The Vote for Employment and Emergency Schemes makes provision for the annual programme of employment schemes to give work to men in receipt of unemployment assistance in both urban and rural areas, including towns with a population of 200 and over, and for other services not directly concerned with U.A. recipients, such as bog development schemes, rural improvements schemes and miscellaneous schemes, including minor marine works and archaeological excavations. Provision is also made in the Vote for the salaries, travelling and other incidental expenses of the staff of the Special Employment Schemes Office, who are responsible for the administration of the Vote.
As I said last year in my introductory statement, it has been the practice for a number of years in dealing with this Vote to give a résumé of the work done in the preceding financial year. The Estimate figures for 1961/62 are, as Deputies will see from page 48 of the Estimates Volume, for all practical purposes the same as 1960/61, so I propose to do the same this year, which in fact, should give a very clear idea of what it is proposed to do with this year's money. The gross estimate last year was £861,080. In addition, there was, however, a sum of £16,728—being the unexpended balances of previous years' allocations from the National Development Fund —available for expenditure, bringing the gross total to £877,808. The expenditure in the year just closed is estimated at £853,865, which is 97% of the gross provision. Last year, I estimated the 1959/60 expenditure at £859,120—98% of the available money. The actual audited figure amounted that year to £852,104, which was 97% of available money. I hope my expenditure estimate for 1960/61 will be equally accurate.
To give a comparative picture of the operations of the Special Employment Schemes Office in recent years, I have made available to Deputies a tabular statement giving particulars of the expenditure under the various subheads of the Vote for the four years 1956/57, 1957/58, 1958/59 and 1959/60, the estimated expenditure for 1960/61, as well as the provision proposed for these services for 1961/62. These figures include payments from the National Development Fund in addition to the Vote up to 1960/61. Deputies will recall that in my introductory statement last year I said that I had a balance of about £16,000 then left in the National Development Fund to meet charges against the Urban Employment Schemes Subhead. The provision in the Vote last year was £227,000 but I am anticipating an expenditure of almost £246,250 on these schemes, which will wipe out all the balances of the National Development Fund in so far as the Special Employment Schemes Office is concerned.
Deputies will see that in common with other Government Departments the format of the Estimate at page 48 has been somewhat simplified as compared with preceding years. In previous years, travelling expenses, incidental expenses, and telegrams, telephones and postage, were shown in three separate subheads, making a total of ten subheads of expenditure. This year, the three items are bulked together under one subhead, described as "travelling and incidental expenses" reducing the expenditure subheads from ten to eight. The details of the incidental expenses will be found at page 49 of the Estimates Volume. The Appropriations-in-Aid (or receipts) subhead is, of course, still continued.
Before dealing with salaries, travelling and incidental expenses, I propose to make some general comments on the unemployment figures. Grants for Urban, Rural and Minor Employment Schemes are related to the number of unemployment assistance recipients in each area. A census is taken annually by the Special Employment Schemes Office in the third week of January of the number of these men, as well as the number of men in receipt of unemployment insurance benefit, in each of the 60 urban areas, the 477 non-urbanised towns with a population of 200 and over, and the 2,874 rural electoral divisions in the country. This particular week is selected as it approximates the peak period of unemployment, by which date, it is anticipated, persons who have received only seasonal work around the Christmas period have returned to the Unemployment Register. This census includes, in addition to the men drawing unemployment assistance or unemployment insurance benefit, any men who formerly drew these payments but who were working on schemes financed by the Special Employment Schemes Office during that particular week.
The January, 1961, census gives a total of 24,704 men in receipt of unemployment assistance compared with 30,521 in 1960—a reduction of 19 per cent. The reduction was greatest in town areas, the figures for urban areas being 6,712 in 1961 compared with 9,357 in 1960—a reduction of 28¼ per cent. For towns with a population of 200 and over, the figures were 1,000 in 1961, and 1,418 in 1960, a reduction of 29.5 per cent. The rural areas figures were 16,992 in 1961 and 19,746 in 1960, a reduction of 14 per cent., which should be compared with the over-all reduction figure of 19 per cent. Comparing 1961 with 1957, the over-all U.A. figures were 35,116 in 1957 compared with 24,704 in 1961, a reduction of 29½ per cent. The percentage reductions were 38 per cent for urban areas, 14.3 per cent. for towns with a population of 200 and over and 26.5 per cent. for rural areas.
