Finance (No. 2) Bill, 1947—Committee (Resumed) and Final Stages.

Question again proposed: "That Section 10 stand part of the Bill."

Section 10 deals with the increase in the tax on beer. According to the Budget statement, at the beginning of the year, the Minister for Finance expected to get from the tax on beer £4,819,000. That represented an increase of £1,800,000 over the amount of money obtained through the tax on beer before the war. The present proposal means that on the five months' consumption for this end of the annual period the Minister proposed to raise another £830,000. As has been stated by Deputy O'Higgins last night, and by other speakers when we were dealing with the tax on spirits yesterday evening, this is a tax that hits two classes of people particularly, including the ordinary workers, those people whom Deputy Corry yesterday thought were outside the spirit class and would be unaffected by a tax on spirits. It affects the consumer of beer and stout and the retailers of beer and stout. The position with regard to the country is, where the standard drink is stout, that the pint will now cost 1/1.

Deputy O'Higgins stated yesterday that a man will have to break into the second shilling if he is in the country and takes the standard drink of the country; in order to get one pint of stout he will have to break into the second shilling. The tax there is 6½d. The standard drink in Dublin is porter. You need not break into the second shilling to get a pint of porter. It costs 11d. and the tax is 5¾d.

The point has been made that in the working out of the new taxes a certain amount of discrimination exists between the beer consumer in the country and the beer consumer in Dublin, as the tax operates at the present time. The objection to raising the price of beer and stout has been put in a variety of ways. When the Government came into office they suggested that we should do with very little tea and we could substitute milk and light beer. It is providential for a lot of people that they did not change their taste in accordance with the desire as expressed by the Fianna Fáil Government at that time. If they had to take their beer in the morning and in the evening the cost of living would be raised very considerably.

The Government have indicated in various statements that tobacco was a thing that might be left out of the new cost-of-living figure. I do not know whether porter or stout will be left out of it, too. So far as the general run of workers is concerned, there is a substantial increase in their living costs when such a tax as this is put on a standard article of diet. So great has been the effect on consumption that I have had reports from various parts of the country and they show that there has been a fall of about 40 per cent.; various descriptions have been given of the trade in parts of the country which go to show that the imposition of this tax has been a great shock to consumers.

In 1944 the Minister for Finance, when making his Budget Statement, said that it was only then that the revenue from beer and spirits was recovering from the falling off in the consumption that had taken place when the increased taxation was imposed at the beginning of the war. He says in column 2128 of the report of the 3rd May, 1944:—

"The consumption of the former two items has shown rather marked expansion in the last 12 months, after some hesitancy in some earlier periods when the effect of the heavy increase in taxation was still being felt."

The position of wages generally hardly suggests at the present moment that, this year, or during the year in front of us, the consumption of beer, at any rate, is not going to suffer from the shock which it has just now got. I heard of one case in Cork of a licensed establishment which asked a Dublin establishment if they would take 30 barrels a month from them. Their consumption and sales had gone down so far that they asked a Dublin house to relieve them of the excess barrels to which they were committed. I understand that Guinness have declined to make any transfer of quotas of that kind.

The effect on the consumer is very great, but the effect on the retailers is very, very great too. The Minister indicated that as far as the tax was heavy on the consumer, he might escape it by reducing his consumption, and he is aware that the brewers are able to escape any losses or fall in profits by reducing the specific gravity of beer. The returns of the Revenue Commissioners show that between 1939 and 1946 the average specific gravity of beer has fallen by 13.2 per cent. I think that 1946 was the last figure quoted. I think that as a result of last year's harvest there has been a further reduction in the average specific gravity of beer. The brewers are able to shed their losses in that particular way but the losses which the retailers are likely to face as a result of the tax will be very considerable.

The Minister must be aware that the price paid for such licensed establishments, since the tax was announced, has fallen to a very considerable extent. There has been a substantial capital depreciation in the property held by the owners of licensed premises as a result of this tax.

The Revenue Commissioners invariably challenged the owner of a licensed premises when, in submitting his income-tax accounts, the gross profits were less that 33? per cent. The Revenue Commissioners expect that the average profits will be 33? per cent. This situation has been examined and it has been very clearly indicated from the audited figures that, with the additional tax now in force under Section 10, the gross profits of a licensed establishment are going to be substantially below that percentage.

I think it is generally held, if you take the case of an average licensed house in Dublin or in the country, that two-thirds of the sales are stout and beer. It has been figured out that for bottled Guinness the percentage of gross profit on the turnover pre-war was 42.64 per cent. After the imposition of the present tax, it is calculated that the post-emergency Budget percentage of gross profit on the turnover will only be 36.2. The gross profit on the turnover of draught double-X was pre-war 31.17 per cent. but the post-emergency Budget has reduced it to 23.6 per cent. The gross profit on the turnover in the sale of draught single-X has been reduced from 26.78 per cent. to 19.1 per cent.

The Minister has to take into consideration, as well as the burden placed on the consumers of beer and stout, that this emergency tax is hitting a certain class of establishment in the country that provides a very necessary service. There are something like 12,000 families dependent on the running of licensed establishments and this is hitting them in a very severe way. They are made to bear a substantial reduction in their trade on the one hand and a substantial payment of additional tax on the other.

These are two matters that he ought certainly to have taken into consideration and examined before the tax was put on. We have indicated that we consider these taxes an outrage on the people in the present circumstances. While that is the first case which has to be made in regard to the tax on beer, a very, very strong case can be made to the Minister to review the whole situation and remove the tax off beer if he can remove it off nothing else.

I would like to appeal to the Minister to remove this tax, if possible, particularly the tax on stout and beer. In my opinion—and it is the opinion which has been expressed generally—this imposition is a grave injustice on a particular type in the community who drinks beer, not as a luxury in many cases, but as part of his diet. He should take into consideration the ordinary worker employed in the docks, the factories, coal stores, flour mills and all such places. In my opinion, everybody admits that porter is a part of their diet and that it is essential that they must have it. After a day's work confined in such an atmosphere, there is no getting away from the fact that porter is very essential as a food and as a refresher for people so engaged. The Minister would be wise to remove that particular tax, because it is a grave injustice.

Take the ordinary countryman who is not in a position financially, when he is having a refresher, to purchase high-priced spirits. He will usually take a bottle of stout or a pint of porter and the imposition of this tax is a very serious thing for him. He should take into consideration also the ordinary proprietors of those houses who have to carry on their business in the normal way and pay wages as well as any individual engaged in other industries or walks of life. The ordinary public house owner in rural Ireland, and even in the city, depends to a great extent on the sale of stout and beer. In my opinion, the volume of stout and beer represents at least three-quarters of their total business. By imposing such a heavy tax at the present time, the Minister must realise that he will be responsible for denying those people their ordinary living and that he is taking from them three-quarters of their livelihood. By taking it away from them he is ruining them. The workers at present cannot afford to pay this increased tax on beer and there is a danger that, particularly in towns, this tax may ultimately cause unemployment, because, as I have pointed out, three-quarters of the business carried on in these premises is represented by the sale of stout and porter and a falling off in this branch of the business may ultimately lead to a certain amount of unemployment. I ask the Minister to remove this tax, if it is at all possible, because it definitely falls on the poorer sections, on the workers engaged in factories, foundries and at the docks. It is a great injustice to them and it should not be imposed, if it is at all possible to avoid imposing it.

I want to join with the other Deputies in protesting against this imposition. In view of the concern expressed by this Government for the poor man and their statements all over the country that they were the poor man's Government, that the poor man was their first concern, this represents a rather big change of attitude. Deputy Corry is perfectly right when he says that this tax affects the poor man more than any other man, but evidently Deputy Corry is not very much concerned because he is not interested in the discussion to-day. It is true that, in a great many cases, this is a standard article of diet, an essential article of diet, so far as the worker performing heavy manual labour is concerned. It is an energy-giving food. A man who expends a lot of energy must take something to build up energy. Take the case of the docker in the City of Dublin who has to work very hard for a long number of hours. To maintain his energy and strength, he gets the opportunity of going more than once in the day to have a drink of beer or stout and a sandwich of bread and cheese. He relies on these to maintain and build up his energy and he cannot sustain his energy if he cannot afford to provide these for himself. The Government apparently have overlooked that completely.

There must be some incentive for the worker, for the producer, for the class of people upon whom the whole country depends for its existence and for whatever wealth we possess, to give of his best. If we want to expand production, if we want to implement the terms of the agreement to which we have just listened, it ought to be part of the plan that there will be an incentive for the worker to work. The very few luxuries which workers in this country have, the very few, the negligible opportunities they have to enjoy themselves, surely these considerations ought not to be overlooked in relation to this tax. This, as I say, is not a luxury but an essential energy-giving food, and the masses of the people, the industrial worker and the agricultural worker when he draws his small wages and goes into the town on Saturday night, are at least entitled to a couple of drinks after a week's hard work.

I do not know what the Minister was thinking of, in view of his experience as a farmer, when he decided to deny this so-called luxury—I do not think it should be called a luxury—to the worker and when he decided to deny the right of the worker to what the House should agree is essential for a continuation of his efforts and for stimulating him to further efforts. The tax yield is very high and it surely must have reached saturation point, and, in fact, if the Minister does not know it already, he will be compelled to realise that it has gone beyond saturation point. I am sure that a large number of the Deputies here have been informed by people in the trade that there is a sharp fall in consumption. There is quite a lot of grumbling and grousing about it and quite a lot of discontent. The Minister must agree that discontent will not make for greater production. Discontent exists, and that discontent and objection to this proposal was reflected in the results in the recent by-elections. It seems strange in all this matter that the big corporations, the big companies which produce beer and stout, can avoid any loss by reducing the specific gravity of their product, while the small man, the small retailer in the country and the retail trade generally, cannot avoid loss. It is inevitable that their incomes will be substantially reduced. If there is, as has been suggested, a 40 per cent. reduction in consumption, it is a very serious matter for a big number of people in the retail trade. If the consumer, and the consumer is the worker, has to do with less beer, the retailer must make up his mind that he will get a smaller income. That is the result of this imposition and the result of failure to examine into what exactly its effects would be. It is hardly necessary to stress that the figure the Minister mentions may not be accurate, in view of variations in specific gravity, but that is a technical detail I do not want to go into now.

I appeal to the Minister to reconsider this matter. He may suggest that this imposition can be met by a man taking four drinks where he formerly took five. That is a very simple solution from the Minister's point of view. The Minister and people with high incomes can enjoy luxuries without any difficulty, but it is scarcely fair for the man who has not to count the shillings and pence to give that sort of advice to the man with the small income. It is poor consolation for the man with an income which affords him a very narrow margin for consumption of this sort to be told by the Minister: "There is a way out for you. You can meet this higher taxation by reducing your consumption." This Government has established one record in 15 years, that its greatest capacity is to impose taxation. They are continuing that record. They have an unenviable record in that they have been increasing taxation over the whole of their 15 years and they do not appear to have any concern for the repercussions of that taxation or the section of the community upon whom it falls. As a matter of fact, all sections have been burdened. Their policy is: "Get the money anyway and squander it then."

We ought to have the Fianna Fáil Party present to discuss this grave imposition on the poor.

Notice taken that 20 Deputies were not present. House counted and 20 Deputies being present,

It is said that constant dropping wears away a stone. Perhaps the repetition of the arguments against this iniquitous imposition will, eventually, have some effect on the Minister and the Party behind him. Perhaps it will result in the abolition of the tax. I feel it incumbent on me to make the last effort it is possible for me to make on behalf of those I represent to have this damnable imposition removed. Much has been said during the debate against this tax and much more could, I daresay, he said. If I reiterate some of the things I have already said, Deputies on these benches, at least, will excuse me. Everybody who has spoken has referred —even Deputies on the Government Benches have done so—to stout as the poor man's drink. I do not think that any Deputy referred to stout, as partaken of by the ordinary labourer in city or country, as a luxury. Everybody who has spoken in the debate has referred to stout in very definite terms as a necessity for the worker. I asked the Minister on two occasions to point out where we were to draw the line between a luxury and a necessity in discussing this tax. The Minister has not answered that question. The only excuse he has offered is that anybody who does not want to pay the tax need not drink stout. This tax is also an imposition on traders in the city and country. Many of the 12,000 or 13,000 traders of this class are struggling to exist in the country towns. They are trying to make an honest living and some of us know that the living they get is not a very good one. This tax affects their capital investment also. They cannot get out of the business. As I understand, the capital value of licensed premises has, in the past fortnight, fallen 25 per cent. I do not think that that statement can be repudiated. This is an unjust imposition on decent traders—an imposition that has not been placed on any similar group of traders. However, it is mainly on behalf of the poorer people who cannot speak for themselves and who rely on their Deputies to speak for them that I wish to offer a few observations.

I repeat that stout is a necessity for the dock worker or any workers similarly engaged—those, for instance, who have to unload dusty commodities such as coal and grain. Even medical authorities admit that a bottle of stout is a necessity for such workers. It is also a necessity for agricultural workers who are sometimes engaged in very arduous work. On occasion, owing to climatic and other reasons, they have to help their employers by working long hours. That occurs, for instance, when hay is being saved in a period of bad weather. These men will work their hardest to save the hay on such occasions and it has been the practice in my county to give the men a bottle of stout at such times. I have always done it and my neighbours have always done it. When there is a likelihood of rain, these men put two days' work into one. Every Deputy on the Fianna Fáil Benches who has any experience of agricultural work knows that I am telling the truth when I say that. The employers of these men realise that they put two days' work into one and, since they are away from their homes, without food, and may be engaged on an outside farm when they would ordinarily be at home partaking of their supper, they are served with bread, butter or cheese and stout by the farmers. Is it likely that the farmers will be able to continue that practice? Will they be able to pay the 1/1 for stout so as to treat their labourers as they have been accustomed to treat them in the hay-saving season or while engaged at other harvest work? Everybody knows that they will not. Perhaps Deputy Walsh will be able to do it. I do not know whether or not Deputy Walsh has been undertaking in Mayo to give his men a pint of stout, or whether he is engaged in the trade.

My neighbours and I have been accustomed to treat our men in the decent way I have described and we hope to be able to continue to do so. There is also the effect on the labourer. Apart from the generosity of the farmer, the labourer, having engaged in heavy work, often stopped at the public house to have a pint of stout. If two men met together in the evening, they had two pints of stout. It was one of the little amenities they could indulge in. That will be no longer possible. As Deputy Mulcahy and other Deputies have pointed out, a man has to break a second 1/- to buy a pint, and when he breaks 1/- the rest disappears very quickly. He will have to break into the third 1/- to get a second pint. When this tax is in operation there will not be many repetitions of "the same again".

It has also been the practice of persons, when they were off duty and having some little relaxation, having travelled outside the three-mile limit, to walk into a public house for a bottle of stout. That applied to the ordinary labourer. It will be rendered almost impossible by this tax. Yesterday a Deputy on the opposite benches described the present life of the agricultural labourer and conditions in the country as being almost a paradise. He said that we were very free from the cares and troubles and temptations that exist in the city, that we live a sheltered life. I am not quoting his exact words but merely giving the theme of his discourse on the glories of rural life. I would suggest, Sir, that the country is not at all the paradise that was described yesterday by Deputy Allen. With all these increased costs it will be impossible for an agricultural labourer to provide himself with some of the necessaries that he and his family were able to have in the past. This will drive a further wedge between worker and employer. In the country there has been intercourse between employer and worker. Often I have gone to an outside farm and worked all day at the harvest or the hay, perhaps four or five miles from my home, with my three or four workers, and we stopped at the first public house we met and they had their three or four pints of stout and I had my lemonade, because I do not drink. It was a decent custom. It was a small treat for those men after their day's work. It harmed nobody as long as I or the other farmers could afford the expense, but it was something that brought the agricultural employer and his worker together, one of the things, that, perhaps, kept the number of people that are engaged on the land on the land. It is suggested that we ought to attract others to come back to live in the country. Will we attract them if we do away with all the things that used to contribute to a pleasurable existence in an ordinarily dull life, for it is a dull life in the country?

One does not regard drink now as one would have regarded it 25 or 30 years ago when, perhaps, drunkenness was more common than it is to-day. One sees very little drunkenness. I see none of it. I do not think I have seen a drunken man in the country for weeks before this Budget was introduced. When we speak like this, perhaps we will be attacked by temperance reformers as being in favour of the drinker. I do not think there will be anything in such an accusation. There is no such thing as drunkenness in the country or, if there is any drunkenness in the country, it is in a different class of people, some of the people that we are importing to this country, some of the people who are taking the place of decent people who had to leave the country. If there is any extravagant drinking it is in these people and it is not on a bottle of stout that they are getting drunk. Amongst the ordinary worker and the ordinary farmer there is no drunkenness. For ten to 15 years back, as far as I know, any stout that the farmer or labourer has taken has been more in the way of a necessary stimulant and sometimes, as has been suggested here, as a necessary adjunct to his mid-day meal, consisting of, say, a bottle of stout and a chunk of bread and cheese or butter.

This Budget removes one of the few luxuries of the ordinary worker. It is an imposition on the smallest traders in the country. It will make it almost impossible for them to earn their living.

