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Dáil Éireann debate -
Tuesday, 6 Jun 1961

Vol. 189 No. 10

Finance Bill, 1961—Second Stage (Resumed).

Question again proposed: "That the Bill be now read a Second Time".

The first thing I should like to do is to join with Deputy Sweetman and the other speakers who referred to the action of the Government, which is being implemented by means of Section 17 of this Bill, in imposing or continuing the special import levies but with the difference that, instead of these levies now being regarded as temporary, they are, by virtue of this Bill, being incorporated into the permanent taxation. Any Deputy on these benches and, indeed, many Deputies sitting behind the Minister are entitled to protest at the Government's action in this regard. All of us will recollect that when these special import levies were imposed by the previous Government, in March, 1956, at a time of extreme difficulty, for the purpose of preserving our national solvency, we had an outcry from the Fianna Fáil Party then sitting in these benches. One of the things they were demanding in the course of their outcry was that they should be satisfied and that the country should be satisfied that these levies would be regarded as temporary only and that they would be removed at the first possible opportunity. They coupled with that demand, which in fact was unnecessary because of the legislation then being introduced, that the revenue derived from these levies should be used for productive capital purposes only. Not only was that conceded by the then Minister for Finance, Deputy Sweetman, but when he introduced his proposals for the imposition of those levies, he made it quite clear, without any urgings from the Fianna Fáil Party, that the purpose of the levies was to meet a temporary situation arising out of the imbalance of payments and that the proceeds of those levies would be used for capital purposes only.

I do not accuse the present Government or the Minister for Finance of being in breach of an undertaking given to this House because the undertaking was not given by him, but I do think that in matters such as this, this Government or any Minister who succeeded Deputy Sweetman should have honoured the undertaking which he gave to the House and which he implemented at that time as far as he could by legislation regarding the use of those levies. If there is to be any stability or any confidence by the people in the Government and in financial policy, when a firm undertaking is given, as it was given by Deputy Sweetman, succeeding Ministers for Finance should have regard to that. Certainly any Minister for Finance drawn from the Fianna Fáil Party, having regard to their attitude at the time the levies were imposed, should not only have honoured the undertaking given by the then Minister for Finance but should have gone a lot further and completely abolished these levies rather than put them into the form of permanent taxation.

In case any Deputy sitting opposite doubts what I am saying, I want to refer to columns 334 and 335 of the Dáil Debates of 13th March, 1956, where Deputy Sweetman as Minister for Finance said this with regard to the levies which were being introduced:

I should like to say, too, that the intention is to retain this special import levy only as long as the balance of payments situation requires. The primary purpose of the levy is to reduce imports and in so far as it produces revenue for the Exchequer that revenue will not be used for general purposes but solely towards preserving employment on useful works and easing the pressure on the balance of payments. With this in mind I intend to provide in the Central Fund Bill for the diversion of the proceeds of the levy towards financing the State capital programme. I should not like it to be thought, however, that this will do more than provide a small, and of course merely temporary, easement of the great difficulty likely to be experienced in raising sufficient capital for all public authority purposes.

There was a clear undertaking given there by the then Minister for Finance as to the purposes for which the special import levies were to be used. Fianna Fáil speakers, notwithstanding the specific nature of the statement made by Deputy Sweetman as Minister for Finance, pressed him to be even more specific regarding it, and we had the present Minister for Local Government, at column 685 of the same volume of the Dáil Debates, saying:

I would like the House to be given the facts as to how this money will be spent, this £3,000,000 or £4,000,000 which will be collected as a result of these impositions. I want to know if that money will be used for the purpose for which the Minister so glibly explained it would be used, but gave us no details. Let us have from the Minister in his closing speech a definite indication of where this £3,000,000 or £4,000,000 extra will go. Let him say that it will, in fact, be used for something which will give lasting benefit. Let us be able to tell the people, whose savings will be eaten into by virtue of their having to pay higher prices for these taxed commodities, that their savings, so reaped from them in these taxes, will go into productive employment in the future by way of capital development throughout the country.

Not only was that in the mind of the Minister for Finance at the time but it was implemented by him in the terms of the Central Fund Bill of 1956. It was clear to everyone that the levies were imposed as a temporary measure to meet a particular situation which then existed. That was implicit in the imposition of the levies by the then Government and it was even more implicit in the speeches made by members of the Fianna Fáil Party in Opposition, that those levies would be removed either by the Government who proposed them or by any succeeding Government, whether composed of the Fianna Fáil Party or other Parties in the House. Certainly as far as Deputy Sweetman and his colleagues in the Government which imposed the levies were concerned, it was quite clearly their intention that the levies which were imposed to meet a temporary situation would be regarded merely as temporary and would be removed at the earliest possible date.

Now we are discussing this Finance Bill some five years later, a Bill introduced by the Minister for Finance in the Party who were so critical of the imposition of these levies. Instead of legislating to remove the levies, now that they have served their purpose, we are legislating to make them permanent and to make the taxation thereby imposed a permanent feature of our taxation framework. There is no doubt the levies did the job they were intended to do. That has since been acknowledged by the Taoiseach, who after the change of Government acknowledged that despite his doubts on the occasion of the imposition of the levies, the measures the then Government took had succeeded in solving the balance of payments problem. The Government are letting the people down and they are letting themselves down —certainly they are letting down those who were so vociferous during the last general election campaign — in taking the action they are now taking in this Finance Bill.

Other speakers have pointed out that the measures which the Government are taking are not such as will solve the problems which have to be solved and which, according to the Minister for Defence, this Government were elected to solve. I think all Deputies — more particularly than any other, the Minister for Defence — will recall the propaganda and the publicity of the Fianna Fáil Party during and prior to the last general election. They will recall how Fianna Fáil propaganda and Fianna Fáil spokesmen dealt with the question of unemployment. They will recall how Fianna Fáil speakers used to refer to the year 1956 as the "black year" as far as employment in this country went. The present Minister for Defence put himself on record in this House in giving the reasons why his Government were elected to office. On 15th May, 1957, very shortly after the Fianna Fáil Government were formed, as reported at columns 1283 and 1284 of the Official Report, the Minister had this to say:

In my opinion, and in the opinion of any fair minded person who even now goes back and looks over the speeches made in the election campaign, it is beyond all doubt that we were put in here as a Government to take the necessary steps to remedy the situation of mass unemployment and emigration brought about by the previous Government.

I should like to ask the Minister for Defence if he is proud of his Government's achievements in that direction over the past few years.

They were put there, according to the Minister for Defence, for the purpose of taking the necessary steps to remedy a situation of mass unemployment and emigration. Let us see how they did that. According to statistics published by the Government in the Statistical Abstract, between the years 1956 and 1959—and, remember, 1956 used to be referred to as “the black year” for employment in this country — employment in non-agricultural activities decreased by 26,000 persons.

Between the years 1956 and 1959 the number of persons engaged in agricultural pursuits decreased by 25,000. Therefore, in the three years, from 1956 to 1959, under the Government who according to the Minister for Defence were elected to take steps to remedy a situation of mass unemployment and emigration, the number of people employed decreased by no fewer than 51,000 persons. Therefore, there were 51,000 persons more in good jobs with decent conditions in this country before Fianna Fáil were elected to office. Bending all their efforts to end unemployment, with all their talk of proposals for 100,000 new jobs, with all their screaming posters to wives to get their husbands out to work, with all their exhortations to the people to let Fianna Fáil get cracking, their best ever was to put 51,000 people out of employment since they got back to office in 1957.

The Minister for Defence tells us he is proud of the Fianna Fáil record on unemployment and on emigration. What is the position regarding emigration? We do not find it easy to get figures from the Government about emigration. However, it does not seem to be quite so difficult to get statistics from official British sources. A report was published recently by the British Migration Board which showed that in three years, 1957, 1958 and 1959, no fewer than 196,312 Irishmen and Irishwomen left this part of Ireland and secured work in Great Britain. Those figures do not include, as was made clear in the report, the nonworking dependants of those who secured employment in Great Britain and do not include children under school-leaving age. When the Taoiseach was challenged about those figures in this House, the best answer he could give was to say they were inaccurate according to his calculations.

Even if the British figures are taken as 25 per cent. inaccurate, we find that, in those three years alone, something over 150,000 people left these shores and emigrated to Britain and secured employment there. I have not seen the figures for 1960 but I have seen a newspaper article published in Great Britain which claimed that 73,000 people from the Twenty Six Counties secured employment in Great Britain in the year 1960. If that figure is correct, it means that something more than 200,000 people have emigrated to Great Britain since the Minister for Defence was elected to remedy a situation of mass emigration and unemployment.

Remember, I am referring only to emigration to Great Britain. I am not referring to those who emigrated to America or Canada or Australia or New Zealand or elsewhere. I am referring simply and solely to those who have left these shores to go to work and who have found work in Great Britain. Remember that, at that time, the Minister for Defence was a raw young Deputy in the Dáil for the first time. He had been listening to speeches from the Taoiseach and the ex-Taoiseach and from all the bevy of hoary warriors, who should now be sitting in their places on the Fianna Fáil benches, on the evils of Coalition Government, on 1956, the "black year" for employment, on the horrors of emigration and on the cost of living and soaring prices.

The Minister for Defence summed it all up, in his rawness and greenness and freshness, when he came in here to make his speech. He told the Dáil and the country that any fair-minded person, reading the speeches made at the general election, would know that Fianna Fáil were elected as a Government to take the necessary steps to remedy a situation of mass emigration and unemployment. That is how they remedied it. We have had a situation where 51,000 people were put out of employment by this Fianna Fáil Government and over 200,000 people left our shores.

Can the Minister for Defence and those sitting behind him get any consolation even out of Fianna Fáil's treatment of the people who remain? The purpose of this Finance Bill is to implement Budget proposals which are framed on a Book of Estimates some £22½ million higher than the Book of Estimates in the year 1956. There was a time under the Government of Mr. W.T. Cosgrave when it cost something like £25,000,000 a year to run the entire country. Those were the days when Fianna Fáil spokesmen were going around complaining we were living on an Empire scale and that no man was worth £1,000 or more than £1,000 a year. Now, in the four years since Fianna Fáil got back to office between 1956 and the issue of the present Book of Estimates, there has been an increase of more than £22,500,000 in the amount which the Government estimate they will require to run the country for the next twelve months. Side by side, while that increase in the Book of Estimates is taking place, it will be seen from the Statistical Abstract published by the Government that local rates in the same period have increased by something more than £3,500,000.

While these estimates have increased by over £3,500,000, they have been increased notwithstanding the fact that the first action of the present Government when they came back to office was to remove the food subsidies in their first Budget and to save themselves something in the region of £9 million at the expense of the taxpayers and particularly at the expense of the poor people for whose benefit the food subsidies had been kept in existence. Therefore, the true increase in the Government's spending over the last four years is not only £22,500,000, but it is over the £30,000,000 mark.

The result of the deliberate and positive action of the Fianna Fáil Government in removing the food subsidies is that the housewife who used to get her creamery butter at 3/8d. or 3/9d. per lb. now pays 10d. more for her butter. She pays over 6d. per lb. more for her 2 lb. loaf of bread. She pays about 4/- per sack more for her 14 lb. bag of household flour. Therefore, when Fianna Fáil have succeeded in putting 51,000 people out of employment and in driving 200,000 from our shores, they then deal with the people who are left. So far as the ordinary person who finds it difficult to make ends meet is concerned, he gets a hammering from the present Government in increases following the abolition of the food subsidies — increases in the price of bread, butter and other foodstuffs. It did not end there. Practically everything else has gone up in price as well — bus fares, railway fares, rents, rates, footwear, clothes. I doubt if any Fianna Fáil Deputy could with any confidence name a single article that has not increased in price in the past four years, whether in the region of household appliances, foodstuffs, clothes, footwear or articles of that description. That is how Fianna Fáil have dealt with the people who remained in this country.

