Financial Statement. - Budget, 1960.

I. CURRENT BUDGET, 1959-60.

The year 1959-60 ended with a surplus of £1.2 million. It was not spectacular, considering the size of the Current Budget, but it was the largest in over 20 years. Following immediately on the surplus for 1958-59, it is a welcome confirmation of the soundness of our budgetary policy. It reduced the borrowing that had to be incurred last year and it leaves us better able to meet the heavy capital expenditure facing us in the year ahead.

The surplus would have been doubled if we had not deliberately added to the revenue reserve. We did this because we knew the revenue would suffer this year from two exceptional and non-recurring incidents. One of these is a large repayment of income tax which shortly has to be made; the other is the loss to the Exchequer of a month's income tax revenue from the Pay As You Earn scheme. This occurs in the first year of the scheme because the amounts deducted by employers are to be paid monthly in arrear and we shall receive only five months' deductions in 1960-61, the March, 1961, deduction not being paid until April, 1961. By carrying over sufficient revenue from 1959-60 to cover these two losses we dispose of a non-recurring difficulty in a rational way.

The main heads under which tax revenue increased last year as compared with 1958-59 were tobacco, oils, stamp duties, beer and motor cars. Tobacco merits special mention as it yielded an extra £2.1 million.

Though the Exchequer took in less from direct taxation as a whole, the figure was satisfactory considering the reliefs costing over £1 million which were given last year in income tax and sur-tax and the increasing effect of the reliefs of earlier years. In the current year we have to face the full cost of the 1959 reliefs and yet a further increase in the cost of the reliefs of earlier years. The total impact on the revenue this year of the various reliefs given in the last four years is about £3½ million, not counting those given in connection with the introduction of the Pay As You Earn scheme.

Before leaving 1959-60, I might point to the fact that the allowance of £2½ million for errors of estimation was more than justified. Revenue receipts paid into the Exchequer exceeded the estimate by £2¼ million. Expenditure fell short of the estimate by over £1¼ million, mainly because of savings on agricultural price supports and social insurance. The total saving would have been greater but for additional expenditure on such items as remuneration and payments to retired teachers. One cannot, however, conclude from this that a bigger allowance for errors of estimation should be made in future, particularly as the principal factor in the buoyancy of revenue last year was the remarkable jump in receipts from tobacco. It would be over-optimistic to expect a repetition of this phenomenon but the revenue estimates for the year ahead have been based on the expectation that the general buoyancy displayed last year will continue to quite a large degree.

II. CURRENT BUDGET, 1960-61— INTRODUCTION.

The Economic Statistics prepared in connection with the Budget are already in the hands of Deputies. I do not propose to analyse these figures in detail but merely to make some general comments on recent experience and on the prospects for the coming year.

The year 1959 was one of progress and development, despite difficulties in the agricultural sector. Its principal feature was the rise of 3½% in real national output—a rise which will accelerate the realisation of the Government's Economic Programme.

Both exports and imports of agricultural produce were affected by abnormal factors. The long summer drought was the main reason for the fall in British purchases of Irish store cattle. Exports of store cattle were £10 million lower than in 1958. The balance of trade was adversely affected, too, by the need to import large quantities of wheat and other foodstuffs to make up for the deficiencies of the wet harvest of 1958; imports of wheat alone were £3.7 million higher than in 1958. Exports of manufactures, on the other hand, showed a notable increase while invisible items, particularly receipts from tourism, also rose. The result was that we ended 1959 with a deficit in our balance of payments which was a good deal less than might once have been feared. The amount of the deficit is estimated at £8.7 million. It will be recalled that we had a surplus in the balance of payments in 1957 of £9 million, followed by virtual equilibrium in 1958. In effect, therefore, our external payments have been in balance over the three-year period 1957 to 1959.

I am very pleased, indeed, to draw attention to the marked increase in industrial production during 1959. In this respect Ireland has kept up well with the general European trend. A record output was achieved in manufacturing industry as well as in turf production, mining and quarrying. The estimated volume of output in 1959 for all industries and services covered by the Census of Industrial Production was 8% in excess of the preceding year. Much of this increased production went to foreign markets. The value of our exports of products other than live animals, food, drink and tobacco went up by more than £10 million.

The increased activity in industry is, naturally, having a beneficial effect on both employment and unemployment. In transportable goods industries, which account for three-fourths of industrial employment, there were 4,900 more persons at work at the end of 1959 than at the end of 1958 and, as indicated in the Economic Statistics, there was a net increase of some 11,500 in the number of persons in insurable employment in the last quarter of 1959 as compared with the last quarter of 1958. The numbers on the live register of unemployed in mid-April were 7,600 lower than on the corresponding day in 1959 and were indeed the lowest—at this season —for many years. While this improvement is welcome we can by no means claim to be satisfied. Moreover, we cannot view unemployment and employment apart from the problem of emigration.

Emigration—so far as it is due to economic causes—is influenced at least as much by conditions abroad— particularly in Britain—as by those at home. It tends to be greatest when rising prosperity in Britain coincides with a set-back here. It tends to be least when conditions are improving here while industrial production remains static or nearly so in Britain. This was roughly the situation in 1958. An intermediate position is reached when conditions are improving in both countries, as they have been more recently, but the rate of economic advance and the demand for labour are for the moment stronger across the water. The present situation is one of greater employment opportunities both at home and abroad and the good effects are seen in the much reduced numbers on the register of unemployed.

The stability of the price level in recent years has been most welcome. The Consumer Price Index stood in February, 1960, at exactly the same level as in February, 1958—two years earlier. Coupled with the virtual stability in external payments, this has meant that income increases over the period have had a sound basis and have yielded real benefit.

If we go back to 1953, as in the Economic Statistics paper, we find that earnings in transportable goods industries at the end of 1959 were 16% higher in real terms than in October, 1953, while the current minimum rate of agricultural wages is 14% in real terms above the July, 1953, level. Not all sections of the community have gained so marked an improvement in their living standards because national production has not risen to this extent.

The recent wage and salary increases will tend to raise costs of production. Stability, both of prices and external payments, is, however, of such importance that every effort must be made to counter higher costs by better management and increased efficiency. In manufacturing industry generally in recent times there has been a remarkable increase in productivity, which, I hope, will be maintained.

Price stability, indeed, may not be an adequate objective. It has been pointed out many times that, over a wide field, our prices are not competitive in export markets and we are thus handicapped in attaining the expansion of sales on which national progress and increased employment depend. It is, therefore, most desirable that as much as possible of the benefit of improved productivity should be expressed in the form of a reduction in our prices relative to those of our competitors.

There was an appreciable rise in the volume of savings during 1959. Total savings for the year, both personal and corporate, amounted to £63 million as against £50 million in 1958. The improvement in savings is most welcome since it is only on the basis of increased savings that an adequate rate of formation of national capital can be achieved. For the year 1959 gross domestic physical capital formation is estimated at £100 million as against £77 million in 1958 and £69 million in 1957, while over the period as a whole there was no decline in external assets. In regard to industrial production, savings and national capital formation, we are certainly moving in the right direction.

Experience in the agricultural sector has not been satisfactory in the last two years though there are many indications that basically the position is sound. Amongst these indications are the increased numbers of younger cattle, especially heifers in calf, revealed by the January livestock census, the increased attention to soil fertility indicated by greater purchases of fertiliser, the better management of grasslands indicated by the increased use of silage, the improvements in breeding, the continued purchase of additional equipment and machinery, and the increased use of credit for productive purposes of which evidence is provided by the unprecedented rise in advances by the commercial banks to the agricultural sector.

The failure of agricultural income to rise as much as national income generally must be attributed largely to the abnormal weather conditions of the past two years. National income rose from £480 million in 1958 to £503 million last year. Income from agriculture, forestry and fishing, excluding wages and salaries, is estimated to have risen from £98 million to £102 million. The Taoiseach expressed in this House on the 10th March last the Government's concern because farmers had not shared to the same extent as other sectors in the increase in incomes in recent years. The Government's proposals for alleviating this situation have already been announced. They are expected to provide an additional income of over £2 million for the farming community. I shall deal later with the effect of these proposals on the Budget for the year ahead.

As regards the external prospects for 1960, the recent trade figures suggest that we can look forward to a substantial increase in exports. Total exports in the first quarter of the year were almost £5½ million greater than in the first quarter of 1959. Cattle exports can be expected to maintain the upward trend shown in recent months, while industrial exports as a whole should also keep on rising. Imports are likely to be higher also as incomes and production continue to expand. We ought, however, to be able to keep the balance of payments in order in 1960 although we shall have to watch carefully the trend, both of exports and imports, over the year.

As the Taoiseach has recently made a general statement of Government policy in regard to external trade there is no need for me to deal with the matter at any length. It is evident that we must keep closely under review the trading and economic arrangements which are evolving in Europe and elsewhere. Whatever form our relations with the new European groups and alignments may take, it is beyond doubt that we must concentrate on two things. First, we must seek to lower our production costs so that we can economically produce goods to sell at competitive prices against all comers and, second, we must do everything possible to get access on favourable terms to markets in Europe and elsewhere for our agricultural and industrial produce.

Like the Taoiseach I would emphasise the considerable opportunities for export expansion afforded by our Trade Agreements with Britain and reiterate his view that, by making effective use of the opportunities we have in the British market to expand sales, reduce production costs and become more competitive in price and quality, we can attain the greater economic strength and efficiency needed to enable us to break into other markets as well.