The figures I have just given relate only to men in receipt of unemployment assistance. Including men in receipt of unemployment insurance benefit in addition to U.A. men, the combined figures were 55,439 in 1961, 66,363 in 1960, 74,929 in 1959, 76,962 in 1958 and 84,098 in 1957. Comparing 1961 with 1960, the reduction in U.A. and U.I.B. combined was 16.5 per cent., compared with the 19 per cent. reduction for U.A. alone. The reduction was greatest in the town areas also, the figures being 22 per cent. in urban areas, 19.4 per cent. for towns with a population of 200 and over and 13.1 per cent for rural areas, against the over-all figure of 16.5 per cent. Comparing 1961 with 1957, the reduction in U.A. and U.I.B. combined was 34.1 per cent. against 29½ per cent for U.A. alone, and the reduction again was greatest in urban areas, the figures being 44 per cent. for urban areas, 26½ per cent. for towns with a population of 200 and over and 28.6 per cent. for rural areas, against the over-all reduction of 34.1 per cent. It will be seen, therefore, that although there is no reduction in the provision for this Vote, the U.A. figures are down by 19 per cent. compared with last year and 29½ per cent. compared with 1957, and the combined U.A. and U.I.B. figures are down by 16.5 per cent. compared with last year and 34.1 per cent. compared with 1957.
The number of registered men employed on works financed by the Vote in the census week ended the 21st January, 1961 was 2,563, of whom 1,947 were formerly in receipt of unemployment assistance and 616 were persons formerly in receipt of unemployment benefit. The corresponding figures for the census week in January, 1960 was 2,498—1,942 U.A. and 556 U.I.B. As Deputies are aware, the bulk of the employment given under this Vote is in the winter period and the number employed varies considerably during the different seasons of the year. The peak period in the last financial year was week ended the 17th December, 1960, when 5,306 men were employed—873 in urban areas, 542 in towns with a population of 200 and over and 3,891 in rural areas. The lowest number was during the week ended 24th September, 1960, when only 640 men were employed, of whom 132 were in urban areas and 508 in rural areas.
Subheads A and B provide for salaries, travelling and office expenses of the Special Employment Schemes Office. There is, as will be seen from the Estimates Volume, a small decrease in the number of the staff. The expenditure last year was something more than £76,440. The figure of £78,600 in the Estimate will provide for the normal increments as the staff become a year older. The small increase in Subhead B is due to a revision in the scale of subsistence allowances as well as payments to certain outdoor officers for the use of part of their private residences for office work.
Subhead C: Urban Employment Schemes provide for works in the four County Boroughs of Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Waterford, the Borough of Dún Laoghaire and the 55 other urban districts. The grants are administered through the Department of Local Government and are conditional on the local authorities submitting suitable work schemes for approval by the Special Employment Schemes Office and making contributions towards their cost. The local contributions vary in the different urban areas. It is 20 per cent in the case of Dublin and Dún Laoghaire, i.e., one-fifth; it is one-sixth (16.7 per cent) in Cork and Limerick; one-seventh (14.3 per cent) in Waterford and it averaged 12 per cent in the 55 other urban areas, varying from as low as 5 per cent. to as high as 16.7 per cent in other towns. A sum of £227,000 was provided in the Vote last year for those urban schemes and was allocated for new works as follows:—
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55 other urban districts
Including local contributions, the State grant of £227,000 represented works costing in all £274,115. The State grant expenditure last year is estimated at £246,245, being £19,245 more than the Vote provision, of which £118,840 was for Dublin, £21,270 for Cork, £15,035 for Limerick, £10,225 for Waterford, £7,700 for Dún Laoghaire and £73,175 for the 55 other urban districts. These figures, in effect, mean that we are undertaking the arrears of payments in Dublin, Cork, Waterford, Dún Laoghaire and the smaller urban areas.
