FINANCE BILL, 1925—SECOND STAGE.

Question proposed—"That the Finance Bill, 1925, be read a second time."

I would like to say something on the Budget. Although this is a Money Bill, and althought our rights in connection with Money Bills are confined, that is no reason why we should not interest ourselves in what is, after all, the most important matter that the legislature of any country can discuss. I would like to tell the Minister for Finance at once that I think his Budget is a good Budget. I think that in all the circumstances, viewing the condition of affairs generally, and remembering the times through which we have passed, that his Budget is quite a good Budget. He has shown considerable wisdom in distributing his gifts among all sections of the community; he has divided his benefits and spread them pretty generally all round. He has dealt with the people who have clamoured, and he has dealt also with the people who have simply made up their minds to continue suffering in silence. I do not know that the Minister could really have made a better distribution of the opportunities for the relief of taxation at his command than he has made. I am quite certain that that most patient creature, the income-taxpayer, will make up his mind that it is worth while struggling on and bearing his burden for another twelve months in the hope of better things to come.

One statement of the Minister, which I think we may take as a promise, I welcome very warmly indeed, and that is that his policy would be that the greatest possible relief, consistent with sound finance, should be given to the country. If he carries out that policy next year, I am sure we will support him perhaps more enthusiastically than we propose to support him now. There is no doubt about it that the policy which he has at last inaugurated of relieving the taxpayers of some of their burdens, will have a most important and beneficial effect upon the country at large. There is one thing that it ought help to do, and I believe it will help to do, and that is to relieve the burden of unemployment. If the taxpayer has more money to spend and if he is in a position to give employment, he will be encouraged to continue to do so in increasing measure. I look upon the relief of taxation as perhaps the most important step that could be taken towards doing away with or diminishing this terrible misfortune of so much unemployment.

There are two items in the Budget that I welcome particularly. First, there is the subsidy which the Minister proposes to give for the cultivation of beet sugar. I do not propose to make a speech about beet sugar this afternoon. I shall reserve what remarks I have to make on that very important and very interesting question until a later stage when a specific Bill dealing with the matter is before us. The second matter which I welcome unreservedly is the protection which the Minister proposes to give to our woollen industry. I think that in doing that he is following a wise and a patriotic course. Our woollen industry is the oldest textile industry that we have. It is a historic industry; it has struggled against adverse conditions for centuries; it has struggled against adverse legislation for centuries, and it has survived. There were periods when it did better than at other periods. There was a time when, under our predecessor, the last Irish Parliament, great advances were made in the improvement, encouragement and cultivation of our woollen industry. Of course, those efforts were not continuous: they were spasmodic. At the same time they were very fruitful; they succeeded in helping the industry to survive until our time, and there is no reason, now that we have the opportunity, why we should not follow on similar lines. I think we may take it that the encouragement and protection of this, our most ancient industry, is to be a permanent policy. It is one of the industries that, I think, in the best interests of the country, should be made permanent.

We have for some reason or other, possibly climatic, opportunities for turning out woollen goods such as no other country in the world possesses. I have had an opportunity of examining the woollen industry in other countries, in Australia, for instance, where they have done their best to encourage it, where a good deal of the wool we manufacture comes from, and in Canada and America. In none of these countries, owing, I believe, to climatic reasons, can they turn out as good an article as that turned out by us. Therefore, I thoroughly commend the Minister for his policy in that respect, and I hope that it will be continued.

There are other details in the Budget which, no doubt, are open to a certain amount of criticism, but, on the whole, I think the Budget is a good one. The Minister has met the situation, I think; he is relieving the taxpayer to a considerable extent, and he has promised, if we continue to bear our burden patiently and struggle on until next year, that better things are likely to be in store for us. In view of the provisions he has made to encourage our woollen industry, and the inception of the sugar beet industry, I certainly shall support the Bill through all its stages.