The general conclusion to be drawn from a study of the current economic position and the immediate prospects is that this Budget should not be restrictive in character. It is vital that the economic advancement which this country so badly needs and which is manifesting itself in many sectors should not be retarded by budgetary action. On the other hand, the greatest care is necessary to avoid any risk of the deflection to current uses of capital required for productive purposes. I conceive it my duty, therefore, to make sure that the Current Budget is kept in balance, so that resources will be husbanded for the increased capital programme of 1960.

III. CURRENT BUDGET, 1960-61.

The White Paper of Receipts and Expenditure.

The White Paper issued last weekend gave particulars of revenue and expenditure for 1960-61. These figures indicate that revenue is sufficiently buoyant at existing tax rates to cope with the rise of nearly £8 million in expenditure as compared with last year. Tax revenue is expected to be up £5.6 million, an increase to which customs and excise contribute £2.6 million and inland revenue £3 million. Non-tax revenue shows an increase of £1.4 million, mainly from interest on Exchequer advances and the Post Office. I shall, however, be adjusting these figures in some respects. Before I indicate what the adjustments are, I should like to make a few general comments.

But for the increased expenditure on pay and pensions, the extra amount required for debt service, the higher social assistance charge following last year's increase in old age pensions, and the income tax and other reliefs given last year, the outlook for this year's Budget would have been quite attractive. As it is, however, we start with a surplus of only £325,000.

Current Expenditure in relation to National Production.

That there is a surplus at all is attributable to two causes, one, the buoyancy of the revenue, reflecting increased economic activity, and the other, the efforts of successive administrations to keep the growth of public expenditure within bounds. Contrary to popular opinion, an increasing percentage of the national product is not being applied to current public services. The proportion which total current expenditure on Central Fund and Supply Services bears to gross national product fell from 22.5% in 1956-57 to 22.2% in 1957-58, 21.3% in 1958-59 and 20.7% in 1959-60. Measured in constant prices, total current expenditure showed a slight decrease over those years. It has recently been shown that the expenditure of public authorities as a whole —and total taxation—are lower percentages of the gross national product here than in Britain, Sweden, France and the Netherlands and only a little higher than in Belgium and Italy.

These comparisons give no ground for complacency about the levels of current expenditure and taxation, but they indicate that our position compares reasonably well with that of other Western European countries.

The Pay Element in Current Expenditure.

In considering possibilities of economy, attention is often directed to the wages and salaries bill which the Government has to meet. In current Government outlay the pay of the Civil Service, the Defence Forces, Garda Síochána and teachers is of necessity a considerable element. In fact, it represents over one-quarter of the total, and it is obviously incumbent on any Minister for Finance to see that it is no greater than it ought to be. Since rates of pay are fixed under conciliation and arbitration procedures, economy can be secured only by seeing that no more than the requisite numbers are employed and that the best use is made of the services of those who draw their remuneration from public funds. In both these directions, economies are sought by Departments, supported and guided by the Department of Finance.

It would be wrong to say that I am satisfied that further economies cannot be achieved. It would be equally wrong for me to give any credence to the popular myth that vast savings can be made in personnel costs in Government Departments. It is not generally realised that the Post Office, providing what in essence are commercial services, accounts for roughly one-half the total personnel of the Civil Service. I do not believe that by and large the Civil Service is over-staffed or under-worked. This may be the case here and there but I certainly know of places where the contrary is true—where there is shortage of staff and prolonged pressure of work. Problems of Civil Service staffing and organisation can be tackled only by the unspectacular, common-sense methods employed in progressive businesses. These methods are being employed in the public service, are yielding worth-while results, and will be further extended and intensified. The intake of recruits is carefully limited and there will be no relaxation of the drive for economy and better organisation. At the same time, there are no grounds for promising substantial and early relief to the taxpayer in administrative costs. These, broadly speaking, are determined by the extent and nature of the public services which the community expects.

Civil Service Reorganisation.

In my Budget Statement last year I announced that proposals for reorganising the structure of the Civil Service were being considered by the various staff associations. It is obvious that in dealing with a body as large as the Civil Service—with a variety of grades each having its own salaries and conditions determined for the most part under the conciliation and arbitration machinery—material changes can be made only gradually. I considered it best, therefore, to concentrate at the outset on the sector of the general service containing the greatest numbers. The relevant proposals have been fully considered under the conciliation machinery and I am happy to say that agreement has now been reached with the full cooperation of the staff, notwithstanding the conflicting interests involved. The effect on output and efficiency of the changes I am introducing will be kept under continuous observation and the whole position will be reviewed at the end of four years from 1 July next.

The major change is the transfer of certain duties from Clerical Officers to lower grades and the amalgamation of these lower grades into one new grade. This re-arrangement is designed to secure less dispersal of effort and more effective use of personnel and it should in due course produce a reduction in overall numbers. Simultaneously, provision has been made for suppressing three of the Staff Officer grades and absorbing the personnel in Executive grades.

Recruitment Changes.

As a result of these changes, the open competitive examination for Clerical Officers in the general service will be suspended after the present year.

Recruitment arrangements are also being changed in other ways. It has been a cause of some concern to me that, for higher posts in the Civil Service for which special qualifications and abilities are necessary, not enough suitable candidates have been offering themselves in recent years. To help in remedying this situation, which would have serious consequences if it persisted, it has been decided that a number of the top candidates at the next Executive Officer competition will be given an opportunity of attending a University at State expense to pursue a nominated course with a view to appointment later to grades such as Statistician, Economist or Administrative Officer. In this way we will be undertaking to some extent the fulltime training of young persons entering the Civil Service immediately after leaving secondary school. It is expected that the availability of these attractive scholarships will make even keener the competition for posts as Executive Officer. Moreover, to enhance the attractiveness of the Administrative grade, both for University graduates and for Civil Service candidates, the minimum salary for Administrative Officers is being raised and more definite prospects of promotion are being offered.

Agricultural Prices and Subsidies.

Returning to the White Paper figures, the first adjustment I have to make is for the estimated cost to the Exchequer this year of the recently announced changes in agricultural prices and subsidies. The Estimate for Agriculture includes a provision of £250,000 for subsidies on dairy produce. In view of the increase in the price of milk, I am adding £550,000 to this provision to cover the possible Exchequer liability in respect of exports of creamery butter and also a liability—assumed provisionally pending the establishment of the Dairy Produce Board—in respect of exports of certain other dairy products. The provision for subsidy on bacon exports has to be increased by £30,000 consequent on the introduction of a higher minimum price for Grade A Special. I have also to provide £220,000 for the new subsidy on potash fertiliser. I have decided to make this a current rather than a capital charge. In the Programme for Economic Expansion special emphasis was laid on phosphorus deficiency as the outstanding grassland problem and it was indicated that the heavy subsidy granted to encourage the greater application of this key nutrient would, for the five years of the Programme, be met from borrowing. It was not intended that this exceptional method of financing should apply to the State aid which—as indicated in the Programme—would later be granted to encourage the increased application of potash. It is more appropriate, having regard to the duration of the benefits derived from fertilisers, that at least this element in the total cost of the fertiliser subsidies should be met at once from revenue.

On the other hand, I regard the recently announced subsidy on fat cattle exports as an integral part of the scheme for eradication of bovine tuberculosis and, as such, proper to be financed from borrowing. The cost has been provisionally estimated at about £¼ million this year but I have not included anything in the Capital Budget for this item until the position with regard to expenditure generally on the bovine tuberculosis eradication scheme becomes clearer. I shall refer to this point again in dealing with the Capital Programme.

Pay Awards.

As a result of pay revisions recommended under conciliation and arbitration machinery, additional provisions amounting to £580,000 have to be made for pay and pensions of the Garda Síochána and salaries of Secondary Teachers. A claim from Vocational Teachers is at present at arbitration. I cannot anticipate the outcome of the arbitration proceedings beyond indicating the likelihood that a Supplementary Estimate may be necessary in this case also.

Broadcasting and Television.

The Broadcasting Authority Act passed earlier this month provided for the setting up of a new Authority to operate a national television and sound broadcasting service. The amount included for Wireless Broadcasting in the Book of Estimates is for four months' requirements on the existing basis. Before the expiration of this period, it is expected that the Authority will have been constituted and at that stage a new Vote will be required to provide the amounts to be paid to the Authority under the Act. I expect that this will involve a net addition to the expenditure side of the Budget of £350,000.

Members' Allowances, etc.

A recent Act increased the allowances of Members of the Oireachtas and provided for payment of a member's allowance to a Minister or other office-holder in addition to salary. The allowance for the expenses of Opposition Parties in Dáil Éireann was also increased. The Act will come into operation on 1st May, 1960, and the cost this year will be roughly £75,000.

Social Insurance.

The Social Welfare (Amendment) Bill, 1960, circulated to Deputies on Saturday last, makes provision for a scheme of contributory old age pensions, payable at the age of 70, for persons insured under the Social Welfare Acts. The basic weekly rate of pension proposed is 40/- with a further 27/6d. a week in the case of a married couple. Persons already over the age of 70 may benefit if their insurance records satisfy certain conditions. The Bill also provides for improvements in social insurance benefits, including an increase of 2/6d. a week in basic rates and 5/- a week in the rate for adult dependants of persons in receipt of unemployment or disability benefit. The basic rate for widows with qualified children will be increased by 5/- a week. The allowances for children are also being increased and extended.

Assuming the proposals in the Bill are approved and come into operation on 1 January next, the net cost to the Exchequer this year has to be provided for. So also has the increased cost of treatment benefits. The extra amount required is estimated at £155,000.

Total Increase in Expenditure.

The tot of the additional items of expenditure I have specified is £1,960,000. To make some allowance for other contingencies, I am rounding this to £2 million.

