Great Britain. It is only now, two years after the cessation of hostilities, that they are beginning to wake up. There is a national appeal to all sections of the community to tighten their belts and to refrain from demanding higher remuneration. A Standstill Order is to be imposed, either by agreement or by compulsion, upon all workers. Why was it not imposed before the legislation was introduced which increased the salaries of the higher-paid people in this State? Surely, if there is to be a tightening of the belt, it should begin with those who have the widest belts. Surely, the tightening should not begin with unfortunate people who are struggling to make a living upon the land or with the manual workers in the towns and cities.

All our Government has to say in support of this Budget is: "Let the worker make sacrifices on behalf of his wife and family; let him give up his smoking or his pint or bottle of stout." Should not there be some equitable distribution of the sacrifice? Should we not ask those who squander large sums on luxuries, those with high incomes derived mainly from an exploitation of the emergency situation, to make some sacrifice? The first call should be to those people to tighten their belts and give up some of their ill-gotten gains to enable the poorer sections of the community to survive.

The poor man's smoke is not a luxury. It has gone long past the stage when anybody can describe the tobacco smoked by the working man after a heavy day's work or during his lunch interval as a luxury. The time ought to be past when we can regard stout or beer, taken in moderation, as a luxury. I think the time ought to be past when we can regard an occasional visit to the pictures as a luxury. Take the unfortunate people living in crowded slums. What break have they from conditions of squalor? Once a week they may visit the local cinema.

There is also this aspect. For the very poor in the cold winter months the cinema possesses this attraction. It is heated and they can visit it at a reasonable price. Surely, the poor struggling people are entitled to that small amenity. During the emergency they cannot afford to heat their homes as they should be heated. They cannot afford fuel in the winter sufficient to enable them to enjoy the necessary warmth. They obtain that small comfort—it is not a luxury—in the local cinema, and yet the Government seek to deprive them of that.

We talk about the flight from the land. In every town and village cinemas have been erected. The Government are forcing those small cinemas to close down. I think that will be one of the results of the increase in the cinema tax. It will compel the people in those areas to turn their eyes towards the larger towns and the cities if they want to enjoy any little amenity such as a cinema. Everything is being done to make rural life more drab and dreary, to deprive the worker in the rural area of the small so-called luxuries to which he has become accustomed.

This unnecessary impost upon these people could have been avoided if there were a Minister in control of the Department of Finance who had some vision, some imagination, some ordinary common sense. Surely he could have envisaged a means of financing these various small subsidies without putting a crushing burden upon the poor and upon the workers? It must inevitably make this country poorer by depressing production, which depends upon and demands the wholehearted effort of the lowly-paid manual worker whether he is a small farmer working on the land or a manual worker in a factory or on the bog. Our wealth inevitably depends on the amount of energy and effort he puts into his job. If we cause widespread discontent amongst those vital workers, we are only driving down the whole standard of living by putting down the standard of national output. We ought to realise that this is a vital matter, that you cannot go on crushing the most deserving and most useful section of the community without creating or adding to the general poverty of the entire community. No more butter will be produced for home use or for export, no more wheat or other cereals will be produced from the land, no more turf will be produced from the bogs, unless the workers engaged on those lines of production are given the necessary incentive and encouragement to work. You can do as they do in Russia—you can drive workers with a machine-gun; but I do not think that even our crazy Minister for Finance would attempt such a policy at the present time.

The only alternative is to encourage production by incentive and inducement and that is what the Government is absolutely failing to do. They have turned their backs upon the policy of incentive, of giving a reasonable inducement to producers, and have adopted a policy of imposing hardship on those people.

Perhaps it is all a mistake on the part of the Government regarding the psychology of our people. Perhaps they were considering how well Mr. Churchill succeeded with his policy of "blood and tears and toil and sweat" when Britain was in a grave emergency. Perhaps the Minister for Finance fancies himself as a sort of imitation Winston Churchill and thought that, if he made an appeal and offered the people "blood and tears and toil and sweat", they would rise up and say he was a magnificent national leader. I do not think the Minister has calculated wisely. "Blood and tears and toil and sweat" may be very good when a nation is faced with imminent invasion; but when you seek to impose a policy of that kind upon one section of the community two years after the cessation of hostilities and allow another section to grow fat and rich, it will not impress anybody. The sooner the Minister realises that the people have spoken sensibly and emphatically in regard to this Budget, the sooner we will get down to a more sensible policy for the financing of this State and the development of both agriculture and industry.