Employment schemes in urban areas are ordinarily concentrated in the winter period but the Dublin schemes are proceeded with the whole year round —each U.A. man getting a 12-weeks' spell of employment. The unemployment assistance recipients census figure for Dublin was 3,258 in January, 1961, compared with 4,712 in January, 1960, 6,480 in January, 1959 and 5,889 in January, 1957. Almost half the U.A. recipients in urban areas (48.5 per cent) are still concentrated in the Dublin Borough area. The Dublin Corporation were notified on 16th August, 1960 that a State grant of £115,000 was available for new works costing £143,750, subject to a contribution of £28,750.
Schemes to absorb the full amount were duly approved during the year, of which £64,775 was for road works, including re-surfacing and improvements at Cabra, Crumlin, North Wall, Kimmage and Rathdown Park, Bow Street, Poplar Row, Donnycarney, Malahide, Fairview, etc.; £4,850 was for the improvement of sundry lanes in all parts of the city, and the balance, £45,375, was for amenity schemes, including a play centre at Gloucester Place (£5,890); the improvement of parks at Stella Gardens, Irishtown (£3,580) and Donnycarney (£7,500); the culverting of the Naniken River which runs through St. Anne's Park, Clontarf (£21,680) and of the Claremont stream, Finglas (£3,420), as well as the cleaning and embanking of the lake in St. Anne's Park, Clontarf, at an estimated cost of £4,140, of which £3,312 is State grant.
Included in the road works totalling £64,775 is a grant of £17,955 towards the cost of the reconstruction of the carriageway at Fairview between Annesley Bridge and Merville Avenue, near Fairview School. This work will cost £22,445 and is being done by contract instead of by direct labour. The work is in the nature of an experiment to ascertain whether it is possible to employ U.A. labour on these employment schemes in Dublin under the contract system. Apart from these new works, which absorbed the allocation of £115,000 for Dublin, employment was given during the year on the completion of schemes sanctioned in previous years, including the Bushy Park development scheme costing £36,400 approximately, which was completed last June, further development work at St. Anne's Park, Clontarf costing £24,000, and the improvement of the junction of Fortfield Road and Templeogue Road, costing £10,700.
The average number of men employed weekly on the schemes last year in Dublin was 131, of whom 90 were U.A. recipients. The number varied during the financial year from 229 to 80, of whom 177 and 48 respectively were U.A. recipients. As the U.A. personnel of the gangs are changed at the end of a twelve-week period of employment, some 360 Dublin fathers of families each get a twelve-week spell of employment in the year, in addition to more than 40 who have employment the whole year round. The amount which will be allocated to the Dublin County Borough area in 1961-62 has, of course, not yet been determined at this early date but, notwithstanding the substantial reduction in the number of U.A. recipients, it should be possible to allow something more than £100,000 for new works in Dublin in 1961-62.
The Cork Corporation were notified on 16th August, 1960, of a State grant of £17,500 for new schemes, subject to a contribution of £3,500—one-sixth of the total £21,000. Schemes to absorb the full allocation were duly approved, of which £15,132 was for road work at Ballymacthomas, Blackpool Bridge, Fairhill and Pouladuff and for footpaths in various parts of the city; and the balance, £2,368, was for amenity schemes, including the demolition of Glenryan House and the clearance of the site, and the levelling and grading of an open space at Valley Drive Road. Substantial progress has been made in the year in clearing outstanding payments in respect of schemes sanctioned prior to the 31st March, 1960.
The payments made by the Department of Local Government to the Cork Corporation during the year amounted to £21,270 (allocation £17,500). The full allocation of £16,500 for the Limerick County Borough area was also taken up, which, with the local contribution of £3,300, made £19,800 available for new works. Of the £16,500, £8,960 was authorised for road work at Rosbrien, Meelick, Cathedral Place, etc., and the balance, £7,540, was for amenity schemes in various parts of the city, including the widening of the Shannon Embankment path, the draining of the playing pitch at Shelbourne Park, the improvement of the bus stop at Russell Park, and the levelling of an area in Garryowen, etc.
