Finance Bill, 1964—Committee Stage.

Question proposed: "That section 1 stand part of the Bill".

In previous years I spoke at some length on this section but I do not propose to do so this year. This is the section under which we are renewing for a further year tax legislation at present in force and it gives us fairly wide scope. I am availing of the section for the purpose of pointing out to the Minister the increasing extent to which he is relying on wage and salary earners, persons paying income tax under Schedule E, for tax revenue, and of pointing out to him that the relative increase in the tax burden of wage and salary earners is gravely inequitable.

I wish to point out to him that wage and salary earners are taxed under the most severe, rigid and exacting section of our tax laws, that they are the only section of the community who have no way whatever out of the income tax net. The rule as to expenses which may be charged by wage and salary earners against assessable income is one which has been condemned time and again by the courts as inequitable. There is a very obvious amendment of the expenses rule which would have the effect of alleviating the justifiable sense of grievance under which wage and salary earners labour, yet the Minister persistently refuses to make that change.

I wish to renew my protest. We are here renewing the existing personal allowances for income tax purposes. Allowances are granted to individuals for their own subsistence and that of their children. These personal allowances are considerably out of date. They are very much out of tune with the times in which we live, very much out of tune with the rapid rate of inflation to which our economy is at present being subjected.

The Commission on Income Tax which sat for a period of many years and issued several painstaking, detailed reports, with many recommendations, most of which have not been implemented, recommended a change in approach to these personal allowances. For budgetary reasons, the Minister has not seen fit to accept these recommendations. I wish to point out to the Minister that the personal allowance for a married man and his wife in 1938 stood at £225. It is easily provable that today's pound, in terms of 1938 values, is worth precisely 6/8, and if one were to be logical and consistent, the 1938 personal allowance of £225 would now be exactly £675. In fact it is £372.

They are very simple figures, easily understandable by even lay people. This type of income, as distinct from that of the corporate taxpayer, is more and more being relied on for tax revenue. The individual earner, under PAYE, is left with no way out of the tax net. It is true to say that the PAYE taxpayer is, broadly speaking, the person who is also paying indirect taxation at a very high rate. Indeed, today, not only is he being subjected to regressive indirect taxes on his consumption but there are concealed indirect taxes such as one to which I referred here last week on the Transport Bill—the indirect tax on Dublin citizens' bus fares. It is a cardinal principle of taxation that the tax burden should lie on the shoulders most readily capable of bearing it. It is true that in this country wage earners and salary earners are subjected to inequitable taxation. They are expected to pay direct and indirect tax far more than their share of the national cake warrants. The Minister has yet again, in this year's Budget, failed to appreciate that viewpoint.

There is one other matter to which I should like to refer at this stage and that is a matter about which Deputy Cosgrave has been speaking in another context—Schedule A taxation. The Income Tax Commission have recommended substantially the abolition of Schedule A taxation on the residential occupier of his own home. Schedule A tax is an archaic survival from Ricardo's theory on economic rent from discredited 19th century economists. The theory that a home owner has a cash income from the ownership of his home in which he lives is one which, in today's context, is quite absurd. It is a theory which was of great advantage to property owners in the past. The Minister happily has largely removed that advantage. In section 10 of today's Bill, the Minister is admittedly—

Is the Deputy really relevant to section 1?

Under section 1, we are providing in subsection (3) that the several statutory and other provisions which were in force on the 5th day of April, 1964, shall be implemented. That includes the various Schedules to the Income Tax Act, 1918. In that context, I suggest I am relevant. However, in so far as I have referred to section 10, I have done so merely in passing because it has a certain relevance to the argument I am now making. In section 10, the Minister is removing some of the more absurd features of this archaic tax. He is removing the feature whereby he was in the past losing on the swings what he was gaining on the roundabouts— the position where assessments were being raised on the one hand and cancelled on the other at great expense.

We are now left with the position that the only persons effectively paying tax under Schedule A are the residential occupiers of their own homes. That is the position despite the recommendation of our Income Tax Commission, which recommendation has been treated with next to contempt by the Minister. In Britain, under a Tory Government, this tax on the home owner has been abolished. We are still saddled with it. If the Minister came along and said to me that, for budgetary reasons, he is unable to make any concession on this score, I should at least see the force of that argument. But the Minister, on doctrinaire grounds, has attempted to justify this absurd tax and I urge him to press his advisers to take another look at that antiquated document.

I think that the principal argument for retaining any of these provisions that we have at the moment with regard to expense—not giving more generous expenses or leaving the Schedule A tax—is that they are needed. If we had money to spare and did not know what to do with it, perhaps we would be tempted to abolish the Schedule A tax although I would be prepared to argue that it is as fair as some of the taxes which we have.

If the Minister thinks that there will be money which a Minister for Finance does not need——

I cannot foresee it.

——that is a bad argument.

Things being as they are, and all of these being needed for budgetary reasons, if we were to be more liberal about expenses or abolished the Schedule A tax there would have to be some taxation in lieu. Probably, the only thing to do would be to raise the standard rate of income tax so that we would not have done much good for anybody. The Deputy is hardly fair when he says we ignored the recommendations of the Income Tax Commission. We have adopted at least half of the recommendations. I said, in the beginning, when the report was published, that the Government intended to deal with them over a period—when there would be time to consider them, time to adopt them and an opportunity to adopt them as far as financial considerations are concerned.

Question put and agreed to.
NEW SECTION.

I move amendment No. 1:

Before section 2 to insert a new section as follows:

"2. Income Tax shall be assessed on a person engaged in rearing broiler chickens under Schedule B and not under Schedule D."

On the Second Reading of the Bill, I dealt with this question of the broiler chicken. There is really very little I can add to it. It seems to me that the case the Minister made was that he was sorry that the law was such that the Revenue Commissioners had to administer it and had to collect the money. Of course, the Revenue Commissioners have to administer the law. They are not to be blamed for collecting the tax if the law so states it should be collected. That is no answer. The Minister is in the position of being able to change the law. Let me agree at once that the wording of this amendment would not be sufficient. One would have to have a very much more detailed and longer drafting. It is quite enough to hang one's hat upon in relation to the matter at issue.

The production of broiler chickens is, after all, another method of husbandry from the land and it is a more modern method. I thought, in present circumstances, one of our aims and objects was to make our agriculture, as well as our industry, use more modern methods. What is the sense of encouraging people to use more modern methods, on the one hand, if, on the other hand, we put a penal tax on them when they do so? That, in effect, is what the Minister says is the law.

I also feel that this should be amended because the smallholder is one of the people who is obviously going to find it more and more difficult to manage in the future. Any type of intensified production on a smallholding is something that should be encouraged. The rearing of broiler chickens is such an intensified production and on that account it is wrong that it should be penalised by the law, as it is at present, which requires taxation of it under Schedule D instead of under Schedule B.

There is, of course, the point that the Minister says it could be carried on in a town. It is not beyond the wit of the draftsman to provide a schedule that will exempt the actual part of the husbandry on the farm and will not exempt it from taxation under Schedule D when in fact, as in a town, there is no Schedule D. That is a bad argument because it is easy to draft something like that with the resources at the draftsman's disposal. This is one of the most modern methods of using intensified production and as such should be encouraged rather than penalised.