I agree with the last speaker that we must, on the whole, welcome this Budget and regard it as an indication that we are approaching a state of financial stability. At the same time, I feel that there are certain comments and criticisms that one must make, though they may not be of a very fundamental kind. I welcome the decision of the Government to borrow to meet abnormal, non-recurrent charges, but I wish the Government to go further and to prepare their Budget in some way to separate entirely, perhaps more as an accounting matter, the recurrent from the non-recurrent items. I feel that if they did that the item in respect of the service of the debt, or such portion of the service of the debt as is non-recurrent, would be more clearly understood, because, personally, I do not quite understand how that portion of those charges which the Minister calls non-recurrent is arrived at. I, however, feel that it is largely a matter of book-keeping, and that improved bookkeeping would make it clear.

There is one item that I do not think is admissible in the non-recurrent list, and that is the credit the Minister appears to have taken for the arrears of income tax. There appears to be an abnormal receipt of £800,000 in respect of arrears of income tax, which has been taken, as far as I can understand it, into revenue, and which will not recur. That would appear to affect his budgetary position for next year. I notice that the Minister hopes to retain the existing services by means of increased productivity. We all hope that there will be increased productivity. He quotes land legislation as an item that should favour increased productivity. I do not wish to enlarge upon that now, but I fear that it may have very much the opposite result. It is a matter which I hope to raise on another occasion on the Vote for the Land Commission. The Minister has referred to the retention under all circumstances of services essential to modern civilisation. That rather leads one to feel that he is dominated more by the hope of increased revenue than by the necessity for reduced expenditure. There I would join issue with him, and would press again that the real remedy and the condition essential to increased production is a reduction in expenditure. That has to be faced first, and when we come to examine how a reduction in expenditure should be effected, I would again suggest an expert inquiry. I know that the Minister has repeatedly said that that is not a correct method, but I still feel that an expert inquiry would be helpful to him, or, if he still shuts the door on that, I would ask him to consider the question of rationing. I feel that he could quite safely, without any curtailment of essential services, effect a reduction of ten per cent. by rationing. I notice that that has also been recommended by Lord Askwith in another place as a method for the reduction of expenditure.

But before one can examine our financial position with any degree of science, it is necessary to ascertain the amount of our national income, and in order to do so we require certain information. We require, first of all, the report of our Revenue Commissioners. I know that there is considerable difficulty in producing that report, but I do hope that the Minister will do all he can to speed it up, because it is only from that report that we can get any indication of the income to be expected in years to come from the income tax paying class—or from the income taxpayer, as I suppose all classes now pay income tax—and more especially what would be the effect of changes in the rates of income tax or of any lowering or increasing of the exemption limit. We also require, in order to arrive at an estimate of our national income, a census of production. I am glad to see that the Minister for Industry and Commerce has said that next year a census of production is to be taken. With these two reports our economists would be in a position to determine our national income. Then we could say what percentage of our national income comes in from taxation, and I think we may find that it is rather a high percentage. If it is unduly high, these reports would give us an indication as to what our stable budgetary position should be. I feel that it should be lower than it is at present, but naturally that is a matter largely of conjecture. I would ask the Minister to examine the matter in the light suggested and not to be satisfied with the present rate of taxation. Remember that light rates on individuals do not mean light burdens on the community. The rich portion of the community can naturally stand a much heavier rate on individuals than the poor portion, although the individuals themselves may be equally affected.

As an unrepentant free trader, I do not propose to raise all these issues that come out of the departure from the free trade policy. I imagine that it has now passed the experimental stage. The experiment appears only to have lasted a year, in that the duties have been so widely extended. I would point out that our index number of the retail cost of living is now fifteen points higher than across the Channel. I do not say that that is due entirely to our fiscal policy, but I cannot help feeling that our fiscal policy has something to do with it. One cannot help smiling sometimes when one sees the propaganda put out by the various interests who are asking for protection and who assure us that under no conditions will prices to the consumer be increased. But I would ask the Minister by what logical process does he now close the door against further duties? He himself admits that a great deal of experience is not required to develop certain of the trades that are now protected. They do not require any very great capital or any very great degree of technical skill, for instance, the clothing trade; and yet agriculture, which does require considerable skill and which requires a considerable period to develop to bring the land into fertility, to build up foundation-stones of improved technical processes, is excluded. I, as a free trader, would like to say that once you begin to protect the industries that can be easiest established, on what grounds has agriculture, which is difficult to establish, been excluded? The Minister, no doubt, will say that he is giving a very considerable measure of protection to agriculture in connection with sugar beet. I grant that, but it is to one special activity of agriculture; there is no protection for the bacon or the winter-dairying sections. I feel we are up really against the old saying one frequently used to hear, that the nearest thing we ever got to a right in this country was two wrongs. I feel that that is where we are now with our fiscal policy.