Reverting for a moment to the question of unemployment, all of us will recollect that when the Minister for Defence was talking his brave words here in May, 1957, there was one exclusion. When the talk used to be about 100,000 new jobs and plans for full employment, there was always one exclusion. There was one door which not only was not to be opened but was to be kept locked and locked firmly. That door was the door to the Civil Service. While they were finding 100,000 new jobs there was to be no increase in the Civil Service and the number of civil servants was to be cut down to reduce Government administrative spending.

What has happened? Instead of 100,000 new jobs, there are 51,000 fewer people in employment. But the one door that was to remain locked has been opened and the one sphere in which there has been an increase is the Civil Service. According to information given us from the Government Benches recently, there has been an increase of 500 in the number of civil servants employed since this Government took office. Yet that was the one door that was to remain closed, no matter where else they turned to find new jobs and work for the people.

That is the Fianna Fáil record since they were re-elected to office in 1957. It is no wonder that Deputy MacCarthy sleeps through it. He does not want to hear it. It is no wonder other Fianna Fáil Deputies hang their heads in shame. It is no wonder that the Minister for Defence is left alone to defend the legions behind him and that he is deserted by the Minister for Finance and all the other Ministers. But the time is coming, and it may come very soon, when Fianna Fáil Deputies and the Government will have to account not merely to this House but to the people of the country.

You are already on the run.

All we have to do is to point to 1956 again.

What does the Minister for Defence and his colleagues say when his own words are quoted, that he knows they were elected in 1957 to increase employment and stop emigration, that he knows it was on that representation that he got the people's vote? What does he say when the economic statistics published by his colleague, the Minister for Finance, for 1960 and issued prior to the Budget of 1961 are produced in this House and they show that employment declined by 51,000 and when all available estimates confirmed that 200,000 boys and girls have emigrated from the country since he and his colleagues took office? Their first reaction is to jeer across the House.

I was particularly interested in Deputy Moher's reaction. I think his reaction is to shrug his shoulders and say "There will always be emigration. Do we not all know it?" When did he learn that? If that is his view today, since when did he learn it? Why did he participate in the campaign, not as I described it but as his own colleague, the Minister for Defence, described it? Deputy Moher in the past has been inclined to say "Ah, you are putting words into my mouth. I never said such things in the course of the campaign". But Deputy Boland, the Minister for Defence said, as reported in the Official Report of Dáil Eireann, that he himself got elected and that all his colleaguess got elected on the programme to put an end to what he described as "mass unemployment and mass emigration". He is on record as saying that he believed such things existed in 1957, that his purpose in seeking to get elected to this House was to put an end to them and he goes on to add "It is because the people believed we would do it that they put us where we are."

I assume that the Minister for Defence, when he was making the speech to which Deputy M.J. O'Higgins has referred, was speaking as a member of the Government, of which he constitutes a part, and a member of the Front Bench of the Fianna Fáil Party, of which he is a member. Therefore, I am entitled to assume that when Deputy Corry shrugs his shoulders now at mention of emigration he has changed his mind since he was campaigning with Deputy Boland —Mr. Boland, as he then was; he was not a Deputy at the time. He has since been elected to this House to put an end to emigration and increase the amount of employment in the country. Either he has changed his mind or he was a fraud when he campaigned with Mr. Boland as he then was. So were they all, Deputy Faulkner and the rest of them——

The virtuous and the unvirtuous. We are back to it again.

No, I am talking about the frauds and those who told the truth. I would segregate Deputies into these two categories. Either the representations made by the Fianna Fáil Deputies were fraudulent in 1957 or else they have changed their minds. I want to know when they changed their minds. I do not think they have changed their minds. Here is the great evil in this transaction: I think the people believed them in 1957; I think the people now see that a confidence trick was played on them and so they have not only come to despise the members of the Fianna Fáil Party but to suspect everyone participating in public life here. They just do not believe us any more. That is the most recent in a long series of injuries done to the public life of the country by the Fianna Fáil Party but the strange thing is that the Minister for Defence is here present. He has heard his own words quoted: he is confronted with the statistics published by his own colleague but he has no word of explanation to give. There are 51,000 fewer people working in this country than in 1956; 200,000 people have gone from it and that is the consequence of the economic policy operated by this Government for the last four years.

Mark you, that has resulted in a reduction in the figures of unemployment. There is no doubt about that. The weekly figures of the unemployed have gone down but is there anybody here who rejoices at their reduction by the shipment of the unemployed men and women of this country to Birmingham, London, Manchester and Glasgow to get their living there? I know I should be ashamed if I had to make such a confession.

The interesting thing is that I feel that certain Deputies of the Fianna Fáil Party have become so brazen that they no longer feel any sense of shame about that. They rejoice that they played a successful confidence trick on the people in 1957 and they pray that they will be able to do as well the next time. Is that not so? That they had to degrade the public life of the country is bad enough by making promises in order to get votes on foot of those promises but what is utterly nauseating is that when they have conducted that seedy transaction to their own advantage they have the brazen-faced audacity to come into Dáil Éireann and deny they ever made promises.

Who will blame the young people if they are prone to say today that they have no respect for politicians? There is an extraordinary change here in the past 50 years. The status of a public man in Ireland has radically changed. I invite members of the Fianna Fáil Party to reflect on that fact and to ask themselves in how far their conduct has contributed to that degradation of the status of us all.

This Finance Bill represents, broadly, the taxation policy of the Government. When I look back over the four Finance Bills for which this Minister for Finance has been responsible I recall that since he took office, in successive Bills he has taxed bread, butter, tobacco, beer; he has taxed those items in the list of levies which have been made permanent; he has transferred taxation to bus fares; he has increased electricity charges. His policy has resulted in a steep increase in the rates and he has increased the social services contributions by about £4 million a year and reduced income tax and surtax.

I would ask the Deputies to ask themselves: who buys bread, butter, tobacco, beer? Who pays bus fares and meets electricity charges, social insurance contributions and rates? And who pays income tax and surtax? It seems to be a wholly astonishing feature of financial legislation that in the four years for which Fianna Fáil have been responsible, they have put 4d. an ounce on tobacco, a penny a pint on beer, £9 million on butter and bread and they have used at least part of the proceeds to reduce income tax and sur-tax.

There is another significant fact, which was referred to recently by the financial correspondent of one of the newspapers, that the capital programme of the Government today is devoted to housing, schools, hospitals and sanitary services to the extent of about 26 per cent. of the total. In 1957, 40 per cent. of the capital programme was devoted to that end. I am very proud of the fact that we gave a high priority to housing the people. I am very proud of the fact that we built more houses in the city of Dublin in any year of our administration than Fianna Fáil has built since they came back to office. I think Fianna Fáil have bought the idea that that is not a provident thing to do. I often wonder if they have any idea themselves where they are going or what the results of their own actions are.

During the period in which they have increased, by taxation, the prices of bread, butter, tobacco, beer, bus fares, electricity charges, rates and social insurance contributions, the income of the agricultural community declined by £16,000,000 per annum between 1957 and 1959. In 1960, the income of the agricultural community has just come back to what it was in 1957, but if we take the figures set out in Table 11 of Economic Statistics, issued prior to the Budget of 1961, we find that net national product at factor cost in 1957 from agriculture, forestry and fishing, was £131.8 millions. In 1960, it was £129 millions, some £2,000,000 less. In every other sector of the economy, there has been an increase in the net national product but agriculture has gone steadily down.

The result of that is there for all to see. To my mind, it is one of the most menacing features of the life of this country at present. The farmers who own their own holdings are being ground between the upper and nether millstones of costs and profits, and income is dwindling and costs rising. Some of them are simply accepting a lower standard of living and some of them are going away. That is a great tragedy for this country. What is even worse is that there are a considerable number of people preaching the doctrine that this is an inevitable development and one that cannot be arrested. I deny that. I assert it would be a great disaster for this country if property-owning farmers are prevented from earning a living in their own country. I am certain there is no necessity for it and I am certain that if it is allowed to continue, not only will we shatter the whole social structure of rural Ireland, but we will undermine the economic viability of this country because over and above the loss of the families who are leaving the land, every holding thus vacated is ceasing to produce what it could be made to produce, and where there were pigs and fowl and cattle in the past and crops growing, the land is now set in conacre for grazing a few store cattle.

I would regard the disappearance of these people and the undermining of the security of tenure which their neighbours feel, as a disaster in itself. Over and above that, these people and their families constituted the raison d'etre and the justification for the small towns of Ireland. Is there a Deputy from rural Ireland who does not know, as I know, that the small towns of Ireland are withering away for the simple reason the people are not there to dwell in them?

The Deputy forgets transport and moving shops as a factor. He is leaving these factors out.

I am not leaving them out at all. I am dwelling on this fact——

Give the full picture.

I am giving it.

The Deputy is not.

I know the full picture intimately. The fundamental catastrophe of the past four years is that the people are not there any longer. There are parishes in the West of Ireland from which 25 per cent. of the people have gone. I know as much as Deputy Moher knows, and probably I know more, of the travelling shop and every other factor that operates in rural Ireland. There was never any need for any enterprising businessman to apprehend competition, so long as the customers were there. If he was to justify himself in business, he should be able to provide the service to draw the custom to his house and whether he transacted his business from a shop or from a travelling shop, he provided employment in the country town where he did business and not only did he provide employment but he also provided the sales organisation for the industries of this country.

I have often wondered if Deputies ever ask themselves the amount of business transacted, the amount of money that passes in a small town in Ireland. If we could investigate the actual trade transacted in a small town, it would astound some Deputies to realise that it runs into millions. If I said to a great many Deputies that, in a small town in Ireland, the annual turnover exceeded £1,000,000, they would be amazed, and yet there is a small town in Ireland where the annual turnover on retail and wholesale generally amounts to £1,000,000 or more.

I know a town of 2,600 population which has a turnover of £3,000,000 per annum.

If we negotiated a trade agreement with Paraguay under which we secured trade amounting to £3,000,000, there would be celebrations in this House. The Minister would be congratulated and the Government would be applauded. This Government are quite capable of dazzling themselves with a trade agreement with Nicaragua under which they secured trade amounting to £500,000, while we watched domestic consumption, amounting to as much as £3,000,000 in a town of 2,600 people, fade away. Because we employ 20 or 30 people assembling sewing machines to send out, on foot of that trade agreement, we close our eyes to the disappearance of 10 or 20 families, and to the disemployment of 40 or 50 people in a country town simply because it is our own country town. It does not matter that they should be suffered to wither away in silence. Deputy Moher shrugs his shoulders and says it is inevitable, that there is nothing we can do about it.

The Deputy should look on the bright spots.

The brightest spot on our horizon is the general election next September or October.

The Deputy will be dazzled then.

It is my confident hope that that may come to pass. Dazzled is what I should like to be. I would be quite satisfied with a bare majority, but if I am dazzled, so much the better. Mind you, 200,000 people are a lot of people to have sent out of this country when 90 per cent. of them are between the ages of 18 and 25 years. It is not possible to redress the consequences of that exodus overnight. Those people are gone, and it will not be so easy to get them back. Those people are gone, and it will not be so easy to make this country tick over with their loss.

If this country had lost 200,000 soldiers in battle, would we not regard it as a national calamity, practically irreparable? I do not say that 200,000 emigrants are as irrevocably lost as if they were killed in battle, but economically their loss is very much the same. It is true that for the first couple of years, or the first three years after they leave, they will send some money home. Economically, that operates to cloak and disguise the impact of their departure on the country as a whole. If they stay, as the bulk of them will stay, where this Government have sent them, the ultimate economic and social consequences to the country will be vary grave.