It will prevent some of them disposing of their little trades because the effect of this tax will be to reduce the capital value of all such premises. I can only hope that constant agitation in this House and in the country against the tax, on every available opportunity —and there will be many opportunities of decrying this tax—will eventually compel the Minister for Finance and the Government on second thoughts to abandon it, if they cannot be persuaded to do so now.

I realise that the Minister for Finance must collect taxes but I consider that the tax on the pint of stout, the working man's drink, should be withdrawn, if at all possible, and some other tax substituted. In many cases the working man's dinner consists of a pint and a piece of bread. The licensed traders have suffered very severely since this tax was imposed and continue to suffer. Many of their employees will be dismissed. If the Minister could substitute some other tax, it would be a great help to the licensed trade and a relief to the working man.

So much has been said on this aspect of the Finance Bill that one cannot help repetition in this debate. To-day we listened to a most interesting statement from the Taoiseach. One note sounded through his statement and through his summary of the position. One thing emerged from that, namely, more production and still more production. In the last sentence of the paragraph relating to raw materials, the statement says:—

"The possibility of making available other supplies to enable our productive capacity to be fully utilised is to be examined in detail."

We see right there the advocacy of more production. That production bears a relation to the matter under discussion this afternoon and that is the reason why I invoke the aid of the Taoiseach, in this statement which he makes here, in order to induce the Minister in some measure to carry into operation the views expressed by various Deputies on the Opposition side and by some members of his own Party.

I cannot understand the mentality of a Deputy who strongly advocates a certain thing here, believing he is urged by his convictions, and who then goes into the Division Lobby and votes against it. As one who was kicked out of a Party because I voted according to my conscience—for that matter, they saw the error of their ways later—I would rather be kicked out of 55 Parties than outrage my conscience. I bring the Taoiseach's statement into this for a very logical reason. I believe many of the Fianna Fail Deputies are quite remote from what is occurring in the rural areas, as many of them are too urban minded and very few are rural minded. They have a number of farmers who live in rural areas, but they are as much detached from the ordinary man in the rural as many of the more urbanised people are in the city, when they come to form any real opinion on the lives and habits of those who live in the rural areas. Everybody conversant with the rural area will agree with me that, on a Sunday afternoon, after Divine Service in the Church, if there is a hurling match or a football match under the auspices of the Gaelic Athletic Association, as is mostly the case in the Twenty-Six Counties in rural areas, the village "pub" is the usual place of call. I have often been in the village "pub" and hope to be again. That is part and parcel of those people's lives.

I want to relate the question of more production to the physical capacity of the people to produce more. If we ask the agricultural labourer, our main producer but the worst paid worker in the community, to produce more, he will very soon tell us that he has to pay 1/3 for a pint of stout on a Sunday. The agricultural labourer, especially the man with a wife and children, cannot afford to have a drink every evening. It is only on a Sunday afternoon that he can afford a pint of stout, after a long, hard week's work, perhaps in rain and frequently in very tempestuous weather, more often than not scantily clad. I recollect very well a very severe season a couple of years ago, before boots became plentiful and relatively cheap, many a time a poor fellow had to work in conditions under which you would not ask a coolie to work. He did not become a revolutionary nor was he attracted to any of the subversive movements in our country to-day. The agricultural labourer and the industrial worker are the potential enemy of all law and order. I do not say this with the intention of provoking the Minister or causing any mild sensation, but knowing what I do about the reactions of these people to an impost of this character, I know that they do not care what Government is in power, they will be against that Government.

I can be answered by the Minister telling me that the Government knows it is doing something which may be unattractive but doing a very plucky thing in attacking one of the weakest members of the community. The acid test I would like to see applied to all the protestations we have here is that Deputies should be afforded an opportunity to vote for or against this measure. We are told we are very remote from anything like dictatorship or totalitarianism, but it appears to me to be the acme of totalitarianism when we see men compelled to troop into the lobbies time after time after making verbal protestations and public criticism and vote for what they have criticised. I do not like to see decent men jockeyed into a position of that kind and sent like sheep through the Division Lobbies.

Not alone is the labourer to be pinched under this, but he has also to pay a higher cost for everything he consumes than his brother has to pay in the northern part of the country. I bring that in because the Minister himself last week gave a list of figures to show that the prices of the essentials of life are higher here. I want to relate this to the cost of living of the rural worker and the city industrial worker.

We are in Committee and confined to this section.

One cannot avoid touching on the background.

I am bowing to the Leas-Cheann Comhairle's ruling. The Minister gave figures to show that the cost of living all round, even if some commodities are scarce, is greater here than it is up north, which is our own country, and added to that we are going to put an extra 3d. on the poor man's beer. There are other people who are relatively poorer. We hear a lot about the labourer and the man who is in a seasonal occupation, but there is also the white-collared fraternity to be considered. They find it very difficult to live—relatively as difficult as some of the underpaid rural workers, though it is not quite so bad. The man with £8 or £10 a week—which sounds very high to some people—and who is living in a city and wants to bring up his family as he was brought up himself, in some kind of frugal comfort and decency, has to pay high school fees and so on and he is not too wealthy on account of the impositions made by this Government. Now another imposition is added. I would like to join with the other Deputies in the appeal which they have made to the Minister, but I feel that it is hopeless and useless to do so because the Party machine will be put at work, the trumpet will blow and there will be a vote of two to one against. However, I feel that there is a fairly healthy atmosphere in relation to this matter. I would ask the Minister if he could see his way to remove at least a portion of the tax and give ear to what has been said by the Opposition, not because they wish to oppose but because they feel that they are only voicing the feelings and sentiments of those who elected them here on this particular matter.

It would appear to me that there are two reasons which make this particular tax completely unjustifiable. In the first instance, the tax is introduced for the purpose nominally of reducing the cost of living. I think it will be admitted by anybody familiar with conditions in the country that stout or porter is a necessity for a number of persons engaged in hard manual work: that it forms part of their diet and can be classified as a practical necessity. If it is, then the only effect that the tax can have is to further increase the cost of living for those in respect of whom it is a necessity.

The second reason which, I think, makes this tax completely unjustifiable is one to which I referred previously. I thought it was an admitted principle of taxation that taxes should always be imposed, in the first instance, upon that section of the community best able to bear them. Porter, as far as I know conditions in the country, is consumed practically entirely by the low-income groups in the community. If I am right in my premise that porter is consumed by the low-income groups in the community, then this tax on porter is being imposed upon that section of the community least able to bear taxation.

On the Second Stage of the Bill I made certain suggestions as to other sources of revenue, and the Minister for Finance asked for suggestions as to how they could be operated. I suggested that taxation might have been put upon the tourist traffic. The Minister for Finance pointed out certain difficulties, and asked for suggestions as to how such a tax could be operated. I suggest three alternative methods to operate such a tax. Firstly, the tax could be imposed upon articles purchased by tourists here and taken away by them. In other words, when their luggage is being examined on their departure from the country, it would be a simple matter to levy a duty upon any articles purchased by them in the country. Secondly, a landing tax could be imposed upon tourists. I do not know whether it is in operation at present, but a landing tax used to be imposed in many continental countries.

France had a landing tax and so had Belgium, so far as I remember, and I think Switzerland has a tax on the entry of tourists. It need not be a big tax. Thirdly, a tax could be levied by means of stamp duty on the bills of all non-residents and non-citizens who stay as tourists in hotels. Such a tax is also imposed in a number of continental countries. These are three alternative methods whereby revenue could be raised from people who could well afford to pay the tax because tourists who come here from England— and I am not saying anything derogatory of them—are all people who are well able to pay a tax, people who would willingly pay a tax in order to be able to come here at the present time and escape from the restrictions imposed in England. They are usually the wealthier classes of the community in England who come here.

There is another method of raising revenue to which I referred yesterday, and that is a tax on the race-horse industry generally. I am not a racegoer myself, but I have frequently passed by the Curragh and other racecourses on days on which race-meetings were being held. I have seen there vast numbers of luxurious motor cars occupied by opulent-looking gentlemen who, I think, could well afford to pay a tax for their enjoyment at race-meetings.

The more one examines this Budget, the more one is prompted to ask what did the Government intend to do? It is contended on behalf of the Government that the Budget was designed to subsidise, and thereby reduce, the cost of certain essential commodities. It is true that there has been a small reduction in the case of certain essential commodities. The most important item in the cost of living that has been reduced by this Budget is the price of bread—the 4-lb loaf—by 1½d. The price of tea has been reduced from 4/10 per lb. to 2/8, and the price of sugar from 6d. to 4d. per lb. In order to effect these reductions by means of subsidies, it has been necessary to raise an additional sum of over £5,000,000. Anybody would welcome a serious and real attempt to reduce the cost of living, but even since these proposals were introduced there has been a further upward trend. Supplies, in the case of two of these essential commodities which have been subsidised, are seriously curtailed, while the whole three of them are rationed. Bread is rationed, tea is rationed and sugar is rationed. It is a fact that in order effectively to operate subsidies the goods subsidised must be rationed. When one considers the low ration of tea and the comparatively small place that tea has in the family budget—the fact that while it is a widely used beverage it occupies a place in no way comparable to the place which bread occupies or, for that matter, to the place which meat should occupy—and when one considers the price and the quantity of sugar used in any household one is more and more driven to the conclusion that whatever this Budget set out to do it is a poor attempt at reducing the cost of living and that the added burdens on the community far outweigh any alleged benefits which the people in general are entitled to expect and which they should expect. It has even been stated by some Deputies during the course of this debate that there are alternative methods of taxation, that we could, by imposing other taxes, raise the same money. I would like to put it to the House that what we want here is not more or alternative methods of taxation but less taxation. What we want is not more taxation but less taxation. If the Book of Estimates is examined it will be seen that it is not a pruning knife that should be used but a slash hook to reduce the overall cost of administration and government in this country.

Quite recently, in the Central Bank Report, it was stated that one of the high contributing factors to the present cost of living and to the present inflationary situation is the high rate of Government and local expenditure —it is referred to as "National and Local Expenditure". The report went on to say that unless there was a drastic reduction in national and local expenditure there could be no diminution of the inflationary effects at present operating. This Budget is regarded as an attempt to reduce the cost of certain essentials, but if it is such an attempt I say that it is the weakest attempt possible. If one considers the reduction of 1½d. in the price of a 4-lb. loaf, the reduction from 4/10 per lb. to 2/8 per lb. in the price of tea and the reduction from 6d. per lb. to 4d. per lb. in the cost of sugar, which reductions are regarded as an improvement in the expenditure of the family budget on the one hand, and, on the other hand, the increase of 3d. a pint on beer and stout, the increase in the price of tobacco, the increase in the price of spirits, and the increase in stamp duty—to take the larger items in the added taxation group—and weighs one group against the other, I believe there is hardly a single household in this country, on the middle, lower or very low scale in the community, which would not say they were better off before the introduction of this Supplementary Budget. Ultimately its effect will be to reduce still further the standards of living of the people.

I cannot understand why a tax has been put on beer. It has been stated over and over again, and I think it still stands without any attempt at refutation, that the large majority of the workers in this country, particularly those engaged in either agricultural or hard manual labour, do not regard drink in the same light as other sections of the community regard, say, spirits or amusement of any kind. In the case of beer and stout it depends to a large extent on the individual and the type of worker as to what degree they may be regarded as part of his normal daily requirements and not as a luxury. It was the commonly accepted method many years ago in this city for dockers to be paid in the pubs. It is to the eternal credit of the late James Larkin that he broke that system. It had many evil results but while it had many evil results it was not altogether accidental that that method was adopted. Men employed on hard manual labour do require some replenishment of their strength. Men who expend energy to the extent to which dockers expend energy require some replenishment and some sustenance. Experience has shown that one of the most satisfactory methods of doing so, and one which up to the present was comparatively cheap, was beer and stout. Now that is being put out of the reach of many dockers and many manual workers. It is significant that, as far as one can gather, there has been a drop, in the City of Dublin, of 20 per cent. in the business of public houses since the imposition of this additional tax. Some people may welcome that state of affairs; possibly in certain areas there might be something in favour of a drop in spirit consumption. When one considers that the vast majority of the people in the City of Dublin who drink are workers who not merely regard the drink as a meal or as what goes with a meal but who are entitled to some little enjoyment at the end of a day or a week, one is driven to the conclusion that the drop in consumption of 20 per cent is exceedingly high. The drop in the country is even greater. Possibly, in Dublin, it would be greater than 20 per cent only that there is a large floating population. In many rural areas and in some of the small towns there is not the same floating population and the drop there, as far as my information goes, is as much as 40 per cent since this fresh tax was imposed. I cannot, having examined this carefully come to any conclusion as to why the Government introduced these proposals. Lately one hears a lot about austerity, and the term is becoming very common with Ministers. It is true that the British Government have, over a period, now adopted what has been known as an "austerity campaign". The greatest exponent of that policy is Sir Stafford Cripps. The members of this Government, or some of them, have recently been in England negotiating with the British Government. It appears to me that, whatever else they admitted the British Government did, it infected them with the virus of austerity because, since they came Lack one Minister after another has talked about nothing but austerity, about the tough times ahead and the hard future facing us. A few months ago we were told that the hard future might last for four years. Now, the period has been cut down to six or nine months. I do not know whether the austerity bug is one which can easily infect Ministers generally. Certainly this austere Budget will have a bad and depressing effect on production and on the general well-being of the community here. It is the first sign of a political foolishness on the part of the Government. It is economically unsound. The Government have always been characterised for their lack of soundness from an economic point of view but the virtue of a purely political folly is a new one for them. I only hope that it will spread. It is quite obvious that we cannot do much in this Parliament to alter the proposed new taxes but I hope that between now and early in the New Year I shall be able not merely to convince the people in the country but to convince the Government itself that this Budget is unsound from any point of view, whether one looks at it from the point of view of the household in general or the position the average worker occupies in the community and the effect this will have upon his general standard of living.

We have travelled a long way since the Taoiseach in his first wild enthusiasm for self-sufficiency asserted that the people of this country should go without tea and should adapt themselves to light beer. At that time it looked as if "Here's to the good old beer" was going to become the National Anthem of the country. Now, a new policy is being introduced. Tea is to be subsidised and beer is to be taxed out of existence. The Minister has been given a lot of advice from all sides of this House urging him to drop this unjust tax. He has heard some softly-worded and mild appeals even from his own Party, but I know by the tilt of his chin that he has no intention of listening to these appeals. He is comforting himself, no doubt, with the thought that in the future he will be looked upon as a great apostle of temperance. He has visions of marble statues of himself, wearing a long white robe, the demon of drink under his feet and a bright halo two or three inches above his head. I want to disabuse the Minister's mind of any fantastic ideas he may have in regard to himself as the pseudo-apostle of temperance. This tax may reduce the amount of drink consumed, but it will do nothing for the cause of temperance. This tax will not curb the appetite of the habitual drinker. That man will continue to drink because he has lost all sense of proportion and all sense of the value of money. The effect of this tax will be to drive the moderate drinker out of the public house. It will drive out of the public house the ordinary manual worker who takes a bottle of stout to enable him to carry on with his work. It will drive out of the public house the ordinary, decent people who drop into a bar for a chat with a friend and have one or two drinks in the course of that conversation. It will not convert-as the Minister pretends to hope it will-the confirmed drunkard. We all agree that excessive drinking is an evil. We have no illusions in regard to that. But it is not an evil that can be corrected by State action.

Attempts were made in the United States of America to make the people of that country temperate by a rigid prohibition on drinking. We know how ignominiously that attempt failed. We know it led to crime and chaos. This tax will not make the people who drink to excess in this country total abstainers. It will inflict a grievous hardship on the moderate drinkers who keep their drinking strictly under control. It has been said that drinking in itself is an evil. That may appeal to some; but we all know that anything taken to excess is an evil. If people have gone to their graves because of drinking to excess, perhaps an equal number have gone to their graves through eating to excess. Any pleasure or relaxation taken in moderation is both good and desirable.

I once heard a social reformer say that the one good thing about the public houses was that they kept the young people out of the cinema. He meant that they created a certain amount of variety. The young people who go to the cinema night after night are indulging in that amusement to excess. It is not good for them. The same is true of those people who visit the public house day after day and night after night to drink to excess. But there can be moderation in everything. This Budget does not make for moderation. I am one of those people who believe that young people should avoid drink and should be encouraged to avoid drink. We cannot compel them to walk the straight and narrow path in order to achieve complete temperance. The influence of religion, the provision of alternative forms of recreation, useful hobbies and good homes will tend to curb excessive drinking. Prohibitions, excessive taxation and other penalties of that kind serve no useful purpose whatsoever.

In my opinion the man of 40, 50 or 60 years does require a little liquid stimulant to keep his arteries flexible. We should not be asked to inflict a grave injustice on so many of our people in order that the Minister may be able to pose as the great apostle of temperance. He is nothing of the kind. He has never shown himself to be very temperate in his approach to our problems here or in the discussions that have taken place in this House. This tax may be designed to bring in more money. If that is so then I am afraid the Minister is going to be disappointed. Whether it brings in more money or not, it is undesirable. I am not one of those who suggest alternative means of taxation. When Deputy MacBride is longer in this House he will realise the unwisdom of putting new ideas into the Minister's head in regard to taxation. The Minister has taxed almost everything within reach. He is collecting £66,000,000 from the people and that is quite sufficient to get on with. At present we have the largest army of civil servants this country ever has had and, at the same time, the smallest population. If Mr. Winston Churchill was a member of this House, he would probably exclaim: "Never in the history of this country did so many people collect so much money from so few".