Schemes to absorb the full allocation for Waterford were also approved. Adding the local contribution of £1,335 to the State grant of £8,000 made a sum of £9,335 available for expenditure. The works included the improvement of the roadways at Bridge Street junction, High Street, Passage Road, The Glen, the Cork Road, and footpaths at Ozanam Street, Barrack Street, etc. The year before, Waterford Corporation was slow in submitting suitable schemes and the first proposals were not approved until January, 1960. There was, therefore, a time lag in the payments of the grants authorised in that year and the cost of some of the 1959/60 schemes had to be met in 1961. It is in these circumstances that while new works equivalent to a State grant of £8,000 were approved last year, the payments made to the Corporation by the Department of Local Government amounted to £10,225. The Dún Laoghaire allocation last year was £5,000 State grant but the expenditure has amounted to £7,700. This occurred owing to the late date, near the end of March, 1960, on which the Sandycove Harbour improvements scheme was approved out of the 1959/60 allocation. The 1960/61 allocation was allotted to the laying out of Dunedin Park for playing fields, including the demolition of Dunedin House. Some further development work was also undertaken during the year on the Neighbourhood Park at Williamstown.
The allocations for the remaining 55 other urban districts for 1960/61, amounted to £65,000 and, including the local contributions, permitted of a gross expenditure of £73,980, or £74,000 in round figures. The grants varied between £250 in towns with not more than 6 U.A. recipients in each, such as Bundoran, Castlebar, Carrick-macross and Templemore (which with the local contribution of £20 to £40 would provide for only a few weeks' work for U.A. men) to as high as £4,900 in Drogheda, £4,500 in Dundalk, £4,300 in Tralee, £3,750 in Wexford, £3,350 in Galway, £3,250 in Kilkenny and Sligo, £2,400 in Clonmel and £2,000 in Bray, in the larger urban areas. In urban areas other than Dublin, the maximum number of weeks' employment which may be given to an individual U.A. recipient is eight weeks. In Dublin, as already stated, 12 weeks are allowed.
The full allocation of £65,000 in the 55 other urban districts was duly absorbed and the work schemes approved included £36,500 for road works, £18,200 for footpaths. The remaining £10,300 was utilised for various amenity schemes, such as the clearance of derelict sites, the development of parks and town walks, the laying of tennis courts, the levelling of parking places, as well as, in one case, the continuation of a sea wall at Dungarvan.
The distribution of the available money for the new financial year in the county boroughs and other urban areas has not yet been determined. As I said earlier, the number of U.A. recipients has fallen from 9,357 in January, 1960 to 6,712 in January, 1961, a reduction of 28¼ per cent. The "nest egg" of £16,000 balances from the National Development Fund is no longer available so that in allocating money for new works in 1961/62 an eye must be kept on the debts due on the uncompleted works as at the 1st April, 1961 and the total sum of £227,000 available for expenditure on these urban schemes in the year 1961/62.
The provision in the next subhead, Rural Employment Schemes, is £35,000, the same as in each of the last four years. The works are confined to non-urbanised towns with a population of 200 and over and the grants are made available to the County Councils concerned, who are required to contribute one-quarter of the cost, so that a total of £46,665 is available for expenditure on the schemes. One hundred and fifty-two of the 477 towns qualified for grants last year under this scheme, in which 4,000 (1,163 U.A. plus 2,837 U.I.B.) of the 4,919 unemployed, according to the January, 1960 census, were resident. No grants were given for the other 325 towns, containing 919 unemployed—255 U.A. plus 664 U.I.B. The schemes were almost exclusively carried out in the weeks before Christmas and the allocation for the great bulk of the towns was between £200 and £300 in each case.