The Deputy is probably as clear on this as I am. If profits on the rearing of broilers arise from the occupation of land, then I think the person appeals to the Special Commissioners and probably wins his point and would be assessed under Schedule B. Of course if he is not occupation of land, he does not succeed and has to pay on the profits. If I am right in my interpretation of the law, is it not better to leave it as it is? If we were to adopt the amendment or what Deputy Sweetman intends by the amendment—I do not want to pin him to the wording of it —it would mean, actually, I think, that the person who rears broilers on a farm would be at least theoretically subject to paying tax on Schedule D but the person who rears broilers not on a farm would not have to pay tax at all. There is certainly a bit of difficulty that we must try to get over. I should first, however, like the Special Commissioners to decide what the law should be in this case.

Is there a case at present pending before the Special Commissioners?

Yes; there are a few cases.

I understand a wide number of assessments have been circulated in Monaghan and Cavan?

Yes. As I said, if the Revenue Commissioners understand that to be the law, they cannot do otherwise.

I agree. We are the people who should make the law, not the Special Commissioners.

That is right.

We had better wait and see what these decisions are and I can then return to the fray if I have the opportunity.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
SECTION 2.

I move amendment No. 2:

In page 4, lines 21 to 24, to delete subsection (4) and substitute the following subsection:

"(4) Section 9 of the Finance Act 1958, is hereby amended—(i) by the substitution for paragraph (d) of subsection (2) of the following paragraph:

`(d) so far as it flows from relief under section 2 of the Finance Act, 1964, in proportion to the amounts of their respective unearned incomes within the meaning of the said section 2,' and

(ii) by the substitution in subsection (6) of `section 2 of the Finance Act, 1964,' for `section 4 of the Finance Act, 1951 (No. 15 of 1951), or.' "

Amendments Nos. 2 and 3 are the same, and their purpose is that in certain cases it may suit the person concerned better if only the unearned income or relevant income, as the case may be, is taken into account in dividing between man and wife. If you take the total income, I believe it may militate against them in certain cases.

I do not know what the Minister thinks but I found this a very hard section to understand.

It is. No. 2 is not so difficult; No. 3 is more difficult.

Amendment agreed to.
Question proposed: "That section 2, as amended, stand part of the Bill."

As the Minister remarked, it is somewhat difficult to follow the precise effect of these sections. I had hoped the Minister might be able to give details of the actual effect of the concessions that have been granted. As one who over a number of years made representations on successive Finance Bills and on other occasions during discussions here, on behalf of those sections which I think everybody recognises are among the weaker sections of the community— elderly persons living on some form of fixed income, either pensions or partly pension and partly income derived from investments as a result of money put by and invested during their working lives—I think it is correct to say that no sections—or certainly few sections—of the community have been so seriously affected by the general drop in the value of money as pensioners and retired persons living on fixed incomes.

Those who are covered by the sections to which we are now referring are persons whose income, in general, is above that covered by State social welfare services and while otherwise, if they are better off than other sections of the community, their plight is still in most cases difficult and in some cases serious. Because of their age, in most cases they are beyond the time when it is possible for them to work and in any event there are relatively few opportunities available to elderly people to secure part-time employment to supplement their income.

The concessions granted are generally welcomed but they are regarded as inadequate, particularly in view of the rise in the cost of living. Of course the general tendency for prices to rise has resulted in persons living on pensions or fixed incomes finding that, unlike other sections in the community who have got wage and salary increases, in most cases their incomes remained fixed. Although on some occasions certain small reliefs have been granted, in the main, a great number of retired persons are persons on fixed income such as pensioners. They find their income, from whatever source, remains static while costs of every kind continue to rise. Because of their age, these people are ineligible, on the one hand, to participate in, say, voluntary health insurance and because of the level of their income, are ineligible for any, or certainly for most, of the State welfare schemes in the sense that they are not eligible for old age pension and are generally regarded as outside the scope of the Health Acts.

I should like to know from the Minister what exactly is the effect, say, of the relief in respect of a person on a certain income limit. The view that has been expressed generally over the years is that the total income which is allowed and which stands in this country at a figure of £600 a year should be increased. That has been the case that has been made in the past on the ground that the value of money has dropped since that income limit was fixed and, indeed, in recent years in Britain it was brought up to £800 and subsequently in the last few years to £900 a year, while here the figure has remained at the £600 level for quite a number of years.

As I have said, the view that has been expressed in this House and that has been expressed, I have no doubt, to the Minister by the pensioners' organisations and certainly to myself and other Deputies, is that that figure should be raised. Instead of that, the Minister has introduced the allowances provided for in sections 2 and 3 of this Bill.

Quite recently an article was printed in theIrish Independent dealing with the concessions granted in the Budget to elderly persons and subsequently a letter was published which set out the figures applicable at present, say, in Britain, to persons of 65 years of age or over and the comparable allowances which will be granted here in the case of persons of the same age. I need not quote the figures because I have no doubt they are available to the Minister and to the Revenue Commissioners but I would be interested to hear from the Minister what precisely the tax concessions will be under the sections and what improvement has been brought about in respect of a taxpayer affected by these provisions compared with the position before their introduction, in other words, what tax he or she will be liable for this year as compared with last year.

As the Deputy is aware —because the Deputy always took a very keen interest in this matter: he has raised it every year on the Finance Bill—the present position is that an old person can get the maximum relief, that is, one-fourth, if his total income happens to be £600. He gets one-fourth of the total income up to £600 but when he goes beyond £600 it begins to tail off again and when he comes to about £860 of total income under the existing law, he gets no relief at all. The Deputy, last year, was pressing that it was very unfair that we should tail it off, as it were. So, I thought it better to do away with that tailing off business this year and this means now that a person drawing unearned income, it does not matter about the amount, will get relief on the first £600 as if it were earned income, that is, one-fourth relief of the first £600. In addition to that, a person over 65 might have certain investment income and he might also have earned income. For instance, he could have a pension which would be regarded as the same as earned income. He could now, under this clause, get relief on £600 of unearned income and relief on £1,400 of earned income, so that he would get the full relief that is due to the ordinary working person of £500 altogether. That is what the section amounts to.

Does it mean, to put it another way, that a person who has income of up to but not exceeding £2,000 a year, whether it is earned or unearned, will have one-fourth of it taken off?

No; the limit of unearned will be £600.

He gets one-fourth of that?

Yes; he gets relief for a full £2,000 if earned income makes up the balance.

If I understand the Minister correctly now, a person who has, shall we say, £700 a year, this year, is being penalised because last year he used to get the graded off bit between £600 and £700. Now the grading is gone.

No; I think the Deputy is wrong. I thought he was right for a moment but I see now that he is not. The position up to this was that when he exceeded £600, it began to be reduced.

That is right.

Now he will get the full benefit of the £600. Even if he has £700 or £800 income, he will get £150 relief. Up to now, when he exceeded £600——

Up to what?

It disappeared at about £820.

Where does it disappear now?

It does not disappear at all now. It does not matter if the Deputy retires on investment income of, say, £5,000, he gets relief on the first £600.

The sum of £1,400 is not the maximum?

No; £600 is the maximum for the unearned income but he can also get relief on £1,400 earned income with that to make it £2,000.

Then, what it means is that the section this year gives relief to anyone who has unearned income up to £600 and who has earned income up to £1,400?

That is right. That is the maximum, yes.

If he has more than £1,400, he gets no additional relief and if he has no earned income, he gets no additional relief this year?

No. As the Deputy knows, if a person has a pension of more than £2,000, he gets relief only up to £2,000.

In effect, £500 will be free then?

£500—that is right, yes.

Will the Minister say what is the approximate cost of this concession in terms of revenue?