Revenue Adjustments.

On the revenue side, an upward adjustment has first to be made. I referred at the outset to revenue carried forward from last year to meet two exceptional contingencies. The first of these—a large repayment of income tax—will not in consequence affect this year's revenue. The second contingency is the deficiency in revenue which arises exceptionally because this is the first year of the Pay As You Earn scheme. Because of the carry-forward from last year I can pay into the Exchequer £650,000 which will amply cover this deficiency and still leave the revenue balances at their normal level.

As a result of these adjustments, revenue becomes £137.5 million and expenditure £138.5 million. The revenue cannot, however, stand at this figure. Some further adjustments are necessary for economic, social and other reasons, including the future safeguarding of the revenue itself.

Cinemas and Dancehalls.

I consider it necessary to give further reliefs this year to proprietors of cinemas and dancehalls. I am satisfied that these forms of entertainment, from which practically all the entertainments duty is derived, are no longer in a position to contribute as much to the Exchequer as they have done in recent years. In fact there is a real danger that failure to give substantial relief now would ultimately compel the proprietors of some cinemas and dancehalls to go out of business. Such a development would benefit nobody; on the contrary, not only would it deprive some people of their livelihood and others of their entertainment, but it would also deprive the Exchequer of revenue.

It has been represented to me that the need for relief is particularly acute in the small towns and, as a first step, therefore, I propose to extend complete exemption from entertainments duty to towns where the population does not exceed 2,000. At present, these entertainments are completely exempt from duty only if the population does not exceed 1,000; they bear approximately half the ordinary rate of duty if the population lies between 1,000 and 2,000. This change, which will operate from 1 May, will extend complete exemption from duty to those areas where the half-rate operates at present. It will also serve the cause of administrative economy by obviating the necessity for revenue control of entertainments in those areas where the potential revenue is, in any event, small.

In the case of cinemas outside the exempt areas, the form of relief I propose is to repay each week to each cinema proprietor 20% of the net amount of entertainments duty paid that week and, in addition, the balance of the duty paid or £10, whichever is the smaller amount. I hope this combination of a flat percentage repayment with a lump sum repayment will be welcomed generally, since the percentage repayment clearly favours the larger cinemas, while the smaller cinemas will find the lump sum repayment more valuable. As to the latter, a cinema proprietor whose liability to entertainments duty in any week does not exceed £12 10s. 0d. will be completely relieved of duty for that week. This concession will operate from Sunday next, 1 May.

I consider that the most suitable form of relief for dances is a further reduction in the scale of entertainments duty. I propose, therefore, to introduce a revised scale of duty for dances with effect from 1 July next. Under the new scale, admission charges up to 3/- will be tax-free compared with the present limit of 2s. 6d.; there will be a reduction of 4d. in the duty element in inclusive prices up to 4/- and of 6d. in the case of higher prices.

The concessions for cinemas will cost £300,000 this year and those for dances £50,000, making a total of £350,000.

Other Entertainments Duty Proposals.

Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, a body established to preserve and promote traditional Irish music, has made representations for relief from entertainments duty in respect of certain entertainments held in aid of its funds. I propose to include in the coming Finance Bill a provision exempting from duty entertainments promoted by Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann where the net proceeds are devoted wholly to the objects of that body. The effect on the revenue will be trifling.

Before I leave the subject of entertainments duty I have one other matter to mention. Deputies will recollect that in 1958, to prevent evasions, I introduced the restrictive measures contained in Section 17 of that year's Finance Act in relation to the 50% repayment of entertainments duty enjoyed on educational grounds, by cinema shows in which there are films having sound tracks in languages other than English. While these measures were successful in eliminating what I might call bogus shows, they have created difficulties for exhibitors presenting genuine entertainments of the kind contemplated by the rebate provisions. I cannot, without undermining the 1958 safeguards, completely remove these difficulties but I propose to introduce with immediate effect certain easements which I now find possible. The alterations are technical in character and will have no effect on the revenue.

Table Waters.

I have received representations, which I am satisfied are well-founded, that the increased rate of excise duty of 1/- per gallon imposed some years ago on table waters bears too heavily on many concerns, especially those producing the cheaper varieties and whose output is small. Without some relief, local production and employment would be endangered. The form of relief I propose is a graded rebate of duty related to the annual output by each manufacturer. The rebate, which will operate from 1 May, will be at the rate of 8d. per gallon on the first 20,000 gallons and 4d. per gallon on the next 80,000 gallons. As a result, the effective duty on the total production of about 80 out of some 130 licensed manufacturers will revert to the former level of 4d. per gallon. The cost of the concession this year will be about £70,000.

Special Import Levies.

The Special Import Levies have now been four years in operation but they have been relaxed step by step over the past three years. There remain only some thirty classes of goods on which levy is charged at present; the total yield last year was £1.6 million. It will be recalled that the levies were originally designed to restrict the import of less essential goods and they continue to fulfil this function to a reduced extent. For the last couple of years they have also been a source of current revenue to the Exchequer.

I continued to receive representations during the year from trade associations and firms and traders who brought to my notice the desirability of removing or reducing this or that particular levy. Representations were also made by various foreign Governments. Unfortunately, in view both of balance of payments and revenue considerations, I could not see my way to do as much as I would have wished this year. I did, however, consider very carefully all the representations made and the Government have agreed to certain relaxations. An Order has been made under the Imposition of Duties Act which, from tomorrow, will abolish the levies on clothing, furniture, toys, sports goods and fresh fruit and a number of other items. The duty on bananas which was formerly a levy is also being abolished. The result is that the extra duties imposed on fresh fruit in 1956 have now been completely removed. The levies on refrigerators, light fittings and some other items are being replaced by protective duties. The levy on tinned salmon is being reduced by one-third to 25% (full), 16?% (preferential) and the levies on fancy articles and perfumery by one-quarter so that no levy will now exceed 45%. Some minor adjustments in the content of levy headings are also being made.

Advantage is being taken of the Order to modify the 5% duty on newsprint, so as to enable imports to be exempted from this duty where supplies cannot be obtained from home manufacturers.

Copies of the Order will be circulated as soon as I conclude. The total cost of the relaxations is £555,000.

Hydrocarbon Heavy Oils.

Hydrocarbon heavy oils, that is, oils other than petrol, have always been charged with full duty when used as fuel in road vehicles. When used otherwise, however, they were, before the 1956 Budget, relieved of all duty by means of a rebate. In 1956, by an adjustment of the rebate, these free oils, with the exception of tractor vaporising oil, were made liable to an effective duty of 1d. per gallon. The main classes of oils affected were fuel oil used in industrial furnaces and central heating plants, diesel oil used in railway locomotives, agricultural tractors and stationary engines, domestic paraffin and lubricating oils.

It could never be claimed that this charge of 1d. per gallon is a good tax, since it represents, as to the bulk of its yield, a direct addition to the costs of industrial and agricultural production. Ever since its inception it has been the subject of vigorous representations from many quarters but all that has been done so far is to waive the charge in respect of oils entering into the production of goods for export. I consider that the case for total abolition is sound and that the pre-1956 position should be restored by an adjustment of the rebate. The cost this year will be about £500,000.

Taken together with the reduction in import levies, this concession represents a substantial contribution by the Exchequer towards keeping costs and prices down.

I should mention here that I hope to include in the forthcoming Finance Bill provisions designed to counter the irregular use of the rebated oils as road fuel. These will be administrative in character and will not involve any alteration in taxation.

Harbours—Exemption from Income Tax.

I consider it desirable to exempt the profits of harbour authorities from income tax under Schedule D on lines which will be set out in the Finance Bill. The estimated cost this year will be £70,000.

Tobacco Dealers' Licences.

Wholesale and retail dealers in tobacco, of whom there are about 36,000, are required, under early nineteenth century statutes, to take out excise licences costing 5s. 3d. a year There are also part-year licences from 1s. 3d. upwards and occasional licences at 4d. a day. These licences, originally intended to protect the revenue, have outlived their usefulness and I propose to abolish them with immediate effect. The disappearance of the dealer's licence will relieve revenue officers of a burden entirely disproportionate to the annual yield of about £9,000.

Retail Liquor Licences.

My next proposal, although primarily a reform long overdue on grounds of equity, also serves to eliminate cumbersome administrative procedures. I propose to change the basis of the excise duty on retail liquor licences, which for fifty years has been related to rateable valuation.

The licensed trade have over the years voiced cogent and valid objections to the anomalies and inequities of this system. In their 1957 Report the Intoxicating Liquor Commission described it as "unwieldy and entailing quite a lot of time, work and trouble for the relatively small amount of duty involved". One suggestion made by the Commission was the payment of a nominal licence fee combined with a levy on releases from brewery or bond sufficient to make up the revenue deficiency but, on close examination, I found this would not be practicable. The alternative suggestion by the Commission was to fix standard duty rates for all licences. To avoid loss to the Exchequer it would be necessary to fix the standard rates at levels which would mean substantial increases for many small traders now paying minimum rates. Rather than abandon the idea of reform, I propose to introduce low standard rates of duty under which, for example, publichouse and hotel licences will cost £4 so that even the smallest publican will enjoy some slight reduction. The maximum duty payable by a registered club will also be put at £4. The cost of these measures this year will be £106,000.

Effect of Foregoing Revisions.

The total effect of these changes is to reduce the revenue by £1,660,000, making it £135,848,000 as against an expenditure figure of £138,533,000. At this point, therefore, I am faced with a deficiency of £2,685,000. Even the justifiable deduction of £2,500,000 which I am making for errors of estimation still leaves a deficiency of £185,000. There are, however, two additional items of expenditure which I feel bound, in equity, to undertake.