I was delighted to hear Deputy Bourke of the Fianna Fail Party speaking in this House and also to read the statement of Deputy McCarthy at a recent meeting of the Cork County Council. It shows that Fianna Fail back benchers realise what this tax means. Deputy McCarthy, presumably, stays out of this House because he does not want to be forced to vote against his conscience on this occasion as he admitted he was compelled to do on another occasion. That should be a warning to the Minister and the Government Party that there is something seriously wrong. The Minister should also realise that mud slinging or the kind of work he carried on with here last Friday will not help him in any way.

Deputy MacBride stated to-night that taxes are generally imposed on the section of the people that can best afford to pay them. That is a general principle. I do not stand for these increased taxes, because I believe they can be avoided. Undoubtedly, this tax on beer will affect those who can least afford to pay it. It is a tax on a necessity of life and a tax which will be a hindrance to agricultural production. As I pointed out before, it will tend to decrease production, because it will fall on the agricultural worker and the workers in the grain stores who require a bottle of stout or a pint of porter. It is a tax on the farmer and on his worker and probably on his sons which they cannot afford to pay. I agree with Deputy Anthony that these people are really nothing better than coolies in this country.

Of course the Minister could get the money that is required in different ways. Not so long ago he came into this House and proposed to increase the salaries of people with £4,000 a year. Surely he must have realised then that this Budget was coming on and that this money was required. Therefore he should have hoarded the money instead of putting this tax on the pint of porter or the bottle of stout. In order to rush that proposal through he regimented his followers on the back benches, as he will do to-day, except those who do not come along to vote against their conscience, and Deputy Bourke who said that the Minister should withdraw this tax. There is no hope of the amount of money budgeted for being collected. Does the Minister realise that some licensed premises throughout rural Ireland have been actually closed up? Does he realise that stout is being thrown out in backyards as it has deteriorated because it is not being bought? If he made inquiries from Messrs. Guinness he would find that that is a fact, because the majority of people who drink stout are the workers on the roads, the workers on the bogs, the workers in the fields and the workers in the grain stores, and they no longer can afford to buy it. The result is that there is no hope of getting this money because consumption will go down. I am not referring to the man who gets drunk, but to the man who requires his pint of stout once or twice a week or once a day, as the case may be.

Without doubt this is a penal tax. Any Government with the slightest pretence of representing the people or that knew anything about the people would not consider imposing such a tax. If the Minister went through rural Ireland and met some of the people there, not alone those who depend on stout as a necessity of life, but the publicans who contribute largely to the taxes, he would find out what is thought about this tax. He heard it to-day from Deputy Bourke, whom I heard speaking for the first time in this House during the five years I have been here. He spoke on this occasion because he feels that the people he represents require him to do so. He feels that the Party to which he belongs will force him into the Division Lobby against his conscience and against the wishes of the people whom he represents to vote for a penal tax such as this. The game has been carried on for a long time by the Fianna Fail Party, but to-day the people are realising what it means. Members of the Fianna Fail Party have admitted it and the people will soon tell the Fianna Fail Party where they get off.

Bíonn dhá innseacht ar gach scéal agus tá dhá thaobh ar scéal na cánach ar an leanndubh chomh maith le taobh amháin. Ní mór le lucht an óil ná le lucht caite tobac do bhean tighe an laghdú ar chostas na riachtanas dá clainn. Ní mór le aon Teachta di ach oiread leo é. A mhalairt ar fad; ach níos' spáin aon Teachta don Aire aon bhealach leis an airgead a fháil, ach bealach fánach nach dtiubradh isteach an caogú cuid den mhéid atá ag teastáil. Tóg, mar shompla, muirín seiscar nó mórsheisear. Dúirt siopadóirí liom ó tugadh an cháinfhaisnéis seo isteach go bhfuil punt sa tseachtain sabháilte aca da bharr. Nach maith an bhuntáiste é sin ach níl aon chaint air sa Teach seo nuair nach bhfuil aon vótanna ag na páistí. Da mbeadh vótaíocht muiríne ann agus vótanna ag tuismitheórí do réir umhir a gcúram ní bheadh am oiread tromaíochta ar an gcáin seo is tá, mar bheadh comthromú vótaíochta ag an líontí ar thaobh na cánach a d'fhágfadh lucht a cáinte in aimhreas faoi cé'n taobh aca ba treise. Nach ionmholta an chuspóir é an costas maireachtála a laghdú do na boicht agus nach beag an íobairt í an cháin seo le hais a bhfuil le fulaint i dtíortha nach bhfuil leath a ndóthain beorach ná beatha iontu.

I want to put a few points to the Minister on behalf of workers and trade unionists who are affected by this tax. I find that a good deal of unemployment is likely to result from this Budget, particularly in small breweries in country towns. Since the price of beer went up to 1/- per pint, bottles of beer have been left on the shelves of local shopkeepers. Conditions in country towns are not similar to those obtaining in the City of Dublin. It may well be that there is excessive drinking in the city, particularly in the lounge bars, even amongst ladies, and I agree that a stop should be put to that. Take, on the other hand, bottling stores in country towns. Always after the summer, there is a falling off in the demand for the output of these stores and a certain number of employees are laid off until the rise of the year again. Many shopkeepers and distributors in country areas have no other business except the sale of drink. Now that the price of stout has been increased to 8½d. per half pint, or per bottle, a man who usually took two of these drinks at a time has to pay 1/5, if he is to satisfy his thirst, and that expenditure is altogether too much for the working man, especially in rural Ireland where his weekly wage is only 50/-. The fall in consumption as a result will have a very serious effect in the employment of boys in bottling stores all over the country. We know that Guinness's brewery is one of the greatest industries in the country and that it provides for its employees conditions of employment which cannot be obtained in any other industry. Their exports may be sufficient to enable them to maintain their present staffs, but the small breweries in country towns which have been struggling for years are very badly hit by this latest tax. There is one in my own town which sent beer to Dublin recently during the scarcity of Guinness's stout. Its trade has been affected already and there is no longer a demand for the beer in Dublin. Beer is essentially a summer drink. In fact, in country places, beer is the principal drink, and I fear that the consumption will be very greatly affected by this additional tax.

It was said some time ago that the consumption of drink was excessive in this country. That was possibly true when we had thousands of visitors from England and Northern Ireland coming to Bray and other seaside resorts where they spent plenty of money but so far as natives of the Twenty-Six Counties are concerned, for many years past they had not so much money to expend on drink. I worked for 25 years in flour mills and I say that it was the odd bottle of stout which I took, when I felt the need for it, that kept me in a healthy condition in that industry. Quite a number of workers died in the industry during these 25 years from diseases directly connected with their work. I say that if a man takes a few bottles of stout during the week, they are good for him and keep him fit.

We admit that money must be got somewhere to meet the expenditure on food subsidies and other services, but, as Deputy MacBride advocated, this money could be found in other ways than by taxing the poor man's bottle of stout. Certain sections of our people who should have been taxed were allowed to go scot free under this Budget. Dance halls, for instance, might have been taxed. I do not see why the admission tax on these places should ever have been lifted. Since the tax was abolished, the prices of admission to dances throughout the country have been increased from 5/- to 7/6 and in some places to 10/-. People frequented these places even when the tax was in operation and I think it was a mistake to remit that tax. Similarly, I think that games, even big G.A.A. matches, could bear a tax. We see attendances up to 75,000 at all-Ireland finals and semi-finals and I think no one would object if he had to pay a few pence extra going into Croke Park twice or three times a year.

The man in the country is very badly hit by these taxes, particularly the agricultural labourer who has only 50/- a week. Even a labourer in my own town gets only £3 5s. Od. a week. What has he to spend out of that? The majority are paying 7/6 and 8/- a week to the urban council for houses.

The working man's purchasing power has gone. There is no reason why a bottle of stout should cost so much. The bottle must be stamped "half-pint" and the man in the country has to pay 8½d. for it to-day. A couple of men in a country district may desire to go into a public house on a Saturday night, the only night they have off after a hard week. Let them be either industrial or agricultural workers, not one of them has much money to spend. If one of these men has 5/- he is lucky. I never had pounds to throw around on drink when I was working and had to keep a family. I was lucky if I had 5/-. To-day in rural Ireland not many men can afford 5/- because the cost of living is too high.

I cannot understand why the Minister selected drink. It was a most unpopular move for the Government because it affects thousands of people who are fond of a pint. Many barmen will be unemployed. Some are already unemployed because there is scarcely anyone going into the shops. I was around my own town last Saturday night and I saw what the conditions were like. Previous to this tax I often saw from ten to 20 persons in a shop, but since the tax was imposed you would not see more than five persons. The working man simply cannot afford it. He cannot go into a public house with a number of others because he would find it difficult to stand a round for three or four. He slips off on his own, gets one bottle of stout and goes home.

On the other hand, we can see well-off people drinking in luxury, drinking champagne and whiskey. I would have no objection to the tax going on them. We read in the daily Press of big functions where there are bottles of champagne and whiskey—even in front of Ministers, and that was not later than yesterday. You cannot stop that type of drinking because the money is there for it. But we should draw the line. We are not all rolling in riches. A man in the country with a family of five or six finds it very difficult to live on 50/- a week.

I think the Minister should withdraw this tax. He should do so in order to save the local breweries, breweries such as Lett's of Enniscorthy and Cairnes'. They are bound to be affected because beer is not consumed to the same extent as Guinness and whiskey in the cities and towns. Take an ordinary public house at a crossroads. There are not 50 people within a radius of three or four miles. How will that man pay his rates, taxes and licence? He will not be able to make it and we will put him out of business. If you put one man out of business you affect a whole lot of others.

At the moment, barley is scarce and the maltsters are just hanging on. They were about to close down in our district last week, but a vessel came in from the far side with barley and that enabled them to remain open. There is scarcely any barley for malting purposes. The position was bad enough up to now, but this tax cripples them altogether. The publicans in my town say: "For God's sake, what is the Minister thinking of? Is he anxious to put us out of business?"

The Minister should put this tax on horse racing or some of the other things I have mentioned. Put it on the people with the money—they will not mind. Take the people with motor cars, the luxury liners of the roads. They will not go off the roads after January; they are well able to keep going. Put a tax on the tourists. You are building hotels for them. Let them pay for the luxury hotels.

There are very few cases in the courts these days for drunkennessscarcely one man out of 20 is brought in on that charge now. When I first came to this city I was shocked to see what was happening. There was a lot of drinking in lounge bars. The owners of these places are making them as glamorous as possible, offering every attraction to ladies and gentlemen. The Minister can get his money out of the lounge bars instead of from the struggling publicans in the country.

This tax will affect workers in different industries; it will affect bottle makers and the men in the breweries. The Minister should endeavour to get the money in some other way, prefer-ably off the people best able to bear a tax. Otherwise he will only kill important industries.

A number of Deputies have adverted to the hardship that this particular increase in tax will mean for the working man. It is true that the working man, or whoever drinks a pint of stout now, has to pay 3d. more for it than he had prior to the Budget. But the strange thing is that Deputy Mulcahy's solution for the hardship imposed on the working man is to put another 1d. on the pint. He suggested that the publican's profit should remain at the same percentage as in pre-Budget days, and that would have the effect of putting an extra 1d. on the pint.

I should like the Minister to go into that in greater detail.

I will go into the question in as great detail as the Deputy wants. The Deputy suggested—and I have a note of his statement—that the gross profits in the vintners' trade had decreased and that that was a great hardship. That was the only point I could see in his reading a whole series of percentages of the gross profits made by publicans on various types of beer, pre-Budget and after it. He wants the publican to have the same gross percentages.

And not by reducing the consumption.

Not only would the vintners, in Deputy Mulcahy's proposition, continue to get their gross profits, but they would get 30 or 40 per cent. on the extra 3d. taxation.

The large majority of vintners are decent men, but they are doing fairly well, particularly in recent years, and they know it. I think that 3d. is a reasonable profit on a pint of stout even though the tax has gone up slightly. They are still getting over 3d. per pint and per bottle it is 3d., too.

3d. per bottle?

You are daft.

Those are my figures and Deputy Dillon can contest them if he likes.

Who is getting 3d. per bottle?

The publican.

Maybe the publican who bottles and then sells to the consumer.

That is gross profit, but if he has an assistant he has to pay the assistant out of it and if he has to pay rent he has to pay rent out of it and he has to pay the licence duty. But the gross profit per bottle is 3d.

In the country the publican buys from the wholesaler. He does not bottle himself.

Well, this applies to the man who bottles himself. I think that that is a reasonable profit and I do not believe that vintners throughout the country would deny that it is reasonable.

Did they not complain?

Not to me.

They cannot see you, but they did to us.

I saw representatives of the licensed vintners since the Budget was introduced. It is not usual for the Minister for Finance to see representatives of the various trades after a Budget is introduced. But as this was a Supplementary Budget which had to be introduced without much notice, either to myself or to anyone else, I saw them and discussed the matter with them.

Everybody knows that the publicans are fairly well satisfied with the level of their profits, and the fact that public houses are changing hands at such high prices is an indication of the profits which are made. The only thing worrying the publicans is whether supplies will continue and whether they can get in the coming year the same supplies to sell as they got last year.

They will not get the same supply of wine. Wine is practically dried up.

In regard to the wine situation, my information from the Revenue Commissioners is that the stock of wine in bond is nearly twice the stocks of wine in bond in 1939.

The Minister is aware that he has stopped currency for wine imports.

I am telling the Deputy that the stock of wine in bond, which must represent a big proportion of the stock of wine in the country, was in September nearly twice what it was in the same period in 1939, and the stock of wine which we had in 1939 carried us over a long period, because there were little or no imports for several years. I do not think that our stocks of wine will disappear unless the consumption increases greatly.

Port and sherry are the publican's wines. He does not dole out champagne.

I think that the supplies of port and sherry are pretty high too but I cannot answer that particular question.

Various suggestions were made here for other taxes instead of putting a tax on the pint or the bottle of stout. I think that it was much preferable to take a little bit of tax off the tourists or the people who were earning big money in England in a convenient way rather than to have a very complicated system of tax collection at the ports or in the hotels by way of stamps on hotel bills or for meals, or anything of that kind.

The increase in the tax on wines is, as I pointed out at the time of the Budget statement, pretty stiff, and so, as the Deputies will admit, is the price of whiskey, while the tax on beer is pretty stiff too. But I think, however, that we would get very little tax and would have to employ a lot of extra staff with all sorts of travelling expenses, in order to collect stamp duty on hotel bills, or on hotel and restaurant meals.

You need not do that.

There is no use in having a law on the statute books unless it is enforced.

There is a simple way for dealing with that problem.

I will consider any suggestion which the Deputy makes, but this was a proposal for a stamp duty on hotel bills.

There is an easier way to get the tourists than that.

Another suggestion was to have a landing tax. In France, I know, it was a few francs. But what landing tax are we to put on people coming in here? What tax are we to put on people coming across the Border for an afternoon or a week-end? How are we going to administer it? If it were only a small tax and we made sure that this small tax was collected, would we have any net gain after paying the expense of collecting it and making sure that it was paid?

Another suggestion made by Deputy O'Leary was to have a tax on the G.A.A. The G.A.A. is scattered all over the country and if you are going to impose a tax on football matches you will have a job to collect it. I took the tax off dance halls for the sole and only reason that it could not be imposed. We had a lot of expense, and it turned a lot of people in the country who were legitimately carrying on dances for local charities and so on, but who could not afford to pay the tax, into tax-evaders. In imposing a tax you should, if you can, make it water-tight, and impose taxes that will cost nothing extra to collect. It should be water-tight and it should not turn a large proportion of the people into successful tax-evaders.

Would you not get a lot out of soccer matches and football matches of all kinds?

We cold impose a tax on football matches, but I do not think it would be right to do so, and, even if we did, there would be a lot of evasion.

Another suggestion was that there should be a tax on racing. There is an effective tax on horse racing at the moment. It does not come into the Exchequer. There was a tax of 5 per cent. being collected by the National Racing Board which was devoted to the development and improvement of bloodstock. That tax was reduced to 2½ per cent., and I think it is sufficient to put on that particular industry, which is an important industry, and which, if the world ever gets on its feet again and gets down to peace, is likely to be of growing importance. Up to now, the dogs which have been leaving this country—and we agree that they are leaving in large numbers and are good value—have gone only to England and Scotland. They are not moving out through the world to India, America and other countries as does our racing stock and I think that good use is being made of the tax already imposed on the racegoer, if he makes a bet, and my experience is that very few people attend a race meeting without having a couple of shillings at least on a race.

One other suggestion was that we should put a tax on stuff taken out of the country by tourists. So far as we can check, there are very little goods bought here by tourists. I should like to see none bought by them and brought out, as I think that the supplies of stuff we have should be kept for ourselves. Of the tourists coming here from England, I would estimate that at least 75 per cent. are our own people coming back on holiday.

I was wondering what figure the Minister would give. The Minister says 75 per cent?