The latest estimate I have is, for section 2, about £100,000 and, for section 3, about £80,000.

Question put and agreed to.
SECTION 3.

I move amendment No. 3:

In page 5, lines 18 to 20, to delete subsection (6) and substitute the following subsection:

"(6) Section 9 of the Finance Act, 1958, is hereby amended—

(i) by the insertion before paragraph (e) of subsection (2) of the following paragraph:

`(dd) so far as it flows from relief under section 3 of the Finance Act, 1964, in proportion to the amounts of their respective relevant incomes within the meaning of the said section 3, and' and

(ii) by the addition of `or under section 3 of the Finance Act, 1964' at the end of subsection (6)."

Amendment agreed to.
Section 3, as amended, agreed to.
NEW SECTION.

I move amendment No. 4:—

Before section 4 to insert a new section as follows:—

"4. (1) An individual who is a widow and who has the charge and care of any child of hers and who, in the manner prescribed by the Income Tax Acts makes a claim in that behalf and makes a return in the prescribed form of her total income, shall for the purpose of ascertaining the amount of her assessable income for the purpose of income tax be allowed a deduction from the amount of her total income whether earned or unearned of a sum equal to one-fourth of the amount of that income subject to a maximum deduction of £500.

(2) In this section the expression `child' means a child in respect of whom a deduction is allowed under section 21 of the Finance Act, 1920 as subsequently amended.

(3) Any deduction or relief under subsection (1) of this section shall be in substitution for and not in addition to the deduction under section 16 of the Finance Act, 1920 as subsequently amended."

May I say that I welcome the more liberal approach the Minister is taking this year in respect of old persons in receipt of unearned income and in respect of other persons in receipt of small investment incomes? "Small" is the operative word because, of course, the concession in section 3 is confined to those whose investment income does not exceed £450. My amendment caters for a certain anomaly in the new state of things. It caters for what I believe to be an oversight on the Minister's part and I hope he will accept the amendment accordingly. We can all agree that perhaps the hardest hit individual by inflation is the widow with a family of small children, who is unable to go out to work and who is totally dependent on the means of livelihood which her deceased husband has left.

If her deceased husband were fortunate enough to be in employment which provided his widow with a pension, she would receive earned income relief on that pension up to £2,000. This amendment is designed to grant the equivalent of earned income relief to a widow in receipt of an income provided for her by her late husband, not being a pension, in other words, the widow of a selfemployed business man or professional person. She may be left capital or an insurance policy. The man who could cover himself for £3,000, £4,000 or £5,000 probably considered he was doing well by his widow and family.

The unfortunate position we are in now is that a widow with a family of small children with a capital of £5,000, £10,000 or £15,000 will be hard set to raise those children, to educate them and provide for them. I am sure the Minister will agree that a widow with fatherless children is not a proper subject for taxation. The Minister, as I said, has been relatively liberal to old people over 65 by granting them the equivalent to this allowance on earned income. I am now asking him to do the same for the widow with small children who has no means of increasing her income.

A widow with four children, as matters stand at present, is liable to income tax at the full standard rate on the full amount of her income of £739. In other words, if she has £800 a year investment income provided for her by her husband, or if she has actually bought an investment up to £800 out of money left to her by her husband, she is liable to income tax at the standard rate. That is a state of affairs which should be rectified. It is a situation which creates hardship on the most hard-pressed section of the community. I appeal to the Minister to accept this amendment.

I should like to support Deputy Byrne's amendment. It seems to me that the case he has made is an unanswerable one which follows exactly the same pattern that the Minister has laid down now in relation to sections 2 and 3. The fact that he is extending only to some of those sections the relief that was first brought in, as far as I remember, in the Finance Act, 1951, is hardly an argument against the case being made by Deputy Byrne.

Every one of us must have very considerable knowledge of the difficulties in which widows find themselves in the event of the early and untimely death of the breadwinner. The case Deputy Byrne has made for these people is one which deserves most serious and favourable consideration.

We are always, I am afraid, a bit inclined to be sympathetic to the widow.

And properly so.

I considered the case for widows alone—but it was pointed out to me by my advisers that you might have just as hard a case put up in respect of a single person. The case was put, as a very deserving one, of a daughter who has looked after her mother or father. The parent died at a rather old age, leaving the daughter at the age of 50 or 60 years, without training for any type of work. She was left with a rather small income. The father's pension had died with him and he had very little money to leave. The daughter would have perhaps £400 or £500 a year out of investments. Her case would be as deserving as the widow's case. For that reason, I made section 3 applicable to persons under 65 years of age. If they are over 65 years of age, they come under section 2. The provisions of section 3 apply to widows and single people.

It is a new section and a new idea. An estimate was given of the cost but we have no idea whether the section, as drawn up, will include only those we have in mind. Sometimes as Deputies are aware, these provisions cost very much more than is anticipated.

They have been known to cost less.

Perhaps so. I would make a plea to Deputies that we should give this a year's trial. I have no doubt it will be improved as time goes on but I suggest it is better to see how it works out for a year. We do not know how many sections of the people we should cover or whether it would be advisable to make any difference between widows and single people or not. We do not know whether we might go so far, if it were not going to cost too much, as to put all into the same category under section 2 and have no distinction.

I cannot accept the Minister's statement that it will make a difference what it will cost, either this year or next year. A widow with an investment of £1,000 a year is not going to apply for relief under section 3 because she is clearly not covered under that section.

She would not be.

It could not cost more than £10,000 to give this concession to widows.

We do not know what it will cost.

Amendment put and declared lost.
Section 4 agreed to.
SECTION 5.

I move amendment No. 4a:

To add to the section the following proviso:

"Provided that that Board shall be entitled to relief under section 34 of the Income Tax Act, 1918, as if the foregoing provisions of this section had not been enacted."

When I looked up this matter, I read an amendment put in by Deputy Sweetman on a former occasion when he said the income from investments was not included. I agreed with that. It was put to me, however, that we might leave the Voluntary Health Insurance Board worse off than they were. If they had a trading loss this year, they would have to stand it. If we leave the law as it is, they can take that into account in paying income tax on investments. If they have a trading profit, they do not pay income tax

Amendment agreed to.
Section 5, as amended, agreed to.
SECTION 6.
Question proposed: "That section 6 stand part of the Bill."

What does the Minister think is the benefit of having a Collector-General?

We are moving in the direction of one tax for both income tax and surtax. We are also moving in the direction of mechanising our collection. Therefore, all returns will be made to a person at headquarters called the Collector-General. I believe it is necessary to legalise that position.

Would the Minister like to avail of this opportunity to give us a progress report on the operations of the computer?

It is coming on, yes.

Question put and agreed to.
NEW SECTION.

I move amendment No. 5:—

Before section 7 to insert a new section as follows:

"In connection with any assessment to income tax where a person proves that he has incurred expense on himself or on any dependant arising out of disability or illness which is serious and likely to be permanent there shall be deducted from the income to be assessed the vouched expenses so incurred in excess of £50 per annum per person and up to a maximum of £300 per annum per person."

This relates to proposed concessions in respect of medical expenses for chronic invalids, persons who are likely to be permanent invalids, to provide them with the modest expenses of their illness or to provide the taxpayer with an allowance for the modest expenses of his dependant's illness. The wording is exactly that recommended in the Seventh Report of the Income Tax Commission.