This Supplementary Budget was introduced under the plea that it was to decrease inflation. Most Deputies cannot see how it will do that. In fact, it probably will have quite the opposite effect. Some of the previous speakers have referred in detail to the increased cost of the various items and the effect it will have, but I want rather to look on the Budget as a whole and address my remarks to that side of the question. This is a Supplementary Budget—and supplementaries are pretty rare, thank goodness—but there is another aspect that makes it rather peculiar. In addition to the introductory speech from the Minister in the ordinary way, the Taoiseach gave us a special speech on one aspect of the question. He said that, in so far as increases in wages were occurring, it was having its effect on the cost of items. Of course, that cannot be denied, but I am wondering why we had a speech from the Taoiseach as part of this Budget and if we are going to hear any more of that during the passage of the Bill. I would ask the Minister, when he is replying, to let us hear when we will have a further instalment of the speech that was used in introducing this Budget.

It is an aspect which has raised a number of issues. I think the economist would tell us that some of the ways to avoid inflation are balancing a Budget, decreasing taxation or increasing production. Instead of this Budget decreasing taxation, it increases it. Various speakers have told us that, on balance, there is no average family in the country which will not be hit by the effects of this Budget. The utmost that was claimed for it was that it would transfer some of the burdens from the backs of one section of the community to those of another. It is really doubtful that the section of the community that would bear the brunt of these taxes is not the section of the community it was intended to relieve. There is another matter to which I want to refer—increased production. I am afraid that this Government are very remiss in their long-range policy. They seem to wait until something happens. Then, they think of what is the easiest and quickest way of dealing with it and pass on to the next matter. Why I refer to increased production is that we have rather a peculiar situation here. It is, I think, quite different from that which prevails across the water. We have a surplus of unskilled labour and a shortage of skilled labour. I should like to make a suggestion to the Taoiseach, because he is, I think, the person who made the portion of the Budget speech to which my remarks would more properly apply. The unemployed, unskilled workers have constituted a problem for many years with us.

Shortage of skilled labour is really only a problem of the past few years. The skilled trades have organisations which extend across the water and they bring before their members shortages which occur in particular districts. A bigger percentage of skilled labour than of unskilled labour has, I think, been taken from us. The skilled workers are very hesitant about coming back to this country. They are in a position to pick and choose. People looking for skilled labour across the water have often put advertisements in papers over there for the class of labour which they were seeking. They would get replies somewhat like this: "Dear Sir, I wish to offer my services and wish to know particulars of the post." There follow some details which would not interest Deputies as to the age and qualifications of the applicant. Then, he comes down to rates of pay, which is very natural, and goes on to ask what the prospect of getting accommodation here is and also if income-tax will be deducted from his pay. I merely mention that to show that some of the people on the other side are in a position to pick and choose and that they will not come back to this country until they feel that conditions here are comparable with those on the other side.

That brings me to another aspect of the matter—the production of skilled workers at a greater rate. If we have to export workers, or if they have to leave the country, we are, I think, all agreed that it is better they should leave as skilled rather than as unskilled workers. Before the war, when times were bad, there was, I think, in most cases agreement as to the rates of entry into the skilled trades. The skilled trades fought very hard to keep those rates at a level which they considered would be just sufficient to supply the wastage. Now, we are in a position in which the sky is the limit so far as skilled workers are concerned. That is one of the ways, we are told, in which the effects of inflation could be reduced, and yet, it seems to me that, over a series of years, the Government have done nothing along those lines except hold up their hands in horror at the difficulties in embarking on certain enterprises. They have shown no eagerness to embark on a long-range policy which would do service both to their countrymen and to the country.

Ag éisteacht leis an díospóireacht seo dhom, tháinic cúpla smaoineamh isteach i mo cheann. Listening in particular to Deputy Cogan and his complaint about going into the dollar pool to get imports I cannot reconcile that fact with his complaint about the price of the cinemas. Since the war the local cinema has grown up and has smashed and bankrupted the travelling companies and left them on the unemployed list. They have smashed the local dramatic societies and drama festivals which were an asset to rural life. Then he complained about imports from North America and South America and chided the Minister about his shipments. One of our biggest imports are films from Hollywood and one of the biggest losses to this country is the constant and increased import of films. It is money going with no return. The travelling companies of native Irish men and women who are a credit to the country and who have their origins in the Abbey Theatre have been smashed in the last two or three years by the mushroom growth of the local cinema. We hear complaints of the cost of beer and tobacco and the cinema. One Deputy, in comparing the cost of living in Great Britain and Ireland, included in the cost of living in Ireland the cost of beer, tobacco and the cinema but excluded them in the case of Britain. I challenged that. It is a fact that the cinema, even with this new tax, is far dearer in Great Britain and will continue to be dearer. Beer and tobacco are also dearer. We have heard a Miserere sung on the Budget last week and this week but the country was never more prosperous.