I wonder if we could find out the net result on the old-established industries of the country of the exodus of those people, and the reduced demand following therefrom in our domestic market, as compared with the expanding exports which some of them have managed to develop as a result of the vast concessions inaugurated in the 1956 Act, exempting their profits on exports from income tax and corporation profits tax. For some, I have no doubt there is a net advantage, but for many, I think their losses in home demand probably more than offset the export advantage they have got. I hope they will keep the market outlets they have abroad, but I should be much happier to think that they would recover the domestic market that has gone.

Our national income, according to the figures set out in Table 10 of Economic Statistics issued prior to the Budget of 1961, was £467,000,000, in 1957. In 1960, it is £528,000,000. That represents an increase in the total national income of approximately £61,000,000. That figure is arrived at by adding together income from agriculture, forestry and fishing, nonagricultural domestic income, net foreign income and the general item “Other”. Two aspects of that statistic are, I think, very relevant to the financial legislation we are now considering. You find, when you look at wages and salaries and profits from agriculture, forestry and fishing, that, in 1957, they amounted to £129,000,000 out of a total of £467,000,000. In 1960, the income from agriculture, forestry and fishing, wages and salaries and profits combined, amounted to £126,000,000; £3,000,000 less out of a national income of £528,000,000, which is £61,000,000 more than the 1957 figure.

Does that figure not amaze Deputies who have some interest in the 300,000 families who live and get their living on the land of Ireland and who constitute the foundation of the vast bulk of economic activity proceeding in the country? That is only one aspect of that figure. The other is that there has been an increase of £61,000,000 but, if you look at the statistics available to us, you will find that over the same period hire purchase debt has increased from £9.7 millions to £24.6 millions. The figures published in the Central Bank Bulletin for 1961 show that there has been an increase of £14.9 millions in hire purchase credit. Bank advances have increased from approximately £160,000,000 in 1956 to £198,000,000 in 1960. That represents an increase of £38,000,000. Putting these two figures together, it appears that there has been an expansion in the available credit of £52.9 millions in that period.

Now, I do not want to equate that increase in credit with the physical increase in the national income to which I have referred, but I do not think we can deny that, if you inject sufficient credit into the monetary system of the country, you can expand the national income almost indefinitely in terms of money. It is true, as anyone driving through the streets of Dublin can see, that there are far more television sets in operation in the city of Dublin at the present time than there were four years ago. It is true, I think, that of those television sets not five out of every hundred have been paid for. It is true that in any country town in Ireland—never mind the city of Dublin— there are more motor cars on the road now than there were four years ago. Would I exaggerate if I said that out of every hundred cars not ten have been paid for?

It is true that a good many articles of that character have been purchased by hire purchase. It may be argued that it is a good thing that people are able to get that kind of credit. I am not so sure that it is. Whether it is good or whether it is bad, the fact remains that in the times in which we live, if that kind of credit is available to people, people will avail of it. It is true that if you want to raise a loan with the Agricultural Credit Corporation for the purpose of expanding production on the farm, even under the new dispensation, the procedure is pretty elaborate, and securities are required; but, if you want to buy a television set, a washing machine, or a motor car, all you need do is go down and find a dealer who will sell you whatever article you want. You sign a paper and you take your television set, your washing machine, or your motor car away with you. Whether that is good or whether that is bad, it is certainly true that when you are looking at an expansion in the national income over a period in which the income from agriculture, forestry and fishing has gone down and the rest of the national income has gone up, we ought to ask ourselves how far is that expansion in the national income a matter for unqualified self-congratulation, if it is in large measure due to a very substantial credit expansion in the purchase of the kind of things which we thought it more provident at one time to purchase only when we were in a position to pay for them?

I pointed out on a previous occasion that the cash income of the farmers was approximately £16,000,000 less in 1959 than it was in 1957. I notice that the Minister for Finance was furnished in Economic Statistics issued prior to the Budget of this year with a paragraph to demonstrate, I think, with a note of triumph, that in 1960 the cash income had recovered. On page 9 on this volume, it is recorded that the decline of £16,000,000 in the cash income of farmers had been substantially recovered in 1960. I often wonder if the statisticians who prepare these figures have any understanding of the significance of the figures in which they deal.

It is true that the cash income of the farmers last year increased substantially. Did anyone ask himself why? I would invite the statisticians to make some inquiries in the Department of Agriculture. That Department might be able to help them. Cash income is a very important consideration but one must study it to determine its character. A shopkeeper with a turnover of £100,000 a year may be making a very comfortable income. If, in the following year, he conducts a bankrupt sale and disposes of his stock for £125,000, he has an even bigger cash income; but it may be the signal of his economic dissolution. Most of the cattle sold last year were sold at a loss. But they had to be sold. I do not think that even Deputy Moher will deny that last year most of the cattle that were sold off the land of Ireland were sold at a loss; and, although the cash income of the farmers did appear to increase, I think it is true to say that in the past two years most farmers lost money on both crops and livestock.

I could go down through the figures which are set out in answers provided at Volume 188, No. 7, on 25th April, 1961, and on the Official Report, Volume 188, No. 12, column 1780, for the estimated gross agricultural output and income of farmers and their relatives. The interesting fact is that in 1957 their total sales plus their own consumption amounted to £192,000,000; in 1959 it was £176,000,000 and in 1960 it had recovered to £191,000,000. The sales of cattle were £53,000,000 in 1957; they were £51,000,000 in 1960. They had been £45,000,000 in 1959. I suggest that most of the cattle mentioned in that schedule of sales in 1960 were sold at a loss. I invite Deputies to consider the figures to which I have referred and which are available in the Official Reports of the House and to ask themselves what they mean to the agricultural community of this country.

I believe that the present trend in this country is thoroughly unsound because I am convinced that it is based on a new heresy which Fianna Fáil is concerned to promote, and that is, that this country can survive and prosper regardless of what happens to the principal sector of our national wealth in which we have invested approximately £1,000,000,000, and that is, our 12,000,000 acres of arable land.

I believe that this Government seeks to justify itself on illusions. I recall that the Minister for Education, in this House, on Thursday, 9th March of this year, at column 444, stated:

This Government took office in 1957 at a time when, for the first time since the war, there had been a drop in production, the highest unemployment figures ever, a serious imbalance in external payments and an absolute shortage of money, to meet not the great plans which we hear about, now they are in Opposition, but to meet the ordinary everyday payments of grants, particularly, as Deputy Corry said, through the local authorities.

That statement is so fantastic that it is hard to correct it in detail but it is right to recall that in the period to which the Minister referred we had achieved, I think for the first time in a quarter of a century, a favourable balance in our balance of payments which, in 1947, amounted to something more than £9,000,000. It is right to recall that in the period to which the Minister referred we were providing more money for housing and local authority services than at any time since the present Government returned to office. It is right to recall in regard to unemployment that the unemployment figures have undoubtedly gone down but those who figured in that schedule in 1957 are now living in England because they were forced to go there to earn a living there.

I believe this Government are deliberately promoting the idea in this country that it does not very much matter what happens to agriculture, that agriculture no longer seriously counts in the economic life of this country. I want to challenge that proposition. Welcome as industrial development is, desirable as expanding industrial employment undoubtedly is, there remains a fundamental economic fact for Ireland, that without a prosperous agriculture no other sector of our community can permanently enjoy prosperity. Unless and until that fundamental thesis is accepted, there can be no enduring prosperity for this country.

I do not believe that Fianna Fáil accepts it. I hope the people will realise that in time. This Finance Bill should make its own contribution to that process of education of our people. I do not believe they will be deceived by the pious declaration of the Minister for Finance that parts of the proceeds of the taxation he now imposes are designed to increase the subsidisation of limestone or to provide larger assistance for farm buildings, because I think our people know that what he is doing here is to restore in the limestone subsidy what he took away four years ago.

I think the people realise that the increased farm buildings subsidy that he now provides is merely 50 per cent. of what he took away when he abolished the double byre grant under the bovine tuberculosis eradication scheme. I believe these two restorations have been made because he realised that the people understood the damage that was being done since they had been removed by the Fianna Fáil Government in their first Budget of 1957. That kind of chicanery is unworthy and futile. I hope to see it ended but I declare again my conviction that the only really bright feature on our present political horizon is the imminence of the general election before the end of this year.

There are one or two sections of this Finance Bill to which I should like to make reference. While I am not unmindful of the fact that the Minister has given some relief with regard to death duties, I do feel that in the interests of the economy of the State he could have gone a great deal further. Admittedly, no one now has to pay death duties unless the estate is valued at £5,000 and, admittedly, the rate is less than it was before.

I should like the Minister to tell the House the total sum collected in revenue from death duties. Death duties are probably one of the most productive causes of unemployment in big concerns in this country or any other country. A great many years ago somebody conceived the idea that an easy means of getting taxation out of the public was to tax people who were dead and gone, unmindful of the hardships they would impose on those who came after them. It is true that the Minister has raised the limit in this respect but I should like the Minister to remember — he is a rural Deputy as I am — that it does not take a terrible lot, with the increased values today, in a well-stocked farm to run up to a sum of, say, £8,000. By imposing this rate of death duties the Minister is inflicting a considerable amount of hardship on the people concerned. It is very easy to run up to a figure of £8,000 with a moderately sized farm, with the high valuation placed on land nowadays.

What it boils down to is that if the head of a farm in rural Ireland or the head of a business house dies today, there are all the expenses of administration and on top of that the expense of this rate of death duties to meet. I know of a firm which was built up by a father and two sons under considerable difficulties. Money was borrowed from the bank. A good business was built up which provided a sound source of employment. The father died unexpectedly and, as a result of the duties imposed, the family were obliged to sell out and close down the business and those who were employed were thrown out of work.

I do not think the Minister would be taking very much risk if he abolished death duties altogether; he would not be losing one shilling in revenue. All over the world people are trying to make arrangements whereby they can transfer what they possess to others who will come after them. If the Minister were to abolish death duties the influx of capital to this country would be phenomenal and the return from income tax would be far in excess of what he would lose in death duties.

It is always the boast of this Government that they are establishing stability here. It is always their boast that they are encouraging capital to come into the country. Why do the Government not take courage in their hands and abolish death duties? That would be better than the present policy of encouraging capital by inducements of freedom from income tax, by building factories for foreign industrialists, by giving them every possible advantage conceivable while on the other hand they take the last penny possible from the ordinary Irishman who has built up from his own industry some type of business which gives good employment. That is a matter to which the Minister should give consideration. Of course one despairs of giving any advice to the Fianna Fáil Government because no matter what is suggested from these benches it is never the right thing. Their policy is their policy and they will stand by it. They have the "true blues" sitting behind them to go into the division lobbies and vote for them.

I want to refer also to the section in the Finance Bill dealing with aliens who are purchasing land here. It is an accepted fact on all sides of the House that it has reached catastrophic proportions. Are we going to see the land which was won for the Irish people over the years through various Land Acts gradually denuded of the Irish people and being sold to foreigners? The Government at long last have woken up to the fact that they are facing a serious situation. They have woken up to the fact that not only the West of Ireland but a great many other parts of the country are becoming peopled with non-nationals. They have now introduced this legislation. I shall not go into the legal technicalities of this position as Deputy Sweetman did this afternoon with considerable brilliance, pointing out to the Minister and his advisers that there are two serious loopholes in the Bill.

As far as I can read the Bill, having no legal qualifications or legal knowledge, there are still loopholes arising in the Bill as I understand it. For the purpose of agriculture alone the tax of 25 per cent. is payable which is not payable where any commercial venture is undertaken. It does not say so in words but that is the implication in the Bill as I read it. Suppose a non-national buys a farm, acquires a considerable amount of timber, sets up, as one sees so frequently in the Black Forest and in the Vosges — two of the timber places one comes across in Europe, in Germany and France, respectively — a carpenters institution with saw benches and saw mills whereby timber is produced as a commercial venture. Does that rate as an industrial project? Does that exempt the non-national concerned from paying the 25 per cent. duty?