There is an unanswerable claim for an allowance such as this. It is an old maxim of the law that equity is a stranger to income tax. It seems from our discussion here this afternoon that the Minister too readily accepts that maxim. In regard to personal allowances and reliefs, he said a few moments ago that if you increase them it only means you have to raise the standard rate of income tax in order to bear the cost of the increased allowances and that your last case will be worse than your first. That is not true, if you make of income tax a more equitable levy, if you remove from its scope persons not proper subjects for taxation—invalids or a man whose wife is a permanent invalid or whose children are incurably ill. He is entitled, equitably, morally, and justly to the expenses of his illness.

A year ago we had a protracted discussion on this same amendment. The Minister was subjected to arguments from all sides of the House in favour of it. Indeed, at least one of his own backbenchers made the case that the terms of my amendment were not sufficiently liberal or generous. I concede that might well be the case. I have deliberately chosen the verbiage recommended by the Commission. That recommendation was to grant an allowance to taxpayers in respect of the expenses of serious and permanent illness up to a total of £300. That had to be vouched for and proved.

This is an allowance which would be simple to administer. I am sadly disappointed that in the course of a full year the Minister has been unable to study this matter and produce a satisfactory solution. In reply to a Parliamentary question of mine a few weeks ago he indicated research was still going on. What sort of research? It is a simple issue capable of a ready solution a solution which has been found for the Minister by his own Commission, or rather by Deputy Sweetman's Commission.

Protracted delays in matters such as this are extremely undesirable. Within the past 12 months incurable invalids have died in hardship by reason of the relative burden of medical expenses on their incomes. I do not think there is any more to be said on the amendment at this stage. I appeal to the Minister again to give way to his own decent instincts and forget about doctrinaire arguments in these matters.

I wish to support Deputy Byrne. We had a protracted discussion last year. The things that were said then still stand. Nothing can be added to them. The most dreadful misfortune that can occur in any family is the impact of serious illness. Indeed, many families have undergone great privation because of the cost of illness. Children's futures have been prejudiced by the loss of the moneys needed for their education. There are sufficient things wrong with the misfortune of grave illness—the great fears and worry which accompany it—without having it added to by taxing the smaller remnant of the income that remains. This would be a very civilised amendment to our tax code.

Deputy Byrne is correct in saying he framed his amendment on the wording of the Income Tax Commission. Therefore, I must accept that the Commission made a recommendation of this kind. It was considered by the Government. The Government said at the time that they would examine this matter, see if it were administratively practical and, at the same time, if it could be confined to the cases outlined in the recommendation. It is an extremely difficult matter. In last year's debate Deputy J.A. Costello said a draftsman would probably draft an amendment of this kind in half an hour. He was pleading that it should be incorporated in last year's Finance Bill. I have no doubt a draftsman could do so, but we do not know what repercussions it might have. We can only say that in countries where this type of amendment has been adopted it has proved much more costly than expected. I asked for an estimate of what it might be here on the same basis. If the cost here were of the same proportions, it would cost £3 million or £4 million.

That could not possibly be.

In Australia, they collect £830 million in income tax and that relief costs £35 million. That is the same proportion.

Have they got any other health services there at all?

Australians will tell you that figure is true. We could probably draw the conditions more tightly and we might be able to cut it down. It was mentioned on the last occasion that this amendment, if adopted, might damage the Voluntary Health Insurance scheme. If a man were able to calculate "If I spend £100 on medical expenses. I am going to get such-and-such relief", that would be almost as good as the Voluntary Health could do.

We are speaking of incurable illness. Such people are not accepted by the Voluntary Health Board.

We shall come to that. That might injure the Voluntary Health Scheme. That necessitated certain discussions with the Voluntary Health Board, which have been going on. It would be a far simpler scheme if we could say that a person had a certificate from the Voluntary Health people that they would not be accepted. But the Voluntary Health people have informed me, through my officials, that they sometimes take on a person in a limited way. For instance, a person suffering from diabetes. They say: "We will take you on for anything except something arising out of diabetes." That makes it extremely difficult for the Revenue Commissioners to cover a contingency of that kind.

The only proper way of dealing with this matter is through a Health Act. A committee of the Oireachtas are at present considering existing health legislation. Presumably, they will make recommendations. If those recommendations should include better relief in cases of expensive illness and hospital treatment, the position would be fairly well covered and we would not be called on to deal with this matter again. The Deputy's amendment refers to expenses of more than £50 and up to a limit of £300. So far as domiciliary treatment is concerned, it is unlikely that any family would have higher expenses than £50 a year. I am sure what the Deputy has in mind and what we have in mind are the expenses incurred in hospital treatment and special treatment of that kind. I take it that the Oireachtas Committee would be inclined to extend services rather than restrict them. If they do extend them, they will probably extend them to other groups of people. That would be a more satisfactory way of dealing with this than through income tax.

The example was given to me of a man with a wife and three children earning £1,450 a year. Under this amendment, if he were unfortunate enough to have high medical expenses, he would get a good relief. But if there was another man beside him with a wife and six children, he would get nothing at all because he would not be paying income tax.

But if he had nothing, he would get it from the local authority.

I do not think he would. That appears to me to prove the case that income tax is not the way to deal with this. Those not paying income tax will not get any relief. A married couple with no children paying income tax on a fairly low income will benefit, but the other person will not. The argument generally would point in the direction that it should be done through health legislation and not through income tax legislation.

Judging by the present rate of progress of our Health Committee—without any disrespect to it— if Deputy Byrne is to wait for its recommendations in order to get some amelioration for his present problem, he will have to wait a long time. I cannot help feeling some sympathy for his sense of urgency in pressing the Minister, from whom we are much more likely to get rapid action. I agree with the Minister that this might not be a satisfactory way of dealing with this problem, if we are to take it as a final solution, but, as an interim solution, there is something to be said for it. The solution the Minister hopes for from the Parliamentary Committee—at least, I hope he hopes for it—is the one I would like to see: sufficient extension of our health services to see that nobody was unduly burdened by illness, whether it is prolonged or brief.

There is a lot in the Minister's argument regarding the possible cost of this. I have not given the matter any great consideration. He gave us this example of Australia and the high percentage of the national income which such a remission costs the Government there. I do not think that is a fair figure. A high percentage of our people are already receiving services from the State. Therefore, I presume they would be excluded and that would reduce very considerably the number of people who would be likely to benefit from Deputy Byrne's amendment. I think the apparent fallacy in the Australian figures might be that in a fee-for-service type of medical service you would have the total medical bill being assessed for income tax purposes. The total medical bill in such circumstances where you have fee for service or some form of direct contribution, would be a very considerable medical bill. Only a small percentage of our people would be covered, and it is likely the number would not be so worrying as the Minister seems to think it would be.

Deputy Byrne's amendment includes a proviso which is, if he will forgive my saying so, rather loose. I think the Minister would find himself in difficulties with it. The amendment says: " ... arising out of disability or illness which is serious and likely to be permanent ... " We all know the variations there could be in the likelihood of a person being permanently ill. The courts are full of examples of people who are likely to be permanently disabled. There is the whole business of compensation and a cure following the award of damages. There is inaccurate certification, sympathetic certification, and so on. It would probably be quite different if we could define a block of illnesses in which it was likely that there would be permanent disability or permanent illness. If it is possible to be quite sure that there will be permanent disability, or permanent illness, Deputy Byrne's case is a good one because it reduces very considerably— even more than the reduction I have made—the number of people who would be asking for remission of taxation under this amendment.