The towns which got more than £300 were: Kilkee, £450; Cork south city suburbs, £550; Passage West, £350; Balbriggan, £500; Dublin south city suburbs and Dún Laoghaire suburbs, £400 each; Tuam, £500; Newcastle West, £400; Edenderry, £400; and Mullingar, £400. The various county councils were notified on 12th August of the amounts of the grants and the town areas to which they were applicable. The approved works consisted mainly of footpaths in the towns or environs, and minor road works in the vicinity of towns, including the removal of hedges and the easing of bends. The clearance of derelict sites and parking spaces was also undertaken. The number of unemployed in these non-urbanised towns, according to the January, 1961, census is down to 3,965—1,000 U.A. and 2,965 U.I.B., compared with 4,919 in 1960—a reduction of 19½ per cent. The distribution of the £35,000 available for the new year has not yet been determined but it will, as in previous years, be related to the unemployment position in each town area.
Minor Employment Schemes are carried out in the period November to March, and are intended to give employment to persons in receipt of unemployment assistance in rural areas. £130,000 has been provided for these schemes in each of the last four years and the same provision is proposed for 1961/62. The works consist of the repair and reconstruction of accommodation roads to farmers' houses, lands and bogs, and they are done only in areas in which there are substantial numbers of unemployment assistance recipients. The unit of distribution is the electoral division, of which there are 2,874 in the whole country. This unit, which is well known locally, was selected, as it is an area of approximately 9 square miles on average, and work in any part of it is, therefore, usually within walking distance from the homes of the U.A. men for whom it is intended to cater. Deputies have sometimes complained that a particular townland has got no sanctioned work. When I mention that there are no less than 60,462 townlands in the country, it will be appreciated that it would be quite impracticable to divide an allocation of £130,000 on a townland basis.
The Minor Employment Schemes full-cost grants are given only in parts of 12 of the Twenty-Six Counties, where there are sufficient U.A. men resident to ensure a gang of suitable workers. Last year, grants were given in 11 of the 90 electoral divisions of Cavan, on the borders of Leitrim and Longford; 11 of the 149 electoral divisions in Clare, all on the sea coast; 7 of the 92 electoral divisions in West Cork, mostly in the Castletown area, bordering Kerry; 91 of the 145 electoral divisions in Donegal, most of which are in the western half of the county; 34 of the 213 electoral divisions in County Galway, all west of a line going north and south through Galway city; 43 of the 162 electoral divisions in County Kerry, mostly on the sea coast and a few bordering County Limerick; 34 of the 78 electoral divisions in County Leitrim, some in each of the 5 rural districts; 6 of the 134 electoral divisions in Limerick, 5 of which are on the Kerry border; 10 of the 52 electoral divisions in Longford, in the salient between Counties Leitrim and Cavan; 87 of the 150 electoral divisions in County Mayo, on the sea coast and bordering the rural district of Castlerea and the Sligo border; 11 of the 110 electoral divisions in County Roscommon, in the Castlerea rural district and bordering Counties Mayo and Sligo; and 29 of the 79 electoral divisions in County Sligo, either on the sea coast or on the borders of County Mayo and the rural district of Castlerea in Roscommon.
This makes a total of 374 areas of the 1,454 electoral divisions in these 12 counties or about one-eighth of all the 2,874 electoral divisions in the country. It may be of interest to Deputies to know that, of the 19,746 U.A. in rural areas in January, 1960, 15,797 were concentrated in these 374 electoral divisions, leaving the other 3,949 U.A. scattered among 2,500 electoral divisions.
As the schemes are carried out only in the winter period, road works only are done as Minor Employment Schemes. Drainage works are unsuitable and there are, therefore, no funds at my disposal out of which full-cost grants can be given for land drains. I want to emphasise again that only U.A. men can be employed on these schemes. The farmers whose houses or lands are served by the road work are not eligible for employment on the schemes unless they are themselves in receipt of the highest scales of U.A. payments in the immediate, adjacent area. 859 schemes were approved last year to absorb the £130,000 available for expenditure and some 16,984 families were served by these works to their houses, land and bogs. The number of U.A. men in rural areas has fallen from 19,746 in January, 1960, to 16,992 in January, 1961, and, while the 1961/62 winter programme will not be drawn up until next October, it is unlikely that there will be very much change in the areas in which the allocations for this year's £130,000 will fall.