That is my estimate.

And of the £17,000,000 they brought in last year, 75 per cent. would have been the money of Irish people?

I should say so.

And these are the people who are so badly paid in England.

We will go into the facts and figures of pay in England, but first let me finish this argument.

They brought in £12,000,000.

I must be allowed to deal with one argument at time. I will deal with them all, if the Deputy wishes, but it must be one at a time.

You are an improvement on Friday.

I got no chance on Friday, with everybody barking at me. I will bark back if anybody starts barking at me. On this question of tourists coming in here and purchasing stuff, it raises the difficulty that, if the Revenue Commissioners' staff are too severe on them, it leaves a very bad impression for the sake of a few shillings' worth of stuff, and is not worth it. It is their duty, however, to see they take out nothing which is subject to control, and I am sure they do that fairly well, and I certainly would not license it by imposing a tax on export of material, officially, through our channels, which was subject to official control and which should not have been sold to them. That would be an impossible position.

Deputy Hughes said that this tax was going to reduce production. Deputy Anthony said it was going to reduce production and that it was an attack on the working man who had to pay a higher price for everything he consumed here than that paid by his brother in England or in the Six Counties. That statement simply is not true. In the matter of beer, the working man in England is paying more than half as much again as the working man here pays. In England to-day, the working man pays at least 1/2 a bottle for Guinness which is sold here at 8½d.

What is the working man's pay in England?

In a large number of trades, it is less than here. The artisan's rate in London—I gave the figures here on the previous day—is 1d. an hour less than it is in Dublin and the artisan in Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow and all the other cities gets 4d. an hour less than the rate here.

That is why they are going over—to get less pay.

That is why some of them are coming back.

They are going over for less pay.

Order! The Minister must be allowed to speak without interruption.

They pay out of the lower wages they get more than half as much again as the man here pays for beer. If a working man in England gets a glass of whiskey, he pays 4/4-if he can get whiskey of the same strength and in the same measure as here—as compared with 2/6 a glass here. The bottle of stout here is 8½d. as against 1/2 in England; the packet of cigarettes here is 2/- as compared with 3/4 in England; and the ounce of tobacco here 1/11½ compared with the 3/4 they pay in England.

They are paying for the war.

Leave him alone. This shows they have nothing to spend.

The proposition put forward by Deputy Hughes seems to be a public house on every farm in order to encourage the farm labourer to work. There are many people in this country working on farms and in towns who never drank a bottle of stout and who do not fall dead because they cannot get it. I am not trying to deny it to them, and, if they take a little less, they can get a reasonable amount of stout, beer or whatever is their customary drink.

Everybody knows what the basis of the Budget is and I do not want to go over all that ground again, but good use is being made of this money which is being collected for the reductions in the prices of bread, tea and sugar. For that valuable result to the community, the reduction of the actual cost of these commodities by substantial amounts, I think that the hardship—and I admit it is a hardship—involved for the smoker of tobacco and the people who take a drink is worth while. When they think of the hardships that people in other countries have to suffer, they should be prepared to put up with a slight hardship such as this for a reasonable time.

I wish to say a few words even at the risk of repeating what has been said by previous speakers. At the outset, I suggest to the Minister that he told a half truth when he said that the profit on a pint or a bottle of stout is 3d. The fact that that was a gross figure had to be forced out of him. I remind the Minister that stout, particularly in the case of the country public house, is the mainstay of the publican's business. During the emergency period, when there was no whiskey to be had, the publican had, invariably, to depend on his sale of stout. For that matter, the same condition obtains in the cities. It is recognised in the licensed trade that it is the profit on stout and beer, not the profit on whiskey or wines, which is the mainstay of the publican's business. The Minister was unfair to the licensed trade—grossly unfair—when he quoted those figures. In the country districts, the sales of wines are virtually nil. The sales of even sherries or port of the poorest quality are negligible except, perhaps, on a market or fair day when the farmer's wife comes to town with him. That is, probably, the only occasion on which the publican will have a demand for wine of any description. Of course, I am not speaking of champagne or higher quality wines.

Apart altogether from the consumer's interest, this taxation is deliberately designed to put a large number of the smaller licensed traders out of business. Many of those small traders have no quotas for whiskey. Many of them have very small quotas. Many of them depend entirely on the sale of beer or stout. Except where the business is a purely family business, I can see a grave unemployment situation arising as a result of this penal taxation. Already I have had brought to my notice a case in which a publican in the country had, prior to this Budget, a turnover of £100 a week. His present turnover is £20 a week. That publican took, on the average, on the fair day, which was his big day, about £60. On the last fair day in that town, that publican took in £8.

That is a very serious situation for the licensed trade. There are 12,000 licensed traders in the State. There are 12,000 families depending on that business. I cannot say how many employees depend for a livelihood on that business. By and large, I suppose that about 100,000 persons must depend for their livelihood upon the licensed trade. If the present condition of things is to continue, many of those publicans will have to go out of business. Many of them are already offering their supplies to traders in the city because they cannot sell them locally. Surely, that is an aspect of the situation which the Minister should take into serious consideration. I regard this piece of legislation as a deliberate attack upon a very decent trade—a trade which, all through our history, was foremost with its purse for every national cause.

The Minister says that the publican still has his profit of 3d. per pint and per bottle. He makes no allowance for the decrease of about 40 per cent. in consumption, on the average. In some cases, consumption has decreased from 60 per cent. upwards. The Irish Press to-day gloats over the fact that the Socialist Government of Great Britain introduced similar legislation in its recent emergency Budget but it carefully ignores the fact that the present tax on beer—the poor man's drink—in this State is considerably higher than the British tax. The Irish taxation amounts to £10 11s. 0d. per standard barrel. British taxation amounts to £7 19s. 9d. per standard barrel. If my information is correct, both taxes are based more or less on the same specific gravity, 1055. It is clear, therefore, that whatever Dr. Dalton may have done in England, he took steps to ensure that the price of the poor man's drink was maintained at its existing figure, whereas our Minister for Finance has increased the cost of the poor man's drink by 3d. per bottle of stout and by 3d. per pint of porter or stout. The Minister quotes the British prices for whiskey and beer and compares them with the Irish prices. I do not know where he got his figures. I do not know whether they have been obtained from official statistics or from the licensed trade in Great Britain. We do know, however, that the chances of getting a glass of whiskey in an English public house are very limited. The chances of getting a bottle of Guiness in an English public house are also very limited.

Whatever the position may be as regards supplies, there is no comparison between the situation here and in Great Britain. Here, you have a large rural population as against a highly urbanised population in Great Britain. Here, the majority of our wage-earners are agricultural labourers whose average earnings do not exceed 50/- a week. There, you have a highly industrialised population whose average earnings must be considerably more than £5 or £6 a week. From the point of view of capacity to pay, there is no analogy between the average British worker and the average Irish worker. As I see this taxation in its effect, the consumer of stout and beer is being compelled to pay an exorbitant price for what is, when compared with pre-war quality, an inferior beer, while the retailer will in some cases have to close his doors and in many cases to let his staff go. He will find it almost impossible to carry on because of the reduced consumption resulting from this tax. If money has to be found, there are various ways and means of finding it other than those adopted by the Minister.

I do not subscribe to the principles advocated by Deputy MacBride and Deputy O'Leary that we should look for some other backs to bear this burden. I believe that the Government have tackled the whole question of the cost of living and our present economic condition from a wrong end. I firmly believe that this Government should have addressed itself to the question of effecting economies in the public services. I do not advocate any form of increased taxation. Already, this country is carrying too high a burden of taxation. In particular, the middle classes of this country are so overburdened with taxation that they have now become our new poor. In these conditions, instead of looking around for other backs to bear more burdens, the Government should have addressed itself to the more serious problem of effecting economies in the public services, if necessary, by drastic measures.

I can recall a time when Mussolini, at the height of his power, put a Finance Minister in charge in Italy and, within one week, he dismissed 55,000 State employees, as a necessary preliminary to effecting economies in the public services and to reducing the cost of living for the Italians. I believe that we want something of that mentality in the people in charge of our public affairs. The Minister should address himself to the problem of reducing the number of public servants, to reducing the number of unnecessary Government Departments, to reducing the number of Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries, to reducing the strength of the Army, the police and, of course, the Civil Service. For a community of less than 3,000,000 people I believe that we are over-administered by the present administration. This country could do with something between half and two-thirds of its present personnel to administer its affairs but, of course, this Government, since it came into office, has sought by every means in its power, not to reduce personnel in public administration, but rather to increase personnel in order that its camp followers may have the jobs and the plums.

What we should do is call a halt to the present squandering, the present extravagance in public administration and, having decided to call a halt to that extravagance, then see by what reasonable measures we can succeed in reducing the cost of administration. We have too many Ministers, too many Parliamentary Secretaries, too many Government Departments, too many Government officials, too much State interference in the private and business life of our people. We want to get rid of that paraphernalia. If the Minister would address himself to the problem, then I suggest seriously that it would be unnecessary for us to come to this House to argue against such measures as we are arguing against to-night.

I seriously put it to the Minister that he ought to reverse engines and address himself to the very serious problem that I have indicatedretrenchment in the public services. If Fianna Fáil cannot see the wood for the trees, cannot see the error of their ways, in these matters, they ought for once to listen to some reason from this side of the House. This community is groaning under an ever-increasing burden of taxation.

May I remind the Deputy that we are on Committee Stage? Suggestions might be in order to a certain extent.

I am suggesting an alternative to the present tax methods adopted by the Minister for Finance.

On a section dealing with beer.

On a section dealing with beer. I have said what I have to say.

I know the discussion has ranged very wide, but if on every section there is to be a Second Reading debate, we will never finish.

We had a very wide discussion before you came in.

It went very far afield. I do not want to trespass on the time of the House, but I want seriously to suggest to the Government and to the people sitting on the benchess behind the Government that the first principle to be adopted with a view to reducing the cost of living is the reduction of taxation and that can only come about by a serious effort being made to reduce the cost of administration of all our public services. That is the field for the Government and that is the field that the Minister should be operating in now.

I think it is reasonable to amplify what Deputy Coogan has said by pointing out that when you have raised the cost of the supply services of this country to £52,000,000, it is time to finance additional expense out of retrenchment rather than new taxation. That suggestion will be countered, as it invariably is, from Government benches by the inquiry as to whether we advocate the reduction of old-age pensions. My answer—it is only my answer—to that is that I suggest the reductions might be made under Estimates Nos. 11, 55, 61 and 63. If we postponed the acquisition of our Lockheed Constellations, or whatever they call them, and did with a little less ta-ra-ra-boom-dee-ay for the Director of the Government Publicity Bureau to write about, it probably would not be necessary to put 3d. a pint on stout.

So far as intoxicants are concerned, I am not a teetotaller, but 25 years' experience of rural Ireland has persuaded me of this, that I would never protest against any taxation on spirits provided it did not rise above the point which called forth poteen. If you raise the price of whiskey in rural Ireland above a certain price, the tendency for the illicit still to be brought into operation grows in geometric progression. They cannot work the still at present, because in the decadent days we live in the habit of manufacturing illicit rum has taken the place of manufacturing illicit whiskey, which used to be the rule, and there is no sugar with which to make the rum at the present time. I believe that if the present level of taxation on spirits were maintained when supplies of sugar were freely available, you would have a very large output of peculiarly poisonous poteen in rural Ireland.

Another thing I also learned, in 25 years of rural life, is that no one ever became a real "drunk" on porter. The men who became "drunks", menaces to themselves, to their neighbours and their families, are the men who drink spirits. Porter, as it is popularly called—"stout", in fashionable circles —is very largely consumed in rural Ireland for its food value. What is a man to do who comes in with cattle to a fair at 4 o'clock in the morning, stands at the fair and wants to get a bit to eat and a drop to drink before he goes home? If all the men in the fair had to go in and wait for a pot of tea to be brewed for each one of them, there would be queues stretching the length of the town. It is not an unreasonable suggestion that a man so circumstanced should get something before he faces a walk home. You cannot go in and eat bread and cheese or bread and ham if you have not got something to wash it down, and it is scarcely reasonable to expect countrymen to drink lemonade. What else can they drink except a bottle of stout? No one will maintain that stout is the exclusive drink of the very wealthy; manifestly it is the drink of the average person in this country, so that a tax on beer is a tax to which every section of the community must contribute. That, in general, is a sound principle; but if the poor are already heavily pressed by a rise in the cost of living and by exceptional burdens, there seems to be a good enough reason for trying to lighten the burden on their back so far as you can.

This tax will be largely paid by poor people. You may say, as the Minister for Finance says: "Let them drink less." That, I suppose, is a legitimate representation but, of course, it does savour of Marie Antoinette, incongruous as the comparison may appear between Marie Antoinette and the Minister for Finance. You can say to the person who has no bread: "Why not eat cake," and you can say to the person who is choking on a hunk of bread and a lump of cheese on it: "Drink less, my boy; stout is very fattening." Unless he takes spring water, he cannot get the bit of bread down his throat. You may say to a man who contemplates going out and being so extravagant as to spend 7½d. in a public house over a chat with his friends, that it would be better for him to stay at home. It might—and it might not: he might fight with his wife if he stayed at home. If he went out and were permitted to have his ordinary intercourse with his friends, which, after all, requires to be lubricated with something in addition to the flow of conversation, he would probably be better. It is one of the comparatively few relaxations of rural life that you can meet a friend and go in and drink a bottle of stout with him. Mind you, if it were the only means of getting money, I do not think, in all the circumstances in which we find ourselves at the present time, that it would be reasonable to say you could not contemplate this tax; but when it is perfectly obvious that the money is readily available in economies in existing supply services, I consider this tax to be a very severe imposition on the bulk of the people.

That is not all. Even if the Minister for Finance makes the case that there is no scope in the existing Estimates for economy and that he must have a large sum of money, I can suggest to him a method of collecting the bulk of this money, not exclusively from tourists but almost exclusively from people who can afford to pay it and whose user of their money at the present time is contributing to the economic problems with which we are confronted. Let him put on a sales tax. It is a very simple tax to administer, if the number of commodities affected by it are limited. If he chooses out a range of articles which people who are flush with money might reasonably be expected to desire ardently, but which people who are short of money could struggle along without for another couple of years, and puts a heavy sales tax on those things, the people who are spending money with an inflationary effect will find their spending potential substantially reduced and the tourist who comes here to purchase things that he cannot get in his own country, will still be able to purchase those articles but will leave after him, in the sales tax he pays, a very substantial contribution to the revenue of this State.

I can conceive already of a list of articles to which I would apply a sales tax and could publish it in the morning. I know that it is not a prudent thing for a member of the Opposition to be suggesting other commodities on which to put a tax, but prudent or foolish, if I were Minister for Finance in the morning and had to get the money—and I do not admit that this Minister has to get the money at all— I would put a sales tax on fur coats and expensive outside clothing, as I regard such articles as articles without which people could struggle along.

I would put it on men's suits. I see people in England going about with patches on their clothes and no one thinks a bit the less of them for that and most of us could get on for another couple of years, if it were violently urgent to do so, without renewing our clothes. We would not look very smart, but it could be done and the man who sported a new suit let him pay for the privilege. I think you would be bound to exclude from that proviso children's clothes, as children grow out of their clothes and even though the fabric remains intact what fitted them last year will not fit them this year. I would put it on furniture, on carpets, and I would make a proviso that newly-married couples setting up house for the first time would be entitled to an exemption on so much furniture or carpets up to a certain value, so that they could get started. But one who wanted to replace a worn out armchair or shabby couch or a carpet with a hole in it could carry on for a couple of years. If they did not want to carry on, let them go and buy it but pay the sales tax.

I would put it on most yarn goods— textiles, woollens and silks. I would put it on paint. If someone wants to paint the house from top to toe, I would let him paint away but let him pay for it. Everything is dear, but I am envisaging a situation in which it is vital to get money. I do not think it is necessary at all now: I think the Minister could get it out of the sub-heads to which I have referred earlier, but in preference to putting it on stout which is consumed by rich and poor alike I am trying to devise a tax which would impose itself upon the inflationeer, if I can so call him, in our domestic circle and upon the wealthy tourist coming here to buy whatever he could because he could not get it at home.

I would put it on confectionery, and I would put it on cosmetics. These are just categories of goods that I thought of while sitting here, but I venture to swear that if one were to put one's mind down to it he could easily devise means very quickly of raising this £750,000, and reassure oneself that here it was genuinely true to say that if anyone found the tax an unbearable burden he need not pay it. Anybody can do without an armchair. Theoretically, anyone can do without a bottle of stout, and theoretically anyone can go to Lough Derg, but in practice some people are better able to stand the rigours of self-denial, whether they are at Lough Derg or at the fair on a fair morning, than their neighbours.

I want to say a word about publicans. I am a publican. Many a bottle of stout I bottled and many a bottle of stout I sold, but it is quite a mistake to imagine, as the Minister for Finance seems to imagine, that the average small publican in rural Ireland bottles his own stout because he does not. He is a damn fool if he does because he has not got the facilities to do it. He has a funnel and a jug, and unless he puts a drop of "single" in he wastes more with the funnel and the jug than he will earn in profit. The bottles will not be rightly washed or rightly corked, and the bottle of stout when it is poured out will not be what it should be.