I have great sympathy with the amendment, as must be obvious. No real solution is possible until people have no direct contribution to make but, in the interim, we should try to mitigate the burden, which is a real burden, particularly where there is permanent disability and where a person is permanently out of work and unable to earn. He should get every assistance to ease his already heavy burden. I ask the Minister to see if there is some way in which the tiny group to which Deputy Byrne appears to me to be referring could be helped.

Mr. Ryan

It is a sad reflection on our State institutions that we should have to plead on the Finance Bill each year for a section of the community who deserve some relief, particularly when giving that relief would cost the Exchequer very little. If there is any merit at all in direct taxation of the kind with which we are dealing in these sections, it is that it is taxation on that portion of a person's income in respect of which he can exercise free will in its spending. One cannot exercise free will over the spending of income which has to be expended for the preservation of life, the relief of pain or the amelioration of disability. That is a form of compelling expenditure, and it seems entirely wrong that we should tax expenses which accrue by reason of human frailty, illness or disability to which any of us might succumb. That is the principle underlying Deputy Byrne's amendment. As we have said on several occasions, it does not suffice to say that because we cannot save every one who is drowning, we will save no one.

I can hear protests being raised and resistance being offered to suggestions that this relief be given in general health measures because of the cost it would entail. The fact that this would not be of benefit to those who are not paying income tax seems to be no justification for refusing it to those who are paying income tax, or may be called upon to pay it.

A good deal of conscious effort is being made at present to alter the system of rates because of the fact that we are aware that people are compelled to pay fixed rates relating to premises although their means may be such that it imposes undue strain upon them to pay the particular rate. That applies particularly where there are elderly people living in family homes which the children have left, and from which the breadwinner has departed to another world.

The disability or permanent illness of which Deputy Byrne speaks here can create a similar situation in which, because of the high cost of medical expenses, the taxpayer is not in a position without further undue strain, to pay the tax levied on him or her. We are well aware that by reason of the fact people pay taxation, they are classified as persons who are denied various health benefits which are available to others. The Minister would be taking a step in the right direction, a step towards helping a section of the community who are deserving of some relief, if in this small regard he would provide exemption from income tax in respect of necessary medical expenses for people who are seriously or permanently ill or disabled.

The Minister has completely flabbergasted me with his quotation of the percentage cost in Australia of a similar relief. I would not have expected £3 million here to be in the same proportion as £35 million in Australia. However, we have all had experience of the fact that in trying to compare the tax structure in one country with the tax structure in another, it is very easy to fall into the trap of not comparing like with like. There must be some special considerations in Australia—perhaps the immense distances; I do not know— whereby medical expenses are so high. There may be some situation in Australia in which the agricultural community may be taxable on a schedule D basis. I do not know.

I think they are.

That would make a considerable difference. Was allowance made for that in the statistical comparison the Minister made?

If I heard the Minister correctly— if I did not, I should be glad if he would correct me—it would cost £3 million in income tax to allow medical expenses in excess of £50 and up to a maximum of £300 a year. Let us examine that. It means that, if it is to cost £3 million, at 6/4d. in the £, the Minister is estimating that £9 million worth of medical expenses are incurred every year here in excess of £50 a year and not in excess of £300 a year for any one taxable person. I cannot believe that that figure could stand up. It does not make sense or if it does, if it is a fact, then I am in the wrong profession, the Parliamentary Secretary, Deputy O'Malley, is in the wrong profession and the Minister is in the right profession if there is as much as £9 million spent on medical expenses in that narrow band.

There must be some break in the comparative statistics. It just could not be. I admit frankly that the £9 million need not necessarily be right because the Minister might be taking surtax into account as well in his estimate. I do not know whether he is or not. I cannot remember at the moment whether the Australians have one composite tax for income tax and super tax. If they have a composite tax, then the Minister is entitled to take it into account here, having regard to the provision for surtax allowances. But this is only, first of all, an assessment on illness arising out of disability or illness which is serious or is likely to be permanent. As far as I can recollect—it is some time since I read it—the Australian medical expenses allowances do not say "illness that is serious or likely to be permanent". They provide for any type of illness in excess of a certain sum. My recollection is that there is a lump sum in respect of an individual illness below which you cannot add in to your £50 for the year. In other words, if you get a doctor for your child who has a cold, that particular guinea cannot go in to the total of £50. From my recollection, there is no restriction in the Australian limit to disability or illness which is serious or likely to be permanent.

It is not an exact method of making a computation but we can look around and make a shot at it. Take 100 average taxpayers who we know are claiming and, of those 100, how many have a case in respect of which the disability is serious and likely to be permanent? Having got that from the point of view of an average, we can consider the position for expenses over £50 a year and under £300 a year, that is £250 a year expenses, and take the numbers by reference to the £9 million I mentioned. I am trying to recollect the latest figure published for the number of income tax payers. Was it 21,000?

400,000. The number of surtax payers was 5,000 or 6,000.

That makes the case much better from my point of view and much worse from the Minister's point of view, because there would be the 5,000 surtax payers and the 400,000 income tax payers and of those probably not more than 50 per cent would be right up to the top. The figure of 50 per cent would be a fair one. That means divided between 250,000 people, pairs, approximately, £9 million would be spent on illness that is serious or likely to be permanent and in excess of £50 and not in excess of £300 a year. The figures do not stand up to examination at all. I venture to say that one income tax payer out of every 100 might have a dependant within the terms of this amendment. There must be some very vast difference between the computation as it is made in Australia and the manner in which our tax is computed here. Does the Minister agree that one per cent is a reasonable estimate of the number of claims that are likely to arise per the total income tax payers for illness that is serious or likely to be permanent? I do not think it is an under-estimation. One can think around one's friends and neighbours and make a shot at it.

Supposing it was one per cent, then one per cent of 400,000 is 4,000— 4,000 pairs. Supposing they went right up to the maximum of £250, then that is £1 million tax assessment, not an income tax liability, but £1 million tax assessment, and that would be approximately £350,000 tax liability. That is assuming all of the 400,000 taxpayers went on paying tax in such a way that they had the whole of this margin over and above the allowances. Of course they would not. Fifty per cent would be a much fairer basis. It would be much fairer to say that 50 per cent of the claims would be of such a taxable income nature that only one-half of the medical expenses clause would come in charge.

That comes back to £500,000 as a tax assessment and to a tax liability of about £160,000. I will give the Minister the extra £40,000 for his loss on surtax because there will be a surtax loss as well. I think I am being very generous to him in doing that. There is a net cost of £200,000 and the Minister has said that the cost would be £3 million. May I make this suggestion to the Minister? The figures are so obviously at variance with what appears rational that between now and the Report Stage of this Bill, which will be dealt with on this day fortnight, the Minister might issue a short—one single sheet of foolscap—White Paper to Deputies on this matter explaining how the figures are computed, how he got his estimate of £3 million, and pointing out where is the fallacy in the figures I have tried to calculate while on my feet.

I do not want these figures to be completely misunderstood. I said I did make inquiries in regard to how this scheme is working in other countries. I mentioned that Australia has a very expensive scheme and I did say later that we could adopt a very much more restricted scheme here. I am quite sure I did not imply that Deputy Byrne's amendment would cost £3 million or £4 million. I said it would cost £3 million or £4 million on the same proportion as Australia.

I know that, on the same proportion, but they have not got in Australia "serious and permanent illness". It is on all illness.

Mr. Ryan

I did go on to say we could adopt here a very much more restricted scheme. I did not imply that Deputy Byrne's amendment would cost £3 million or £4 million or anything like it. As regards surtax, as far as I can get this amendment interpreted, if that went into the Bill, it would mean income tax and surtax.