Deputies

Oh.

Let me speak and you can contradict me later. There is the question of labour. If you want men for any particular job—in the Midlands at least—every second man has a lorry and is engaged in turf or timber work. They all have money to burn.

What about the labour exchanges?

What about the labour exchanges? There were never less in the labour exchanges.

That is what theIrish Press says.

Then we have a mean complaint—a statement from a Deputy about a firm of auctioneers who advertise in the English papers that they have farms and estates for sale. It is a well-known fact that the leading auctioneers in this city have offices in England and use every paper from theYorkshire Post to the London Times to advertise estates. I know local auctioneers who are not in a very big way in my place who sold farms to English people because they advertised in the English papers. But one particular firm has been singled out as a black sheep, as the only firm to have carried out this practice in recent years.

With regard to the beer, I am in the licensed trade and make my living by it. It is a fact that within the past year we were without beer two days a week. Because the people have money to burn, the consumption of beer has gone up all over the country. On Mondays and Tuesdays during the summer, publicans in rural areas and in Dublin were without beer and they were weeks without whiskey. The pound note and the five-pound note were produced by Irish nationals to give them beer or whiskey or the dearest drinks. We have heard a lot about hardships but I can tell you this, that on Christmas Eve every publican's shelves will be bare. Everything Guinness and Jameson can turn out will be drunk. We cannot conscientiously talk about imports and go on with the advocacy that allows that sort of thing to exist. This Budget is a blessing in the ordinary home where there is a large family, seven or eight kids, as the price of the loaf and of tea has decreased.

Of course Deputy Kennedy is all right. He is a publican and he is a member of the Dáil, but if he goes down to the ordinary publican in rural Ireland who is not a member of the Dáil, he will find the shop empty. At the moment there is a lot of unemployment in bottling factories owing to the Supplementary Budget. We must face facts. There are unemployed people looking for work in every constituency. The people of the West of Ireland have got a privilege over other constituencies in that they are let go to Britain. In my own constituency in County Wexford, people are coming to me every day—and I have letters here in my pocket—as they are coming to every Deputy to try to get them a passport. They have the offer of work in England and will not be let go.

The Government talked last week and to-day about Locke's Distillery and all the rest, and about Dr. Ward, but what good does that do the ordinary people who are clamouring for a living in this country, and for the work they were promised?

The Supplementary Budget was the downfall of the Minister and the Taoiseach. They thought they were hoodwinking the people by reducing the price of tea—a rationed commodity— and by reducing the price of sugar—a rationed commodity—and of flour, and at the same time asking the workers to pay 2/- for an ounce of tobacco. They give the old age pensioners 15/- a week and take 4/- back for two ounces of tobacco. Is that the great Supplementary Budget that Deputy Kennedy and the other Fianna Fáil members are trying to defend? Of course until the general election there will be window-dressing by the Government about the talks in England. They have come back, but when the Taoiseach was asked here to-day in this House what he had got, he said that he could not tell it at the moment. That is the sort of humbug and nonsense that goes on in the Dáil day in day out, while nothing is done for the country.

People are clamouring for houses round the City of Dublin but private individuals are getting priority over local authorities to build houses. No county board of health in the country has the materials to build cottages in rural Ireland. It is true that foreigners are coming in here to buy up houses. I know of a lady who bought a mansion for herself and her daughter for £12,000. One of them keeps a hunter and the other keeps a greyhound, while the farmers are tilling the land by conacre. She has got a permit and every tree on Borrmount estate, County Wexford, has been sawn down and brought to the Phoenix Park. That lady and her daughter are a great asset to this country! There are plenty of such people coming into the country, while a few years ago, the man who is letting them in was putting them out with a revolver and burning down their mansions. Look at the Bishops' pastorals about emigration—it is the slow bleeding to death of our nation.

I have a cutting here which says that we have neither butter nor bacon in rural Ireland. However, on the 10th August, 1946, 300 tons of bacon left the City of Dublin although the poor people in rural Ireland cannot get a rasher for their breakfast. Two thousand three houndred and forty tons of gift meat went out of this country in 15 months to the people on the other side. That concession was stopped because, I believe, the Jewish people were sending it to their friends in London. It was not all going to the Irish emigrants on the far side.