On income tax recovery so much has been said that I do not think anything can be gained by repetition. I would say this, however, that so long as these vexatious methods of recovery continue, I feel that it is hopeless to expect a large number of income taxpayers to come back for good. They feel that they do not know what they are in for. A few may come back. But those who have had to go through the complexities and the delays of recovery, will certainly not come. It is really an additional tax, on the large taxpayer, anyhow, because not only has he to pay an expert to do the work, but he has frequently to get an overdraft from his bank to tide over the period between payment and recovery. I notice that the Minister is doing all he can, and I give him due credit for it, but I do not believe in the difficulties that have been raised on this side. He is doing all he can to simplify the process, but I do wish that there was a non-official element associated with any inquiry, I do not wish to say of a non-expert character, but that bankers or people of experience should be associated with this inquiry, because officials are unduly inclined to magnify administrative difficulties.

I would like to make two suggestions for the relief of taxation. One is the abolition of Corporation Profits Tax on companies registered in this country. I quite see the justification for it on companies registered outside the country, but companies registered in the Saorstát might be relieved. The other is the reduction of the Stamp Duty on company registration, which, I believe, would be very fertile in its results. At present, a large amount is lost in death duties where companies are registered away, whereas if the same companies were registered in this country, all property passing on death would pay these duties in the Saorstát. I think I am right in saying that.

Lastly, I come to the parcels tax, which is very vexatious, and I would suggest to the Minister that if it is effective in keeping parcels out, it has the effect of increasing the cost of living, because by buying direct you had a very fertile element of competition, and that reduced the cost of living. I cannot help feeling, however, that in many cases, while there may not be so many parcels that come in, there is more in the parcels. But in any case it is a most vexatious tax; it offends one of the main principles of taxation, that you should not feel you are being taxed, and frequent demands from postmen for sixpences drives one to feel that taxation very forcibly. As, on the whole, I feel that we must welcome this as a good Budget, I do hope that the Minister will, in the next year, concentrate more on the possibility of reducing taxation by reducing expenditure than on the hope of increased productivity.

I wish to congratulate the Minister for Finance on his Budget. I remember about a month before the Budget was introduced we had an intensive Press campaign morning after morning, urging how impolitic it was to put any duty on any imports, by reason of the fact that Great Britain was our best customer. The enormous quantity of manufactured goods that we take from Great Britain was never mentioned. I am always in favour of giving every advantage we can possibly give to our nearest neighbour, but I feel that this Press campaign was absolutely one of misrepresentation and dishonesty. I am pleased that the Minister was not taken in or intimidated by it. Anybody who looks through, as I look through occasionally, the manifest of a ship coming into this country, will see the enormous quantity of stuff we import unnecessarily, material that could be quite easily made here, if people would make it, and if there was some slight advantage in doing so. It all boils down to this, that we pay people the dole for doing nothing, and we oppose high up and low down other means which would give employment to these people who are now paid something for doing nothing, on account of this pretence that people might have to pay a fraction more for these products, and that only for a time.

With regard to free trade and the free trade policy, I wonder if people who condemn those import duties have read the papers recently. Even England, for whom free trade has great advantages, is beginning to see, at least in some respects, that a modification of that policy has to be effected. A discussion in the House of Commons the week before last would be rather instructive reading to those gospellers of pure Cobdenism. Some objection has been taken by Senator Sir John Keane to the parcels post tax. It is vexatious. All taxes are vexatious, because, perhaps, it is a pinprick; but really the Post Office gives a service to those people for which I believe it is not paid. In addition to that, purchases are made from people who pay no income tax here, and it is only fair to the shopkeeper that if people care to shop outside the area in which taxes are collected in this country, there should be some alternative method of getting at them. On that matter I am unable to agree with Senator Sir John Keane.

I hope that the Minister will reconsider next year the position with regard to the corporation tax. It is an onerous one on successful businesses. I think the Minister said, in introducing the Budget, that until the effect of those duties was ascertained, no further import duties would be imposed. I disagree with the Minister's statement on that. I think that when the people in this country understand that employment can be obtained by duties, they will insist on Ministers putting on such duties as will do away with unemployment.