Yes, but the surtax allowance section would cover it automatically. Would the Minister say, as he has gone away from the £3 million, what his estimate of the cost would be?

I agree with Deputy Dr. Browne in one thing—I think Deputy Sweetman will agree with me, too— that to put in a clause "likely to be permanent" would lead to endless trouble. We could not put in a clause which could never be worked. We would have to put it in a simpler way than that.

Would the Minister indicate what is his estimate of the cost of this amendment?

It would be nothing like £3 million. It might be under £1 million but I am sure it would be near £1 million.

£200,000 would be generous for it.

I do not know.

Is the amendment withdrawn?

We shall submit a slightly different one on Report Stage.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Section 7 agreed to.
SECTION 8.
Question proposed: "That section 8 stand part of the Bill."

I do not understand what is involved in section 8. Could the Minister assist me?

There has been a practice where people are leaving employment especially in private companies——

Is this the golden handshake?

Once the Minister so describes it, I understand it.

Question put and agreed to.
SECTION 9.
Question proposed: "That section 9 stand part of the Bill."

Section 9 points out where it is allowed.

Yes, but I am a little worried about one type of compensation. I am not quite clear whether it is covered. Supposing a person is in employment and is dismissed from that employment; he takes an action for wrongful dismissal and that action is compromised by the firm concerned paying the man compensation. The dismissal stands because obviously once matters get to the stage of an action for wrongful dismissal, there is no use hoping to have any future employment with any sort of amicable relationship. The action is compromised by the claim for wrongful dismissal being dropped in consideration of a payment of a sum for damages without acknowledgment of liability. I am a little inclined to think that might be caught for tax.

It would.

That is wrong.

Anything over £3,000.

It is wrong that damages for a genuine action for wrongful dismissal should be caught. If somebody is dismissed wrongfully and takes an action for damages for wrongful dismissal, while it might be open to him to take an action by way ofmandamus for reinstatement, it is not a practical proposition. If there are formal court proceedings and even supposing the claimant goes on to the judge and damages are given for wrongful dismissal, why should these damages be open to tax under this section? What this section was intended to cover, and properly intended to cover, is the type of case where a person who is in employment wants to get a lump sum by way of capital and agrees to relinquish his employment and to get compensation for loss of office, so to speak and, having got that compensation, comes along the following week and is re-employed. It is perfectly proper the Minister should stop that gap, but in the other case it is not right that tax should have to be paid.

The Deputy will probably see the reason for including wrongful dismissal: there is the danger that it could be arranged. I do not know whether that danger could be overcome or not.

I can see it could be arranged if there are no court proceedings. However, where the judgment of a court is given for damages, it should be considered in a different light. People will not go right up to judgment in a court, with all the publicity that it involves, merely for the purpose of dodging tax. If the Minister would consider that between now and the Report Stage, I should be happy.

Question put and agreed to.
SECTION 10.
Question proposed: "That section 10 stand part of the Bill."

I welcome this section. The Minister has begun to see a glimmer of light in regard to Schedule A taxation. To some extent he has taken the wind out of my sails, I must say, as an ardent critic of the Schedule A theory. He is removing the more absurd features of Schedule A taxation in this section which provides that in respect of Schedule A tax raised on companies, Schedule A will not effectively be assessed on them. The Minister will not lose anything at all by this action because the tax being paid on companies' profits under Schedule D will be correspondingly increased. In other words, the farcical situation which has existed for so many years of one set of clerks raising Schedule A assessments and advising them to another section so that the latter can discharge them will cease. There will be a considerable saving in administrative expenses arising out of that.

I compliment the Minister on his good sense. I wish he would go further and I would ask him if it is true that by reason of this particular provision, the only people now effectively paying tax under Schedule A will in the future be residential occupiers of their homes.

The Deputy knows that those companies with whom we are dealing are not getting away with it. They will pay Schedule D tax instead.

Is it true to say that the only section of taxpayers who in the future will effectively pay taxes under Schedule A will be residential occupiers of their own homes and that this tax will now be a tax on the private householder?

They will pay under Schedule A.

Could the Minister explain one phrase in his White Paper? He said that in certain circumstances, however, the total tax for a given year might be somewhat greater or less than it would otherwise have been. What are the circumstances?

They may occur where the valuation has changed during the year.

If that is so, is that the only circumstance?

That is all.

Would it not have been nicer to say so?

That was the only proposition. There was no need to write it in here.

Is that the only case?

It is the only one I can cite at the moment.

I should tell the Minister in that case that he owes me an apology. I spent about three hours trying to find what the circumstances were.

There may be others. I shall deal with it on the Fourth Stage.

Question put and agreed to.
SECTION 11.
Question proposed: "That section 11 stand part of the Bill."

There has been a certain amount of misunderstanding outside in relation to section 11. It is as well to have it clarified here in public. As I understand the section— but perhaps I am wrong—if this Act is passed, the law will remain exactly the same. Income tax will be deducted from ground rents, unless and until a specific arrangement to the contrary is made in the individual case with the inspector of taxes.

That is right.

It has been largely misinterpreted outside as meaning that, automatically, income tax will not be deducted in future from ground rent, and that is wrong.

It only applies to the case where the inspector goes around and arranges it.

I agree. I think it is as well to have it clearly so stated publicly in order to prevent difficulties. It is, as I understand it, only the inspector of taxes and the person who receives the rent who initiate the agreement.

Is it intended to cover cases where the person concerned is not liable to tax and that, therefore, it would mean if it were paid, under deduction, there would be a claim for refund? Or is it intended to cover the type of tax like the deduction that was formerly allowed for under Schedule A and is now thrown into Schedule D? What are the various types of cases it is intended to cover? As I understand it, the whole purpose of this is not to get any additional revenue or not to lose revenue but to streamline collection, to make sure you have not to collect with one hand and put out with the other.

It is intended to apply particularly to estates where the tenants are mainly non-taxpayers, who in many cases are persons paying ground rent under deduction to the landlord and then paying the tax to the Revenue Commissioners. That creates a certain amount of trouble, both for the tenant and the Revenue Commissioners. It would be much simpler if, in estates of that kind where there are large numbers of non-income tax payers, the inspector went to the landlord and said: "If you give me the list, I will serve notice on those tenants to pay the full ground rent to you and we will serve the whole income tax bill on you and get it in that way."

Could the Minister say whether he has an estimate of the number of cases in which this might arise?

I could not give the Deputy information on that.

In the case of an estate of that sort, where such a notice is served, perhaps out of 100, there may be 80 who may not be taxed and 20 who pay tax. I take it that in respect of those who pay tax, the rent paid by them will be allowed as a gross deduction in the same way as bank overdraft interest?

Yes; it will be on the same basis and they will get the allowance after.

Question put and agreed to.
SECTION 12.
Question proposed: "That section 12 stand part of the Bill."

This is the Aer Lingus one.

Question put and agreed to.
SECTION 13.
Question proposed: "That section 13 stand part of the Bill."

This is a section by virtue of which the Minister implements the increased duty on beer. The Minister, as we all know, last year gave it as his opinion that beer was not taxable to any great extent but that, if there were further taxation on beer, there would be a danger of killing the goose that lays the golden egg. In fact, it was that very thing that made the Minister pass the turnover tax when he said that as a result of the failure of the traditional means of revenue, he had to impose the turnover tax on the essential food, fuel, and clothing of the people. Now he comes back to the attack again in relation to beer, and in this section seeks to impose the increases he announced in the Budget. It seems to me his position in both respects in entirely illogical—that he is contradicting himself by so doing.