Since the Supplementary Budget was introduced candles and soap have gone up in price. Yet you have the cheek to tell us that the cost of living has gone down. There is no woman down the country or no farm labourer or road worker with 50/- a week to-day who can go into any public house, as Deputy Kennedy said. He said that all the beer and whiskey will be sold. Who drank all the beer and whiskey in the City of Dublin? A quarter of a million people were in this city during Horse Show week. Americans, Poles and people of other nationalities were in this city drinking the beer and whiskey. The working class people in this country did not drink it.

At the present time they are hard set to keep body and soul together. The Fianna Fáil members are trying to defend the Government's policy. From the results of the three by-elections it can be seen that the people do not approve of it. Is that not the writing on the wall? Is it not time for the Government to sit up and take notice? Is it not time for the Government to realise that something is wrong and that they are not going to humbug the people all the time? Of course, they have done it for the past 15 years. In the 1944 Election the slogan was "Vote Fianna Fáil or you will be in the war." They had not that slogan last week.

The poor people are not considered in this Budget. It is all very well for those who have money. The Minister and every member of this House are all right. We are paying no income-tax. Why should that be? As one Deputy said, we should tighten our belts. As far as I can see very few members of this House are tightening their belts. They have made life very happy for themselves since they came in here. I say to the Minister: "Withdraw your Supplementary Budget."

In my town the owner of the picture-house told me that he would have to close it when the new tax comes on because he would only be keeping it open for the Government. Things are different in the rural towns compared with the City of Dublin, where the money of the country comes in. Deputy Allen is sitting over there and he knows that down the country the man with 50/- and less a week cannot even go to the pictures or buy a "pint". Consider the case of the old age pensioner. Consider the widows. Consider the people on home assistance. I wonder if Deputy Kennedy thinks that they will be able to buy beer or whiskey at Christmas out of the miserable 6/- or 8/- which is handed out to them under the voucher system. The Government should abolish that system and initiate a proper system so as to put these people on a decent level. We have money for aerodromes. We have £4,000,000 to buy aeroplanes. However, we have to come in here to get the taxes from the poor people throughout the country. Horse racing is exempt. The dance hall is exempt. The lounge bars which are the ruination of this country are exempt. They should be taxed. They should not be allowed to carry on, because they are ruining the cities and all the country places.

The Government have forgotten the plain people. The Government should remember that when they first came into power it was not the capitalists of Ireland who voted for them. The plain people voted for them in the hope that something would be done for them. But the Government has forgotten, and until the Taoiseach, who is head of this State, remembers his promises, the people will not be satisfied. He made promises to everyone at every crossroads and in towns and cities that he would provide work for all. I heard it said that they would put the man who would not work in jail. The position to-day is that we have thousands of unemployed. The demobilised members of the defence forces are clamouring to get out of the country. There are only two places for them— the British coal mines or agriculture. They must come up to Dublin and go before an inspector and be examined before they will be released for work in the coal mines. On the other hand, foreigners who, incidentally, have been the cause of a lot of the talk which has been going on here for some time past, can walk around the City of Dublin without a passport. I say to the Minister and to the Government: Provide the work you promised us. We were promised post-war planning, drainage, housing, road-making. What is the position to-day? There is no work but everybody is bamboozled by all this talk about Locke's Distillery. The country is waiting for the Government to do something for the people who are in need of work. The provision of work for the people is the problem to which the Government should devote their energies.

Deputy Kennedy spoke about costs in England. I would say to him that wages in England are a lot higher than they are in Ireland. Do we all not know that the people who go away can send home £3 a week, and in some cases more, to keep their wives and families in this country while they can keep themselves beyond also? How many people in rural Ireland on 50/- a week can get an ounce of tobacco or a "pint" to-night? The people down the country know that they are finished. We meet those people in shops. We meet the men on the roads, and we know what they are saying. The very words they use are: "What are you doing in the Dáil? Why do you not kick the Government out?" Even the old people say that. We will not have to kick them out. It is the people outside this House who will do that, and if the Government does not take notice quickly there will be damn few Fianna Fáil members sitting on the Opposition Benches. The writing is on the wall because the Government forgot the plain people. The Government have become capitalists. They are allowing foreigners to come in here and buy up property. People who are running away from taxation in England come over here to eat the food that should be left for the Irish people. In rural Ireland you cannot get a pound of butter. Why? Because the luxury hotels are getting it all. Their friends are bringing it to them.