I do not propose to go into the question of protection or free trade or to deal with the Budget in general, except to say that, although I am a farmer, I agree with protection as we have it. The question of borrowing has been mentioned. Two years ago, when the Budget was being discussed, a loan was pending, and I put before this House and the Minister for Finance, of the time, the proposition that an issue of premium bonds would be a useful thing for the country. I went into the matter in great detail at the time, and as I have a horror of repeating myself, I will only now remind the House that such premium bonds would be a very suitable method of borrowing money in this country. I pointed out there were two kinds of premium bonds, and that the French ones would be more suitable than the English ones. I also pointed out that there was very little substance in the objections in England to premium bonds. I will ask the Minister what his attitude is towards that now, inasmuch as another loan is again in the offing. The Minister for Finance said he did not like the idea of marking the first year of the Free State by an issue of premium bonds; he thought they might have some attraction in future when the State would be more stable. I raise this for the purpose of finding out what the attitude of the Minister is now in that matter.

I do not think there is any use on this Budget in trying to prevent a discussion on the merits of free trade and protection, so long as we have Senators to admit they are unrepentant free traders. I think the Senator told me once that he was a born free trader. In the light of modern history, I should like to hear of one country, new or old, that built up its industrial system without protection. Everyone knows how Great Britain built up her great system of industry, and how our Dominions and Colonies are building up their industrial system. Why should we be the solitary exception? As we had many industries in days gone by, it is quite clear that under favourable circumstances they might be resuscitated. You will always have difference of opinion wherever you are. If one party are in favour of protection, another will be for free trade. We used to call those who went against what was known as the will of the people the reactionary party. Owing to the small experience we have had of protection, I do not see how it can possibly be concluded that a consumer will have to pay more and so forth and that, therefore, protection will absolutely fail.

We only had four instances, I think, where protection had any chance at all. I do not see how the Government of the Free State is in any way responsible for the Customs barrier, and, therefore, I do not think we ought to give them credit for the enormous advantage which this country derives from it. I suppose that most people are aware that before that Customs barrier was set up, eighty per cent. of the tobacco consumed in this country was imported manufactured tobacco. The setting up of the Customs barrier and the high duties on imported tobacco—as high as eighty per cent. on cigars—brought three large factories working in the same combine over to Dublin. They are able to supply now the eighty per cent. previously imported by employing labour in this country, which, until the setting up of this barrier, was employed on the other side of the water. Is not that an advantage? Eighty per cent. of your requirements, which were formerly imported, are now manufactured in your own country. What better proof of an advantage do you want?

Take the four little instances of which we have had a short trial. Take the boot factories. I hear many people saying, "The cost of living has gone up, and I have to pay more for my boots." That is a lie. The boot factories, the manufacturers, here have not raised their prices. I can give you all the particulars if you want them. The effect on the boot factories has been this: there are four considerable factories here which in April, 1924, were on the point of extinction. Now, they are most successful institutions, with full output and no increase in price. One new factory has been opened in Dundalk, and one Cork factory has more than doubled itself in size and output. That is the effect of that little bit of protection.

Now we come to the bottle and soap factories. We can give you no results yet, because they were completely swamped by the forestalling that took place. They are now stabilised with regard to output and employment. You know all about confectionery. I do not think anyone is in any doubt as to the benefit that is to the country. This industry was in a doubtful position in April, 1924. The tariffs have not alone saved all the existing factories, but they attracted cross-Channel firms to the Free State, and several new factories have been launched. Is not that a benefit? The prices of the articles tariffed last year have not been increased by the manufacturers. I speak on this with full information.