The Bill introduced by this Party the other day would have given the Government all the control they wanted. It would have given them national control and, as this Government is bureaucratically controlled, they should have been satisfied that it would have given them the bureaucratic control which they would have desired to see, that non-nationals could not buy land without its being known. If they had accepted that Bill they would not find themselves having to introduce a Finance Bill full of technical loopholes.

Now I come to the policy of the Government. When a clergyman stands up to address his congregation he usually begins with a quotation. May I give a quotation from the Government policy as I see it: "Let us all amble along together and hope for the best." That is the Government policy in a nutshell. This Finance Bill provides the money for the policy, if any policy they have, of this Government. On the 19th April the Budget was presented. About six weeks afterwards the Minister for Finance was constrained —I forget where it was, at a Fianna Fáil Cumann or some social gathering —to make a speech relative to the Common Market. Not long afterwards, several other Ministers leaped into the fray and started to talk about the Common Market.

At the present moment in the economic world and so, I submit, economically, the foundation of any policy this Government have must be embedded in their Finance Bill. One of the outstanding questions in the world today affecting every Parliament not only in Europe but in the emergent countries is the potentiality of an economic unity in Europe.

For such an economic revolution to take place, it is absolutely essential for a Government with a fundamental policy, and with an understanding of finance and control thereof, to have something to meet that contingency. I cannot find anything like that in this Bill. I have read the Bill and the White Paper. I cannot find anything in the policy of the Government to cushion this State against any of the repercussions we would have to face or any of the changing circumstances in which we must look to when we find ourselves faced with a possible economic unity in Europe.

How will the Minister protect our major industry in the event of an economic unity coming into being in Europe? Has he any policy? Has he any plan to protect our farmers against any losses they may incur? Has he any plan, any policy? Has he even thought of the repercussions it will have on the industrial life of this country?

One would think, with such a serious situation facing us, with such a change in the whole economic position generally, that something would be evolved, that the Minister would come to Dáil Eireann with a policy. Here is the tragedy of the thing. It does not even stop at that. We cannot get any statement, by direct question in this House, from the Minister for Finance who is responsible for any financial policy which it may be necessary to implement, in relation to this. We do not get any mention of it one way or the other. We do not get any information at Question Time as to whether we are preparing for that or what we intend to do.

What will happen if, about this time 12 months hence, before the introduction of another Budget, we have economic unity in Europe? What will happen if the United Kingdom becomes a part of it? As the Taoiseach himself says, 78 per cent. of our exports go to the United Kingdom. What will happen if they decide on economic unity in Europe? What policy have we to cushion our production against that eventuality? Is one shilling mentioned and set aside in the Finance Bill for that purpose? Have we anything to cushion the industries set up under protection here? Have we had any direct discussions.

I asked the Minister for Finance, as one of the senior Ministers of this Government, if any arrangements have been come to, good, bad or indifferent, to deal with that situation if it arises. Today, Deputy Sweetman, leading the debate for this Party, spoke along much the same lines. He was given the answer by Deputy Booth that the Taoiseach never said he had no discussions with anybody.

How does a Government expect to carry on, how does it expect to achieve or maintain economic stability, unless it moves with the circumstances of the day? The attitude is: "Let us all amble along together and hope for the best". That is the policy of this Government. It is the policy in the Budget. It is simply to go on from day to day. It is simply to tell the people "our industries are expanding." Of course our industry is expanding. Industry must expand, if we open new industries, if we give facilities to non-nationals to build industries. Industry must expand if we build factories for non-nationals, if we lend money to non-nationals, if we give free loans to them to start factories. I do not decry that. We must expand our economy. However, is it expanding at the rate the economy of other countries is expanding?

An industrial revolution and an industrial revival are going on not only in Europe but all over the world. The average rate of expansion in all the OEEC countries, of which we are one, is between six and eight per cent. In some countries it is as high as eight per cent. In others it drops to six. In others it is slightly lower. However, the average is above six. Some time ago, OEEC recorded an industrial expansion in Ireland which has been screamed off the housetops by Fianna Fáil Ministers, listened to by silent Fianna Fáil Deputies all over the country. Our expansion is four per cent. of our agricultural production, our fundamental industry, and it is going down. As stated by Deputy Dillon, we sold more but we sold at a lower price.

The Minister for Agriculture admitted to me at Question Time to-day that the prices are falling. There is no policy to meet that. There is no attempt in this Finance Bill to meet the changing circumstances of the day. Countries are building up all over the world. New countries are building up. There seems to be some sort of theory in the Fianna Fáil Party, who really know nothing about it, who have not studied the facts, that none of these countries has any purchasing power and that anything we sell there will not be paid for. That is the answer I get at Question Time.

I suggest the Government should look for markets, as every country in the world is doing. The purchasing power of Nigeria is higher than the purchasing power of some European countries. They have to bring their cattle 500 miles for slaughter. They are not in one-tenth as good condition as our cattle. They are importing meat from all over the world. They are importing it from as far away as New Zealand. We cannot get a trade agreement with them. We have nothing. There is nothing in this Bill to suggest that.

We have no Minister looking for markets. Every country in Europe votes a sum of money in its Finance Bill and in its Budget every year for the purpose of sending Ministers and delegations to look for trade agreements. Every country today has a Minister constantly moving about whose sole duty it is to seek markets. What have we done? Nothing. That is the record of this Government. No wonder we have perhaps the greatest exodus of men and women since the days of the Famine. That is the truth.

Let me recall this to the Minister. In our constituency, in a place he would know well if I named it here but I do not care to mention it publicly, an effort was made to get a hurling team the other day in a sizeable village. They could not get a full team because more than half of them had emigrated. It is the story everywhere. If you travel from the Hook in South Wexford up to the Border and across to the west you will see that it is a denuded country. In spite of that, Ministers are going around the country saying we never had it as good.

There may be money in Dublin. I am not fit to speak on that subject because I am not a Dubliner. I am a rural man. I know what is happening in my own constituency. I know that is the position that obtains in every other constituency as well. Surely, even though there are, perhaps, only two or three months left in the life of this Dáil, a Government who have received such support from the Irish people should make some effort to move even at the eleventh hour and give some sort of employment to the people and face the situation in the world to-day? There is no use living in the past. That is what this Government are doing. They have made no attempt to meet or deal with the exigencies of the day.

The White Paper produced for the Government as an economic solution of our problems may be written down as a total failure. The total failure it can be written down as is this: There are 51,000 fewer people employed in Ireland and there are 200,000 young people away, whose parents are mourning their absence. That is a monument to the Fianna Fáil Party, to the Finance Bill and the Budget policy of Fianna Fáil.

I shall close on this note. Sooner or later the people will wake up to the facts. They will know those who are qualified to lead the destinies of this country. They will know that, in 1954, they were deluded into giving Fianna Fáil a huge majority, the biggest majority Fianna Fáil will ever get in this State. The results are there to see. I hope the day will soon come when they will have an opportunity of reversing that decision. Perhaps in some way we will then be able to retain some people in rural Ireland and will not turn the whole country into a prairie.

The last Deputy who spoke dealt very wisely with the general policy of the Government. Listening to Fianna Fáil speeches and reading them in the week-end papers, one would imagine that because they claim our balance of payments is in order and our exports are continuing to increase, everything is all right in rural Ireland, and that there is no ground for any Party to say there is anything wrong with affairs in the State. There is nothing in this Finance Bill to give us any ray of hope for the future. There is no definite policy on the part of the Government. The Government are probably the oldest single-party Government in the world to-day but despite the fact they have been in office for so long and even though they are on the threshold of a general election, they do not even repent their failure or apologise for it. We find them standing over their actions, despite the fact that their policy has brought ruin and disaster to the great majority of our people.

Everyone knows the farming community are a depressed community, and that their standard of living and standard of income have been lowered. No matter what part of rural Ireland you go to-day, you find the farmers are worse off than they ever were or very little better off than they were immediately after the Economic War. We find an extraordinary wave of unemployment throughout the country, despite the fact that the Government made promises in the past to apply a remedy. Despite the fact that the Government pledged themselves to provide work, there is nothing in the Finance Bill to improve the unemployment position.

Certain provision is made for an improvement in certain social welfare benefits. The recipients of social welfare benefits may be classed as among the poorest sections of our community to-day. They are barely able to keep body and soul together. I want it to go on record, as it has gone on record from many speakers on this side of the House, that no Irishman wants to be in receipt of unemployment benefit or assistance. All he wants is to be given suitable productive employment so that he will be of use to the community and so that he and his family will be independent. Many of our people in receipt of unemployment benefit draw such benefits with feelings of great shame and shyness. We know there is no greater source of independence than in a man being able to say he is earning his own living, providing for his family and living his life as he wishes to live it.

One of the ways in which Fianna Fáil have lowered the morale of the people is the manner in which they shirk providing work and substitute for it free milk, free beef, free boots and vouchers for this, that and the other. Nobody in Ireland wants anything for nothing. They have been humiliated and shamed in the past and have had to take vouchers for milk, boots and beef. Other fairy-tale stop-gap schemes were sponsored by Fianna Fáil for vote-catching purposes and not as part of any long term policy of making our people independent and providing them with employment. I feel I am expressing the opinion of many when I say that the greatest disgrace and curse in this country is the dole. If some of the money spent on the dole and unemployment assistance were used to provide additional work, it would be better spent and would be much better appreciated by the public.

I should like to know from the Minister what steps have been taken to stimulate life in our towns and bring about greater business activity. Is it not true that outside of the cities and a few important provincial towns, most of our small towns are dying out? Is it not true that many of our county towns are now being turned into wayside villages in which there is no business? In many cases, we see shop premises closed down completely, following the pattern all over the West of Ireland where wholesale emigration takes place. You need only travel to Roscommon, South Mayo and Galway to see large padlocks on the door, galvanised iron nailed up to the windows and entire families gone. That is the only hope Fianna Fáil could give those people.

As other speakers have said, the only redeeming feature is the fact that we are so near a general election. I wonder if the Fianna Fáil Party were so foolish as to believe that there was a hope of their ever getting back into office. I venture to say, and I am convinced my prophecy will be borne out, that no Party going before the electorate have ever suffered such an extraordinary and overwhelming defeat as the Fianna Fáil Party will suffer at the next election, mainly because they have not given us good Finance Bills to safeguard our farmers in the event of the Common Market becoming a factor in our economy; to safeguard industries that have to be protected. When we enter the Common Market many difficulties will arise. Fianna Fáil appear to have no plan for such emergencies.

I want to record my entire disapproval of the manner in which the Government have ignored repeated requests from this side of the House in regard to the way Germans are allowed to purchase Irish farms. Recently, when we brought in a Bill asking that a record or register be kept of such transactions, we were told by more than one Minister that the position was not alarming, did not call for legislation and was greatly exaggerated by us. When we have an institution such as the Land Commission vested with power to pay the full market value for land to the owner, full market value should be paid for the extensive farms that come on the market and steps should be taken to give those farms to creditworthy farmers' sons or landless men.

The entry of so many aliens into the country to purchase good land is not in our best interests. Tribute should be paid to the German Minister for the wise advice he gave his countrymen some time ago when he asked them to be very careful about purchasing large tracts of our arable land. Nobody is more welcome here for industrial expansion purposes than German industrialists and nobody will stand in the way of providing industrial sites for such people, but when we see wealthy Germans buying up the best land of the country and at the same time, see small farmers having to pay from £25 to £30 per acre for conacre, when we see them put to the pin of their collar to eke out a living, when we see the farm labourer and the cottier forced to keep a cow and graze that cow on the side of the roadway, it is an alarming state of affairs.