Social Assistance.

The increases in food prices resulting from the Government's agricultural policy will mean additional charges on family budgets. While the effect may be to add only one point to the consumer price index—not a very serious matter for those whose wages, salaries or profits have increased—I am concerned about the position of families on rather low, fixed incomes, especially those dependent on Social Assistance. It is proposed, therefore, to increase Social Assistance payments as from 1 August next by 1/- a week all round. Old Age Pensions, Blind Pensions and non-contributory Widows' Pensions will be increased by this amount. Rates of Unemployment Assistance will also be increased by 1/- a week for recipients and 1/- a week for adult dependants. The extra 1/- a week will be paid in respect of every dependent child, both of Unemployment Assistance recipients and of widows, and not only in respect of the first two qualified children to whom payments are confined at present. These increased payments will more than cover the additional weekly cost of the price increases to which I have referred. They will mean a charge on the Exchequer this year of £450,000.

Certain Pension Increases.

In last year's Budget, I made provision for increases in the pensions of retired Civil Servants, Teachers, Gardaí, Army personnel and officials of local authorities and also in Military Service Pensions. These increases were 6% for Civil Servants who retired before 1 November, 1948, and 4% for those who retired between that date and 1 November, 1952. The corresponding dates for certain other classes of pensioners were slightly different. During the debates on the relevant Acts I was criticised for the smallness of the increases and for the overall limitation that was imposed. This limitation was to the effect that no pension could be increased beyond the amount which would be payable to a colleague of identical rank and service who retired on 1 November, 1952, and whose pension is based on the higher salary introduced on that date. The consumer price index has increased since then and, of course, pensioners will be affected by the increased food prices. Serving officers have got a number of pay increases since 1952 but pensioners have lagged behind. I have, therefore, decided to give further increases to pensioners. Those who retired in the period between I November, 1948, and 1 November, 1955, including those who benefited from last year's increases, will get an extra 5%. Pensioners who retired before 1 November, 1948, will receive a higher increase, namely 7½%. The increase in Military Service Pensions will be 5% but a further sum of £30,000, approximately, will be allocated to increasing the special allowances payable to Military Service pensioners and holders of service medals. The details of the increases in special allowances remain to be settled with the Minister for Defence.

The various pension increases will take effect as from 1 August next and the cost, including the increases in special allowances, is estimated to be £150,000 in the current financial year.

Tobacco.

These two items of increased expenditure, for which I am sure I will have the approval of the House, widen the gap between revenue and expenditure to £785,000. Some increase in taxation is necessary to avoid a deficit. The remarkable buoyancy of the revenue from tobacco in the past year leads me to look to this source for the additional money needed to balance the Budget.

I propose to increase the main rate of customs duty on leaf tobacco by 1s. 9d. a lb.; the other rates of tobacco duty will be correspondingly increased. The effect will be to increase by 1d. the duty element in a packet of 20 standard-size cigarettes. The increase in the duty element in an ounce of pipe tobacco will be slightly over 1d. except in the case of hard-pressed varieties where an adjustment in the rebate will limit the rise in duty to 1d. an ounce.

Deducting £20,000 as the cost of the increased rebate on hard-pressed tobacco, I expect the increased tobacco duties to yield an additional £980,000 this year.

This is a little more than is necessary for an exact budgetary balance. In fact, I have £195,000 on hands which, I think, can best be applied in the ways I shall now indicate.

Child Allowance—Income Tax and Sur-tax.

In large measure our future economic and general development depends upon the provision of a high standard of education for the young in our schools and universities. The sacrifices which this entails for parents must not be forgotten and I propose to do something to help them. I am inserting in the Finance Bill a provision to raise the income tax and sur-tax deduction allowable in respect of a child from £100 to £120. The cost to the Exchequer this year will be £110,000.

Death Duties Relief

To encourage saving and investment I propose to grant some relief from death duties.

The rates of estate duty at present in force were fixed by the Finance Act, 1951. Estates of a net value not exceeding £2,000 are free from duty. From £2,000 to £3,000 the estate duty is 1%; from £3,000 to £5,000 it is 2%; from £5,000 to £7,500 it is 3%; from £7,500 to £10,000, 4%; and the rates then increase by stages up to a maximum of 53% for estates exceeding £250,000 in net value.

I propose to raise the exemption limit from £2,000 to £5,000 but, for estates in excess of the latter figure, to leave the rates undisturbed.

This easement will carry with it a corresponding adjustment in legacy and succession duties. Under the law as it stands legacy and succession duties are, broadly speaking, not payable where the net value of the property passing on the death of the deceased is not more than £2,000. I propose to lift this figure to £5,000.

These reliefs will cost the Exchequer £50,000 this year.

Other Tax Reliefs.

My two remaining proposals are also intended to encourage saving.

Income tax and sur-tax exemption was provided by the Finance Act, 1956, in respect of the first £25 interest accruing to an individual from deposits in the Post Office Savings Bank, a Trustee Savings Bank or a commercial bank. In the case of a married couple, however, exemption could apply only to £25 of the interest from their total deposits. It has been represented to me by the Savings Committee and others that it would be an added attraction to saving if exemption were to apply to the interest accruing to each spouse and the Finance Bill will embody a section accordingly. The cost this year will be about £20,000.

Section 7 of the Finance Act, 1932, as amended by subsequent enactments, including the Finance Act, 1957, provides 20% income tax and sur-tax relief on dividends or interest from certain securities issued after 4 August, 1932. I have decided to eliminate the distinction between securities issued by manufacturing companies after that date and securities issued on or before it. This will improve the marketability of securities issued by such companies and will stimulate further investment. The cost to the Exchequer of this change— which, of course, carries with it relief from estate duty—will be £15,000 in the current year.

The net effect of my proposals on the revenue side is to reduce taxation by £875,000. Revenue and expenditure are now equal at £136,633,000, and the proposals affecting the Current Budget for 1960-61 have all been outlined. There remain, however, a number of matters to which I would like to refer before passing on to the Capital Budget.

Pay As You Earn.

A notable simplification of the income tax code introduced by the Finance (No. 2) Act, 1959, takes effect as from the year 1960-61. I refer to the replacement of the reduced rates relief by increases of equivalent value in the personal allowances. Another provision which comes into force this year is the flat rate of one-fourth earned income relief on earnings up to £1,800 per annum. The combined effect of these two measures is that, with a standard rate of 7/- in the £, a taxpayer, if his total earnings do not exceed £1,800 per annum, pays 5s. 3d. in the £ on earnings over his tax-free limit. On earnings over £1,800 per annum and on all other taxable income he bears income tax at 7/- in the £.

These modifications were made to pave the way for a simplified form of Pay As You Earn. The Act also empowered the Revenue Commissioners to make detailed regulations. The regulations were made last February and the necessary steps have now been taken for introduction of the scheme as from 6 October, 1960. There has been, I am happy to say, evidence of very ready cooperation from organisations catering for employers and employees. The Association of Chambers of Commerce have, for example, provided valuable assistance in bringing to the attention of the business community their position under the new scheme, by arranging with the Revenue Commissioners for a series of talks and discussions on Pay As You Earn at various centres throughout the country. The success of Pay As You Earn will depend mainly on the wholehearted cooperation of both employers and employees with the Revenue; and the cooperation already given in helping to launch the scheme augurs well for its success when it comes into operation next October.

Employees will benefit most from the new scheme. If it is to get off to a good start, it is essential that every employee concerned should immediately, if he has not already done so, complete a form of claim for income tax allowances and send it to his local Inspector of Taxes.

Inspectors of Taxes and their staffs are most willing to help both employers and employees in every possible way and, if an employer or an employee has any difficulty, he should not hesitate to consult them. A pamphlet on Pay As You Earn for the guidance of employees has been published and will be found to answer most of the problems which would be met in straightforward cases. A booklet of instructions for employers has also been prepared and is now being issued by the Revenue Commissioners to all registered employers.

I shall include in the Finance Bill a provision to exempt from stamp duty the special forms of bank draft which will be issued to employers for the purpose of making remittances to the Revenue Commissioners in respect of income tax deducted under P.A.Y.E.

Exports Relief.

I have been reviewing the structure of the tax relief granted to manufacturing companies in respect of goods manufactured and exported by them. As a result, the Finance Bill will contain provisions for two major changes which I think it advisable to make.

The first concerns the question of who may claim the exemption. At present exemption does not normally extend to companies which export goods manufactured within the State unless the exporting company is also the manufacturer. The exporting company is the one faced with the problem of finding markets abroad and it seems to me that there is a good case for allowing the relief to such concerns. I propose, therefore, that, in future, exports relief may be claimed by companies exporting goods manufactured in the State. Companies which export their own manufactured goods will, of course, continue to qualify.

I have also decided to extend the terminal date. Under existing law, the year 1969-70 is the last year for which income tax relief on exports may be given so that, for companies entering the export market after the current year, 1960-61, a full period of ten years would not be available. I propose to make 1974-75 the terminal year so that companies entering the export market up to 1965-66 will be assured of the full ten years' relief. Furthermore, to avoid a sudden transition from 100% relief to full tax liability, I propose to bring in a "tapering-off" provision under which a reduced measure of relief will be allowed in the five years following the tax exemption period.

Hotels Relief.