There is not enough milk. I was told recently that the farmers are threatening to strike and will refuse to produce milk. Deputy Corry told me that a short time ago. He also said there is going to be a beet strike.

The cost of living is going up all round us. What action is the Government taking? Have they taken any effective action to keep prices down? We are told that commissions are going to be set up. The setting up of commissions is just another piece of window-dressing to keep the people a little longer in suspense. We have not been told anything about the new trade agreements with Britain. Reading the Press one appreciates that we have at least one trade with Britain at the moment. All our best eggs are being sent over there while the people at home are paying 5/- a dozen for eggs which are not of the best grade. Is that a practical policy to give Britain our best eggs at a cheap price while asking our people at home to pay 5/- for inferior eggs? Can this be taken as a sample of the agreements we are going to have in the future?

What is the price of beef to-day? Every day one sees reports that prices are down in the cattle markets, but there is no reduction when a consumer goes into the local butcher to buy beef or mutton. There is no attempt at any kind of control. The motto seems to be "Fleece away".

Some months ago we were told in this House that the reason why timber could not be imported in any larger quantities was because there was no space available. But there is, as Deputy Cogan pointed out, plenty of space available to bring commodities we do not want from North Africa and elsewhere. The ordinary people are sick and tired of all the muddle.

If the Government cannot provide work in this country for its people, then throw all the ports open to them and let them go to Britain. To-day they are being driven across the border into the British Air Force. I speak for the workers. I know what the ordinary working people in this country are suffering. I know what the poor and the aged are suffering under this Supplementary Budget.

I know publicans in the country who are standing behind empty counters to-day because the ordinary working man can no longer afford 81/2d. a bottle for stout and 1/- for a pint. No man in rural Ireland could afford to drink at that price. The agricultural rate of wages is fixed at 50/- a week. Some of the Government members must know what the position really is. Some of them go down to the country now and again. Their recent reception at some of the meetings should have taught them a much-needed and long-deserved lesson. Is the Government going to permit a situation to continue where our own people are driven from their country to seek work elsewhere while undesirable foreigners crowd in here?

Deputy Kennedy referred to the cinemas. Who runs the cinemas in this country? They are run by those people whom the Government is backing up to the hilt—namely, the Jews. They are the people who control the cinema industry in this country. The Government will not interfere with them. Why? Because you will always find the Jew where the money is. Look at the big firms in this city. Are they controlled by Irishmen? Recently I was speaking to a man from Youghal and he told me that a Jew had set up in business in County Cork and he put over his door the name "Michael Collins". He was engaged in the radio business. Some of the Cork Deputies in this House must be aware of that. Why should the control of our biggest and best businesses be in the hands of Jews?

The name of the Jew in Cork is "O'Leary"?

I have tried now to put the facts of the present situation before the Minister. I have gone through the mill myself. I am not ashamed to say I signed on at the labour exchange in my time. I drew national health insurance—the greatest scandal over which this Government stands. I know what the working-class people are going through at the present time. The bulk of the members of this House are wellto-do men. Their speeches have of necessity some artificiality in them. But there is no artificiality in my speeches. I know the facts. I live with the poor. The hardest job I have is to approach the home assistance officer in my area on behalf of the destitute poor. There are numbers of people to-day all over the country on the verge of starvation.

One hears talk of the abolition of the Border. Who, in present circumstances, would come into the Twenty-Six Counties? Not one of the ordinary working-class people would come in. They would lose too much. The only people who want to come in here are those people who come in the special trains in July and August to Bray and elsewhere. They are the people with money. They are not the ordinary working-class people.

Everybody is disappointed with this Budget. If there is any pressure being brought to bear upon the Government by the British Government then we should be told about it and the Minister should have sufficient courage to tell the truth. What is the real reason for these increases in the price of tobacco and beer? Are they due to some dictation from the other side?

I cannot understand what Deputy O'Leary really wants to find out now. On the one hand he tells us about the people running over to England for work and, on the other hand, he tells us about the English people running over here from the heavy burden of taxation in England. Apparently it must be worse there than it is here. Deputy O'Leary says they are coming over here to get enough to eat. He then talks about our people being on the verge of starvation. I do not know which of his two yarns is right?

You do not want to know.