The average small publican in this country buys his bottled stout from a wholesale bottler, and it is on the difference between what he pays the wholesale bottler and on what he gets from the consumer that he makes his profit. Those small publicans are suffering, more especially when you remember that the balance of their trade was made up of small "half-ones" of whiskey which they have not got to-day, and of small "half-ones" of sherry and port which they are now unable to get.

The Minister for Finance said that there was twice as much wine in bond to-day as there was on this same day in 1939, but he does not seem to realise that, in 1939, the quantity kept in bond was very small. You did not buy the wine long before you wanted to sell it. Stocks at that time were passing through the bonded warehouses in a steady stream. Now you buy a supply wherever you can get it, however you can get it and you buy it on any terms. You plant it in a bonded store, or wherever else you can keep it, knowing full well that, when you actually want it, it may be possible to get it. I would buy ten hogsheads of port to-morrow morning, which I would have no prospect of selling for a long time, but still I would jump at it if I could get it. I know well I could not get it, whereas pre-war I would not dream of buying such a quantity.

I am talking of the publican's trade and not of the vintage trade. I am speaking of port which the publicans sell in "half-ones"—the good old Sandeman's three-star. All this means that the small publican will be very nearly put out of business, and that is a great hardship. I live in a town where there are 72 public houses amongst 1,100 people. That is too many public houses, but still, they all are decent respectable people, and they manage to get a living. It is a hardship to close their doors.

There is something that you are all missing here and it is very important. The real truth is that so far as Guinness' stout is concerned—bearing in mind that there is a rationing control of the total supply available—I doubt very much if there will be any material reduction in the amount of Guinness' stout taken all over the country. A small publican may suffer, but if he relinquishes his quota he can find a bar-parlour with the populous, wealthy, money-spending crowd going in there, that will take up his Guinness quota, so that the total quantity of Guinness sold will remain approximately the same. I do not believe, however, that is true of the output of the Irish breweries. If one were to try to dispose of a quota of Irish beer one would not find many takers. I am speaking now of the light, yellow beer as opposed to the black beer of Guinness. In any of the large centres of population it is almost certain that there will be found an almost unlimited demand to buy a Guinness quota—not so the brew of our Irish breweries. An increase in price will, I think, materially reduce the consumption and the output of those breweries.

That is all I have to say. I think that you are doing wrong about this tax. You are going to hurt the small publicans and they have to live like the rest of us. I think you are doing wrong because you could raise the revenue, if necessary, by savings on the sub-heads that I have mentioned. I think you are doing doubly wrong, because if you have not got the spunk to raise the revenue by savings you could raise it by a sales tax which would be equitable and just. I know that I might as well be talking to the man in the moon as to be telling that to the lot over there.

There are not many of them there.

There are three, if you count the Minister as one.

That is a compliment.

For the record it is right to set it down that when these problems came before us there was to be found in this legislative Assembly the right solution for the particular problem and the failure to put it into effect was not due to Parliament but to the blister which the Irish people in the exercise of their sovereign right to do wrong have inflicted upon Leinster House.

The tourist has been brought into this debate as a person on whom a tax might be put. I listened to a strange argument in connection with the tourist. I understand the Minister for Finance to have the view that he would willingly tax tourists who come into this country were it not for two difficulties. His first difficulty is that any scheme suggested to him so far has been, in his mind, an expensive one: the administrative costs would go far towards outweighing any revenue he might derive from it. Therefore, he outcasts it. I have suggested to him more than once in this House that if he took a proper attitude towards the value of the British pound and made arrangements accordingly he could deal with tourists as well as dealing with a whole lot of other inflationary matters that are happening here. The Minister has a second difficulty. He says that many of these tourists are our own people. Apparently he feels we might induce some of these people back if we give them a good time during the period they spend here on holidays. When I heard him speak of this at first I was anxious to know how many of the tourists who come here would be classified by him as our own emigrants returning to us for a brief spell. To-night he gave the information that it is 75 per cent. When I think of last summer and when I think of the number of people who happened to cross my path as I was going through the streets whom I thought I recognised as English of the English by their speech—by the particular accentuation they had and by the method of dropping an initial letter occasionally in words and slamming it on in the wrong places. Apparently, these were folk from the Gaeltacht who, having gone to England, had learned English first there and had picked it up with an English accent. Of course, the thing is ludicrous. It is ludicrous to assert that 75 per cent. of the people who came this year are our own emigrants. I am going to accept that figure for the purpose of asking the Minister to give me the solution to another problem that has always worried me. The tourist, in the course of the Minister's speech, merged into the emigrant. We heard a lot of talk about the difficult type of life that has to be led in England.

The Minister, in answer to one of the Deputies on my right, said the wages that were being paid here were superior to the wages paid in England, and he gave examples. He went through the usual list of expensive items in England. He built up a picture-of a man who spends almost his entire earnings on either whiskey or beer, plus tobacco of some sort and, by making a man on the other side devote a tremendous fraction of his income to either drink of some sort and tobacco, he can make a case that the expenses on the other side are extremely heavy. He goes further. He says all expenses are much heavier than they are here and wages here, in the Minister's round statement, are better than they are on the other side. The situation, therefore, is that our people who are going across to England in very big numbers —numbers that have caused heart searchings here amongst most people; numbers that have actually caused a pronouncement by the bishops of this country deploring it, and that have recently drawn from the head of Muintir na Tire a statement that the Pope was grieved at the amount of emigration that has taken place here— are leaving better wages here than they can get on the other side and, in addition, they have to live more expensively on the other side than they can live here. The problem I want answered is this. If the situation be correctly expressed by the Minister can he explain this further point? The Minister for Industry and Commerce in his speech at Letterkenny just before the by-elections started stated that the tourists in the last season had brought in £17,000,000 into this country. If three-quarters of these were Irish and had brought three-quarters of the money, then they were responsible for something approaching £13,000,000 of the amount—£12,750,000 to be exact. A couple of years ago our emigrants remittances to this country were put as high as £13,000,000. One of those sums may have gone down. Let us take it that they are both being paid. Twenty-six million pounds are sent into this country in a year by those who have emigrated and have gone to live in England. What is the number of emigrants? The Government put the figure at 100,000. I think it is far more.

Supposing it is 100,000 and supposing every emigrant is sending in the same amount of money either as a tourist or sending it as a remittance the subscription by each is £260 a year. If there are 200,000 emigrants, and of course that is nearer the figure, and if they are all sending the same amount of money, every emigrant is sending into this country £130 a year. They are doing that according to the Minister on worse wages than they are getting here and after they have lived a most expensive life, paying all sorts of taxes and high prices for commodities in England.

Will the Deputy say what relation his remarks bear to the matter under discussion?

I am answering points made by the Minister. I have only been in for this tax. I am sorry you were not in the House to call the Minister for Finance to order when he was making these points as I, apparently, am being called to order for replying to them.

I am merely asking the Deputy what relation his remarks bear to the matter under discussion.

It is a pity somebody did not ask the Minister for Finance to relate his remarks to the matter under discussion. I am replying to remarks which he made in connection with the tax. The situation appears to be that if there are 200,000 emigrants and if these figures are right we are getting about £130 a head from each of them. £2 10s. a week. £2 10s. a week is very nearly the average wage earned here by people, yet it appears that the emigrants, after living expensively in England and paying heavy taxes, can send that sum home. I would like to have the answer to that. Something is wrong. Either we have sent more emigrants or else something is wrong. Of course, if there are 500,000 emigrants, each is sending home considerably less per head of the amount.

It may be, of course, that this £17,000,000 paid in here was not paid by our emigrants returning for a holiday. I think that is partly the answer. Of course, some part of it was, but whatever the numbers be, 100,000 or 200,000, they are responsible for £13,000,000 in emigrants' remittances per annum. That is a considerable sum for people to send over here considering that they have to live under the expensive conditions and under the poor wages they are supposed to get in England. I would not like to follow Deputy Dillon in his search for new taxes. This country has had too much taxation. Government extravagance has gone up to a point beyond what it was ever imagined it could go. It is about time we stopped searching for new taxes and began to bend our attention to reductions and economies and to something that will avoid the necessity for anything in the nature of a new tax, or lead to a remission of taxation.

Last night, I gave three ways in which economies might be made. I want to repeat them. This year, we purchased five Constellations at a cost of £1,250,000. They are going up do some flights between here and some other countries. Over and over again, when questions have been put about the money that is being spent here on air services, we have been told that there is no expectation that these services will pay. It is a matter of national prestige—commonly known as getting ourselves on the map. Now, we may when we get a bit richer, and a bit better off, want to put ourselves on the map, and we may want to boost up our national pride and get all the prestige that is possible. Could we not have remitted the whole of whatever national prestige is attached to the purchase of five Constellations and have saved in a year the expenditure of £1,250,000? I recognise that that only gets over the tax for a year and that what we are faced with here is a tax, which is supposed to be necessary and which is going to bring in £830,000 in a half year, and that we have to look for £1,600,000 in a full year.

Again, I pointed out last night to one swollen estimate. The aviation and meteorological services used to be run at about £700,000. This year, the services are over £1,500,000, that is about £1,600,000. It has jumped by nearly £1,000,000. Why? Is this again national prestige? If it is, is it desirable to have national prestige at such a height and at such an expensive height, at a time when the community is so hard up that subsidies have to be paid on tea, sugar and flour in order to bring the cost of living back to the highest point it has ever reached in this country—that was last May—since before the war?

Finally, I come to the greatest field for economy that there is in this country. Before 1931 the Army was reduced to an ordinary footing. The expense of the Army ran somewhere in the region of £1? million-about £1,130,000. It was certainly good enough for peacetimes in those day. I am told, of course, that the cost of paying the personnel has gone up. Let me admit that it should go up. It has not gone up to the point that was necessary. The pay of the personnel was not £500,000 in those days. But let us add on another £500,000 to the £1,130,000 and you get a figure just short of £1,750,000. The Army at the present moment is costing something in the region of £4,750,000. It is over £4,600,000. To keep the Army at the same strength as we had prewar, but doubling the pay of all the officers, non-commission officers and men it would be possible to have an Army of that strength at £1,600,000. The present Army this year is costing us £4,600,000. Why can we not save that £3,000,000? If we had that £3,000,000 saved we would not need to search any further for some way to avoid the necessity for this tax on beer to bring in £1,600,000 in a full year.

I would suggest to the Minister that if he has any sympathy with the people in this country, if he has any regard to the suffering that their policy has put upon the people in the last five or six years he should look for economies rather than search for new avenues of taxation. During the war in England people suffered under the usual conditions of war. But if they did, the English Government decided that the poor man was not going to suffer financially and, through the use of the discriminating tax weapon, there is at this moment in England a better distribution of property than they have ever had since that nation was founded. In this country we have gone in the opposite direction. We have thrown more people below what was regarded as the border-line approaching poverty-the £150-a-year man. We have 100,000 of our citizens more ill-equipped in that respect than we had in 1938-39. Nobody will ever attempt to calculate the figure accurately of what the people suffered in the seven years. In England people may have had to do without certain commodities, but they got pay. They were able to save and their savings are still there. A certain proportion of their wages was put into deferred savings and those savings are still there for them. The people here had nothing in which they could effect a saving, except what was sent home by the emigrants. The people here cashed in on life insurance policies and any other little thing they had in the way of subsidy. They took their children from school. They sold their furniture and their carpets and generally degraded themselves in their standard of living and deprived themselves of any advancement in health or in prospects towards education and good living. The people of this country in the last seven years have been made to pay a fantastic sum—one, as I say, which will never be accurately calculated. But it ought to be recognised that, although the calculation cannot be well made, they did suffer. If we could put a figure on it as a sort of token it would be an enormous sum.

I suggest that if there is any feeling, any sympathy, or any heart in Ministers they would now be bending every bit of education they have and using every scrap of intelligence they have to reduce taxation instead of looking for new fields in which to walk with their tax-gatherers. There is one way open to them—the Army—in which they can immediately effect a saving of £3,000,000 and set this country in the advantageous position of having that £3,000,000 a year to spend either on something more commendable or for reducing taxation.

This discussion has gone on for a considerable time and practically all the points have been adequately covered. Despite the discussion we can all forecast the result, whether the Opposition Parties like or dislike this tax. If we talked here for the next three weeks our arguments would make not the slightest impression on the Minister for Finance or his colleagues. One would naturally conclude that those of us who are total abstainers would be glad to see stout and beer taxed out of existence. Those of us who understand the country people, and particularly those people who earn their living by manual labour, realise that a bottle of stout or beer is essential to them in their daily toil. Both stout and beer possess a certain amount of nourishment. It was pointed out here that men who stand all day at fairs need a bottle or two of stout to help them on the road home. Heavy manual workers generally want something to clear their throats after their day's labour. Instead of being a luxury stout is to them a very essential commodity. It is surprising—and yet, perhaps, it is not so very surprising—that the Minister for Finance has turned his attention to the poorer classes of the community, because the Fianna Fáil Administration has made itself very prominent by the way in which it can fleece the poor and make them poorer and encourage the rich and make them richer, and this tax on beer and stout is something that we should have expected from the present Minister and his colleagues. We can talk and object, but the Division bell will sound and the Minister will lead his flock up the steps into the Division Lobby.

And you will follow the other flock.

I am glad you have wakened up, because you were asleep for the last half hour.

I was not asleep.

Then you should go asleep now and it would be a help to the debate. The flock will follow the leader and the tax will go on the stout. The Minister aims at collecting something over £800,000 in six months by this tax on this "unnecessary luxury" we are told so much about, to subsidise something else in order to reduce the cost of living. His knowledge of thepeople must be very small, because otherwise he would say to himself that he would try some other line of taxation rather than taxation of a commodity which the average man uses now and again when the occasion demands it. We have had from Deputy MacBride and Deputy Dillon a list of things which could be taxed and the taxation of which would only impose penalties on the wealthier classes. The Minister should be grateful to these Deputies, because he has now a new line on which to advance when he needs more money. Even though he may be a little slow in taxing the wealthier classes who are such bosom pals of his and of his colleagues, he will know whom to squeeze when he decides to squeeze a little more money for the purchase of Constellation aircraft or-the upkeep of a gigantic Army or the upkeep of battalions of inspectors, or-the Cosmic Physics Institute, or some of the other things which the Government have introduced during the last year or so.

In time the Minister may go down as a great hero because of the manner in which he succeeded in stamping out the abuses of intoxicating liquor, because there is no doubt that the consumption of drink has decreased during the last few weeks and will decrease considerably, as the average man with a small salary, even though he may like a bottle or a pint of stout, definitely finds that, with the other bills he has to meet to keep up his household, he cannot afford it. The Minister for Finance can almost put himself on the same level as Father Mathew who started the temperance campaign and who had such success with his total abstinence association, except that the Minister has gone about it in a different way and is administering what is called the Irishman's pledge by emptying the purchaser's pockets so that he will not have the price of the commodity in question.

We near about the necessity for increased production and in most countries an immense amount of manual labour must be used in order to increase production. In this country we must depend on agricultural production in order to increase our output of essential commodities so that we can export and establish a foreign trade. In order to produce those commodities the people who work and sweat should be encouraged in some way other than by clapping a tax of 3d. on the pint of porter and 4½d. per ounce, or whatever it is, on tobacco. If the present Government cannot find other ways of getting money to reduce the cost of living except by penalising the industrious worker who is willing to work in order to increase production, the sooner they admit their failure the better. As they have got into the habit of living somewhere in close proximity to the moon and have an over-all majority in this House which they can whip into the lobby, they think that those of their Party who complained to-day about the tax on beer and stout can find some excuse for voting for this tax even though they were opposed to it, and that the Irish people are so gullible that they will keep on swallowing these things as they have been swallowing them for the past 15 years just because the great geniuses of the Fianna Fáil Front Bench decide that the people are to be told these things and will believe them.

I object to the tax on this essential commodity, even though it may be regarded by the Minister as an "unnecessary luxury". Even though I have been a teetotaller all my life, I still regard a pint of stout as very essential for a working man. If the Minister economised by reducing some-of the salaries that were increased in the past six or eight months in this House and by not squandering money on the different brainless schemes which he and his colleagues have been responsible for, I think he would be doing something which would be more beneficial for the country and be able to reduce the cost of living without clapping this tax on a commodity which people take occasionally to help them to carry on their day's work.

The matter under discussion affects the common people about whom we have heard so much. The man in the street is affected by this proposed tax on beer. There is no doubt that beer and stout are popular commodities which are consumed by a large section of the community. Nobody objects to that. In principle there is nothing wrong in a man consuming a certain amount of beer and stout if he feels like it. I do not think, however, that the imposition of this 1½d. on a bottle of stout and 3d. on the pint will seriously affect very many people. A tax at 1/6 on a dozen of stout will not mean the difference between pleasure and total prohibition. Most, if not all, commodities have increased in price in the last half-dozen years. Many commodities that we use in our everyday lives have doubled in price, but I think I am right in saying that the price of stout or beer has not increased for the last five or six years. The bottle of stout in 1940 was 7d.