£160,000 is available in the Bog Development Schemes subhead—the same provision as in each of the past four years. This subhead makes provision for drainage works in bogs in all parts of the country, which are carried out in the summer period; and for road works in those parts of the country in which Minor Employment Schemes grants are not authorised and which are sanctioned for execution in the winter period. Some 1,265 schemes were approved last year, of which 555, representing an expenditure of £61,170, were drainage works and 710, representing an expenditure of £98,830, were road works. Some 37,551 families in all were facilitated, 13,814 by drainage works and 23,737 by road works. Although these Bog Development Schemes are not primarily to give employment in rural areas, priority in recruiting gangs of workers is given to U.A. recipients or to persons in receipt of unemployment benefit in the areas concerned.
With the exception of a few roads and drains in privately owned bogs in which the rent income from annual lettings is substantial and where, in consequence, it would not be unreasonable to expect these bog owners to make a contribution, all grants under this bog development subhead are full-cost grants. The amounts of the grants in these bog development cases are not related in any way to the unemployment position. The funds are distributed having regard to the number of families served, the amount of turf produced and the cost of the relevant development works. In cases where expensive development works are required for a small number of families and for which a full cost grant could not be justified the contributory Rural Improvements Scheme is available as an alternative.
The Rural Improvements Scheme makes provision for grants towards the cost of carrying out works to benefit the lands of two or more farmers, such as small drainage schemes, bridges and the repair or reconstruction of accommodation roads to farmers' houses, lands and bogs. It is not an employment scheme, and it applies to all parts of the country. It is the only scheme available for the improvement of farmers' roads outside the congested districts and for the smaller types of land drains all over the country, other than field drains on individual farms, which, of course, are a matter for the Department of Agriculture and not for the Special Employment Schemes Office.
Road schemes can be, and are, also done in the congested districts under the Rural Improvements Scheme in any cases where the benefiting farmers are prepared to make the necessary contribution towards the cost. Unlike the Minor Employment and Bog Development Schemes, where the function of the Special Employment Schemes Office is to pick the best job undone in the electoral division area, i.e., of the greatest utility in relation to its cost, each Rural Improvements Scheme is considered specially on its own merits.
There may be four, five or six other roads in the same electoral division area needing attention, each of which serves a greater number of families and which would, therefore, have priority as a Minor Employment or Bog Development Scheme, but if the farmers on the road which is No. 7 on the list are prepared to contribute under the Rural Improvements Scheme, that seventh road is the one which is done under the contributory scheme. Works of a better and more durable standard are done under this scheme than are possible under the Minor Employment Schemes, where, in many instances, the small number of U.A. recipients limits the amount of money that can be made available.
Deputies will recall that this scheme was largely suspended in 1956-57. The issue of new offers of grants was stopped in August, 1956. The receipt of new applications was suspended in September, 1956; and it was not until the 20th July, 1957, after the increased provision for this scheme and the introduction of the new terms, that the scheme was again really under way. Some 798 schemes costing £215,000 were approved in 1957-58. 771 schemes costing £199,988 were approved in 1958-59; 719 schemes costing £196,800 in 1959-60—a short fall of £200—and the contributions received in the year just closed permitted only of 650 schemes costing £169,302 being sanctioned in 1960-61. Of these, 195 schemes costing £37,289 were drainage works, and 455 costing £132,013 were road works. The expenditure under the Scheme, as will be seen from the table that I have made available to Deputies, was £238,639 in 1956-57, £194,654 in 1957-78, £169,088 in 1958-59, £194,649 in 1959-60 and it is expected will approximate £177,000 in 1960-61. Contributions, as will be seen, have been falling off in the last eighteen months. Some 1,165 offers of grant were issued during the year, but lodgments were made only in 655 cases, 553 for new schemes and 102 for supplementary or part grants. Only about half the offers made were, in fact, accepted.