Special provisions to encourage expansion of the hotel industry have already been enacted chiefly by the granting, in respect of capital expenditure incurred on or after 30 September, 1956, on the construction of hotels, of an initial 10% industrial buildings allowance and, as from the current year, of a 2% annual allowance. As already announced, it is proposed to increase the 2% annual allowance to 10% in respect of capital expenditure incurred on the construction or extension of hotels on or after 1 January, 1960. I propose also an extension to holiday camps of the tax allowances available for hotels.

Mining Reliefs.

As a concession to mines producing non-bedded minerals, such as copper, lead and barytes, I propose to arrange that the eight-year tax relief given in 1956 will run either from the date of commencement of production or from 6 April, 1954, whichever is the later. Under the 1956 Act no relief was allowable for any year before 1956-57.

I also propose to extend the 1956 tax relief for increased coal-mining to the mining of gypsum.

Business Losses Relief.

The Finance Bill will introduce certain alterations with respect to the treatment of business losses for tax purposes. At present such losses as have not otherwise been relieved may be carried forward and set off against profits of the same trade, etc., for the six following years of assessment. I propose to remove this time limit and to allow the losses to be carried forward indefinitely. I also propose to allow losses incurred in the closing year of a business to be carried back and set off against profits of the same business for the preceding three years.

IV. CAPITAL BUDGET, 1959-60 AND 1960-61.

I now come to the capital side of the Budget. Details both of the outcome of 1959-60 and of the programme for 1960-61 are given in the expanded tables circulated to Deputies and I need draw attention only to the broader features.

Public capital outlay has tended for some years to fall short of budgetary expectations but last year was an exception. Expenditure at £44 million just exceeded the original estimate of £43¾ million, which itself, as I pointed out last year, was several millions higher than the figure contemplated in the Programme for Economic Expansion.

There were, of course, variations from the Budget estimate under several headings. In particular, voted capital services showed an increase of £3.7 million, mainly because the bovine tuberculosis eradication campaign required £3¼ million more than we had originally allotted. I expect that this year's provision may itself need to be supplemented, not only because of the fat cattle subsidy but also because of more rapid progress generally. The eradication programme is a work of national importance which it is essential to complete as quickly as possible, despite enormous cost.

The purchase of shares in Irish Steel Holdings, Limited, as a first contribution to their programme of expansion and development and a higher rate of industrial grant issues by An Foras Tionscal accounted for further increases in voted capital expenditure.

The Air Companies exceeded the Budget provision. On the other hand, the Industrial Credit Company required £1.4 million less than the estimate because their commitments did not mature as rapidly as had been expected. The Company's expenditure is, however, expected to reach the £3½ million mark this year.

Local authorities' requirements for building and construction fell £1¾ million short of the estimate, mainly in respect of housing and sanitary services. The reduction was partly offset by greater expenditure in the private building sector, stimulated by the more liberal grant and loan facilities provided under the 1958 Housing Act. The general improvement in the economic situation probably helped also to stimulate building activity. In the confidence that this improvement will continue, a provision greater than last year's expenditure is being made for housing as well as for sanitary services.

The reduced level of expenditure on housing in recent years has been the subject of groundless criticism. It is due to the satisfaction of housing needs and not to any restriction on the issue of money to finance building. Fortunately, there is no longer any need to sustain the peak building levels reached in earlier years when slum clearance and other major housing schemes were in full swing throughout the whole country. The fulfilment of needs in many areas must naturally be followed by a decline in the rate of building since it would be quite pointless to build houses which are not required for occupation. Instead of the reduction in housing expenditure being a source of criticism, it should be a cause of satisfaction to all of us that we have progressed so far towards meeting our social obligations in this respect.

Hear, hear.

The decline in housing activities had, of course, an adverse effect on employment in the building industry. Even if there should be a spurt from time to time in house building or reconstruction, it would be most unwise to expect that a satisfactory recovery in employment in the building industry can come from housing alone, and particularly local authority housing. We must look to other types of building activity to help. There are definite signs of a quickening tempo in other sectors, in some cases due in great part to tax and grant incentives. Factories are being built or extended. Improved office buildings are being erected. New hotels are in prospect and there is a growing volume of work on the extension and improvement of existing hotels.

The decline in public capital outlay on building was, of course, foreseen, and it was largely to meet it and to avail of the opportunity it gave to redirect investment to more productive activities that the Programme for Economic Expansion was initiated. The periodic progress report on the Programme has been circulated to Deputies within the past few days and it is hardly necessary for me to make any comment at this stage on the detailed information it contains. I would, however, like to refer in a general way to the manner in which we are already turning to good account the opportunity for redirection of investment which I have just mentioned.

The estimates of public capital expenditure in 1960-61 show an increase of more than £10 million over 1959-60. Indeed, at £54 million, outlay is expected to be higher than ever before. The provision for most purposes is greater, the biggest increase being in the capital required by the Air Companies which, excluding moneys required to repay borrowing, is £6.37 million, as compared with £2.55 million last year. This year instalments amounting to £4¾ million will be payable to complete the purchase of jet aircraft for the transatlantic service, and £655,000 to acquire shares in Aer Lingus from British European Airways in accordance with an agreement made in 1956.

I have already referred to the increased expenditure proposed this year by local authorities and by the Industrial Credit Company. Other services on which more is to be spent include: the steel works at Haulbowline, turf development, television, telephones, electricity and internal transport.

Table VI will enable Deputies to see both the trend in the total of public capital outlay in recent years and the change in allocation as between different objects of expenditure. The total for the current year is £9 million above that for 1956-57, even though public outlay on building and construction (other than industrial and hotel building) has fallen from £18 million in 1956-57 to £12½ million for 1960-61. In the five years, the capital provision for agriculture, agricultural credit, forestry and fisheries has doubled, having risen from £6 million to £12 million. Capital for industry, in the form of grants and credit, has increased from less than £1/2 million to over £6 million. Capital for public transport undertakings and for port, harbour and airport facilities has increased from £7¼ million to £11½ million.

The upward trend in agricultural credit requirements is worthy of note. It is expected that new loans by the Agricultural Credit Corporation this year will amount to £1 million. The amount of credit provided by the banks for farmers has risen progressively from £17 million in January, 1958, to £22 million in January, 1959, and to £29 million in January, 1960. A sizeable proportion of this increase represents additional productive investment in agriculture. Both farmers and banks are to be congratulated on this trend which, I hope, will be maintained and strengthened.

Another notable feature of the table is the upturn in capital needs for fuel and power. The tendency in recent years was for investment under this heading to decline because of a slackening in the rate of increase in demand for electricity. Recently, however, under the impulse of rising living standards and increased industrial activity, the demand for electricity has grown stronger and this welcome change has necessitated the acceleration of the Electricity Supply Board's generating and other programmes and a corresponding revision of the development programme of Bord na Móna.

Even the most critical analyst must concede that altogether there has been a remarkable shift of public investment towards agriculture and industry. Furthermore, we are spending more on capital development than ever before in spite of the decline in building expenditure. Had the necessary plans not been made for this expansion, the drop in building and construction would have involved serious economic and social risks. Not alone have these been countered but we are effectively using the opportunity afforded to us to apply more of our resources to productive purposes.

V. FINANCING OF CAPITAL EXPENDITURE.

The resources which were availed of by the Exchequer to meet capital requirements in 1959-60 are set out in Table III. Table V shows the resources expected to be available towards the capital requirements of the Exchequer this year.

As regards last year, it will be seen that the largest single contribution towards capital requirements came from the National Loan in November. Public subscriptions to the Loan fell £1.4 million short of the £12 million offered but this was not surprising in view of the support which was given to the other forms of public saving during the year.

Prize Bonds continued to be a popular investment and, allowing for encashments, brought in £4 million net last year as compared with £2¼ million in the previous year.

Net receipts from the traditional forms of small savings, namely, the Savings Banks and Savings Certificates, amounted to £4½ million, or nearly £2 million more than in 1958-59. Taken together, Prize Bonds, Savings Banks and Savings Certificates, brought in £8½ million of new savings.

During the year, there continued to be good support for the public issues of Exchequer Bills, and it was possible to increase the amount borrowed by this means from £6 million to £9¼ million. As foreshadowed in my Budget Statement last year, the public issues of bills have been converted from a quarterly to a monthly basis and this has helped to increase the attractions of the bills as a short-term investment. The average discount rates on our bills during the year continued closely in line with those on British Treasury Bills.

Interest rates generally have been increasing for some months past and have added to the cost of State borrowing. I referred last year to the burden of debt service charges and to the need for devoting a higher proportion of public investment to productive purposes. Progress is being made in this direction, and the increase in the cost of borrowing makes it all the more important to maintain it.

It is no less important, if our plans for economic development are to be carried through successfully, that there should be no relaxation of the efforts to secure a higher level of saving. The Savings Committee have been most active in promoting savings, especially among wage-earners, and the increase in small savings last year reflects the Committee's efforts. I should like to take this opportunity of expressing the Government's thanks to the members of the Committee who are voluntarily devoting so much of their time to this valuable public service.

I met the members of the Savings Committee recently to discuss the savings campaign with them and I was most impressed by their optimism with regard to the support which is likely to be forthcoming from the public in future. The recent increases in wages have improved the saving capacity of a large section of the community. In the estimates of the sources of borrowing for the current year I have felt justified in assuming a higher level of receipts from small savings and Prize Bonds—£12 million as compared with £8½ million last year.

Support of the same order as last year may be expected from Departmental Funds; the figure taken for 1960-61 is £8 million as compared with £7.4 million last year.