In some areas in the country, particularly in Leinster and in the south, the price of the bottle of stout was only 6d. up to this Budget. I often wondered why traders in the south could sell stout at a lesser price than traders in other areas but 1/6 per dozen of an increase will not mean the difference between prohibition and the pleasure that everybody is entitled to have. The price of stout has increased by a smaller amount, even with the increased taxation, than the price of any other commodity in general use. It is a peculiar thing when we hear people talk about the terrible taxation this Budget is going to impose on the poor that if we throw our minds back a number of years, say, 20 years, we shall find that the people paid more in taxation on beer than has been paid for the past year. I have been looking up some records for the year 1924, a year that I am sure a number of people will remember fairly well, when rates of wages and prices for agricultural products or industrial products were not nearly so high as they are now. I think the rate of agricultural wages might be anything from 25/- to 30/- a week at that time.

Twenty-four shillings a week.

The skilled worker's wages were not anything like what they are to-day. I am talking about the sections referred to here all day and yesterday evening, the poorer wage earners. In the year 1924 there was paid into the Exchequer as taxes on beer £5,600,000 while in the year 1946 there was paid in only £4,800,000. It seems extraordinary that away back 23 years ago, people drinking beer and stout actually paid over £750,000 more in taxation than they did last year. They paid it out of less wages and out of lower prices for all the commodities they had to sell. Even with the increased taxation, on the Minister's estimate of the yields, they pay less in 1947-48 than they paid in 1924. Yet I am sure the income of the whole community is at least double what it was in that year. Deputies should think over these figures, when drawing the long bow making propaganda and making good the going for the coming race. They should think twice in trying to make the case that the only enemy of the working man in this country is the Government.

They were so full of bacon and butter at that time that they had no room for drink.

I am afraid I cannot hear the Deputy. We heard various suggestions during the evening about taxation and a colleague of mine made a most outlandish suggestion—I think it was that G.A.A. games should be taxed. I am sure the Minister would not entertain that suggestion for a moment. I would say it would be wrong to tax these games. I do not believe that that Deputy, my colleague in the representation of Wexford, would have made that suggestion if almost all other suggested sources of taxation had not been exhausted. I think that was the only reason that that new form of taxation was suggested. It is the first time, I think, that it was suggested.

You might look into it some time.

I am sure it will be a long time until all the suggestions made to the Minister to-night will be exhausted. I am sure he could raise £100,000,000 if he adopted the many suggestions that were made to benefit the working man or the poorer classes in the country. It seems that no one ever thought before of all the brilliant suggestions made to the Minister to-night. It is a wonder that some of these suggestions have not been put into operation in other countries. If the members of this Government are brainless, callous and indifferent to the needs of the poor sections of the community, as has been alleged, it is a wonder that some other Government in some other country would not have thought of some of these brilliant suggestions before. According to these standards, even across the water where we have a poor man's Government, a Socialist Government, a Labour Government, they are callous and indifferent. They are unjust to their people. They pile on taxation day after day, millions and millions of taxation. Instead of the man in London having to pay 8½d. for his bottle of stout he has to pay 1/2 or 1/3. I wonder what he pays for his "smokes"? We have to pay 2/- for 20 but the man across the water is compelled by a worker's Government to pay 3/4.

After a great war.

It is a wonder that the geniuses of this House do not make some suggestions to the Government across the water——

Mr. Corish

We are getting very fond of the British Government.

——as to how they should raise taxation. When they have such brilliant suggestions to offer to the Minister for Finance here, why do they not slip the word to their friends across the water?

A Deputy

To your friends, not ours.

This is the only country in the world, according to the Opposition, in which the working man is taxed. One would think listening to Deputies for the last few days that ours was the only Government that imposed taxation on the poorer sections of the community. I pointed out that, 23 years ago——

The Deputy is conveniently overlooking the relative incomes.

And the 24/- a week for the agricultural labourer.

In that year they paid £5,600,000 on beer and last year they paid £4,800,000. If the Deputy can explain that, he is welcome to it. The Deputy spent half an hour talking, to my mind, a good lot of nonsense.

What about a tax on auctioneers—would that not be a good idea?

The Deputy spoke the greatest tripe that was ever spoken in this House and no one interrupted him. If he had two sound ideas his brains would be heard rattling.

Compare the cost of living in 1924 and the cost of living now.

This Budget is one that the Government can stand over. It was not brought in for the purpose of catching votes; it was brought in at a critical time when there were by-elections on. The Government knew what they were doing. They did not court the favour of the voters simply because it might be popular to do so. The decent, common people of the country will never sell their country for the price of a pint of beer.

This Budget has been well thrashed out and I think if the Minister had only carefully considered this matter he would never have introduced such a Budget. It deserves all the praise it got from every side of the House. It is a sour Budget and it has brought nothing but gloom all over the country. I wish the Minister could have attached something novel to it, something at which the people could laugh. I heard Deputy Dillon giving a list of the things that could more suitably be taxed. I am quite satisfied that there is no reason for increased taxation. We have an Army, a Navy and a Civil Service. We should apply the slash-hook to these, cut them to the roots and thereby save millions for the taxpayers.

I will give the Dáil a list of things that I would like to see taxed. This list will bring a laugh to the people of the country, if nothing else. First of all, looking over at the smiling Minister, I would put a heavy tax on bald heads. On top of that, I would put a tax on moustaches. If we did that, there would be very few moustaches left and the ladies all over the country would be in better humour. Next I would put a tax on bachelors. I did not hear anybody talking about a tax on bachelors. Such a tax would bring in a fair amount of revenue. If it did not bring much revenue, at least it would bring some gladness to the heart of many a farmer's daughter, and many an old warrior now staying shy would be coaxed up a little. Next I would put a tax on lapdogs, the little dogs you can see being led through the streets—little Poms and other dogs of that type. I would tax them off the streets of Dublin.

Next, I would put a tax on permanent waves and I would make sure that the old fogeys all dolled up trying to look like their young daughters would pay for it. Then I would put a tax on golf, on cricket, on tennis, and on dog and horse racing. I would also put a tax on the G.A.A. and I would not be afraid to do that. If there is any Gaelic spirit at all in the G.A.A. they should be proud to pay a tax. Finally, I would put a tax on sports of other kinds. I expect that there are a few items in that list that the Minister will not be anxious to peruse.

I hope it will not be necessary for the Minister to appoint bald-headed inspectors or moustached inspectors.

The moment we put a tax on the bald heads, we will have a new factory—a factory for wigs. Fifteen or 20 years ago we had a great cry about the Cosgrave Government that took a shilling off the old age pensioners. They were nearly hounded to their graves for doing so, although it was not such a terrible thing. Fianna Fáil came along and knocked 8/- off the old age pensioner.

This section deals with the tax on stout and beer.

I merely wanted to bring some humour into this debate, because, for the most part, it was a dour and sour debate. The labouring man is well able to read for himself and he knows that through this Budget he has got it in the neck, so to speak, and he has to pay well for his pint and his tobacco. He knows he has been fooled for the past 15 years, but he will not be fooled much longer.

Question put.
The Committee divided: Tá, 58; Níl, 36.

  • Aiken, Frank.
  • Allen, Denis.
  • Bartley, Gerald.
  • Beegan, Patrick.
  • Blaney, Neal.
  • Bourke, Dan.
  • Brady, Brian.
  • Brady, Seán.
  • Breathnach, Cormac.
  • Brennan, Martin.
  • Brennan, Thomas.
  • Breslin, Cormac.
  • Briscoe, Robert.
  • Buckley, Seán.
  • Butler, Bernard.
  • Carter, Thomas.
  • Childers, Erskine H.
  • Colbert, Michael.
  • Colley, Harry.
  • Corry, Martin J.
  • Crowley, Honor Mary.
  • Derrig, Thomas.
  • De Valera, Vivion.
  • Flynn, Stephen.
  • Fogarty, Andrew.
  • Friel, John.
  • Furlong, Walter.
  • Gorry, Patrick J.
  • Harris, Thomas.
  • Hilliard, Michael.
  • Humphreys. Francis.
  • Kennedy, Michael J.
  • Killilea, Mark.
  • Kilroy, James.
  • Kissane, Eamon.
  • Lynch, James B.
  • McCann, John.
  • McCarthy, Seán.
  • McEllistrim, Thomas.
  • MacEntee, Seán.
  • McGrath, Patrick.
  • Moylan, Seán.
  • O Briain, Donnchadh.
  • O'Connor, John S.
  • O'Grady, Seán.
  • O'Reilly, Matthew.
  • Ormonde, John.
  • O'Rourke, Daniel.
  • O'Sullivan, Ted.
  • Rice, Bridget M.
  • Ruttledge, Patrick J.
  • Ryan, Mary B.
  • Skinner, Leo B.
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Traynor, Oscar.
  • Ua Donnchadha, Dómhnall.
  • Walsh, Laurence.
  • Walsh, Richard.

Níl

  • Anthony, Richard S.
  • Beirne, John.
  • Bennett, George C.
  • Blowick, Joseph.
  • Byrne, Alfred.
  • Coburn, James.
  • Cogan, Patrick.
  • Commons, Bernard.
  • Coogan, Eamonn.
  • Corish, Brendan.
  • Cosgrave, Liam.
  • Costello, John A.
  • Keyes, Michael.
  • Kinane, Patrick.
  • MacBride, Seán.
  • McGilligan, Patrick.
  • O'Higgins, Thomas F.
  • O'Leary, John.
  • Dockrell, Henry M.
  • Dockrell, Maurice E.
  • Donnellan, Michael.
  • Doyle, Peadar S.
  • Everett, James.
  • Fagan, Charles.
  • Finucane, Patrick.
  • Flanagan, Oliver J.
  • Giles, Patrick.
  • Heskin, Denis.
  • Hughes, James.
  • Keating, John.
  • O'Reilly, Patrick.
  • O'Sullivan, Martin.
  • Pattison, James P.
  • Rogers, Patrick J.
  • Sheldon, William A.W.
  • Spring, Daniel.
Tellers:—Tá: Deputies Ó Ciosain and Ó Cinneide; Níl: Deputies Doyle and Bennett.
Question declared carried.
Section 11 put and declared carried.
Section 12 agreed to.
SECTION 13.
The following amendments stood on the Order Paper:—
1. In sub-section (2) (a), page 9, lines 21 to 23, to delete "coming within one of sub-paragraphs (i) to (vi) of paragraph (a) of sub-section (4) of this section.—(Aire Airgeadais.)
2. In sub-section (4), page 9, to delete lines 55 to 60, and substitute the following:—
(4) The foregoing provisions of this section shall have effect if, but only if, the instrument contains a statement by the party to whom the property is being conveyed or transferred certifying that the person who becomes entitled to the entire beneficial interest in the property (or, where more than one person becomes entitled to a beneficial interest therein, each of them) is some specified one of the following— (Aire Airgeadais.)
3. In sub-section (4), to re-number each of the paragraphs by deleting the figures (i) to (vi) at the head of each paragraph and substituting, respectively, "(a)", "(b)", "(c)", "(d)", "(e)" and "(f)". —(Aire Airgeadais.)
4. In sub-section (4), page 10, lines 22 and 23, to delete "sub-paragraphs (i) to (v) of this paragraph" and insert "paragraphs (a) to (e) of this sub-section ".—(Aire Airgeadais.)
5. In sub-section (4), page 10, to delete " and" in line 24, and the whole of paragraph (b), lines 25 to 27. —(Aire Airgeadais.)
8. In sub-section (7) (a), page 11, line 1, to delete "sub-paragraphs (i) to (vi) of paragraph (a)" and insert " paragraphs (a) to (f)".—(Aire Airgeadais.

Amendments Nos. 1, 2 and 5 go together.

There are three or four amendments to this section which go together. The first amendment is consequential and I can explain it in relation to the second amendment, which relates to sub-section (4). The effect of amendment No. 2 is to delete the first six lines—page 9, lines 55 to 60—and also to delete paragraph (b) of the subsection—page 10, lines 25 to 27. A new paragraph is then introduced at the beginning of the sub-section.

The reason for the change is two-fold. As sub-section (4) was originally drafted, a person claiming the benefit, that is, a reduced rate of duty, of any one of the first three sub-sections had to fulfil two conditions; he had to fall, in fact, into one of the six categories mentioned in the sub-section and, in addition, he had to include in the conveyance a certificate stating that he was within the appropriate category. Whether the deed was correctly stamped depended ultimately on proof that he fell within the category stated in the certificate.

These joint requirements gave rise to two difficulties. In the first place a purchaser in order to ensure that the conveyance was correctly stamped would normally exercise the right which exists under the Stamp Act, 1891, of submitting the deed for adjudication. This procedure means that the deed is sent to the Revenue Commissioners who, after an examination of all the circumstances, state as their opinion the amount of duty chargeable on the deed. Such an examination would inevitably include an inquiry into the circumstances justifying the claim that the person correctly came into the category specified and it would impose an intolerable burden on the staff to conduct these inquiries which would cover birth, residence, etc., of the purchaser. At the present time only a minority of deeds are sent for adjudication and if the Revenue Commissioners were to be confronted with adjudication in all cases where the lower rate of duty was claimed the existing staff would require to be substantially increased.

The second difficulty was the position facing the person who later on purchased a property the conveyance for which, having been stamped at the rate of £5 per cent., had not been submitted for adjudication. One of the requirements of a good title is that the documents forming part of the title have been correctly stamped. A new purchaser could not be satisfied that a document was correctly stamped at the lower rate of £5 per cent. unless he were supplied with such information as would clearly establish that the person from whom he was purchasing was at the time of the original purchase within one of the privileged classes set out in the sub-section. For many reasons this might involve numerous and troublesome inquiries where a property was being sold after ten or 15 years. For example, the inquiries might have to be made after the death of the first owner when perhaps nobody could positively state his circumstances at the time he purchased the property.

The proposed amendment does not extend the circumstances in which the reduced rates apply nor does it weaken the penalty position where a false certificate is given. What it does is to make the certificate in the instrument conclusive evidence that the lower rate of duty applies. If a declaration is now contained in the instrument certifying that the person is within one of the specified classes, that declaration is in itself sufficient to make the lower rate of duty applicable. It obviates the necessity for sending conveyances for adjudication on this point. Also the mere fact that the declaration is on the instrument is complete evidence for a subsequent purchaser that the deed was correctly stamped at the lower rate. He is thus relieved of the burden of questioning the grounds on which the vendor, i.e., the first purchaser, claimed to be within one of the specified classes.

If this certificate or declaration is given where the actual facts do not justify it, the person making the declaration renders himself liable for a sum equivalent to double the duty chargeable.

By what Act?

By this Bill.

Where is it?

It is in sub-section (7) (b). This liability is not, however, of any concern to a subsequent purchaser as by reason of the certificate the document is, for his purposes, correctly stamped.

There are a couple of other consequential amendments I should like to advert to, with your permission, Sir.

It will facilitate the discussion probably.

It will. By amendment No. 1—sub-section (2) (a), page 9, lines 21 to 23—the words " coming" on line 21 down to "section" on line 23 are deleted. The reason for this is that the opening words of sub-section (4) as amended make it clear that sub-section (2) (a) can apply only where the condition in sub-section (4) is complied with It is, therefore, unnecessary to have this condition stated in sub-section (2) itself.

By amendment No. 3 to sub-section (4), the paragraphs previously numbered (i) to (vi) are now described as (a) to (f), and, as a consequence, the words " sub-paragraphs (i) to (v) of this paragraph" appearing on page 10, lines 22 and 23, are being amended by amendment No. 4 to " paragraphs (a) to (e) of this sub-section". It is a drafting amendment.

There is another amendment—amendment No. 8 to sub-section (7) (a), page 11, line 1. The words " sub-paragraphs (i) to (vi) of paragraph (a)" have also to be amended to "paragraphs (a) to (f)".

I move amendment No. 1.

Do we take it that amendment No. 1 is agreed? The essence of it is in No. 2, I think.

Amendment put and agreed to.

I move amendment No. 2.

I can raise on amendment No. 2 a point that I intended to raise on the section. All this is in the framework of the conveyance of the entire beneficial interest. Why is that? The Minister must know that there are many examples in this country of conveyances, say, as between father and children or, say, between a mother, when the father has predeceased her, and children, and where the parent retains right of residence. That type of transaction will certainly be ruled out under this phrase which necessitates that the entire beneficial interest shall be conveyed. I have always thought that in this country we had agreed that it was socially a good thing to induce, say, the parents who owned a farm to get off it and to make way for the younger people and the general device adopted was that the seniors did leave the land to a son, retaining themselves—having granted to themselves—right of dwelling.

This only applies to sales. That would not be a sale the Deputy is speaking of.

Would it not be? It sometimes takes the form of a sale.

When the fortune is handed over?

In any event, why insist on the "entire beneficial interest"? Why not leave it "main beneficial interest" or "beneficial interest"?

Because the type of transaction which the Deputy describes, that is, a father transferring a farm to his son and retaining right of residence, does not attract the higher rate of duty at all. That is our advice, that it does not attract the higher rate of duty.

Why? Because it is not a sale, as Deputy O'Connor suggests?

Because it does not attract it.

I do not understand why it never attracts it.

It does not attract it.

The Minister is probably aware of the fact that in marriage writings, as they call them in the country, very frequently the girl's fortune-is handed over to the boy's parents as part of the consideration and it is in effect a sale. How would that affect it?