It is hard to see the land falling into the hands of foreigners, while our own people who are prepared, equipped and financed to work that land are denied the right to have it. That bema trays a grave absence of policy on the part of the Government. I can only hope that a change of Government will change the situation and that such a change will come after the next general election and that steps will be taken to prevent large tracts of land from falling into the hands of aliens and that, if neccessary, legislation will be presented to this House to ensure that such lands will go to the creditworthy farmers' sons who are anxious to get land and work it in the best interests of the community.

If I may refer to it, Fianna Fáil now see how very foolish they were to interfere with the double byre grant——

That matter would be more relevant on the Estimate.

I agree, but it shows that even to this very small degree, Fianna Fáil have repented and have at last seen the folly of their ways in regard to these grants.

This Finance Bill gives no hope for the future; it is not constructive; it contains nothing practicable; it does not help to improve our position by providing more work. It is one of the usual Bills brought in by Fianna Fáil more or less for the sake of bringing in a Bill. We can only express our pleasure and delight that this is the last Finance Bill that will be presented lacking a policy. We can but trust that after the general election, when we have a group of commonsense, intelligent, sound, sane men adminstering the affairs of the country, we shall get the necessary legislation which will remedy many of the national ills from which the country is suffering and decaying at present.

They will be Fianna Fáil.

Time will tell that.

The Minister, to conclude.

Is the Minister for Transport and Power concluding? I thought the Minister wished to speak and that is why I delayed. I do not intend to make a long speech because if I did, it would merely be a rehash of what has been said on the Budget proposals but I shall mention a few matters which I did not mention in the Budget debate and reply to some points the Minister made in answer to comments of mine on the Budget.

I do not know if the Minister took me up wrongly or if he deliberately misunderstood me but he seemed to infer that I was playing a double game, talking with a forked tongue, so to speak, in regard to the establishment of industries in the West of Ireland. He said when I spoke in the House, I applauded the establishment of these industries, but when I spoke locally in Wexford, I attacked them bitterly. I do not think the Minister, as a fellow-Deputy in Wexford, misunderstands my attitude towards the establishment of industries in any part of the country. Naturally, I am pleased, as most people are, that industries seem to be established in what are described as the undeveloped portions of the country. My criticism is that if not equal facilities, facilities approaching the facilities given to industries in the West should be given to other parts of the country. That is not unreasonable. I mentioned that point so as to straighten out the Minister for Finance on it.

This Finance Bill includes certain tax concessions and, as the Minister or the Taoiseach said, in a recent debate, it is wonderful what one can do with £1 million. Again, as I had occasion to say in my Budget speech, the proposals in the Bill are designed to make certain well-off people even better off at the expense of ordinary folk who contribute so much by way of indirect taxation. There is no point in labouring the fact that 1/6d. per week was given to non-contributory old age pensions but what people do not seem to realise is how much more certain other people got as a result of the Budget. People welcomed the reduction in the rate of income tax but the reduction in the rate of income tax meant much more to a very small number of people compared with the burden that was placed on tens of thousands of people through the taxation imposed on cigarettes and tobacco.

Let me give an example. The single person who had £1,000 a year in 1960-61 paid income tax amounting to £180 12s. This year, because of the Budget concessions in income tax, he will pay £163 8s., so that in 1961-62 he saves £17 4s. In 1960-61, a married man with £1,000 a year paid £124 12s. but for the year 1961-62, he will pay £112 14s. 8d. The proposals in the Finance Bill mean that he will save £11 17s. 4d. I suggest that that is not a great encouragement to get married. The single man saves £17 4s. but a married man saves a mere £11 17s. 4d. The man with £1,500 a year, in the year 1961-62, is given a sum of £29 14s. but the married man with £1,500 per annum receives only £24 8s. 4d. This all suggests to me that it is not sufficient to reduce the rate of income tax but we must change its structure so that we will not have this sort of anomaly whereby because you remain single, you save much more money when income tax is reduced. I do not need to go any further into that, except to point out again that the reduction in the income tax rate has meant very much more to those in the higher income bracket than to those of relatively modest means.

I had occasion to quote on the Budget debate that for a married man with £11 a week, in some cases this meant an income tax saving of 4½d. per week against the case of the man with £3,000 for whom it meant a saving of £120. We are told these reductions are being paid for by the imposition of another 1d. per packet of 20 cigarettes. The old age pensioner got 1/6d., but the man with £3,000 per annum got £120 from these Budget proposals, or something approaching £2 10s. a week.

At present we hear a clamour for the abolition of income tax. I am not one of those who clamour for the abolition of income tax because when one has regard to the alternative, I think it is one of the best methods of collecting money to run this country or, as a matter of fact, any other country. Few of us realise what is paid in indirect taxation and what is paid by the masses of the people who have not sufficient income to be liable for income tax. I do not know whether my figure is right or wrong but I am sure the Minister has accurate figures. Seventy-one per cent. of taxation in this country is indirect taxation. That falls heavily on ordinary people with modest incomes who have to pay this indirect taxation through tax levied on commodities which they are in the habit of using from day to day and which one might regard as being necessities. These taxes are levied on their amusements and pleasures like cigarettes, tobacco, cinemas, stout, ale, beer and other commodities. A tremendous amount is collected by the State through that type of indirect taxation.

I do not think it is correct for anybody to allege that income tax falls very heavily on a minority of our people. There may be a minority who believe income tax is somewhat unfair in that it is a tax on what they earn and in that it is what they consider to be a tax on their ability or capacity. They must remember also that the income so derived is contributed to by the cooperative work of other people as well. I think the Minister himself has got away from the idea, and has not seriously entertained the idea, of abolishing income tax in its entirety. Nobody wants to see income tax at a colossal rate or at a rate which would be regarded as constituting a severe burden. The income tax rate as it is at present certainly could not be regarded as a severe imposition on certain people when one realises the alternative is a form of indirect taxation, a purchase tax, which would weigh much more heavily on ordinary people who would be required to pay extra for what are regarded as the necessities of life.

It should also be stressed that indirect taxation falls more heavily on the masses of the people than does income-tax on those people who are required to pay in present circumstances. I think it is agreed — certainly it has been stated — that, since 1957, tax revenue has increased from £103 million to £118 million, an increase of £15 million. When some people hear that the usual comment they make is that "this is extra money which we have to pay for social services and for health services." There are many people who believe that the bigger proportion of the £ they pay in income-tax is devoted, for example, to paying more unemployment benefit, more unemployment assistance or to paying for the health services now administered by the various local authorities over the whole country.

If tax revenue has increased by £15,000,000 since 1957, that increase has certainly not been reflected in increased State expenditure on either social welfare or health services. I do not want to enter into a discussion as to whether or not such and such an amount extra should be spent on social services or health services. That is a matter for discussion on the relevant Vote. The Government have boasted and will, I suppose, continue to boast, about the improvement in the social services over the past four years, their term of office. They will probably boast about the improvement in the health services and infer that the State is contributing much more to social welfare and health services.

I want to place on record that five years ago 33 per cent. of State revenue was spent on health and social welfare services, whereas this year, even allowing for the new benefits announced by the Minister in his Budget speech, only 30 per cent. of State revenue will be spent on social welfare or health services. Of the money which was contributed by way of tax in the past five years, no part of that increase—on the contrary — was devoted to social welfare or health services.

The figures do not bear the Deputy out.

I made investigations——

The Deputy said the figure had increased by £50,000,000.

I said £15,000,000. If there have been improvements in the social welfare services, it is the beneficiaries — if you like to describe them as such — who contribute the major portion through increased contributions for stamps, again by indirect taxation, and by the reason of the fact that the food subsidies involving millions of pounds were withdrawn in the past four years.

I do not want to repeat or to stress what has already been said, or to repeat what I said in my Budget speech, with regard to the figures for employment and unemployment. We can all bandy figures around. If I gave figures, I am sure an attempt would be made by the Minister to refute them or to put them in another way. He might manipulate — I do not say he would manipulate them deliberately or wrongfully — or interpret the figures published by the statistics section of the Taoiseach's Department.

It is wrong for us to assume that because the unemployment figures have been reduced, there is more employment in the country. Again, we must point to the fact that emigration still continues and will continue at the rate at which we have had emigration over the past four, five, 10 or 15 years. The much-vaunted boasts of prosperity in the past four or five years do not seem to be borne out, when we have regard to the number of people who are actually in employment now as against last year, the year before and the year before, and especially if we have regard to the emigration figures.

The Minister was absent from the House when I made a comment at the beginning of my speech with regard to the establishment of industries. I do not know whether the Minister misinterpreted my remarks in that regard, but now that he is present, I think I should say again that I hope he has not misinterpreted my remarks in regard to the establishment of industries especially in the West as against the establishment of industries in other parts of the country. I mention this because the Minister alleged when he spoke in reply to the Budget debate that I spoke with two different voices, one when I was in Wexford and another when I was in Dáil Eireann.

I should like to repeat what I said because the Minister is now present. I applaud the establishment of industries in the West, with the reservations I mentioned in my Budget speech. What I criticise, and have criticised consistently, is the unequal treatment of those who wish to establish industries in other parts of the country. I have said that in Dublin, in Dáil Eireann, in any part of the country I visited, and I have certainly said it in Wexford. If there is a special case for the establishment of industries in the West, there should not be such a colossal gap between the amount of financial assistance given for the establishment of an industry in the West and the amount given for the establishment of an industry in any other part of the country.

I also had occasion to talk about Government policy with regard to the establishment of industries in underdeveloped areas and to give this warning or advice to the Government: from now on they should have some financial interest and control in these industries. I do not say they should have over-all control — the Government would not be inclined to do that —but we have heard talk over the past few months, and the Continent is ringing with talk, about a Common Market and free trade in Europe. Certainly, the Taoiseach has gone to great pains in recent weeks to try to get the people to realise what entering the Common Market would mean.

What will be the position of Irish industries in the West should this country join the Common Market in the next one, two or three months? Is there a possibility that these industries which have been started in the underdeveloped areas will fold up? It may be much more advantageous to those people to go back to their own countries or to establish industries in some other country in Europe. It would be tragic if an industry which gave employment to 50, 100 or 500 people should fold up, just like that. If there were Irish money or Government money in it, there would be less chance of its folding up.

Consider the position of a German, a Dutchman or a Belgian who has had a factory built for him here, who has had one-third of the cost of the machinery given to him, who has been given a reduction in rates payable to the local authority, who has had special terms from the E.S.B., and who has been given special financial assistance for the training of workers, if he decides to fold up and go across to some other country. He has not lost much. He leaves the factory where it is; he has not lost much on the machinery; he certainly has not lost much on training the workers; he has not paid a tremendous amount in rates; and he has not paid the full E.S.B. charges. If those industries had Irish money in them, and if they were under Irish control, there would be a much better chance of their being retained here, whether or not we joined the Common Market. I sincerely suggest, therefore, that it is not sufficient merely to give these financial facilities to foreigners coming in here; the Government should themselves have an interest in these industries and should be in a position to exercise some control.

I want to emphasise again what has been said with regard to the problem of emigration. If the Government have confidence in their ability to provide employment for our people by the establishment of industries, then they should do much more to retain Irish workers here. I was amused recently by a speech made by the Minister for Industry and Commerce in which he bemoaned the fact that in certain parts of the country it is impossible to get skilled workers. In a few years' time, we may be bemoaning the fact that we cannot get unskilled factory workers. They do not need the same skill as carpenters or tradesmen in the building trade. They have no apprenticeship period such as tradesmen and carpenters have. If we are to have industry established on a greater scale, we will have to have the workers to man the factories. It would be worth while spending money, I think, merely for the purpose of giving employment to ensure that when the factories are established, we will have the workers to man them and not find ourselves with factories and no workers to man them. It would be worth the Government's while — it would be worth any Government's while—to invest £10,000,000 or £20,000,000 merely for the purpose of providing employment to ensure that, if industry is established on the scale on which the Government say it will be, we will have the workers to man the factories and thereby improve what all of us want to see improved, namely, the general economy of the country.