There is one matter that Senator Sir John Keane raised that I rather think he might have left alone. It has reference to the sugar beet industry. In that the Government have a very uphill task. They took their courage in both hands, in spite of the Farmers' Party, who were supposed to guard the interests of agriculture. They have thrust the benefit almost down the farmers' throats. I am not sure whether it agrees with them. It is difficult for the Government to bestow favours when, apparently, those favours are not wanted. There is talk about agriculture getting nothing out of this, and talk about the increased cost of living on account of the high prices farmers pay for imported boots. Everything is called a subsidy now. Even if it is given in the form of remission of duty it is called a subsidy. If it is a preference of any kind it is called a subsidy. Give a dog a bad name they say, and it will hang him. That may be the object. I am sure the farmers may be glad to hear that on a crop of 15 tons of sugar beet to the acre, which is not an extravagant supposition, the penny a pound, which is to be given as a preference, amounts to £23 an acre, and if the sugar beet is of quality below the average in this country of 15½ per cent. of sugar, they might be surprised to hear that a subsidy of 23/- a hundredweight to the manufacturer amounts to £60 an acre, which works out as a total subsidy per acre of £83. They do not seem to be grateful for it. That astonishes me. I do not know whether it has ever been put up to them in that way.

Look at the employment on the farm which it is going to give. Look what that means. Take the case of winter employment. They tell me you can go on raising your beets all through the winter. You have not got to take them up and put them in pits to protect them from the frost; all that is of any use is below ground. I think the reason why this industry was not taken up and pushed as it should have been pushed, by the Department of Agriculture years ago-the officials mostly were English and Scotch—was because the Department had formed the opinion of Irish farmers that they are a lazy lot, and that the most favourable occupation you could give them was that of opening and shutting gates. I suggested many a time to the Department that, after all, we never had a chance with our agriculture, and that our industrial spirit had been killed by Cobdenite ideas. What destroyed the agriculture of England and stopped corn-growing? It was Cobden's ideas. What was the object of it all? It was to encourage industries there. The employers thought the best way to go into it was to reduce the cost of labour, and that the best way to reduce the cost of labour was to give them cheap bread, and so they let in wheat into England free of duty. They killed their agriculture but they gave cheap food to the people who were industrially employed.

That is the history of it. You can see it failed in its object. We know that was the end of corn-growing and over here it had the same effect. The tilled land tumbled down to grass. You could not say it was laid down. Until you reverse your engines, go in the opposite direction, and induce farmers to break up their lands, you will never get it broken up. The Department of Agriculture, in its Journal of last February, proved up to the hilt that no single crop that a farmer could produce would pay the cost of production. Is that encouraging to the farmer? One crop, the sugar-beet, has been proved to be a paying crop. If you introduce one crop that will pay, you will ensure that instead of one acre of sugar-beet you will have five acres of tillage, and that is a benefit. It is not because a man puts more money into his pocket. That is a great advantage. It is a good thing for a farmer to make money, but he is also able to give employment. What would be the result of publication of such journals as the Department's Journal containing erudite articles by Adams and the other professors on farm costings and so forth? If we got the farmer to be convinced that tillage was useless, what would be the result? Your land would tumble down to grass. You would have no use for labour. A herd and a dog would do for most of the land.

You have only to look at the divided ranches and see what is happening there. Senator Duffy will tell you all about that. In his neighbourhood huge ranches were divided up and given to small holders. What was the result? The same old eleven months' grazing system was carried on and the grass-grabber, as they used to call the grazier, takes the land and, instead of having one landlord, he has twenty or thirty. A lot of good land has been wasted in fences which are being knocked down by trespassers and by cattle. That is the effect of the division of land. It has given the small holder no inducement to till. What inducement is there for a man to till if he is told by the shining lights of the Department that he will suffer a loss on every crop he puts into the ground? That is why I am grateful to the Minister for introducing the beet sugar industry in spite of the discouragements he has had. I am sorry to say, from the farmers.

I hope in the next Budget he will take the tobacco-growing in hand. That gives three times more employment than sugar-beet, but that is by the way. One curious incident occurred. I am glad Senator Sir Thomas Esmonde has come in; I want to compliment him on his speech. It was magnificent. I was suddenly reminded in a stage-whisper by the lady who sat near me, that he must have been speaking sarcastically. I said, "Not at all." She was a lady who was interested in the woollen industry which, so far, has escaped protection. I said, "No; he is speaking prophetically." For certain reasons woollens have been omitted from the last Budget. I have no doubt the Minister would tell you why when he gets up. All I can say is that Senator Sir Thomas Esmonde has given him an excellent lead, and I am delighted he has done so.