Deputy O'Leary says he has come from the workers. Judging by what he has said here to-night he does not want to go back. One cannot blame him at all for that. I also listened to the complaints made by Deputy Dockrell. So far as I can understand the wages paid to the skilled worker here are higher than they are in England. So far as housing facilities are concerned most of them have families and homes here to which they can return. The particular class that I am concerned with must have even more skill than the so-called skilled worker that Deputy Dockrell is talking about. I refer to agricultural workers, whether they are farmers or farm labourers. The Minister is a farmer and he knows how long it takes to train an ordinary young lad to be a skilled agricultural labourer. There can be no progress in this country unless we increase production. I do not know how we can expect increased production when every other class in the community can earn double or treble the amount the agricultural worker gets. That is the problem we have to set ourselves to. I have seen men in my own district who were not considered satisfactory as farm workers and who were able to walk into the city and obtain employment from Deputy Dockrell, or the Deputy Dockrells in Cork, at £5 4s. 0d. a week, as against the 53/- or the 53/6 that the agricultural labourer gets. That is the position we are up against and that is what is killing production in this country. That, and the fact that the prices at which agricultural products are fixed do not allow of a higher wage being paid. If we are to have increased production, we must deal with that problem.

I have heard a great deal of discussion about this Supplementary Budget by people who should know more about facts and conditions. Anybody who has visited a threshing yard this year knows that the wheat crop this year is down at least 50 per cent. Our average last year was eight barrels to the acre. This year it is four, or less than four. There is a gap there to be filled if the people are to get bread for the next 12 months. Last year we got a quota of wheat at about £20 or £24 a ton. According to what I have learnt from the millers, the same wheat this year is costing anything from £33 to £35 a ton, if it can be got. Is that increased cost to go on to the price of the 4 lb. loaf or not? If it is to go on to the price of the 4 lb. loaf, who can buy it? At what wage can they buy it? Let us face this problem as men who live in a country to which, according to Deputy O'Leary, all the fellows in England are coming to buy it in.

They are doing it.

Why are they doing that? They are running away, as Deputy O'Leary says, from taxation in Great Britain. They are coming over here because they can get enough to eat here, which they cannot get in Great Britain. If we have a country to which the Englishman runs in order to escape taxation and in order to get his belly filled, let us appreciate that country.

Our own are starving.

No. Our own need not starve. Let us put our own in the position that they can pay for what they require. Let us do that, and it can be done. Let us make provision for that. There is a gap there. I did not hear Deputy O'Leary or any other Deputy here coming forward to tell us how that gap can be filled.

I thought we were going to be told to-day by the Taoiseach, after his talks in London.

Talks in London and this business here have nothing whatever to do with each other.

This is where he should tell us.

The position is that you have no wheat to get from London; you have no bread to get from London. Your bread will be bought with hard dollars from dollar countries.

We got it during the war.

Deputy O'Leary made an idiot of himself for an hour and a half and that was long enough. If he wants to do the clown let him get up in the yard. He should not do it in this House where we have serious business to discuss.

One clown is enough.

When all this talk is finished, and when I ramble in here about the middle of next March——

Please God.

I will see a completely new set of people on the opposite benches.

You will be looking the other way.

Deputy O'Leary, when I was on the opposite benches, I did my job and I was not too lazy to do it.

Address the Chair, please, Deputy Corry.

I am sorry, a Leas-Chinn Comhairle. If the Leas-Cheann Comhairle does not keep interrupters in order, I will have to answer them. We have to come face to face with the problem that, wherever we find it, bread must be found for the people of this country from now until the next harvest is threshed.

Self-sufficiency, is it not? I think you had two barrels per acre this year.

Deputy Keating is a man for the bullock and for nothing else.

Two barrels to the acre. This country can grow wheat. Go and put it in the bag.

If Deputy Keating would bring in some Keating's powder he might do some good. There would be less hopping around over there than there is now.

Again I must ask the Deputy to address the Chair, not the other Deputies.

I would appeal to the Leas-Cheann Comhairle to stop the boys over there. I did not interrupt anybody who was speaking and I have as much right as they have to speak in this House. For the little time they are going to be there, cannot they keep quiet?

If the Deputy addresses the Chair he will not provoke these interruptions.

While they are here they should try not to leave a bad imimpression.

We will all be here again.

We are keeping the seat warm for you.

The Budget, please, Deputy Corry.

They will be missing when the next Budget is brought in. We must face the situation that I have referred to. I have not heard any Deputy on the opposite benches telling us where we would find the difference between the £20 that was paid for wheat last year and the £33 15s. 0d that will have to be paid for it now. I move the adjournment of the debate.

Debate adjourned.
The Dáil adjourned at 10.30 p.m. until 3 p.m. on Thursday, 6th November, 1947.