Section 13 agreed?

It is not. Put it. I wish to point out that it is the duty of the Chair to put the section, unless agreement is indicated.

It often saves time to ask the Deputy if he wants the section put.

But the Deputy was not asked.

The Deputy did not indicate that he wanted the section put.

If the Chair had been listening to what I said, he would have realised I could hardly be logical if I did not want the section put.

Question put.
The Committee divided: Tá, 58; Níl, 50.

Tá.

  • Blaney, Neil T.
  • Boland, Kevin.
  • Booth, Lionel.
  • Boylan, Terence.
  • Brady, Philip A.
  • Brady, Seán.
  • Breen, Dan.
  • Brennan, Joseph.
  • Brennan, Paudge.
  • Breslin, Cormac.
  • Briscoe, Robert.
  • Burke, Patrick J.
  • Callery, Phelim A.
  • Carter, Frank.
  • Carthy, Michael.
  • Clohessy, Patrick.
  • Colley, George.
  • Collins, James J.
  • Cotter, Edward.
  • Crinion, Brendan.
  • Crowley, Honor M.
  • Cummins, Patrick J.
  • Cunningham, Liam.
  • Davern, Mick.
  • de Valera, Vivion.
  • Dolan, Séamus.
  • Dooley, Patrick.
  • Egan, Kieran P.
  • Egan, Nicholas.
  • Fanning, John.
  • Faulkner, Padraig.
  • Gallagher, James.
  • Geoghegan, John.
  • Gibbons, James M.
  • Gilbride, Eugene.
  • Gogan, Richard P.
  • Haughey, Charles.
  • Hillery, Patrick.
  • Hilliard, Michael.
  • Kitt, Michael F.
  • Lalor, Patrick J.
  • Lemass, Seán.
  • Lenihan, Brian.
  • Lynch, Celia.
  • MacEntee, Seán.
  • Meaney, Con.
  • Medlar, Martin.
  • Millar, Anthony G.
  • Moher, John W.
  • Mooney, Patrick.
  • Moran, Michael.
  • Ó Briain, Donnchadh.
  • Ó Ceallaigh, Seán.
  • O'Connor, Timothy.
  • O'Malley, Donogh.
  • Ryan, James.
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Timmons, Eugene.

Níl.

  • Barrett, Stephen D.
  • Barron, Joseph.
  • Barry, Anthony.
  • Barry, Richard.
  • Belton, Paddy.
  • Browne, Noel C.
  • Byrne, Patrick.
  • Clinton, Mark A.
  • Collins, Seán.
  • Connor, Patrick.
  • Dunne, Seán.
  • Dunne, Thomas.
  • Esmonde, Sir Anthony C.
  • Farrelly, Denis.
  • Flanagan, Oliver J.
  • Gilhawley, Eugene.
  • Governey, Desmond.
  • Harte, Patrick D.
  • Hogan, Patrick (South Tipperary).
  • Hogan O'Higgins, Brigid.
  • Jones, Denis F.
  • Kenny, Henry.
  • Kyne, Thomas A.
  • Lynch, Thaddeus.
  • MacEoin, Seán.
  • Coogan, Fintan.
  • Corish, Brendan.
  • Cosgrave, Liam.
  • Costello, Declan D.
  • Costello, John A.
  • Crotty, Patrick J.
  • Desmond, Dan.
  • Dillon, James M.
  • Dockrell, Henry P.
  • Dockrell, Maurice E.
  • McGilligan, Patrick.
  • McLaughlin, Joseph.
  • Murphy, William.
  • O'Donnell, Patrick.
  • O'Higgins, Michael J.
  • O'Higgins, Thomas F. K.
  • O'Keeffe, James.
  • O'Reilly, Patrick.
  • O'Sullivan, Denis J.
  • Reynolds, Patrick J.
  • Rooney, Eamonn.
  • Ryan, Richie.
  • Spring, Dan.
  • Sweetman, Gerard.
  • Treacy, Seán.
Tellers:—Tá: Deputies J. Brennan and Geoghegan; Níl: Deputies O'Sullivan and Kyne.
Question declared carried.
Section 14 agreed to.
SECTION 15.
Question proposed: "That section 15 stand part of the Bill."

The effect of this section is that the Minister and I can drink Bushmills at the old prices. Is that not it?

That is a commercial.

Question put and agreed to.
SECTION 16.
Question proposed: "That section 16 stand part of the Bill."

I want to repeat what I have said already. This is an extremely bad tax. It will put up the cost of distribution everywhere. It is particularly bad because of the manner in which the cost of diesel oil is increased. It is bound to have the effect of increasing the cost of manufacture on the industry concerned not only directly but also indirectly because of the increased cost of raw materials. For these reasons, I oppose the section.

It applies only to road transport. It excludes buses.

It does not apply to central heating oil: I know that. However, it applies to every single bit of raw material that is now delivered, in view of the fact that the Minister for Transport and Power is doing his damnedest to close all the railways.

Question put.
The Committee divided: Tá, 59; Níl, 51.

Tá.

  • Blaney, Neil T.
  • Boland, Kevin.
  • Booth, Lionel.
  • Boylan, Terence.
  • Brady, Philip A.
  • Brady, Seán.
  • Breen, Dan.
  • Brennan, Joseph.
  • Brennan, Paudge.
  • Breslin, Cormac.
  • Briscoe, Robert.
  • Burke, Patrick J.
  • Callery, Phelim A.
  • Carter, Frank.
  • Carty, Michael.
  • Clohessy, Patrick.
  • Colley, George.
  • Gilbride, Eugene.
  • Gogan, Richard P.
  • Haughey, Charles.
  • Hillery, Patrick.
  • Hilliard, Michael.
  • Kitt, Michael F.
  • Lalor, Patrick J.
  • Lemass, Seán.
  • Lenihan, Brian.
  • Lynch, Celia.
  • MacEntee, Seán.
  • Meaney, Con.
  • Medlar, Martin.
  • Collins, James J.
  • Cotter. Edward.
  • Crinion, Brendan.
  • Crowley, Honor M.
  • Cummins, Patrick J.
  • Cunningham, Liam.
  • Davern, Mick.
  • de Valera, Vivion.
  • Dolan Séamus.
  • Dooley, Patrick.
  • Egan, Kieran P.
  • Egan, Nicholas.
  • Fanning, John.
  • Faulkner, Padraig.
  • Gallagher, James.
  • Geoghegan, John.
  • Gibbons, James M.
  • Millar, Anthony G.
  • Moher, John W.
  • Mooney, Patrick.
  • Moran, Michael.
  • Ó Briain, Donnchadh.
  • Ó Ceallaigh, Seán.
  • O'Connor, Timothy.
  • O'Malley, Donogh.
  • Ryan, James.
  • Sherwin, Frank.
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Timmons, Eugene.

Níl.

