Committee on Finance. - Finance Bill, 1957—Money Resolution.

I move:—

That for the purpose of any Act of the present session to charge and impose certain duties of customs and inland revenue (including excise), to amend the law relating to customs and inland revenue (including excise) and to make further provisions in connection with finance, it is expedient to authorise that to redeem borrowings, and interest thereon, in respect of capital services there shall be charged annually on the Central Fund or the growing produce thereof a sum of £498,294 in the 29 successive financial years and a sum of £598,588 in the 30 successive financial years commencing in each case with the financial year ending on the 31st day of March, 1958.

This Money Resolution is for the purpose of obtaining the finance necessary both in relation to the capital needs of the Exchequer and in relation to current needs until such time as current taxation flows in in the ordinary way at the end of the year— in January and February particularly, when the vast bulk of income-tax becomes payable.

In that connection, I want to refer for a moment to the issue of Exchequer Bills which the Minister announced the other day, the issue which will close on next Friday. I want to make it abundantly clear—speaking for myself and for this Party—that we hope the issue will be a success. As was indicated in the statement made by the Minister from his Department when the issue was announced, it is an innovation. It is an innovation which I discussed frankly on more than one occasion and one which I would like to have introduced.

This is an innovation which it would be quite impossible to introduce, unless the balance of payments was in order, as it is, and while the British Treasury Bills rate was at the very high rate at which it stood up to some time ago. The auguries are now set properly for the introduction of such an innovation. I hope sincerely that it will be a success and that those who have short term money available will take advantage of the opportunity offered by the Minister to invest in these Exchequer Bills, for their own benefit and for the benefit of the State and its development. The Minister has indicated that he will be prepared to accept tenders up to a maximum rate of 4¾ per cent. That is an upward limit, not a minimum limit.

Having regard to the present yield of British Treasury Bills, it is to be hoped that the offer will be a success. Those who have short-term money available have a duty to avail of it. It is absolutely gilt-edged. I would say particularly that any person resident here—or any company operating in this country—who may at the present time have money in British Treasury Bills, has not merely an opportunity but a duty to exchange those Bills for the Bills of the Irish Government. I hope that the Minister's innovation will be a success.

I am very glad to have the goodwill expressed by the Deputy and that of the other Parties. I have every hope that the issue will be successful. It is experimental on this occasion. If the experiment proves successful, we may expect to get a fair amount of finance by this method in the future.

Is it possible for the Minister to say at this stage the measure of the tenders he has already received?

I am afraid I do not know, really.

Many would not come in until the last moment.

Is the Money Resolution agreed?

Oh, no. Having got the non-political part of the matter away, I should like to speak on this as it affects the Bill and is strictly relevant to the Bill. The funds which will be raised by this Money Resolution and the moneys which are produced as a result of this Finance Bill are, of course, the product of the Budget which the Minister introduced some six weeks ago. I do not think there is anything to be gained at this stage by going over all the ground which was covered in the Budget debate.

The Minister, when concluding the Second Stage of the Finance Bill, dealt with certain aspects of the position, and in some respects was inaccurate in his statements. I think time will show quite adequately, without taking up the time of the House, that the prognostications of the Minister and certain of the criticisms he levelled at certain steps taken by the previous Government were entirely without justification or foundation. Accordingly, I shall not delay the House further in pointing out how inaccurate these statements were.

Question put and agreed to.
Money Resolution reported and agreed to.