The only thing about this. whole particular section is: It is designed, as I said, to do two things, that is, to take 5 per cent. of the increased value of land from people who sell for profit, for the consideration of getting money for it, and, secondly, to. put Irish people in a favourable competitive position with people coming in from abroad. There was a particular snag in this that I have dealt with in these amendments. There may be other snags and, if there are other snags, all we can do is to meet them and if there is some grave hardship, which has not been adverted to—I do not think there will be because the thing has been very thoroughly examined—it could be dealt with by way of annulment of the whole duty. With regard to Deputy McGilligan's question, I am advised that the type of transaction that he refers to will not attract the 5 per cent. rate of duty at all.

Is it clear that the circumstances referred to by Deputy Costello would never be considered a sale?

Not if it is a settlement. There is a special rate of duty for settlements.

Supposing the girl's fortune was handed over to the boy's parents in consideration that it is sold to them, reserving right of residence?

What we should like to be assured of is that under no circumstances, by any ingenuity on the part of the Revenue Commissioners, would that case that Deputy Costello describes be considered a sale.

My advice is that it is not a sale.

They are very mild to-night.

All I will say is that if there is anything, and I had the responsibility of doing it, if it were treated as a sale we could amend it.

Will you consider it between now and Report Stage ?

There is no necessity to do that.

Is amendment No. 2 agreed?

On that guarantee, which will not count in court, unfortunately.

The snags may be there still.

Amendment put and agreed to.

I move amendment No. 3.

Amendment put and agreed to.

I move amendment No. 4.

I have not looked at these as they only came to-night, but one of these drafting amendments talks about paragraphs (a) to (f) and the next one refers to (a) to (e). Is that all right?

It is all right, yes.

Amendment put and agreed to.

I move amendment No. 5.

Amendment put and agreed to.

I move amendment No. 6:—

At the end of paragraph (a), page 10, to add a new sub-paragraph (vii) as follows:—

or

(vii) The Revenue Commissioners are satisfied that the property comprised in the instrument is intended to be used and occupied for the purposes of any religious, cultural, educational, charitable, benevolent, sporting or athletic society or body whether incorporated or not.

When I examined this Bill I found the exemptions in favour of the lower rate of duty were given to persons and to corporations but only to incorporated bodies. There was no exemption in favour of unincorporated bodies, and it occurred to me that we have many such bodies in the country, particularly religious orders, sporting organisations, such as football, golf, and tennis clubs, and that if one of such unincorporated bodies was to purchase property they would only get the exemption to the lower rate of duty if every one of them was either an Irish citizen or resident here for three years. The only other way they could get the exemption would be to farm a company. I think that would be a result that was never intended by the Minister, and I thought the amendment first should try to make an embracing description of the kind of organisation. I abandoned that and I thought it would be more convenient to make the exemption by reference to the use to which the land or premises was to be put. For that reason I proposed this amendment.

If the Deputy refers to sub-section (4) it will be seen that the lower rate of duty applies where the beneficial interest in the property vests in persons or bodies who come within any of the six specified classes. The word "person" in the old paragraph (b), which is now 4 (a) (ii), is to be construed in accordance with the Interpretations Act of 1937 as importing a body corporate and an unincorporated body of persons as well as an individual. So, therefore, a body corporate or an unincorporated body or an individual will get the benefit of the lower rate of duty provided the beneficial interest vests in them and he or they come within the six specified classes.

They would have to be incorporated before the 15th October.

That is only one of the cases.

Where is the other?

Sub-section (4) (b).

That is gone. What takes its place ?

Sub-section (4) (a) (ii): "a person who is for the time being ordinarily resident in the State and who was ordinarily resident in the State continuously for three years". "A person" there means, according to the Interpretation Act, either an individual, a body corporate, or an nonincorporated body of persons.

If the Minister is satisfied that that is the case—he will have the difficulty of dealing with these people if they find they have to pay the higher duty—I am satisfied to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment No. 7:

In sub-section (6) (b) after the word property in line 49, to add "is the husband or the wife or parent of the person immediately theretofore entitled," and after the word "sister" in line 56 to add "or as brother or sister of a parent".

This amendment is suggested by the Incorporated Law Society. The principle behind it is to apply the same ruling to settlements of this kind as is applied in the case of legacy duties, where a reduced rate of 5 per cent. applies upwards to an uncle and downwards to a nephew. If the same is applied here, it would cover a great many cases. There are many cases where a man might want to assign property to his parents or to his uncle, just as many as there would be as in relationship the other way; and I suggest to the Minister that, when he is giving the exemption at all, he might as well widen it a little more and let all in in the same degree of relationship.

That would be widening it very much more than we could go at this stage.

What is the difference? The phrase at the moment is "where a person is related".

It is a lineal descendant, where it is a son or a daughter, or the son or daughter of a brother or sister. Deputy O'Connor wants that he should also be able to transfer it on the lower rate to his uncle or aunt, or from a son back to his father. I am going down in lineal descent and, as far as I can see, Deputy O'Connor is going up. He wants the nephew to be able to transfer to the uncle.

This is anti-parent.

It is pro-son.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment No. 8:

In sub-section (7) (a), page 11, line 1, to delete "sub-paragraphs (i) to (vi) of paragraph (a)" and insert "paragraphs (a) to (f)".

We have dealt with this.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 9:—

In sub-section (7) (c) to delete the words "within three months" in line 17.

This amendment is designed to leave to the Revenue Commissioners the full and absolute discretion to grant a remission of a penalty at any time in a case where they think fit. They are quite a hardy, tough body of men and can be trusted not to remit penalties that they should not remit. It is most undesirable that there should be any limit placed upon the time during which they may remit a penalty. Solicitors are very much concerned with this particular matter, as if a mistake is made in the solicitor's office and there is an omission to stamp a document, is is very seldom discovered within three months. If this section passes as it stands, when the three months have gone by, the Revenue Commissioners will no longer have any discretion, as the penalty will become automatic and there will be no getting out of it.

An answer to that is that mistakes should not occur in solicitors' offices and we must agree with that; but solicitors or their assistants may become ill or die and documents may be left for a couple of months. I am satisfied that cases will arise where the Revenue Commissioners, tough and all as they are, will be anxious to remit the penalty, but will be prevented by these words "within three months" from so doing.

The same set of circumstances happened before in the Stamp Act of 1891. I find there was a stamping limit of three months but that limit was taken away by an Act passed four years later, the Finance Act of 1895. It looks as if the Minister is inclined to make a mistake that was made many years ago and corrected. I think the Revenue Commissioners will feel much more satisfied if they are left with the full and complete discretion to remit the penalty in a proper case at any time.

One of the difficulties about this particular amendment is that it relates to a matter which I hope is only temporary. We just cannot give the solicitors and their clients combined the option to forget and that we forgive and there will be nothing more heard about it. I think it is fair and reasonable. They are supposed to stamp a document inside a month. The Bill as it stands gives an option to the Revenue Commissioners, if it is stamped within three months, to forgo the penalty. I would say we had better leave it as it is, if it will put a spur to solicitors to stamp these documents. The penalty is pretty big and the amount involved is large, so I do not think solicitors will tend to forget the stamping of these particular documents.

Another thing is that the client is also interested in getting his affairs straightened out. A man buying a bit of property wants to get all the papers in his hands and the thing properly completed, but if he thought that, by forgetting about it for a few months, he might be able to get it stamped at a lower rate, there would be a little urge to be mindful of his interests:

Surely that is a very unsatisfactory objection to this amendment. Even if the "three months" phrase be cut out, the Revenue Commissioners have the entire discretion— they may if they think fit, remit the penalty recoverable under a particular sub-section. What is the use of putting in the three months? The Minister talks about forgetfulness. Deputy O'Connor has raised cases where it is not forgetfulness. There may be certain circumstances outside the solicitor's control which may mean that, four months after a particular date, he comes to the appreciation of an omission; and though there may be excuses and at that point the Revenue Commissioners say: "We would like to exercise our discretion in your favour, but cannot." It is not as if you were saying that they shall. The phrase is "may" and "may if they think fit", so that the completest discretion is given. Are we not back at the usual thing—that it makes for administrative convenience, and that so far as the Revenue Commissioners are concerned they should not have to listen to these hard cases? They can say: "We are very sorry; we would have dealt with it but there is the law." The Minister's excuse is that it is merely temporary. That is all the more reason for making this exemption.

I will accept it.

I hope Deputy O'Connor will thank me.

I thank you very much.

Amendment agreed to.

With regard to amendment No. 10 in my name, I do not propose to move it, because the point is covered by amendment No. 2 which satisfies the doubt that was in my mind.

Amendment No. 10 not moved.

Perhaps at this stage I should draw attention to an obvious mistake that was overlooked in Section 11. On page 8, line 17, the figure "10" obviously should be "9".

That is so, and it will be attended to.

Question proposed: "That Section 13, as amended, stand part of the Bill."

There is one important matter that arises in regard to the new stamp duty. There are several ways in which the stamp duty of 25 per cent. may be avoided. I do not think that a good deal of revenue is going to be produced by that 25 per cent. tax, but, in the case of the 5 per cent. tax, that is cast iron, and there is very little chance of avoiding it. I would ask the Minister to consider, as a special case, the class of people who buy the smaller type of dwelling-house to make a home for themselves. The purchaser will have to pay the stamp duty. The Minister has already pointed out that this 5 per cent. stamp duty will have a steadying effect on the market, and will, perhaps, bring down the price of houses. I am satisfied it will have that effect, but that will not be of much advantage to the type of person that I have in mind.

In my opinion, 99 per cent. of the purchasers of the smaller type of dwelling-house are people who cannot pay the entire amount of the purchase money in cash. They will have to get two-thirds or four-fifths of it from a building society. The one point that will be uppermost in the mind of such a person is, how little cash he has to provide so that he can get possession of the house. If the reduction in price that the Minister hopes for takes place it will only mean to such a purchaser a saving of about 12/6 a month, but, as against that saving, there will be the increased stamp duty, and the difficulty in regard to it is that it must be paid in cash. Therefore, the amount of cash that a man will require in order to buy a house in which to reside will be increased. I am afraid that a great many people who had hoped to buy houses will be prevented from doing so by the imposition of this 5 per cent. stamp duty.

The only other point which I wish to make is one which, perhaps, may be of some convenience to the Revenue Commissioners. It arises on sub-paragraph (7) (b) and says "if at the expiration of 30 days after the execution thereof a transfer is not stamped..." In the other sections of the Stamp Duty Act the 30 days would run from the date on which the document entered the country if the document was executed abroad. I think there should be the same reservation in this section. There is also another rule where the document is lodged for adjudication, the time for stamping runs to 14 days.

That point will be attended to.

I want to protest against this section. Deputy O'Connor did not make himself clear when he said that he agreed with the Minister that this section will have the effect of bringing down the price of houses. He has not told us how it is going to do that, or who is going to pay the duty—whether it is to come out of the vendor's pocket or the purchaser's pocket. I feel that, in present conditions at all events, with the scarcity of houses and the competition there is for housing properties, it is the purchaser who is going to pay.

I am concerned with the people who have small incomes. Some people in that class are not catered for very much by the provisions in our Housing Acts. They find it very difficult to get a house when they decide to get married and settle down in life. That applies in a special way to the whitecollar worker. He is compelled to save for some years before he decides to get married. He has a good deal of expenses about that time, and when he sets out to buy a house he has to go to a building society to get part of the purchase money. It is at that period of his life, when he is involved in fairly heavy expenses, that the Minister and the Government come along and pile further expenses on him in the way of stamp duty. I think it is unfortunate that the Minister and the Government should have come to that decision.

Take the case of the farmer who has a family living on a medium or rather small-sized holding. He is anxious to get his eldest son married and desires to purchase a farm for him. That is the type of young man that we should be anxious, from the national point of view to see settling down in life and rearing up a family. He should be encouraged in every way to live on the land because, from the national point of view, he is the type of young man who can make the best use of it. It is surely a wrong thing to increase the cost on his father of settling him in life.

The Minister has not given any reason to justify this imposition. He may say that he wants to prevent speculation. We all want to prevent speculation. It is a rotten situation when a man can jump in and buy property which he does not require merely for the purpose of raking off a premium for himself. Can the Minister satisfy me that this is going to eliminate that objectionable practice and can he prove that the genuine purchaser will not be mulcted? Can the Minister say that this will help the type of man whom even he himself, along with the members on all sides of the House, are anxious to ensure will not be mulcted? I refer to the young man going into a holding in the country or to the whitecollar worker who is anxious to get married, to settle down and to provide a house for himself.

It is inevitable that with the scarcity of housing at the present time, with the competition and with the difficulty of procuring a home this imposition will fall on the purchaser. The Minister certainly has not convinced me. Deputy O'Connor does not attempt to show the House why he believes that it will reduce the cost of housing. We are all concerned with the problem of emigration. This imposition is going to add to that problem. It is going to encourage people to clear out, instead of giving them facilities and encouraging them to settle down in life. We are putting on penalties instead of taking them off. The Minister obviously has not considered the matter.

I want Deputy Hughes to come to an auction with me. We are all at the auction. Let us assume that he is a widow-woman who has scraped all she can get and borrowed from the building society and from her friends and that she has £2,000 in her hands to bid, between loan and money. Deputy O'Connor is a young married man who is in the same boat as Deputy Hughes. He has saved and collected all the money he could. Let us say there was an auction the day before the Resolution became law. Deputy Hughes has scraped up £2,000 and Deputy O'Connor has got £2,050. On competition, Deputy O'Connor would beat Deputy Hughes and Deputy O'Connor would have to pay his 1 per cent. on his £2,050. If we could visualise the auction as being abortive, that it did not come to a conclusion, and that Deputy O'Connor still held back and did not bid the £2,050——

It is a big assumption.

For the purpose of illustration let the Deputy assume that this auction was abortive in the first session and that meantime this Bill came into operation. Deputy Hughes has not got any more money in the meantime. He has the £2,000, part of which he saved and part of which he borrowed. Deputy O'Connor has still got his £2,050 in his bag, and he would buy the house on the second occasion at £2,050. All he can go to is £2,050— or something less than that in order to pay the stamp duty. On the first occasion he would have to go £20 less —to £2,030. On the second occasion the 5 per cent. would be £100, so that his price for the house on the second occasion would be £1,950 and all Deputy Hughes could go to would be £1,900 because he would still have to pay £100 on a £2,000 house.

In my belief that is what is going to happen. It is the vendor whose price is going to be reduced by the 5 per cent. The 5 per cent. instead of going into the vendor's pocket is going to go into the pocket of the Treasury. The competitive position of Deputy Hughes and Deputy O'Connor is not any worse. They cannot go any higher. The hypothesis was that they had scraped together all the money they could—Deputy O'Connor had £50 more than Deputy Hughes and in either case he would get the house.

That argument displays a typical Civil Service outlook. The picture the Minister painted completely lacks imagination. We should be realistic about the matter. The Minister pictured me as a widow-woman——

The Deputy must be brief.

I will, Sir. With a little imagination the Minister ought to be able to complete the picture. I am a widow-woman. A neighbour comes to me and says: "Mrs. Murphy, go ahead. I would like your son to get the farm. I will give you a loan of £150." Will the Minister tell us what happens then? Will he allow his imagination to complete the picture? He wants to make it water-tight—if you can put an auction and competition into a water-tight compartment. The Minister knows as well as I do that that does not obtain at all in real life.

The Minister is trying to get us to accept what is almost impossible. It reminds me of the old story about the moon being made of green cheese. One man tried to prove to another man that the moon is made of green cheese. He says to his friend: "Either it is or it is not made of green cheese, and if it is not, therefore it is." The argument the Minister tried to put across this House is the same type of argument. He says that the prices of houses are not going to go up because of this 5 per cent. imposition. The Minister tells us first, of the case of a man who either by saving, borrowing, stealing or by any other means could only amass £2,000. He then tells us of another man who, somehow or other, by scraping got £2,050 together. By a manipulation of circumstances both these men would be compelled to stick to the price under £2,000. There may be a third man and very probably a fourth man with £2,500 who is prepared to bid over the heads of Deputy O'Connor and Deputy Hughes and who will pay under present circumstances a higher price, whether the 5 per cent. is there or not.

Everybody knows that is going to happen. Some man richer than the man who has to borrow is going to get the house. I suggested on the Second Reading that this imposition was not only a tax on the unfortunate savings of the under dog; it is a tax on his borrowing also. I am not concerned with the newly rich, the very rich or the Englishman who wants to buy a house. I am concerned with the almost very poor man—a man such as the Minister mentioned, who finds it impossible to get more than £2,000 together, whether by saving, begging or borrowing. It is going to be a tax on that man's savings and on that man's borrowing. I am glad Deputy O'Connor backed me up. He almost proved my case for me. He-said that a man would have to borrow extra on account of this 5 per cent. tax and, of course, that he would have to pay a greater amount of interest on his borrowing.

Deputy O'Connor also said in the course of his speech—and I think that it is something that we all recognised even before he adverted to it—that as far as the foreigner is concerned he is. generally able to evade the tax. He said that: "Generally speaking, a foreigner will be able to evade the tax by some means or another." Of course he will evade the tax. The Englishman, in particular, will evade it because he has always been able to evade it. He got it over in the recent deputations. The Englishman is now going to run our agricultural business for us. The foreigner will get over it, but the unfortunate Irishman will not be able to get over it. He will have to pay, and he is the man we ought to try to protect.