I deliberately delayed intervening in order to allow Deputies supporting the Government an opportunity of saying something in support of Government policy. It is frustrating that five Deputies on the Opposition side have to speak one after the other on this very important measure. Surely the opportunity presented on an occasion such as this should be availed of by all Deputies to speak their minds in relation to conditions as they see them? It would be no harm if the Government permitted their back benchers to have their say. Why not let them speak? If the Government have the confidence they would like to imply they have, surely it would not be inimical to their political interests to permit those Deputies who vote with them in the Lobbies to make some contribution to this debate, even if that contribution is merely in support of Government policy? It would be better still, of course, if it were a little critical, not alone from the point of view of the country but also from the point of view of the Party in Government.

On a debate such as this, it is not to the credit of the Party in Government that they should sit mutely in the benches and leave all the intervention on the Government side to Ministers. If conditions in their constituencies are of importance to them, surely they must have something to say about those conditions? This is one of the few occasions on which a general survey of conditions is pertinent. It is revealing to note the silence on the Government back benches. I am not prepared to believe it arises from disinterestedness. I think Deputies on the Government benches are as interested in their constituencies as are Deputies on this side of the House. It is indicative that, far from being encouraged, Government Deputies appear to be prohibited from participating in the debates in this House.

It certainly would contribute more to the debates if one were to hear both sides of the story. So far we have not heard the other point of view on this measure. The Minister read his brief, and, apart from one courageous Deputy who is prepared to intervene on any and every occasion on the Government side of the House, we have not heard anybody else on the Government benches. However, despite the Government Deputies being mute of malice, we will examine the situation as we know it in our respective constituencies and, in the absence of any contrary view from the Government side, we allege that we are also expressing the views of some of the Deputies who sit behind the Minister.

In his Budget this year, the Minister asked the people to provide a sum of £16,000,000 to £20,000,000 in excess of what it cost to run the country before he assumed office. There are to-day fewer people in the country to meet that liability. When the Government were in Opposition on these benches, they alleged that national expenditure had reached a point which was beyond the capacity of the people to meet. If that situation had then been reached, how can they possibly present the figure presented this year for the management of this country, particularly when one remembers that so many potential wage-earners have fled the country since their accession to office?

One recalls the positive assertions of the Minister on several occasions in relation to financial measures introduced in this House. We remember his assurances that he was applying all his vigour and attention to a firm pruning of State Departments in order to eliminate what were alleged to be superfluous civil servants. Far from any pruning taking place — a pruning we were led to believe was well under way — we have to-day the position of a considerably inflated Civil Service. But the Minister assured us at one stage that he believed he would succeed within a very short time of taking office in cutting out redundancy. People welcomed that statement. It received editorial commendation in many of our newspapers. People thought it would be an excellent idea, if it could be done. They accepted the Minister's assurances that it could be done. As a result of Parliamentary Questions, the real position has been revealed: far from any reduction having taken place, we have an inflated Civil Service, catering for fewer people and called upon to collect and disburse a record amount of national and local taxation.

We are dealing here with national expenditure. We must remember in this context that the Government have passed back to local authorities many expenses that are normally borne by the central Government. When we look at the capacity of our people to meet the national bill, we are equally disturbed in relation to the increases those same people have to meet by way of local authority expenditure. This has been piling up steadily over the past four or five years. I represent part of County Cork. The position there is that, because of the heavy impact of local taxation on the ratepayers, an integral part of the city and county, the Cork Corporation, is now finding itself in the position that, unless it brings within its control more property than it can levy rates on at the moment, it will not be able to ask the citizens of our southern capital to continue to pay even the level of local taxation they now have to meet. That, of course, is in addition to what is levied by the national Exchequer. Local authorities have to cut their cloth according to their measure. Many schemes have to be deferred because local authorities cannot levy the amount of taxation required to implement these necessary works. We now find ourselves challenged by the city in relation to the impact on residents in the county of Cork. I mention this as an indication of the seriousness of the position in the country in relation to the amount of taxation, both at national and local levels.

Listening to the well-prepared speeches made by Government Ministers periodically and relayed with such assiduity by Radio Eireann, one would imagine that every section of the population at this moment are doing very well, that there is nothing to complain about in the conditions obtaining. Those of us who live close to the people know how far that is from the truth. We know, and the figures provided by the Government show, that the agricultural community in five years have suffered a reduction of some £6 million in their share of the national income, notwithstanding the fact that this section of the community were not in a position to demand the compensatory increases in income which many other sections got following the Government's deliberate action in removing the food subsidies, notwithstanding the fact that the agricultural community had to meet increased rates consequent on increased salaries and wages to local authority employees following the increased cost of living deliberately brought about by this Government. In those circumstances, how can the Government be complacent in relation to existing conditions?

The Minister indicated in his Financial Statement that he was not completely forgetting the existence of the agricultural community. He announced certain increases to the farmers in the matter of the subsidy on ground limestone and grants for farm buildings. We had to respond to the Minister's statement at short notice, but as quickly as we could we estimated that what the Minister was doing in relation to the ground limestone was merely restoring the transport subsidy which he had removed since attaining office. Our estimate has been proved to be correct. That, of course, was done only after there had been a most serious decline in the use of ground limestone. The Minister did not take the word of those of us who warned him at the time of the reduction in the transport subsidy that this would be the result. He waited until he was forced by the drastic reduction in the use of ground limestone to restore the transport subsidy which he had removed without any apparent or logical reason.

Since the Minister made his Financial Statement, I am sure Deputies in the Fianna Fáil Party have been approached as often as Fine Gael Deputies have been approached regarding the implementation of the Minister's statement. Hundreds of farmers have been left suspended, like Mohammed's coffin, not knowing when the increased farm building grants will be implemented.

The Deputy is travelling into the Estimates. He is dealing with agricultural policy, not general financial policy.

With respect, it is by the Finance Bill that the Minister implements his Budget provisions.

Maybe it is. Maybe it is there that he is getting the money but surely the Deputy is referring to the implementation of agricultural policy rather than general financial policy, which is the matter for discussion on the Finance Bill? If we are to discuss everything, we will have housing grants, road grants, everything discussed here. This is a matter of collecting money rather than the distribution of money.

I agree, but the Financial Statement was so devoid of reference to agriculture that I could not possibly refer to any matters of agricultural interest other than the two matters to which I have referred.

The Deputy is seeking to delimit this to purely Departmental agricultural policy. General financial policy is what may be discussed on this Bill.

In deference to your ruling, I shall depart from that point, having stated that the Minister collects the money and has indicated that he would spend it in this fashion.

He can do that in respect of any money he has collected.

He made particular reference to the matters to which I have referred.

The Deputy will have ample opportunity on the Vote for Agriculture.

Very good, Sir. There was no single act of the Government which so flagrantly violated solemn assurances as the use of the special import levies for permanent taxation. When Deputy Sweetman as Minister for Finance introduced the special import levies, he was clear and positive in making it known to the House and to the country that what he was doing was a very special measure to deal with a specific situation and that these duties would not be retained for one moment longer than was necessary. As proof of that, he indicated that it was not his intention to use one single penny of the revenue obtained by way of special import duty for current expenditure.

In view of the criticism so vehemently expressed by the Party now in Government of the special import levies at that time, the people naturally accepted that the Fianna Fáil Party were entirely opposed to the introduction of the levies and that if they had been in office, they would have dealt with that situation in some undisclosed but different way. The electorate assumed that if that Party were given office, they would forthwith remove all the special import levies. The Minister has made no case whatever for confirming these levies as permanent tax measures. He has made no case whatever in support of it.

We know the case that must be made before a Government will accede to a request for the imposition of levies or duties and the conditions laid down for controlling the commodities affected to ensure that the manufacturers or distributors obtaining the protection will give something back to the State either by way of increased employment in the industry or the retention of persons whose employment might be threatened unless protective duties were imposed. That did not obtain in relation to the special import levies. Special import levies were imposed for the express purpose of prohibiting particular imports in a particular situation. In the Minister's search for some means of imposing additional taxation on the electorate, particularly of an indirect character such as this, he resorts to a transfer of whatever remains of the special import duties to permanent taxation revenue.

We also recall the criticism that the imposition of those duties at that time might have had some adverse effect on existing trade agreements. The Government which initiated the levies gave the assurance that no agreement in being would be affected by the imposition of the levies because it had been written into these agreements when they were framed that, in the event of an imbalance of payments, either of the contracting parties was at liberty to resort to such a means of rectifying the situation. That cannot be said now and it is surprising that those, who in opposition were critical of the action taken, should now resort to confirming these levies as permanent taxation.

Deputy Corish and other Deputies referred to the need for industry in many areas. There is certainly developing in many parishes throughout the country considerable co-operation by many bodies in endeavouring to secure for the various communities some type of industry that would combat the emigration which has been of record proportions in the past three or four years. This co-operation surpasses any political barrier, the utmost co-operation being afforded in their localities by men and women of all political Parties. However, there is growing disquiet and a feeling abroad, whether it is right or wrong, that industries have been directed to specific parts of the country.

We understand the reasons that prompted the Government to try to attract industry to the undeveloped areas but we have reached the point in many parts of the country where certain advantages are available which are not available in other parts, that local groups that have come together and worked hard in an effort to attract that type of industry to their locality, are becoming very sceptical and frustrated when, having brought people with the industrial potential to the locality they find that some influence has been excercised upon them to take that industry to some other region. I know of two cases in my own area, in Bandon and in Millstreet, where that occurred. It is most disappointing to local groups, having made these genuine efforts and having offered such advantages to these people, to find that somebody with greater influence has attracted them elsewhere. It is desirable that we should try to bring to all parts of the country that are suitable the type of industry that would assist in combating the present heavy emigration from those areas.

The people in the area in which I reside read with considerable interest recently the fact that C.I.E. are in such confident mood in relation to their finances and the fact that the State has been relieved of the obligation of giving the substantial help it has had to give in the past in the maintenance of that concern. We are amazed that such an improvement could be effected before the drastic closing of branch lines which the Minister and his Government have perpetrated in the part of the country in which I reside.

Surely that is not financial policy?

It was represented to us as an absolute necessity in order to rectify C.I.E. finances and so that the Government would no longer have to subsidise C.I.E.

This Bill, as the Deputy knows well, relates to the collection of taxation.

I realise that and that it does not include provisions that were made heretofore in relation to public transport. At any rate, other opportunities will be provided to us to refer to that point.

I am sure the Deputy will avail of them.

I hope to. The fact that Government Deputies are so loath to speak on behalf of the Government is the surest sign of the weakness of the Minister's case, and it does not at all assist the House in a proper examination of the financial position of the country. From our own intimate knowledge of the situation we realise there are fewer people to pay more. In those circumstances the Government are asking the country to pay this record bill. There are many schemes of national development which should be undertaken but a great deal of the money we are voting in this Finance Bill is directed towards schemes of a prestige nature.

We see moneys diverted to prestige building while many of our people are forced to leave rural towns because they cannot secure housing accommodation. The industrial development and the degree of employment we all hope to see achieved in the years to come will not be achieved unless the Government direct their attention to the provision of adequate housing accommodation in the areas in which these industries are established. A more practical approach to the expenditure of the moneys which the people give to the Government by way of taxation is necessary, with the consequent elimination of the high-flown prestige schemes which the Government have sponsored since they assumed office four years ago.

I have several points to raise on this Bill but I am almost trembling because I may be ruled out of order. However I will take the chance.