  • Barrett, Stephen D.
  • Barron, Joseph.
  • Barry, Anthony.
  • Barry, Richard.
  • Belton, Paddy.
  • Browne, Noel C.
  • Byrne, Patrick.
  • Clinton, Mark A.
  • Collins, Seán.
  • Connor, Patrick.
  • Coogan, Fintan.
  • Corish, Brendan.
  • Cosgrave, Liam.
  • Costello, Declan D.
  • Costello, John A.
  • Crotty, Patrick J.
  • Desmond, Dan.
  • Dillon, James M.
  • Dockrell, Henry P.
  • Dockrell, Maurice E.
  • Donegan, Patrick S.
  • Dunne, Seán.
  • Dunne, Thomas.
  • Esmonde, Sir Anthony C.
  • Farrelly, Denis.
  • Flanagan, Oliver J.
  • Gilhawley, Eugene.
  • Governey, Desmond.
  • Harte, Patrick D.
  • Hogan, Patrick (South Tipperary).
  • Hogan O'Higgins, Brigid.
  • Jones, Denis F.
  • Kenny, Henry.
  • Kyne, Thomas A.
  • Lynch, Thaddeus.
  • MacEoin, Seán.
  • McGilligan, Patrick.
  • McLaughlin, Joseph.
  • Murphy, William.
  • O'Donnell, Patrick.
  • O'Higgins, Michael J.
  • O'Higgins, Thomas F.K.
  • O'Keeffe, James.
  • O'Reilly, Patrick.
  • O'Sullivan, Denis J.
  • Reynolds, Patrick J.
  • Rooney, Eamonn.
  • Ryan, Richie.
  • Spring, Dan.
  • Sweetman, Gerard.
  • Treacy, Seán.
Tellers:—Tá: Deputies J. Brennan and Geoghegan; Níl: Deputies O'Sullivan and Kyne.
Question declared carried.
SECTION 17.
Question proposed: "That section 17 stand part of the Bill."

I oppose this section for the same reasons as I opposed section 13.

Question put.
The Committee divided: Tá, 61; Níl, 50.

Tá.

  • Blaney, Neil T.
  • Boland, Kevin.
  • Booth, Lionel.
  • Boylan, Terence.
  • Brady, Philip A.
  • Brady, Seán.
  • Breen, Dan.
  • Brennan, Joseph.
  • Brennan, Paudge.
  • Breslin, Cormac.
  • Briscoe, Robert.
  • Burke, Patrick J.
  • Calleary, Phelim A.
  • Carter, Frank.
  • Egan, Nicholas.
  • Fanning, John.
  • Faulkner, Padraig.
  • Gallagher, James.
  • Geoghegan, John.
  • Gibbons, James M.
  • Gilbride, Eugene.
  • Gogan, Richard P.
  • Haughey, Charles.
  • Hillery, Patrick.
  • Hilliard, Michael.
  • Kitt, Michael F.
  • Lalor, Patrick J.
  • Lemass, Noel T.
  • Lemass, Seán.
  • Lenihan, Brian.
  • Lynch, Celia.
  • Carty, Michael.
  • Clohessy, Patrick.
  • Colley, George.
  • Collins, James J.
  • Cotter, Edward.
  • Crinion, Brendan.
  • Crowley, Honor M.
  • Cummins, Patrick J.
  • Cunningham, Liam.
  • Davern, Mick.
  • de Valera, Vivion.
  • Dolan, Séamus.
  • Dooley, Patrick.
  • Egan, Kieran P.
  • MacEntee, Seán.
  • Meaney, Con.
  • Medlar, Martin.
  • Millar, Anthony G.
  • Moher, John W.
  • Mooney, Patrick.
  • Moran, Michael.
  • Ó Briain, Donnchadh.
  • Ó Ceallaigh, Seán.
  • O'Connor, Timothy.
  • O'Malley, Donogh.
  • Ormonde, John.
  • Ryan, James.
  • Sherwin, Frank.
  • Smith, Patrick.
  • Timmons, Eugene.

Níl.

  • Barrett, Stephen D.
  • Barron, Joseph.
  • Barry, Anthony.
  • Barry, Richard.
  • Belton, Paddy.
  • Byrne, Patrick.
  • Clinton, Mark A.
  • Collins, Seán.
  • Connor, Patrick.
  • Coogan, Fintan.
  • Corish, Brendan.
  • Cosgrave, Liam.
  • Costello, Declan D.
  • Costello, John A.
  • Crotty, Patrick J.
  • Desmond, Dan.
  • Dillon, James M.
  • Dockrell, Henry P.
  • Dockrell, Maurice E.
  • Donegan, Patrick S.
  • Dunne, Seán.
  • Dunne, Thomas.
  • Esmonde, Sir Anthony C.
  • Farrelly, Denis.
  • Flanagan, Oliver J.
  • Gilhawley, Eugene.
  • Governey, Desmond.
  • Harte, Patrick D.
  • Hogan, Patrick (South Tipperary).
  • Hogan O'Higgins, Brigid.
  • Jones, Denis F.
  • Kenny, Henry.
  • Kyne, Thomas A.
  • Lynch, Thaddeus.
  • MacEoin, Seán.
  • McGilligan, Patrick.
  • McLaughlin, Joseph.
  • Murphy, William.
  • O'Donnell, Patrick.
  • O'Higgins, Michael J.
  • O'Higgins, Thomas F. K.
  • O'Keeffe, James.
  • O'Reilly, Patrick.
  • O'Sullivan, Denis J.
  • Reynolds, Patrick J.
  • Rooney, Eamonn.
  • Ryan, Richie.
  • Spring, Dan.
  • Sweetman, Gerard.
  • Treacy, Seán.
Tellers:—Tá: Deputies J. Brennan and Geoghegan; Níl: Deputies O'Sullivan and Kyne.
Question declared carried.
SECTION 18.
Question proposed: "That section 18 stand part of the Bill".

The only thing I want to say on this section is that there seems to be a widespread opinion that those who pay this duty get no value whatever from it and that a substantial part of the firearms duty should go back towards ensuring that greater measures are taken for the preservation and the increase of game.

I am not altogether familiar with that. I think certain grants go to game associations through the Land Commission but I am not sure about it.

A very small proportion, though, of this. I think the Minister gets about £180,000 from this, does he not?

About £100,000.

I thought it used to be more.

We are not so belligerent as we were.

Question put and agreed to.
SECTION 19.
Question proposed: "That section 19 stand part of the Bill."

Section 19 gives very wide powers of interrogation.

It is necessary.

Question put and agreed to.
Section 20 agreed to.
NEW SECTION.

I move amendment No. 6:

Before section 21 to insert a new section as follows:

"Section 1 (4) (d) of the Finance (Excise Duties) (Vehicles) Act, 1952, is hereby amended by the insertion of the words `including machinery used in a quarry or pit solely for the purpose of raising material for the construction or repair of roads'."

This is a matter to which I referred on Second Reading. It seems to me quite extraordinary that there are some of the exemptions from road taxation in relation to the construction of roads which do not apply to the type of vehicle I have in mind here. I think I am right in saying that mobile tar tankers, tar sprayers, rollers, bulldozers, graders, excavators, low loaders—all those vehicles used for the purpose of road construction, if they are used only for the purpose of road construction—are exempt from road tax. On the other hand, because a compressor is carried on a vehicle and does nothing at all except to go from quarry to quarry raising road material, that vehicle carrying that compressor is, nevertheless, taxable on the basis of £1 per horsepower.

It appears to me that the differential is quite unfair and it is to remedy that that this amendment is introduced. I accept, of course, that, if the vehicle in question is used for any purpose other than road construction, directly or indirectly, through the raising of road material, it should be liable; but, where the vehicle is used solely for the purpose of carrying a compressor or a pulveriser from one quarry to another, then it seems to me entirely wrong that it should be so liable.

Progress reported; Committee to sit again.