Thanks to the excellent support given by the public and to the surplus on the Current Budget, there was no difficulty in financing the capital programme last year. In fact, it proved possible to repay the banks £3 million of Exchequer Bills. This year's programme is heavier but with the support of the community which, I am sure, will be generously given, I expect that we shall be able, no less successfully, to raise, from our own resources, the finance necessary to ensure its completion.

There is one other matter affecting the finances of the present year which I should mention. Under the Transport Act, 1958, the State assumed direct liability for the repayment of the outstanding 3% Transport Stock, 1955-60, which amounted to almost £10 million. On the issue of the 5¼% National Development Loan in November last, holders of this Transport Stock were given an opportunity of exchanging their holdings for stock of the new issue. Holdings to the nominal value of £6.65 million were exchanged in this way leaving a balance of some £3¼ million outstanding which is due for payment on the 30th June next. For the convenience of the stockholders, I propose to make a further conversion offer, details of which will be issued to each stockholder shortly before that date, together with the form of application for repayment in cash for those who desire this. As the terms of the offer will be realistic having regard to the then market conditions, I am hopeful that the majority, if not all, of the stockholders will accept it.

VI. CONCLUSION.

Listening to the recent debate on the Vote on Account I could not but deplore the readiness of some Deputies to enlarge upon the unsatisfactory features of our economic situation. It looked as if they took a perverse delight in portraying this as a "most distressful country". I deplore this not only because it is false but because it is nationally harmful. We should be mature enough now to assess our defects in a spirit of realism and to concentrate our time and energy on remedying them, rather than bemoaning them. We have no problems of an economic or social kind that we cannot solve if we have the will, the wisdom and the application to do so. It should be a source of inspiration and courage that we have already made substantial progress. Indeed, confidence in our ability to succeed, which is half the battle, is well justified. A great disservice to national development is done by those who belittle the advances made— under different Governments—and who, by spreading pessimism, lessen the determination we should all share to make greater progress in the future.

By the standards of four-fifths of the world's population, we are very well off. The great majority of our people are reasonably well fed and well housed. The conditions of life in Ireland are good. Our people have the safety and comfort of a peaceful, civilised society. Our real incomes and living standards are rising and last year's increase in national production was most encouraging. We are on the road to a solution of our remaining social and economic problems. We have a name, and an influence, in the world which many larger countries do not enjoy.

It is time there was an end to depressing talk. We should, instead, work together to ensure more rapid improvement of our position in the years immediately ahead, drawing encouragement from the new spirit of enterprise that we see on all sides. Our agriculture is basically sound and will be given a forward impetus by the additional aids which the community —as consumers and taxpayers—are now contributing. Industry has already responded to the tax and other incentives offered in recent years: production and employment are rising and a most gratifying increase in manufactured exports is under way. Progressive industrialists are confident about future prospects and are prepared to face the challenge of greater competition and freer trade. National savings have risen, enabling a record level of domestic capital formation to be attained. Capital is coming into the country for new industries and investments and our external reserves have suffered no decline in recent years. The public finances are sound and will be kept sound by this Budget. Taxation, including taxation of profits, is not high by international standards and there are generous easements to encourage production for export. For my part, I shall continue to work, during my term of office, for a lowering of direct taxation.

We possess, indeed, many basic advantages which should enable us to move ahead more quickly. There is clearly no need and no excuse for pessimism. Everywhere there is evidence of a new, confident outlook and of greater dynamism. The Government's economic and financial policy is designed to sustain and encourage these qualities and to provide all the help possible towards achieving the national objective of better standards for all our people.

Even the most severe critic of the Minister for Finance cannot fail to admire his impudence. No one in this country for the last 30 or 35 years has done more than Fianna Fáil to denigrate national advances made by other Governments. The Minister's lecture at the end of his Budget speech should be directed to his own followers on that side of the House.

I want just to put first, before turning to the Budget itself, some of the facts published in the Central Statistics Office brochure in relation to our national economy. I want to put these facts on record, and to put them there in contra-distinction to the wild, exaggerated and irresponsible promises made by every single member of the Fianna Fáil Party, from the Taoiseach down to the most humble member of that Party, in the General Election of 1957. I remember, particularly the Taoiseach and the Tánaiste, Deputy MacEntee, talking about the limit of national taxation having been reached. They seemed then to count up the total of national taxation, not the rates. As well as I remember, it was in Graiguenamanagh the Tánaiste pledged his honour that taxation would never be increased so long as he was a member of the Government. We shall have an opportunity during the general debate of giving the exact quotation from his speech. That was in 1956. Since, we have seen the result.

Let us turn to the national economy. What are the facts? The facts are that in relation to the year that has just passed the Minister achieved very substantially more revenue than he expected—principally, if not entirely— because of something that was criticised severely by his Leader, the Taoiseach. Everyone knows that the increased revenue of 1959-60 and the buoyant revenue of this year arise primarily because of the injection into the economy of the seventh round of wages, an injection criticised severely in this House by the Taoiseach himself within the last couple of months If, therefore, the Minister has achieved greater revenue, has achieved a surplus, he has done it in spite of his Leader and because of what he described as undesirable.

It is easy to achieve a surplus on current account if you add to current revenue, revenue that was treated before as capital and if you take from current account expenditure, expenditure that was treated before as income expenditure, and borrow to meet that expenditure. Last year includes £1.7 million of revenue that should have been treated as capital and it includes £1.534 million of expenditure that heretofore was charged for as income, but that the Minister for Finance decided to borrow to meet. That is an easy method of doing things but it is a method that has its effect in various places.

Let s consider what exactly is the present position of the economy as outlined in the Economic Statistics issued last week. In relation to our balance of payments, we had a deficit last year of £8.7 million. That must be compared not merely with prices as they were in 1959 but with prices as they were in 1959 and in 1957, not for the purpose of increasing the deficit as such, but for the purpose of showing that in the year 1959 there was an amazing opportunity of improving our external position such as had not existed in earlier years. If prices in 1957 were the same as world prices had been in 1959 there would have been a very different picture in the last year in which we were in office, and even last year, in 1959, if 1957 prices were current, the deficit on our current account would not have been £8,000,000—but £37.9 million or £38,000,000. We must therefore remember that that difference arising as it does, the difference between the deficit of 1959, the deficit of £8.7 million, and the surplus in 1957 of £9.2 million, the improvement in the terms of international trade last year of £6.9 million, as set out on page 5 in the Economic Statistics, and the improvement of £13,000,000 this year, all make it clear that 1959 was a year in which there should have been a great improvement but which unfortunately, as the figures themselves show, there was not.

Last year we had the highest volume of imports that there ever was in any year. The tragedy about those imports is that the increase in producers' capital goods that would give real improvement for the future was so very, very small, that the increase in real terms of something that was going to build up the country in that high record volume of imports was entirely trifling. On the other hand we had, in certain respects, an improvement in certain aspects of our export potential. The Leader of the Opposition referred to it yesterday and I want to refer to it again today.

It is perfectly clear that our people have become more export-minded than they were and, in those circumstances, it is only right that we should remember that the pioneer instrument in making our people export-minded was the legislation that was enacted in the No. 2 Finance Act of 1956, legislation that was enacted by us and improved, let me admit quite frankly, by the present Minister for Finance in the light of experience gained. It was our pioneering hand in that which started off the export-mindedness of industrialists and which is, to some great extent, responsible for such increase as there has been in export potential last year. We must remember too, that for the first time last year exports of wool reached £5,000,000 and nobody is going to suggest it was because of anything the present Fianna Fáil Government did that we had such increased exports of wool.

When we turn to some of the tables in these Economic Statistics we find there a picture to which it would have been more honest for the Minister for Finance to advert. Let us take Table 6, the volume of agricultural output. What do we find? We find that the net agricultural output of the State in 1959 was less than in any year since 1954, with the exception of the bad harvest year of 1958 when the weather destroyed any chance of adequately saving our harvest. Would it not have been more proper for the Minister to have put that side of the picture to us in making his Budget speech today?

Let us take the next table, Table 7. We can see there that in 1959 the number of people employed in agriculture, in forestry and in fisheries was 25,000 fewer than it was in 1956, 9,000 fewer than it was even in 1958 but is, as I say, so substantially fewer than when the people over there were making their wild promises in the General Election of 1957. Let us remember that these are the official statistics supplied by the Statistics Office and are not, as the Minister for Finance sometimes suggests, Fine Gael statistics. Going on to the next table, we see that in industrial production the volume of 1959 is still under the volume of 1955, yet every single member on that side of the House made it appear to the people in 1957 that they had only to get into office and they would change everything. They have had three years and they still have not reached the volume of industrial production of 1955.

Look at the number of employed in industry about which we have heard so much, and we find in Table 8 that again the position is the same, that they have not been able to reach back even yet to 1955. We are told that a great improvement arose at the end of the year. Perhaps it did. I think there is some improvement at the end of the year; certainly there should have been after the manner in which the economy of the country was depressed by Fianna Fáil in 1958, but in December, 1959, there were still fewer people employed in producing transportable goods and services than in December, 1955. There are also fewer people employed in manufacturing industry than in December, 1955.

Table 16 deals with the number of unemployed and in that respect I want to make an emphatic protest to the Taoiseach for the manner in which that table has been prepared, I am sure under Ministerial direction, this year. Last year when the economic tables were put before the country the numbers of people employed in agriculture, forestry and fishing were given as a subhead of total employment, and one got a total figure at the end of the table. This year, in order to produce a different result—as I say, I am sure, under Ministerial direction— the two tables have been split so that the drop in the total labour force at work does not readily appear. What is the true position? The true position is that on these figures, when we amalgamate Table 7 and Table 16, we find that in 1959, there were 9,000 fewer people employed than there were even in 1958 and that there were 24,000 fewer than in April, 1957. Three years of Fianna Fáil and that is all they are able to show—fewer people at work.