The Deputy should not tremble anyway.

It is because I have such enormous respect for the Chair. Coming to Dáil Eireann we have fixed illusions. One of the things about which I had illusions was that any statement that came from a Minister for Finance, especially in a Budget speech, would be correct and would be something the Government would be prepared to stand over, and that any action which required to be taken would be taken. I have spoken once before on this matter here and I make no excuse for speaking about it again. It relates to a sum of £250,000 which the Minister mentioned with a flourish of trumpets in his first Budget Speech in 1957. He announced to the House and the country that he was providing £250,000 for the improvement of agricultural marketing. I thought we would see this "Let us get cracking" Government turn the wheels and that the £250,000 would swiftly be put to use or that an organisation would be set up as quickly as possible to improve the agricultural market.

I put down a question early in December and discovered that only £30,000 of that sum had been expended. That shows that the figure of £250,000 was window dressing, that there was no intention to spend it and that the Government have no policy for agriculture. It is a dreadful state of affairs that the Government did not set about seeking new markets and set up organisations for the better marketing of our various products.

In the same Budget statement, the Minister looked into my eyes and said he was providing £40,000 for an ice-plant in Dunmore East.

The Deputy is getting romantic.

The Minister looked across at me as much as to say: "This will shut you up." He has not shut me up. He did not build the iceplant. They put up a lollipop factory there. They put up an ice-plant in Galway which shut down the same day as it was opened.

This Bill relates to the collection of money, not to the spending of money.

As a matter of policy, the Government said they would provide this money for a specific purpose but they did not do so. The Government also say they have a policy for industrial progress. I constantly read in the newspapers of Ministers opening new factories in the most out of the way places for people with strange names. I inquired to what extent this had gone on and I was told by the Minister for Industry and Commerce that 103 new industries were established and extended during the past year and that one extension had taken place in Waterford. That extension was to a very small factory. The Minister just put in that extension because otherwise he would not have been able to include Waterford at all.

The collection of this money and the establishment or the promotion of these industries mean very little to the people of Waterford city. We are told that the money must be spent in areas where the people are in need of work. I am sorry to have to say that 4,000 people in Waterford bought single tickets for England in the past year. They did not travel to England for adventure. Surely that must indicate that Waterford can now be considered a distressed area. The Minister collects money, too, and he pays it out to the Abbey Theatre.

Surely we cannot travel over all of Government policy on expenditure as well as their methods of collecting taxation?

This is very near to my heart, Sir.

It may be. I would advise the Deputy to hug it a little closer.

It would be too big. It is costing the taxpayers of Ireland, or the Funds of Suitors Act, a sum of £250,000.

Surely the Deputy will find an opportunity on an Estimate to discuss that matter?

I am waiting a long time.

This Bill concerns the collecting of money to carry on the services of the State.

I think the State subsidises the Abbey Theatre.

That is expenditure. It does not relate to the collection of money.

We have to collect money for it.

The Deputy may not discuss the whole gamut of Government administration now.

Very well. The financial policy of the Minister and of the Government has been the cause of the substantial increases in rates. I have particulars of these increases here and they are astounding. I quote from a reply to a question asked by me on 12th April, 1961. It concerns the rates in 1951-52 in all the county councils and county boroughs. Waterford County Council struck a rate that year of 33/11d. and Waterford Corporation struck a rate that year of 29/6d. In the present year, Waterford County Council struck a rate of 44/- and Waterford City Council a rate of 52/-.

All the services have gone up more than substantially but I want to comment on one service. In 1951-52, Waterford city devoted 1/1d. in the £ to it and Waterford county 8d. in the £. About that time, the Minister was Minister for Health. He told us his new Health Bill would cost us 2s. in the £. The ratepayers in Waterford who were paying 8d. in the £ when he said that must now pay 15/- in the £ and what was then costing the city ratepayers 1/1d. in the £ is now costing them 18/- in the £.

It must be admitted that I am justified when I say I have no trust in the Minister for Finance. I could not be expected to have any. I have shown where he said in solemn Budget statements that he was going to collect so much money and expend so much money for certain purposes, but that money was never expended. I have shown that he assured the representatives of the various county councils and county borough councils that the new health services would cost only an additional 2/- in the £ but they have cost more than an additional 18/- in the £.

I come now to housing. It is a great reflection on us that young people about to be married, or only recently married, are unable to get new houses in most centres. Where I come from, they have to be married five or six years before they get houses. First, they were told they might get a house on the second child; now it is the third and the fourth. We do not seem to be concentrating on housing our people. We seem to be concentrating on erecting luxury buildings and dear little shamrocks.

I am at a loss to know what that has to do with taxation.

It has an awful lot to do with it because we have to tax the people to pay for these things.

I am at a loss to know what it has to do with national taxation.

The money is not found on the hedges. If you want to build factories which are never going to be opened or if you want to build prestige hotels——

That could be argued in respect of all Government Departments. The Deputy may not discuss the administration of Government Departments on this Bill; he may discuss the method of collecting money to carry on the Government Departments.

As I always have enormous respect for your rulings, Sir, I shall only have to wait for the appropriate Estimate.

That is a good idea.

The Budget we are discussing here has not brought anything new into our economy. It has not improved the conditions of the various classes who are contributing taxes to the overall figure, which is a record for the country. When we compare the present total of taxation, direct and indirect, with the figure for 1956, before the Government took office, we must ask ourselves what the people are getting in return for the heavy burden of taxation imposed upon them. We find the cost of living has gone up 15 points in the past few years; but we do not find that the incomes of these people and the social benefits for them have been brought up to keep pace with that very steep rise in the cost of living.

The Budget was very disappointing because no effort was made to bring about an improvement or a change in any aspect of our economy. We have only to examine some aspects of the economy to see that the Government today are behaving as they behaved in 1957. They got in at that time with a very large majority, a working majority. They had a sufficient majority to enable them to implement any policy they wished. Instead, they used that majority, first, to try to take away from the people the system of voting which had operated here since the coming of native government.

I cannot see how that arises on the Finance Bill.

I just mentioned that point to show that that is the kind of activity for which they used their majority, instead of using it to ensure that any radical departure from policy will be for the benefit of the nation. I am making the comparison with the past few years because the Budget has shown no great change, except for some reliefs in income tax. We remember the members of the Government Party making lavish promises when they were asking the people to elect them. They had large posters asking the women of Ireland to vote for Fianna Fáil in order to put their husbands back to work. Now we have a situation where there are 52,000 fewer wage earners today than there were the day the Government changed.

We must remember that a wage earner, no matter what his occupation or where he works, so long as he is working, is associated with some kind of production and expansion in our economy. We have 52,000 fewer wage-earners now than in 1956, the year in which there was an international financial depression, which hit this country also. In other words, so many less wage packets are going into the homes of the country. The drop is even greater when we remember that in recent years there have been changes so far as social welfare and national health cards are concerned which had the effect of bringing under the national health and social welfare schemes a greater number of people than would have been under those schemes in 1956. There is a greater number of contributors now than in 1956. There are far fewer people in the wage-earning class now than there were in 1956.

In the two years when the Fianna Fáil Party were settled down, in 1958 and 1959, they cannot say they did not get time to implement some policy but in those years we find that approximately 120,000 people emigrated. A question was asked in the House of Commons enquiring how many Irish people had applied for employment cards in order to take up employment in England. They reply was that during those two years 123,000 people from Ireland had applied. These people were turned out of Ireland and forced to seek employment in England but when Fianna Fáil were seeking support from the electorate in 1957 they pointed to the emigration that took place prior to the election and earlier and promised that instead they would provide 100,000 jobs at the rate of 20,000 per year. Now we find that instead of 100,000 extra jobs as promised, 52,000 fewer people are earning wages. Apparently the number in employment is still falling both in industry and agriculture. There is nothing in this Bill to give us any hope that that trend will not continue and that our economy will not accordingly continue to shrink.

When we examine the other side of the picture we find costs are rising considerably in order to fill the gap caused by the lesser number in employment and the lessening of production. As a result the amount of local rates has increased from £10,000,000 to £20,000,000. That is a very heavy tax on rated occupiers of property. In addition to the vast amount of money contributed to local authorities to administer the public services we also have a very steep rise in central taxation for which the Minister, of course, is directly responsible.

When we further examine this Bill we must recall that approximately £10,000,000 is being taken each year since 1957 by the present Government. That amounts to between £40,000,000 to £50,000,000 that the consumers have contributed directly under Government policy as a result of the abolition of food subsidies mainly on bread, butter, sugar, flour and tea. That is £50,000,000 for which the people do not appear to have got any return. The cost of approximately 200 items included in the cost of living has gone up. These are the items taken into consideration when calculating the cost of living and the majority of these are costing considerably more during the last few years. Nothing in the Bill indicates to the people whose cost of living has been increased by over 15 points in the past few years that there will be any return to them for that heavy contribution.

The building policy upon which the inter-Party Government embarked so vigorously in 1948-49 was brought almost to a standstill and for three years there was great depression in that industry and very few were employed in it. Only in 1959 did the present Government try to put building schemes again into operation. During the depression many building tradesmen and labourers were obliged to leave the country and seek work in England. Now the Government have at least realised their mistake and a number of buildings schemes are again being undertaken although building is not going on as rapidly as it did under the inter-Party Government. The changed attitude is welcome but it is very hard to get any explanation from the Government as to why they stopped building for almost three years.

We have considerable depression in agriculture. Prices are far lower at present for many agricultural items, particularly livestock, than they were three years ago. Cattle prices have dropped very steeply and the same applies to sheep, pigs and lambs. In spite of that farmers' rates have been increased considerably and they must meet those rates out of the depressed prices they get for their produce. In this connection, I should like to quote a speech by the Minister for Defence.

When he came into office early in 1957 he decided to make these dramatic statements explaining why, in his opinion, the Fianna Fáil Party had gained office. I should like to quote from this statement made on the 15th May, 1957, as reported at column 1283 of the Official Report, when he said:

In my opinion, and in the opinion of any fair-minded person who even now goes back and looks over the speeches made in the election campaign, it is beyond all doubt that we were put in here as a Government to take the necessary steps to remedy the situation of mass unemployment and emigration brought about by the previous Government.

That is the statement made by the Minister for Defence and he or some member of the Government Front Bench should explain that statement considering that there are 52,000 fewer people earning wages now than the day the Minister for Defence, Deputy Boland, made the statement. In addition, almost 250,000 people have left this country since the Minister for Defence made the statement. It is one thing for people in this House to have to listen to Ministerial pronouncements and another to look back and see what has been achieved in the meantime.

Efforts will be made by the Government to claim credit for the expansion in exports from our native industrial concerns. All credit for that must be given to the enterprise, the good management and progressive outlook of the factory owners and managers associated with the production of these goods and which have improved our trade figures so far as they are affected by those exports. When we examine the enterprise shown by these factory owners, managers and staff, we must also examine the motives which prompted them to begin this export of goods in competition with all outsiders. We shall see they were encouraged by the tax remission scheme devised by Deputy Sweetman when he was Minister for Finance.

That system of tax remission and concessions demonstrated to the people engaged in industry that if they were to do a good job and make profits which would not be subject to the ordinary taxes applying to goods manufactured for native consumers, they must swing over to the export market and must try to produce goods and compete in the export markets for the sale of these goods. They have been very successful and it seems that there is a great measure of progressive enterprise among our industrialists. They deserve to be encouraged and assisted in their efforts to find markets for goods processed and manufactured by the wage-earners of this country.