This Rural Improvements Scheme has actually been in operation since 1943, and for the first seven years the contribution was on a flat rate of 75 per cent. State grant, 25 per cent. farmers' contribution, with more favourable terms for link and other roads used by persons other than those whose houses and lands were directly served thereby. The schemes sanctioned in that seven year period amounted to £723,596, of which £565,790 or 78 per cent. was State grant, and £157,806 or 22 per cent. was farmers' contributions. A sliding scale was introduced in June, 1950, varying the contributions from as low as 5 per cent. in the case of farmers whose average land valuation was less than £6, to 25 per cent. contribution in the case of farmers with an average land valuation of £18 and over, and this scale was in operation until 1957. During that seven year period, the sanctions amounted to £1,476,420, of which £1,295,192 or 87.7 per cent. was State grant, and £181,228 or 12.3 per cent. was farmers' contributions. Finance was not provided for this scale; and, as already explained, the scheme was suspended in August/September, 1956. Some two years arrears of applications were on hands, in fact, in 1957.
A new scale was introduced on 20th July, 1957, with a minimum of 10 per cent. contribution in the case of farmers with an average land valuation below £6, and ranging upwards to as high as 50 per cent. in the case of farmers with a land valuation of £100 and over. The amended scale has now been in operation for four years, and in that period the work sanctioned amounted to £781,092, of which £646,619 or 82.8 per cent. was State grant, and £134,473 or 17.2 per cent was farmers' contributions. The terms of this scale have been recently under review, and it has been decided to make the terms somewhat more generous. The minimum contribution will in future be 10 per cent. of the cost for farmers with an average valuation below £7; 12½ per cent. for valuations between £7 and £10; 15 per cent. between £10 and £15; 20 per cent. between £15 and £25; 25 per cent or one-quarter between £25 and £50; 33? per cent or one-third between £50 and £100; and 50 per cent. or half the cost in the case of farmers with a valuation of £100 and over.
I propose also to introduce a special scale of 90 per cent. grant with 10 per cent. contribution in the case of bog schemes which cannot be done on a full cost grant basis under the Bog Development subhead. For the convenience of Deputies I am circulating a statement giving particulars of the scale in operation from June, 1950 to July, 1957, the existing rates from the 20th July, 1957, which have now been in operation for almost four years, as well as the new scale proposed. I consider the amended scale as generous as can be justified and I have little doubt that the full provision of £200,000 in the Vote for the current year will be fully taken up.
The provision for Miscellaneous Schemes was £15,000 in the last four years, and the same provision has been repeated in 1961/62. The expenditure in 1959/60 was £14,514, and the estimated expenditure in 1960/61 is around the £14,000 figure. This subhead is intended to meet expenditure on minor marine works, towards the cost of which County Councils are required to contribute one quarter and which they are required to maintain on completion. It also finances archaeological excavations and other miscellaneous schemes. About £2,450 of a provisional allocation of £2,500 was spent last year on archaeological excavations, of which £620 was expended in Templekieran, Loughaun in County Offaly; £545 in Ballyneety, Limerick; £455 in Creewood, Slane, Meath; £410 in Reenascreena South, Carberry, Cork; £270 in Glendalough, Wicklow, and £150 in Townley Hall, Louth.
Schemes approved under this subhead during 1960/61 totalled £18,600, of which, apart from archaeological excavations, the principal items were £4,950 for additional works at the Wicklow foreshore; £4,360 for road access to a coal mine in County Leitrim; £365 for additional work on the Ulster Canal, and £6,400 for minor marine works, including £2,100 at Seafield, Quilty, County Clare, £1,950 at Lahanebeg, Castletownbere, Cork and £900 at Crookhaven, Cork; £975 at Rosbeg, Donegal, £315 in Kilcummin, Mayo, as well as small grants of less than £100 each for Scattery Island, Clare and Ervallagh Pier, Roundstone, Galway. There is, therefore, little prospect of any new miscellaneous schemes being sanctioned in 1961/61 and, if it is possible to meet expenditure against the commitments already made from the £15,000 in this year's subhead, it is as much as we can hope to do.