If the Minister had wished to put to the House an objective survey of our economic position, it would have been better to have referred to Table 12. Table 12(b) is the one which gives gross national expenditure at constant prices. It is the nearest one can get in these tables to national income at constant prices. What do we find? Far from there being the 2 per cent. per annum increase in real national income which we were told was to be the aim and the object of the Government, we find that between 1957 and 1959, the increase has been one-tenth of one per cent.— £537 millions as against £539 millions —not a very creditable record for the Party who said they would be able to change everything overnight.

Finally, in relation to these Economic Statistics, may I make a reference to one fact, a strange one —that there is no record of or remark or reference anywhere to emigration? What is the position in relation to emigration? Do we not all know that more people have gone out of the country during the past three years? We have seen, particularly in the midlands, something we never saw before—whole families packing up and turning the key in the door! We have even the evidence of the Minister for Finance himself, who, when speaking on the Vote on Account on 15th March last, admitted that emigration in 1959 was higher than in 1958. Would it not have been a more objective presentation of the case, before we received the lecture we did receive at the end of the Budget speech from the Minister for Finance, if he had put before us objectively the facts in relation to those aspects of our economy?

When he came to frame this Budget, the Minister was in a particularly happy position. He had before him the Estimates, in the printed volume, made by the Revenue Commissioners. They showed that there was more buoyancy in revenue than there had been for a long time. The Minister had only to do his job as Minister for Finance and to ensure that the Estimates for the Supply Services had been kept within proper bounds and had not been allowed to increase in the way in which they were allowed, to be able to give substantial reliefs in taxation, even without the imposition of any additional tax on tobacco. It is the task of any Minister for Finance to make that restriction and he failed to do it and because he failed to do it, certain people will not get the reliefs which they would be entitled to feel it would be possible for them to receive, as a result of the buoyancy in revenue.

The Minister has increased the tax on tobacco. He has done it at a time when already, as has been agreed on both sides of the House, the amount of the national revenue that is obtained from tobacco is far too high as a proportion. It is a very vulnerable position that so much of our tax revenue—some 25 or 26 per cent—should be obtained from one item like tobacco. If the public taste should change in any way, it would create an appallingly difficult problem for whoever may succeed the Minister. For that reason, therefore, quite apart from adding taxation, which the Minister should not have had to do, it is unwise to do it in a way that creates such an imbalance.

While I welcome the reduction that has been made in the special import levies, it is, at the same time, a continuance to the extent of £1¼ million of a breach of faith by Fianna Fáil. They made it apparent to all the electors of the country in 1957 that they would abolish the levies immediately they got into office and, in particular, I name the Minister for External Affairs as being one of the prime propagandists in that connection. They are repudiating their own promises to the extent of £1¼ million in that item alone.

I fail to understand the provision the Minister has made in relation to the pigs and bacon new grade. Does £30,000 not seem quite illusory and derisory in that regard, if anything at all is to be done to improve our product and if we are to succeed in getting a better and a larger export market in that connection? Is it not just a drop in the ocean? Of course, we know that, so far as Fianna Fáil are concerned, even this year, in the 16 weeks that have gone by, there were 80,000 less pigs taken into the bacon factories than there were two years ago.

I am not clear, in relation to that aspect of the Minister's speech which relates to agricultural subsidies, whether he has provided anything to meet the increase in the cost of chocolate crumb—an export which is worth some £5 million to us. The Minister is much too vague in that respect in his Budget statement.

Although the Minister, by this Budget, has taken certain additional taxation out of the pockets of the people directly, we must also remember that at the same time, by the additional 3d. a lb. on butter, he is taking an extra £1 million out of the pockets of the consumers, and they are to a large extent the same people.

We might be inclined, perhaps, to think that this was the first Budget of the year, but, in fact, it is the second because postage charges and telegram charges have already been increased by the forerunner of this Budget by the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs.

The remission on the entertainments duty on cinemas was one the Minister had to make for the purpose of protecting his own duty. If it were not remitted, particularly with the advent of television, the duty might have withered away.

I thought we would get from the Minister, so as to fit it into the picture of the national economy, the total increased cost of the new Social Welfare proposals. I have heard various estimates of them. Some estimates have gone as high as a £10 million increase. Others have been in the region of £5 million to £6 million. We were entitled to be told today what that cost was so that we could judge the total additional money that would be extracted from the economy. If, as has been suggested in certain quarters, it is £6,000,000— and I have no way at this stage of making the estimate — and there is the extra £1,000,000 for butter, then the extra tax bill to be met this year is pretty substantial. We must add to that the increase every local authority has to meet through the rates. The last Table of the printed Tables circulated with the Budget shows that in the last two years some £2,000,000 more has been collected from the ratepayers than before, quite apart from the additional subventions there may be from Central Fund sources.

All these things are creating a picture and I suggest it is a picture somewhat different from the picture the Minister drew for us today. Many Deputies from rural Ireland, even those on the Government side of the House, know cases where people have turned the key in the lock and left home. Is it not true that the small towns and villages in rural Ireland are finding it more difficult than ever before to carry on? Is it not true that many of the shopkeepers in those towns who were prosperous, have fewer customers who have even less to spend because the agricultural community have got such a severe knock.

There should have been more consideration for rural Ireland and there should have been, above all, a realisation in this Budget that there is no good in fewer people having a greater income. What the country wants is more people in it, less emigration, and for those that are there—a growing population not a declining one—a rising standard of living. The advent of Fianna Fáil three years ago has meant all the time a declining population. Unless that trend is changed we are going to face insuperable difficulties because of the age grouping. It is the young people of working age who are going away. We have too many old people in comparison to the number of young working people. Unless that is changed we will see a real disaster in rural Ireland. I do not think anyone can say this Budget will alter that picture.

The portion of the Minister's speech which amused me most was the Conclusion. I do not mind the Minister expressing his concern about people criticising Governments and Government institutions. It is not a bad state of affairs when the Minister tries to deceive the country because he can do that only for a while but when he attempts to deceive himself it is bad, he being Minister for Finance. No one wants to criticise a Government or the institutions of Government merely because one is in Opposition or because one wants to do harm. The Minister should appreciate that the Opposition must be realistic and there is no use in his pretending or our pretending that things are as well as he claims they are in his Budget speech and especially in the Conclusion.

I wonder did he really mean what he said in the second paragraph, which I quote:

By the standards of four-fifths of the world's population, we are very well off.

Compared with Chinese coolies we are well off. Compared with the Russians we are well off. Compared with the millions of under-nourished and underfed people in India we are well off. Compared with millions of Africans we are well off. It is a most unhappy phrase for the Minister to have used. One is led to believe that what he wants to put across to the people is that we never had it so good. I do not think that could be said in respect of most sections of the people.

The Minister went on to say:

The great majority of our people are reasonably well fed and well housed. The conditions of life in Ireland are good. Our people have the safety and comfort of a peaceful, civilised society. Our real incomes and living standards are rising and last year's increase in national production was most encouraging. We are on the road to a solution of our remaining social and economic problems. We have a name, and an influence, in the world which many larger countries do not enjoy.

I do not think that is a true picture as far as this country is concerned, and I believe the Minister knows that as well as anybody else. He should be realistic and he would be if he examined and gave to this House, as Deputy Sweetman did, the analysis of the figures or the results that were displayed in the booklet he himself produced,Economic Statistics.

Fianna Fáil described 1958 as the year of recovery and I think they described the year 1959 as the year of progress. There is very little evidence that 1958 was a year of recovery and there is less evidence that 1959 was a year of progress. One has only to have regard to the figures for exports and imports to show that the position deteriorated in 1959 as compared with either 1958 or, as Fianna Fáil call it, the bad year of 1957. The value of our gross agricultural output decreased by over £8,000,000 from 1957 to 1959. There was a decrease of 6.6 per cent. in gross agricultural output between 1957 and 1959. Therefore it cannot be claimed that 1958 was a year of recovery or that 1959 was a year of progress.

There is no necessity for me to repeat the figures contained in this booklet,Economic Statistics, or the figures Deputy Sweetman has given here with regard to the over-all reduction in employment. I think it is fair comment to say that the figures in respect of agricultural employment, fishery employment and forestry employment were deliberately divorced from the other figures of employment to try to present two pictures which were not in themselves too bad but which presented in one picture would be very gloomy indeed.

I listened to the Taoiseach when he spoke here on the Vote on Account; his words were to the effect that the Government were most seriously concerned about the recent wage increases. He also, like many other people in the country, seemed to have the impression that the workers had done very well so far as wage increases were concerned. The Taoiseach may not have said it in that speech but he did say on other occasions that workers were justified in obtaining increases if there was increased production as a result. Therefore it ought to be said that any increases that the industrial workers have got over the last two or three years have been matched by industrial production, again as proven in this booklet,Economic Statistics. It ought to be known as well that of the increases in the national income the workers do not obtain their full share. Their income increased by less than 4 per cent, whereas the national income increased by 5 per cent. I mention that merely to show the Taoiseach and others who would have us believe that the workers have got more than their fair share, that they got a lesser proportion of the increase in the national income and if they got an increase, they certainly matched it with increased production.

I do not think the Government have anything at all to boast about in relation to unemployment and with regard to the alleged reduction in the unemployment figure. Might I say this Budget did not seem to me to give any indication that employment would be increased? There is no particular aspect of this Budget which has been designed to stimulate employment, either in agriculture or industry. It has been said, I think, by the Minister in his speech, to-day, that unemployment has been reduced by, I think, about 7,000 compared with last year or the year before. I do not think that is a proper picture to paint.