The result of their enterprise is that there are large numbers of people employed in industry at present who would have been compelled to emigrate together with the quarter of a million people who have already done so during the past four or five years. However, as I said, these industrialists are doing a good job and deserve to be encouraged and assisted so far as the State is able to do so. When we give credit to those engaged in industry and those closely associated with those exports, and give credit also to Deputy Sweetman, the previous Minister for Finance, we must, too, give credit to Córas Tráchtála which was set up by a previous Minister in the inter-Party Government for the purpose of obtaining statistics, examining the trade statistics of various countries, and finding out what were the prospects for the export of Irish goods to consumers in those countries where it was found by Córas Tráchtála that an opportunity existed for our industrialists to meet and beat competitors there. These three things, about which the Government have done nothing except to leave them alone and give them a chance, are the major factors which have enabled our exports to be expanded considerably and which have enabled our national income to be increased and our trading position to be improved.

Unfortunately, the position in agriculture is not so good and apparently it is going to be worse when we consider that it is proposed to withdraw the subsidy payable at the moment in respect of beef, from July 1st. That will result in considerable losses to beef producers. It is approximately a cut of 30/- per cwt. If we assume that the average price per cwt. at the moment is anything between £5 10s. and £6 per cwt., and take 30/- from that it means that from July 1st those trying to sell beef will have to be prepared to sell it around 90/- per cwt. I feel the Government are making a very serious mistake. They should support this aspect of our economy by continuing the subsidy on beef, particularly at a time when the possibility of joining the Common Market is being explored. It is not clear yet whether it will be to our advantage economically to participate in the Common Market, with certain restrictions and protection for various aspects of our economy. I know that question is being examined. I know that a decision is anxiously awaited in the country. The people want a lead from the Government. They expect the Government to be able to make available statistics regarding every item in our economy which will be affected by our joining the Common Market. I have already mentioned beef. It is well known that it would be very much to our advantage to join the Common Market, where the price of beef is concerned. It would also be to our advantage where the price of butter is concerned.

Details of agricultural policy should be left for the Estimate.

I have avoided going into detail; I just mention those items in a general way.

The price of butter and beef are details which would relevantly arise on the Estimate, and not on the Finance Bill.

I shall leave it at that. There are several items which we export, for which higher prices would be available in the Common Market than are available at present at home or in the extern markets which we now have. I know also that there are other items for which the prices will be depressed or reduced by our joining the Common Market. At least we expect a lead from the Government by giving us, as comprehensively and as soon as possible, all the relevant details in relation to the prices of the various commodities which form our economy, in order that people who take an active interest in this problem can give us the benefit of their views on the best action to be taken by this country.

Some people are blaming the Government for taking no action and no positive step in relation to the Common Market. They say the Government are waiting to see what Great Britain will do, and that may be so. At the moment there is hesitancy on the part of Great Britain about joining the Common Market and it is difficult to know what their ultimate decision will be. There is a big trade tie-up between this country and Great Britain, as Great Britain is our best customer and we are Britain's best customer. Taking our small population and our national income into consideration we are a very valuable customer of Great Britain's.

Be that as it may, we, as an independent nation, ought to be able to consider the British side of the problem and all the consequences of a decision to join the Common Market, with or without certain reservations. We should hear more from the Government about it. Up to the present, we have had only a general statement which had the effect only of evoking some expressions of opinion from organisations which may have a one-sided view, instead of a broad view being formed, in relation to the Common Market, on the facts which could be and should be made available by the Government.

Certain benefits have been made available in the Budget to some of the social assistance classes, but they were very disappointing because it was found that people earning between £2,000 and £3,000 a year were given far greater reliefs and benefits than were the unfortunate old age pensioners on the 30/- a week mark. These people are barely above subsistence level, and it is difficult to know how they can subsist on the present level of what is known as the non-contributory old age pension.

When we examine the prices they must now pay for bread, butter, flour, tea and sugar, compared with what they had to pay for those commodities in 1957, add to that the cost of shelter and fuel for heating, and consider the difference of the couple of shillings between the old age pension now and at that time, it is very difficult to believe that those people are able to make ends meet. It is difficult to imagine how any person can exist or keep body and soul together on an income of less than £2 per week and provide food, clothing and shelter for himself. There are nearly 100,000 people living on that kind of money. When we realise that these people got a small increase in the Budget and that the Budget also gave much greater reliefs and benefits to people earning between £2,000 and £3,000 per year, we wonder what is the attitude or the outlook of the Government in relation to those subsistence classes. Are the Government determined to keep down the weaker section of the community by keeping them on an allowance that just maintains them above starvation?

Sometime or other in this House we should get down to the figures. We have often read letters from pensioners in the newspapers setting out how their weekly pension is split up, and usually we can think of other expenses which have not been included in the list of pennies and shillings which eventually add up to the maximum non-contributory old age pension, widows' pension or any of these pensions which are so low that it is difficult to know how people can subsist on them. We should examine those figures before we decide again to give relief, as has been done in the Budget to people earning between £2,000 and £3,000 a year.

That was a very bad decision on the part of the Government. I do not see what thanks they can expect to get from the hundred thousand I have mentioned on small weekly pittances, pittances on which they have to try to make ends meet. It is typical of the Government that all along they have given more attention to the things that do not play an important part or count for much where the ordinary man in the street is concerned. They do not assist him. They adopt a policy which keeps him down, keeps him dependent upon the crumbs they are prepared to let fall from the table at Budget time, all done on the pretence that they are coming to the rescue and assistance of these people. When the Minister comes to reply, I sincerely hope he will be able to adumbrate some policy designed to bring some measure of hope to the country.

On several occasions in recent by-elections, the Fianna Fáil Party have got their answer from the people; they asked for the support of the people, and they were rejected. Even in a stronghold like Carlow-Kilkenny, they were almost rejected; a handful of votes saved them there. There are two constituencies at the moment which have lost Fianna Fáil Deputies but Fianna Fáil dare not go to the people and seek their support in by-elections in these constituencies. That situation is arising all over the country. The Government are losing ground, but they persist in keeping their eyes closed to that situation. They keep their eyes closed because they have a substantial majority in this House at the moment. The strength of the Party in the House may impress some, but the strength of the Party in this House has very little relationship to the strength of the Party in the country as a whole. Fianna Fáil have lost heavily in several by-elections in recent years. There are two seats at the moment that they dare not try to fill.

I am afraid the Deputy is repeating himself now.

When the Minister comes to reply, I hope he will hold out some hope to the country of a change in our economy designed to assist all those sections now seeking some kind of encouragement from the Government. Many sections are being driven into strike action. Our economy has been badly affected by some of these strikes. These people are compelled to adopt that course in an effort to get some increases to offset rising costs. Several strikes are pending. Looking down the long list of disputes, one must realise that there is unrest and these people are compelled to try to get compensation for the loss in the value of their earnings because of the increased cost of living and other increases which their present wages cannot meet. Something will have to be done by the Government to put an end to this unrest and give the people a chance of making ends meet on the wages they earn. It is not good to have so many strikes in progress and so many strikes pending. But the Government must take responsibility for that situation. At the moment they seem to be taking no interest. They are certainly taking no action to help our economy to settle down again. Should this situation persist, our exports will suffer in the long run.

I can assure you I shall not delay the House on the question of finance because — I may as well be honest with the House — finance is something above and beyond me. I do not make any apology to the House for that statement because finance is something which has baffled the greatest financiers in the world all down the centuries.

Now, money is a grand thing to have. How to spend it is an entirely different matter. To be able to handle it and to spend it to the best advantage is a good quality. I do not propose to criticise people in this House for the way they spend money, but, year after year, this House has been asked for ever-increasing sums and the people as a whole are not too satisfied with the way in which that money is being spent. Spending this money we vote here is something that affects the ordinary man down the country. We speak here in millions. We look for millions. We are told about the buoyancy in trade, and so forth. We are told about the advantages derived from money we vote here. Certainly no advantages have yet reached County Clare. Nothing has accrued to the people in that county, as a result of moneys voted in this House, to help relieve them of the problems and troubles which are theirs.

It is perfectly true that, if people want services, they must pay for them. Where services are concerned, however, it is my view that they have not been provided for the people who need them most or could really do with them. The people of County Clare, somehow or other, are not getting as much of the revenue, or as much of the money asked for here, as they would like to get. More important still, they are not getting as much as they believe they should get. Schemes have been drawn up. Schemes have been looked for and all through the years a deaf ear has been turned to them.

I know it is difficult for a Government to cater for the wishes of all our people. The Government who could do that, certainly, would be an extraordinary Government but when there are millions of money to be spent, money that is collected from the people, as much as possible of that money should be spent for the people. Everyone should get his own share of it. I shall not deal with the things the people might get, the things of which they have been deprived. That matter has been dealt with sufficiently here this evening and I do not wish to delay the House by going into details which have already been discussed. All I would say is that the people as a whole believe that the moneys which have been voted here have not been given where they should have been given.

I want to try to avoid repeating remarks that I may have made on the Budget but it is difficult not to be repetitive, to some extent.

The Budget, and the Finance Bill which implements it, were framed in circumstances far different from the circumstances in which were framed the three preceding Budgets introduced by the Minister. In almost every way, the Minister is in a very much happier position this year than he was last year or the year before. He brings in his Finance Bill after two years in which it is claimed the national income has been rising at the substantial rate of between four and five per cent. and, for that reason, the Minister can justifiably feel pleased. However, the Minister will probably be one of the first to agree that on this happy, cloudless sky, there has recently appeared a small but growing cloud which may have a very important effect on the Finance Bills which are likely to be introduced in this House next year and the following years. I refer specifically to the coming of the greater European Free Trade Area. It is evident from recent speeches of the Taoiseach, particularly in Killarney and at Mallow, that he is very much alive to the repercussions of this development on our small community here. He has echoed the warnings of the Minister for Finance in his Financial Statement to industrialists in this country to prepare for very difficult times ahead.

The Minister in his Financial Statement referred to the necessity for concentration of industry, of specialisation and also to the possibilities of amalgamations. Behind these high-sounding words, there is a very distinct threat to at least some of our protected industries today and, certainly, there is a very serious threat to old-established family businesses which may be short of capital for development and which are more likely than not to run into very serious difficulties in the event of this Free Trade Area coming into operation very soon.

I make these remarks because I think in the Budget and in this Finance Bill the main emphasis should have been on encouragement of personal and corporate initiative and enterprise, which are so essential. I think the Minister realises—certainly, the Taoiseach does—that it will need a tremendous personal and communal effort on our part in the years ahead if we are not alone to prosper but, indeed, to survive in the highly competitive era visualised by statesmen not only in this country but also in Great Britain and other countries.

I must give the Minister credit that in his Budget and in this Finance Bill he has certainly done something to encourage personal enterprise. Naturally, the greatest encouragement has been the reduction of 8d. in the £ in the standard rate of income tax. To anybody who is enterprising and anxious to get on, to make a success of his business or industry, any relief in direct taxation is an automatic encouragement.

The Minister has also given certain other concessions in regard to the surtax ceiling which will be appreciated by the class who will benefit from it. Incidentally, in that regard, I do not share the views of certain other Deputies who have suggested that people in the higher income brackets are not entitled to concessions. I think they are because it is largely from these people that the most enterprising business and industrial community comes.

I cannot say the same for the Minister's efforts to encourage corporate enterprise. By that I mean enterprise by companies, industries or businesses. In some instances, it is quite apparent that the Minister has taken steps which I can only regard as retrograde, to which I hope to refer shortly.

As I have already said, if we are to continue to operate effectively and prosperously in the new European trading area, our industries and businesses must be modernised and efficient to the highest degree. That means very substantial investment in modernising the plant and equipment of Irish business enterprises. Therefore, I suggest that the first thing the Minister should have done was to allow liberal investment allowances and tax concessions in the way of all profits retained and ploughed back into firms and industrial enterprises. He has signally failed to do that.

Debate adjourned.
The Dáil adjourned at 10.30 p.m. until 3 p.m. on Wednesday, 7th June, 1961.