The Appropriations-in-Aid subhead is made up almost entirely of the contributions in respect of the Rural Improvements Scheme, which amounted only to £29,320 in 1960/61. I have already referred to the drop in the contributions. It also includes receipts in respect of development works in privately owned bogs, the county councils' contributions towards the cost of minor marine works, and the sale of surplus stores. The figure in the Estimate for 1961/62 is £35,000, the same as in recent years.
In addition to the works financed from Vote 10, the Special Employment Schemes Office also acts as the agent of the Minister for Transport and Power in respect of the carrying out of development works to facilitate the output of turf for the four hand-won turf generating stations at Caherciveen, Kerry, Miltown Malbay, Clare, Screeb, Galway and Gweedore, Donegal. These schemes are financed from a National Development Fund allocation of £80,000 at the disposal of the Minister for Transport and Power. New works costing £20,205 were approved last year, of which £7,225 approximately was authorised in Donegal, £650 in Galway, £5,580 in Clare and £6,750 in Kerry. The commitments entered into to date out of the £80,000 available amount to £55,080, leaving a balance of £24,820 still available for new schemes. The expenditure on these schemes last year amounted to £17,000 and the total expenditure was £39,000 up to the 31st March, 1961.
The Special Employment Schemes Office also acts as agent for the Minister for the Gaeltacht in respect of the carrying out of accommodation road works in Gaeltacht areas financed from the Vote of that Department. New works costing £32,710 were authorised in 1960/61, of which £12,220 was in Galway, £7,800 in Donegal, £6,135 in Mayo, £4,375 in Kerry and £2,180 in Cork. The expenditure on these Gaeltacht schemes is estimated at £28,780 approximately, of which £10,400 was in Galway, £7,720 in Donegal, £5,700 in Mayo, £3,060 in Kerry and £1,900 in Cork. The expenditure on the Gaeltacht schemes and on the works for the benefit of the turf-fired generating stations will be accounted for by the Minister for the Gaeltacht and the Minister for Transport and Power respectively, and not by the Special Employment Schemes Office.
With this detailed statement of the various works of public utility which have been undertaken last year under this Vote, in Dublin, in other urban areas, in some of the non-urbanised towns and in rural areas, I propose to conclude by making some general comments on the Vote as a whole. These schemes are not, nor were they ever intended to be, the answer to the unemployment problem. As I said last year, they do, however, provide very real benefits as an adjunct to the system of direct social welfare payments, by giving spells of manual work at normal rates of wages to men with the highest number of dependants who, in most cases, have been unemployed for a considerable time.
All Deputies would, no doubt, like to see more money provided for the different schemes being operated by the Special Employment Schemes Office. Apart from the labour value, the schemes are now recognised, particularly in rural Ireland, for their contribution to agricultural and fuel production; and, indeed, it can be justifiably argued that they are indispensable in so far as they keep open the ancillary arteries of communication. But in clamouring for more funds for these works, we must keep in mind the various calls that are made upon the general pool by other important incentives and subsidies to production. The eradication of bovine T.B., subsidisation of fertilisers, farm buildings, water schemes, erection and repair of dwellings, etc., as well as the full-cost grants to arterial drainage are among the things which have what we may regard as priority in the demand for allocations from the Exchequer; and, in this perspective, Deputies will agree that the funds we are spending on minor roads and drains and other amenity schemes is providing a very useful adjunct to the general pattern of better standards for our people, and it is only reasonable to expect that as time goes on the demand for funds for this work will be increasingly progressive.
That is a fairly detailed statement of the working of the Special Employment Schemes Office and Deputies should not require much further information. At the same time, I am prepared to facilitate them as far as I can if they want more information.