I wish to support the Bill. I think the Government and the Minister are to be congratulated on the steps they have taken to adopt a protective system for our industries. To my mind, it is not now in this country a question of free trade and protection. It is a question of life and death. If there is no future for agriculture and for industries that arise out of agriculture in this country, what is the alternative? The alternative, I suppose, is, the remedy that we hitherto enjoyed in this country, emigration. We need not resort to that alternative if the path that the Government has set out upon is carried to a logical conclusion, and that is that adequate and necessary protection will be afforded to our premier industry, tillage, mixed farming, as well as the industries arising out of it. I would rather, if the Minister could have confined the agricultural grant and extended it to tillage, than have broadcasted it over land of every description. I think if our efforts were directed by every means in our power to stimulate tillage, and produce the food to be consumed by ourselves and our stock, it would be a step in the right direction, utterly regardless of all the consequences. It has been well stated by a leading Englishman that he could never state whether he was a protectionist or free trader, for as circumstances changed so rapidly, he might be one to-day and another tomorrow. A prominent statesman has been in Wales telling the people there to support and wear their own homespuns and to shut out the shoddy that is manufactured in England. It is well to see that, even though he is twenty or thirty years behind the policy that has been preached in this country and that has been put into operation to a certain extent.

Further, I would like to see protection extended to the manufacture of agricultural machinery. We have in the towns of Wexford three of the best foundries that could be found in any part of the world. They are fully equipped. They have trained men. Generation after generation of trained hands have worked there. The art has been extended from father to son and to grandson and it is a sad state of affairs to see them for the want, perhaps of the assistance that might be given to them without costing the nation anything, taking their art and craft out of the country and employing it in industries, not nearly so well equipped, in England, thereby successfully competing with and, to a great extent, shutting down the industries they were born into.

Further, our flour mills are suffering excessively and working only part-time; some of them are shut down although most of them have very modern equipment. We know dumping takes place. I know I am on thorny ground now when I speak of any protection of or tax on flour, but I suggest it would be advisable by one means or another to give a helping hand to flour mills to save them from the unfair competition which they have to meet and by doing so not only would large employment be given direct, not only would superior flour be manufactured, which is an important and essential point for the people's food but it would be a great help to the tillage farmer by having cheap offals. I am convinced that the future of this country will lie absolutely along the path of the production of meat, wheat, beet and tobacco, and industries arising therefrom.

A large portion of the speeches of some Senators have been devoted to sugar beet, a subject which is not once mentioned in the Finance Bill. I think it might reasonably and suitably have been withheld from the Second Reading of the Bill. In my opinion one of the most favourable aspects of the situation surrounding this Bill is the fact that the Minister is to-day, for the first time, able to estimate pretty closely our liability for war damage. That was a nightmare of a very uncertain kind which hung over us when the previous Finance Bill was being discussed. I think the fact that he is able to estimate what our liability is should have a very settling effect on the country generally, and should strengthen our borrowing powers where they are necessary.

The Budget, as a whole, is a very cleverly adjusted document. There is something for everybody, but some people get more than others, and some have taken from them in one way what is given in another. The Minister, on the whole, is to be congratulated upon the skill with which he manipulated the small amount of money which he had to play with. I approve, and I previously advocated, the policy of meeting at this stage non-recurrent expenditure by borrowing. This generation has made a big sacrifice in blood and treasure, and it is only fair to pass on to posterity some at least of our financial burdens. I do not know that in that way we are unfair to posterity. I think it was a famous Irishman who wanted to know what posterity had done for us. I wonder if the Minister is not too optimistic in assuming that he could reduce the cost of the Army to two-thirds, or, in other words, from very slightly over three millions to two millions. I fancy he will have to alter the whole framework of the present Army machinery if he is to effect the considerable reduction which he hopes to be able to do.

We all hope that the compensation for war damage will be non-recurrent. I think in this respect that those who have got awards under the different measures dealing with compensation for damages are not treating the nation fairly by leaving these ruins untouched for such a long time. We have them in Dublin as a standing rebuke to the enterprise of those who have been awarded money for rebuilding. They stand as ghastly reminders of a period which every good citizen would fain forget, but they will be looked on by visitors as an indication of a lack of confidence in those concerned in the stability of the State, but, notwithstanding the difficulties in the way, I think a greater effort might have been made to start the rebuilding of this ruined property. In the present state of our finances, the preparation of the Budget is very largely a matter of balancing, by giving relief here and putting additional burdens there, and the skill, prudence, and statesmanship with which that balancing is effected will probably decide in a very material way the industrial and economic future of the country. I hope that the reduction in income tax will effect some at least of the great blessings which its advocates have foretold. The Cork ambition has not been realised, but I think that as much of it has been realised as might reasonably have been hoped.