I think the Minister's argument does not hold water I think Deputy Bennett hit the nail on the head when he said that a third purchaser or a third bidder will come along. There may be a third, a fourth and fifth bidder. In any auction, where there is anything like a brisk sale and a good deal of bidding, nobody knows to whom any house or property will go except that it will eventually go to the man with the longest purse—whether that man be a "widow-woman" or anybody else.

Or a camouflaged Englishman.

Yes, or a young married person-like Deputy O'Connor. I am quoting the Minister now. We cannot say who is going to purchase or who it is going to hit; but we do know that it is going to hit the purchaser. It is going to put the cost of property up to any person who buys that property, be he deserving or undeserving. We know that many young people are searching for houses in this country. We know that if they succeed now in finding a house it is going to cost them 5 per cent. more. Many houses are put up for auction and the people who buy them will have to find something like 10 per cent. of the purchase price for solicitors' fees and so on. The Minister has exempted houses under £500 from this extra taxation. I would like to ask the Minister where on earth anyone will find a house on this day and in this age under £500.

Where in Eire?

I do not believe that such a house exists. No house at the present moment would be sold for less than £500 unless perhaps one occupied by a tenant receiving a very, very small weekly wage.

Lots of pieces of land have changed hands at under £500.

Yes, pieces of land and property. Surely, it was the prospective buyers of houses whom the Minister wished to help under this section. Surely, an exemption under £500 was meant to facilitate buyers of houses and not to facilitate transfers of small pieces of land. I want to point out to the Minister that, though on paper that £500 looks very nice, it does not mean a thing at present-day prices.

Major de Valera

The point I want to make is actually not relevant to the matter under discussion at the moment but I would like to make one comment first in regard to prices. The prices of houses are controlled by the law of supply and demand. In other words, the price your house is going to fetch is the price which somebody is prepared to buy at and it is immaterial whether you section that price up into portions, part of it appropriated to stamp duty and part of it appropriated to profit to the vendor. The determining factor is going to be the all-in cost to the purchaser as far as the demand is concerned. The supply will depend on the number of people who have houses to sell. For that reason, it is my opinion that this particular imposition will have no appreciable effect subject to this qualification: I agree that the fact that the minimum deposit put down is increased does influence the position. Subject to that, I think it makes no difference as far as the price of houses from Irish citizens to Irish citizens is concerned.

I would join with the other Deputies in recommending to the Minister consideration of this point: if I were to purchase a house on the instalment system—and that is the system commonly used by those people who are the subject of this discussion—my method would be to deposit a certain sum and to borrow the remainder. In other words, the prospective purchaser has "to raise the wind" to the extent of a certain percentage of his purchase price. His main difficulty is to get that initial deposit. Usually he has less trouble in finding the instalments which fall due yearly or half-yearly. In increasing that deposit in so far as stamp duty is concerned serious objection must be taken. To that extent it will become more difficult for the young married people to purchase houses. It will become more difficult to find the initial deposit. But, as I see it, the gross price to the purchaser will not be affected.

For that reason, in regard to domestic transactions, I wonder if it would not be possible for the Minister to alleviate that burden. I do not want to restrict it merely to newly-married couples because it might be an important matter to a couple more or less advanced in years who are thinking of retiring. I cannot make specific suggestions to the Minister on that problem because it is one which would have to be examined in some detail and I have not the facilities for doing that. Subject to all that, I think there has been an unnecessary making of a case one way or the other in regard to prices generally.

As regards prices to foreign purchasers, one of the things which has undoubtedly contributed to increased prices for houses in Ireland has been the increased demand created by foreign purchasers. In other words, the increased demand so created has put up the price where, in the ordinary way, the law of supply and demand would operate as regards prospective purchasers.

We also know that there have been complaints from the country occasionally of people coming in and buying land. I for one have no hesitation in expressing my personal view that it would be well to control it. For that reason, notwithstanding the fact that it may not be suitable to certain interests, I think it is a good job that the Minister has discriminated against that by putting on the 25 per cent. in these cases. It is an effort at control. I agree with Deputy O'Connor that the method of control will possibly be evaded and I have not a great deal of faith in it. I would be inclined myself to take very drastic action in that case. However, that is a personal view.

Major de Valera

You could, for instance, give a very definite preference to your own citizens straightway. At any rate, this can be said for this financial sanction: that it discourages the purchase of land by outsiders. This also can be said for it, that it is offsetting the artificial demand created and the effect on price of that demand to some extent. In agreement with a number of other Deputies, my doubt is as to the effectiveness of it in operation, owing to the ingenuity of certain people who will be inclined to get over it. I think all Deputies will agree that a considerable amount of ingenuity will be brought to bear on that.

Very little ingenuity will be required.

Major de Valera

I agree. I can think of a number of ways in which, if I were so minded,——

I did not mean to be so uncomplimentary as that.

Major de Valera

I should be surprised if the Deputy ever wanted to be complimentary, but I shall leave it at that. The Deputy knows as well as I do that it is going to be a perfectly easy matter in many ways to get over by such devices as trustees.

Do not give them away.

Major de Valera

I am different from the Deputy. So far as I am concerned, while functioning as a Deputy, I forget that I am anything else and I do my duty as a Deputy irrespective of other interests. However, we shall leave that alone. There is another point I should like to make on this section. I regret that I was not in the House at the time, but I am informed that Deputy O'Connor's amendment was answered in regard to the religious societies by referring to the fact that the Interpretation Act, No. 38, 1837, in defining the word "person" states: "The word `person' shall, unless the contrary intention appears, be construed as importing a body corporate (whether a corporation aggregate or a corporation sole), and an unincorporated body of persons as well as an individual." The answer there was that that included an unincorporated body such as a religious body and that therefore it was not necessary to take Deputy O'Connor's amendment with regard to sub-section (4); in other words, that such an unincorporated body was captured by the word "person" in paragraph (a) of sub-section (4).

I should like to point this out to the Minister and I suggest to him that it should be examined. The method by which such unincorporated bodies as religious societies secure land or make purchases, I am informed, is by trustees. In other words, certain members of their Order, if it is a religious Order, purchase the property and take the legal estate, but in actual fact they purchase as trustees. In so purchasing as trustees they are not purchasing the beneficial interest; they are getting the legal estate. If you read this section, you will see that the exemption applies to a person who becomes entitled to the entire beneficial interest in the property. In other words, if the exemption from the 25 per cent. tax applies to a person who has the complete beneficial interest in the property, it therefore would apply to a body unincorporated who had the complete beneficial interest in the property. But in order to capture that section, every single member of that religious community would have to be made a party to the deed, which would not be a feasible proposition at all.

On the other hand, if some selected mambers take the legal estate as trustees, they have not the entire beneficial interest. Therefore, in spite of the fact that the amendment has been considered unnecessary, I should like to direct the Minister's attention to the possibility again.

I have not looked into it very carefully and I am merely going on what I was told since I came into the House and on my recollection of the definition "person". It may be necessary to reconsider that again, particularly in view of the fact that you have had to put in a specific exemption in regard to bodies corporate incorporated in the State after a certain date. Taking the exemption in paragraph (3) of sub-section (4) in conjunction with the definition of "person" in the Interpretation Act, we find that a body corporate is also a person. Therefore, the natural question would be asked in a court of law, if you were. attempting to interpret this in the way the Minister suggested: "Why did you specifically exempt a body corporate, because it is also a person?" In other words, by negative implication, there must be an intention to exclude a religious body, because "person" includes all these classes that you specifically mentioned including a body corporate. Therefore by negative implication it appears that you intended to exclude from the benefits of the exemption a body unincorporate.

There is no need to labour that point. I would ask the Minister to have that examined into again as this might have very serious repercussions apart from unfairly operating against such bodies as charitable institutions. For instance, as we know there are certain Orders who have come in here and have been of great benefit to the community by giving certain services. I am thinking of one particular Order which is the only institution in this country to cater for epileptics. They purchase property. They are doing a great national service. It would be very unfair to discriminate against Orders of that nature. That is another reason. If the difficulty should arise and if it became necessary to find a means of evading the clear legal import of this section in order to meet an equitable case of that kind, you are going to open the door completely wide to undeserving people who wish to evade this section. For these reasons, I ask the Minister, notwithstanding that Deputy O'Connor's amendment has been withdrawn and the matter is not before the House, if he would be good enough to reconsider the whole question again.

That is like a six-mark question. Will the Minister try to get one mark in the answer? Can he answer that question as to the legal estate business?

I am not before a court of law at the moment.

Is there anything in the point?

Major de Valera

Deputy McGilligan will know how much is in the point and how much is not. I have only asked the Minister if the matter could be considered on Report.

And he cannot answer.

Major de Valera

There is no use in Deputy McGilligan being so clever. Deputy McGilligan is a lawyer and he understands all the legal implications but other people may not.

I am trying to call attention to Deputy de Valera's cleverness and I do not think that I should be pilloried for that. He has knocked the Minister out, to such an extent that he is not answering the case which the Deputy makes. I want to deal with the Minister's point, leaving out the legal aspect. I understand the situation as it presents itself is this: The Minister mentioned the case of two persons buying a house which sells at £2,000 but which is really only a £500 or a £600 house. It is going to be sold round about £2,000 and the Minister takes the case of two people who are going to bid, one provided with £2,020 on the 1 per cent. basis and the other with some higher figure. Then there is an abortive sale. I wonder would the Minister take into consideration the putting of a tax on abortive sales? He would not get much revenue from that source. There have been very few abortive sales because what Deputy de Valera calls the law of supply and demand is so operating that there is no supply and a terrific demand. The Minister makes the point that the man with the £2,000 will bid only £1,900 on the second occasion when the house is offered for sale so that it will still cost him only £2,000 even with the new tax but that would not happen in practice. I have yet to hear of an auction of property at a level of £2,000 which broke down over a matter of £80. In the main, it does not happen.

Deputy de Valera thinks there is a terrific hardship on the man who has a deposit to put down. Twenty-five per cent. is the usual deposit and so a man buying a £600-house, which is now going to cost him £2,000, will have to put down £500. Deputy de Valera thinks that a man such as that will provide the £500 but that when it comes to paying the 25 per cent. deposit on the £100, which will be the new stamp duty, he will find a difficulty in doing so. If the Deputy thinks that a man who is going to pay £2,100 for a house and is prepared to put down a deposit of £500, will shirk putting down a deposit of £525, I think he is living in the clouds. I do not think that situation arises.

I cannot yet see the force of the argument which tends in the direction of proving that the vendor is going to pay these prices, the law of supply and demand being what it is. The demand being what it is and the supply of houses being what it is at the moment, people are not going to stop short because of an extra £100. It is coming out of the purchaser's pocket and I do not think anybody believes otherwise.

You cannot take more out of his pocket than is in it.

You are getting far more out of it than is in it.

It is impossible.

The Minister gave an example of a man who went to a building society to get a loan. That is not out of his pocket. That is what he may in future years find it possible to pay out of his pocket. Is anybody going to fail to buy a house for the difference between £100 that he may have to pay at some future date and the £20 that he would have to pay before this tax came into operation? The man is going to pay £2,100 or £2,020, as it would have been before the additional tax was imposed, for a house that formerly was worth only £500. The fact is that money has lost all its value.

I was interested to hear that Deputy de Valera believes with me that the 25 per cent. tax on the foreigner, described in our Bill as a man who is not an Irish citizen, is going to be evaded. However, he pats himself on the back that, as a Deputy, he puts his duty as a Deputy before that of his interest as a lawyer. But he has not an amendment down to block one of the ways in which, apparently, he thinks it is possible for people to find a way to get over the 25 per cent. tax.

Major de Valera

You could not draft anything comprehensive enough to do that.

There you are again. The Minister must recognise that argument of his own Deputies, that if you drafted a bookful of amendments you could not prevent the evasion of the 25 per cent. Is that not what it comes to? Then we are going to tax the foreigner. Before this ends I want to give the Minister a three-mark question: what is an Irish citizen? Can he tell me?

A man who cannot pay his taxes.

I was interested to hear Deputy McGilligan setting out his proofs of how it was that the purchaser will always pay this duty of 4 per cent. over and above what he had to pay a short time ago. I do not believe that Deputy McGilligan proved it even to his own satisfaction.

I make the simple statement given to me by my colleague. The purchaser will pay on a rising market. Is the market not still rising?

He has just prompted you to say that.

The vendor will pay on a falling market.

He did not tell us that before. Of course, Deputy Dockrell knows quite well when the purchaser pays and when the vendor pays. There are occasions when the purchaser pays and other occasions when the vendor will pay. The burden of the argument on a previous occasion in regard to this tax had reference to a certain type of person in the city or in some town in Ireland who wanted to buy a house to live in. These were the types referred to, not the farmer down the country who wanted to buy a patch of land. Say that the types who attend these auctions are limited in means in both cases.

That is a big assumption.

Their means are limited. You cannot have it both ways. We are told about people of limited means who want to set up houses. Either their means are limited or they are not. If Deputy O'Connor and I, as men of limited means, attend in the salerooms —say that we are men with salaries of £4, £5 or £6 per week-each of us bids to the extent of his means. The vendor is selling for the best price he can get. Very definitely he pays the duty there.

Has ho nobody else but you with your limited means to sell to?

If the other person is there all the time——

You are talking of people of limited means.

There may be half a dozen of limited means.

But the limit in some cases may be higher than others.

Your argument falls to the ground if there are people attending the sales who can buy at sky-high prices. They pay then. If there are people attending these sales who have an unlimited purse and who are going to buy the property under any conditions these people will pay. They pay at that stage—the purchasers pay.

As long as you agree on that——

The vendor pays the duty where there are people with limited means.

You cannot get those people; they will not be at that auction.

Deputy McGilligan wants the best of all worlds all the time.

Section 13, as amended, and Sections 14, 15 and 16, put and declared carried.
First and Second Schedules and the Title put and declared carried.
Bill reported with amendments.
Agreed: To take the remaining stages to-day.
Question—"That the Bill, as amended, be received for final consideration"—put and declared carried.
Question put: "That the Bill do now pass."
The Dáil divided: Tá, 53; Níl, 32.

  • Aiken, Frank.
  • Allen, Denis.
  • Bartley, Gerald.
  • Beegan, Patrick.
  • Blaney, Neal.
  • Buckley, Seán.
  • Butler, Bernard.
  • Carter, Thomas.
  • Childers, Erskine H.
  • Colbert, Michael.
  • Colley, Harry.
  • Corry, Martin J.
  • Crowley, Honor Mary.
  • Daly, Francis J.
  • Derrig, Thomas.
  • De Valera, Vivion.
  • Flynn, Stephen.
  • Fogarty, Andrew.
  • Friel, John.
  • Gorry, Patrick J.
  • Harris, Thomas.
  • Humphreys, Francis.
  • Killilea, Mark.
  • Kilroy, James.
  • Kissane, Eamon.
  • Lynch, James B.
  • McCann, John.
  • Bourke, Dan.
  • Brady, Brian.
  • Brennan, Martin.
  • Brennall, Thomas.
  • Briscoe, Robert.
  • McCarthy, Seán.
  • McEllistrim, Thomas.
  • McGrath, Patrick.
  • Moylan, Seán.
  • O Briain, Donnchadh.
  • O'Connor, John S.
  • O'Grady, Seán.
  • O'Reilly, Matthew.
  • Ormonde, John.
  • O'Rourke, Daniel.
  • O'Sullivan, Ted.
  • Rice, Bridget M.
  • Ruttledge, Patrick J.
  • Ryan, Mary B.
  • Ryan, Robert.
  • Skinner, Leo B.
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Traynor, Oscar.
  • Ua Donnchadha, Dómhnall.
  • Walsh, Laurence.
  • Walsh, Richard.

Níl

  • Beirne, John.
  • Bennett, George C.
  • Blowick, Joseph.
  • Byrne, Alfred.
  • Coburn, James.
  • Cogan, Patrick.
  • Commons, Bernard.
  • Coogan, Eamonn.
  • Cosgrave, Liam.
  • Dockrell, Henry M.
  • Dockrell, Maurice E.
  • Donnellan, Michael.
  • Doyle, Peadar S.
  • Everett, James.
  • Finucane, Patrick.
  • Flanagan, Oliver J.
  • Giles, Patrick.
  • Heskin, Denis.
  • Hughes, James.
  • Keating, John.
  • Keyes, Michael.
  • Kinane, Patrick.
  • MacBride, Seán.
  • McGilligan, Patrick.
  • O'Higgins, Thomas F.
  • O'Leary, John.
  • O'Reilly, Thomas.
  • O'Sullivan, Martin.
  • Pattison, James P.
  • Rogers, Patrick J.
  • Sheldon, William A.W.
  • Spring, Daniel.
Tellers:—Tá: Deputies Ó Ciosain and Ó Briain; Níl: Deputies P.S. Doyle and Bennett.
Question declared carried.

This Bill has been certified by the Ceann Comhairle as a Money Bill in accordance with Article 22 of the Constitution.