The Employment Period Order was designed specially by the Minister for Social Welfare to keep down the average number of unemployed during the whole year. I think it is right to say—and every Deputy knows it, especially many of the Deputies on the Fianna Fáil benches—that there has been a purge, and there still is a purge, by the Minister for Social Welfare in an effort to deprive persons of unemployment assistance, with a view to having them discontinue signing so that they will not be recorded as registered unemployed.

The Minister for Social Welfare has used many devices, and is still using them, in order to try to paint a picture of reduced unemployment. Of course, when one considers unemployment figures, one must also link with them the figures for emigration. That has not been done in the Minister's general survey in his speech to-day. We have an admitted figure by the Government of 32,000 unemployed in 1958, and the indications, as expressed by the Minister when he spoke on 15th March in reply to the debate on the Vote on Account, were to the effect that emigration would be higher by a few thousand in the year 1959. That does not deter Ministers and members of the Fianna Fáil Party from telling us they have stemmed the tide of emigration and reduced unemployment substantially. They have done neither. If there has been any apparent or visible reduction in the unemployment figures, it must be matched against the 35,000 or 40,000 people who had to emigrate in 1958 and 1959.

It would be fair comment on this Budget to say that it is much ado about nothing. I was particularly disappointed by certain aspects of it. The Minister, as a result of various manipulations, had a sum of money available for distribution to different sections of the community. To my mind, those who needed it most, did not get relief. We were told about buoyancy in the revenue, and we were told about expansion and progress and development, and still it came as a severe shock to Deputies to know that the much vaunted social welfare scheme, publicised over the week-end, will cost the Exchequer for three months of the year £155,000. I do not speak with detailed knowledge of what is in mind of the Minister for Social Welfare or what regulations he proposes to make, but it seems to me it will be a pretty niggardly sort of social welfare scheme.

If it will cost the Exchequer, even for the first year—I know it must develop—a miserable £155,000, it seems to me that a great many people, who are now expecting to receive pensions of 40/- a week, will be sadly disillusioned when the Bill has been finally passed. Many will find it difficult, indeed, to qualify for this allowance, and for many other thousands, it will mean they will not get the full pension but a greatly reduced one. I believe also that it is a very niggardly sort of economy on the part of the Government to say that these benefits will operate from January next only. I appreciate the difficulties in respect of a contributory pension scheme. I know it has to go through this House and through the Seanad and that different regulations must be made, but I do not think it will take nine months to do that. It is being done deliberately by the Government to save a few miserable pounds this year.

Even if they had difficulties for a period of nine months in respect of the introduction of a contributory pension scheme, it should not be too much to ask them to introduce a separate Bill to provide for the proposed increases in sickness benefit, unemployment benefit, and widows' and orphans' contributory pensions. Those increases are small enough. The increase is 2/6 per week in respect of a single man. I urge the Government to reconsider their decision to operate the complete Bill from January next and to try to implement, in any case, the increases provided for sickness benefit, unemployment benefit and widows' and orphans' contributory pensions.

I do not know what particular attraction dance-hall proprietors or cinema owners have for this Government. Everybody appreciates that the cinemas, if not now going through a lean time, probably will, with the advent of Irish television. I do not believe television is a serious problem for the cinemas all over the country; I do not believe television is a competitor with the cinemas south of a line between Dublin and Galway because television is practically nonexistent there. I do not know whether this concession by the Minister will do any good for the cinemas, unless it is passed on to the person who pays his money as a spectator. If this relief which is now being given by the Minister is not passed on to the ordinary cinema-goer, I do not believe it will do the industry any good or do the Minister for Finance any good, either.

Why the Minister wants to give— small though it may be—another £50,000 to the dance-hall proprietors. I cannot imagine. I know that those who will participate in the benefits of this £50,000 are not all private dance-hall owners but a good number of them are. Why the Minister should go out of his way to give them a relief which will not be passed on to the public, I cannot imagine.

There are other reliefs. There is a relief on table waters; and there is a relief in respect of hydrocarbon heavy oils of £500,000; there is a relief of £9,000 to tobacco dealers; and there is a relief of £106,000 on retail liquor licences. I do not know whether or not those reliefs were necessary in view of the fact that another section of the community needed this money much more. As I said a moment ago, I do not know the attraction the dance-hall proprietors have for the Government and, again, I cannot understand the addiction to increases such as those which they gave before of 1/- to the old age pensioner. He would not and should not thank them for it.

It is only an insult.

There is a scheme to which I have referred, which says it will provide contributory pensions of 40/- a week for certain people, and the Minister, in a blasé fashion, says that the 1/- will compensate for the recent increases in food prices. I do not believe it will compensate the old age pensioner or the blind pensioner for the recent increases in bread, milk, butter and meat. One shilling per week certainly will not compensate these people, but the Minister says it will compensate them for the recent increases, I believe, on the assumption that he thinks the increases given since he became Minister for Finance compensated them for the increases that occurred since March, 1957. The Minister should have had regard to the fact that the 2-lb. loaf has increased not by a farthing or a halfpenny but by 5½d. since March, 1957.

The Deputy is going into details which would relevantly arise on the Resolutions or in the general debate.

I am sure the Minister is aware of all the things I say or will say. I am commenting on the fact that he did not advert to them. The Minister cannot say that the increases since April, 1957, would compensate old age pensioners and those in receipt of social assistance. Butter has increased in price by 11d or a 1/- per lb. since the advent of this Fianna Fáil Government. This Budget has done nothing and will do nothing to alleviate unemployment and emigration.

I believe the Minister was trying to create the illusion that there is prosperity and plenty in our country. We should like to be able to agree with him, but we cannot as we know that such is not the case. Unemployment has not substantially been reduced, and emigration is going on apace. The Budget is dressed up to give the appearence of progress and prosperity. Unemployment is practically as high as it ever was and, on the Minister's own admission, emigration was higher in 1959 than in 1958. Unless the Government wake up and take serious steps to try to alleviate the position demonstrated in the booklet,Economic Statistics there will be higher unemployment and emigration and even less prosperity than we have at present.

The Minister's speech has been remarkable for its complete absence of reference to any assistance or any indication of an advance for the development of our principal industry, agriculture. As the Minister proceeded with his speech, it struck me as astonishing that he had reliefs for practically every section of the community, some of them deserving and some of them not so deserving, but glossed over agriculture in just one short paragraph of a few dozen words.

Reference has already been made to the fact that people are flying from the land, that houses are being closed up and whole families are moving out. The pattern of emigration heretofore was that young boys or girls went but that somebody remained at home to hold the fort. We now have a different spectacle. The Minister calmly told us that cattle exports last year were down by £10 million. What else could we expect? What else can we expect with the youth, particularly, gone from the land and nobody left at home but old people and children? What else can we expect but that production on the land will go down.

This Budget is hopeless by virtue of the fact that nothing has been done to try to put agriculture on its feet. It seems that the farmers are a class of the community that has earned the undying enmity and hatred of the Fianna Fáil Government. Since they first took office, the farmers have been their target. It was open war in the early years. Now it seems that their attitude is one of silent contempt and just to let the industry die.

The Minister must have had his tongue in his cheek when he asked the Opposition not to be pessimistic and not to portray the gloomy side of the picture. The Minister and his colleagues, when in Opposition, made the work of the two inter-Party Governments as difficult as they could by creating a pall of gloom and despair all over the country. They peddled every kind of perssimism and despair as fast as they could. They sought to strangle every scheme introduced by a Minister of the inter-Party Government.

The Minister proposes to give an increase of 1/- a week to old age pensioners. That is nothing short of an insult. I cannot find words to express my contempt of that offer of 1/- a week. The Minister should have been able to do better than that.

The Minister seems to forget that the increased price for milk for the creamery milk suppliers is not costing him anything. The extra cost will be passed on to the consumer. Butter has gone up in price from 4/4 to 4/7 a lb. To-day, one can buy a lb. of Irish butter in England for 3/2. For every lb. of butter we send across the Channel, we pay 1/2 to induce the Englishman to eat it.

These details do not relevantly arise now.

The Minister made the point that the increase of 1/- per week to the old age pensioners would help to balance any increase that has recently occurred in their cost of living. The increase of 1/- per week to that class will not by any means meet the additional costs of bread and butter, not to speak of other commodities. The Minister could not allow the occasion to pass without imposing an increase of 1d. on a packet of 20 cigarettes and ld. on 1 ounce of tobacco. That is another wallop at the working man and the old age pensioner.

If the Minister wanted to do something beneficial for agriculture he should have taken steps to relieve very considerably rates on agricultural land and farm buildings.

That would not arise at the present juncture. The Deputy will get an opportunity to raise it later.

I submit I am not out of order in suggesting what the Minister should have done in the Budget.

At this stage, the Deputy is out of order in so doing. He will get an opportunity later to discuss the details of the Budget statement.

Very well. I shall not press the matter now. All that has emerged from the Minister's Budget speech, which lasted an hour, is that he has given reliefs which in some cases are deserving and in other cases are not so deserving. I shall not particularise now but I shall do so later. He completely omitted our principal industry, agriculture. He has done nothing to increase employment in rural Ireland so as to help to stem emigration. He has left everything exactly as it is.

The policy of this Government seems, in particular, to be to let the small landholders die off, be obliterated by death, the passage of time or emigration. This is a poor Budget. The reliefs have not been given in the right quarter. The Minister has let down the agricultural industry badly.