The remission of the tax on tea, and the reduction of that on sugar is, undoubtedly, very welcome to the very needy though, unfortunately, very numerous section of the population, but the benefit which that section will obtain from the remission and reduction of these duties will be largely counter-balanced, Senator Sir Nugent Everard notwithstanding, by the increased price of boots and shoes, and of articles of personal clothing which are imported. The fact remains, from statistics, that the imports of these articles is as great as they have previously been. Unless we are to assume that the manufacturers or traders are bearing the impost, we must assume that the tax is passed on to the consumer. It is impossible to get rid of these imports for the moment, because our boot manufacturers are quite unable to meet the demands of the nation in respect of boots. Even if they could meet it in quantity, they certainly are not meeting it in quality, because the variety of Irish boots is very restricted. They do not give the same number of fittings or the same variety of boots and shoes as those which are turned out by more enterprising firms across the water. They must become more enterprising in this respect before they can compete with the foreigner, no matter what tariff wall is set up.

I wonder will the Irish manufacturers take shelter under this tariff wall to build up industry, or are they always going to play the part of lame ducks requiring assistance which their competitors elsewhere can do without because of their greater ability as business men, and their foresight in respect of the requirements of the people? The answer to this question will largely depend on the success or otherwise of the experiment of a protection policy on which the Government has embarked. The tax on furniture is almost unprecedented. The manufacturers, as I understand, asked for 25 per cent., but the Government went one better and put on a tax of 33? per cent. To the shortage of houses is added the grave inconvenience of more expensive furniture, more expensive blankets, and other things, so that people who intend to get married in the near future have their already serious difficulties increased to a very considerable extent.

In this respect also the Irish manufacturer of furniture will have to cater more for the section of people who like nice articles, as well as those which will last for a long time. I think they have a good deal of leeway to make up in this respect. Unless they meet the requirements of modern civilisation these taxes will be merely revenue producing taxes. They must inevitably increase the cost of living, and they will not increase the amount of employment to be given to any great extent unless the manufacturers rise to the occasion. The serious aspect is that any Government in the future which proposes to alter this policy will be met with a threat of wholesale unemployment, and will be told that if they take off these taxes the workers will be thrown on the unemployment market. That is one reason why the greatest possible consideration should have been given to the policy before it was embarked on to any great extent. I sincerely hope it will be a success, but I fear that our own manufacturers will be the people who can make it a success or otherwise, and, so far, they have held out no hope that they are going to rise to the occasion.

There is, for instance, the fact that blouses for women have been taxed. I do not know any manufacturer in the Free State who makes blouses, though there may be to a limited extent. I do not see much force in protecting an industry that is not provided for already in this country. One almost inevitable effect of extended tariffs is the restricting and hampering of the free flow of trade. No matter how protectionist we may be, we cannot hope to have a flow of trade in one direction, and we cannot export everything and import nothing. That is an economic and financial impossibility. Anything that can be done to remove the present restrictions in respect of the Customs difficulties at the ports should be done as soon as possible. The present delays at the ports, because of these Customs tariffs, which make it necessary to examine free entry goods as well as dutiable goods, are causing considerable inconvenience and expense. They are causing considerable inconvenience to trade, to the railways, and to the State.

The whole of these duties is passed on ultimately to the consumer in one form or another. I believe that a more expeditious method could be made, and I would venture to make a tentative suggestion to the Minister in this respect. Under the present conditions, the original invoices of all goods have to be sent with the consignment. A cargo of goods, for instance, comes in in the evening at the North Wall. The railway company's clerks who are employed for this purpose, start work at 11 p.m., and from the ship's manifest they make out a list of the dutiable goods. These are finished by 7 o'clock in the morning, but the office at which the customs officials do their work is not open until 10 o'clock and nothing can be done until then. These statements made out by the clerks at the ship's side have to be sent to the Custom House for examination and for proof. That takes some time, and the consignee, in the interior or in Dublin, has then to be written to for the customs charges. If the consignee is in the interior, the delay is greater. That means another three or four days' delay. There may be a delay in post. The consignee may not be in a hurry to get a postal order or draw a cheque, and a further delay takes place. When the return money is received, a certain amount of book-keeping entries have to be made, the money has to be paid and a receipt obtained at the Custom House. Eventually the document goes back to the ship's side, and certain other formalities are gone through before the goods are handed over to the railway company for conveyance to the interior. One day's delay would be saved if, instead of staying in their offices, the customs clerks went to the ship's side and dealt with the statement prepared by the shipping clerks. Delay would also be saved if, instead of writing to the consignee for the charges, the Government would ask the railway companies or the carriers, whoever they may be, to collect the tax on delivery of the goods, direct from the consignee. As had already been stated, machinery is in operation in regard to every parcel or consignment of goods coming into the Free State which has to bear a customs stamp of 6d., and a penny which is put on by the railway companies to cover the cost of clerical work. The railway company have to collect this from the consignee. Why not get them to collect the whole charges in the same way as they collect the amount in regard to parcels? Just imagine the amount of delay and chaos there would be if a person had to be written to by the Post Office authorities intimating that there was 6d. due on a parcel coming through the post and that when the money was paid at the post office, the parcel would be delivered. The obvious way to remedy it would be to get the postmen to collect the charges on delivery. I suggest in a tentative way that that practice might get a trial in regard to the general customs charges. I suggest that it might be tried, first, in respect of small parcels of drapery and other goods which usually go by passenger train. The delay is all the more irritating because the parcels are small and they involve an amount of trouble in dealing with them.

Personal clothing and boots impose a large amount of extra work on the Customs Department. They are not on the same basis as tea, sugar and tobacco, because of the great number of firms involved, tea exporters from across Channel very often make deposits from which are deducted the Customs charges. The goods come in in large consignments to Dublin, and are redistributed throughout the country. The same is not true of the manufacturers of personal clothing, boots, and soforth. I think if this method were given a trial it would counter to a large extent a great number of complaints, would obviate a tremendous amount of delay, and would at all events, ease the hampering of trade which is very depressed. The railway companies are suffering as a result, and a good deal of trade is not going on because of the irritation caused by delay, and on account of the formality and red tape which have inevitably to be completed here, as is the case with most Customs barriers in other countries.

On account of the small amount of our trade we should not put on restrictions which could be dealt with in another way. I suggest that the Minister would give the matter some consideration and enter into communication, if necessary, with the railway companies to see if my suggestion could be carried out. I was speaking to a responsible railway official a few days ago, and I asked him if this suggestion was possible to be carried out, and he said it was quite possible, and it might be welcomed by the companies.

I do not wish at this late hour to follow any of the speakers so far as the general arguments for or against the provisions of the Finance Bill are concerned, except to say that I am in general agreement with the general satisfaction expressed with the Bill, and, what is more important, with the situation in which we find ourselves in the Free State, very largely as the result of the Bill and the Budget which preceded it. The reason, however, that I rise to speak is because I want to register a definite protest that every time any financial matter comes up here, there ensues a discussion in the abstract on the question of free trade and protection.

In England, where people are born free traders or protectionists, it is necessary continually in the abstract to discuss the question, and each Government has, to a large extent, to delude its people. The present Government in England explained that they would not introduce protection, and probably the vast majority of the voters believe that it is a free trade country. Actually, I believe that the number of dutiable articles is larger there than in the Free State, though many of our friends there are bemoaning our lapse to protection. The situation in England is different, and we should not make the mistake of always discussing this question in the abstract, but should consider whether a particular industry can or cannot be assisted by a duty. I do not think that we will gain anything by discussing the question in that way. We should discuss a particular item on its merits on the information which we have.

I should like to make a suggestion to the Government, particularly in view of the somewhat vague statement of the Minister at the time of the introduction of the Bill to the effect that it was not the intention of the Government to introduce any more duties until they had seen the effect of those already adopted. I would suggest a procedure somewhat on the following lines. A Committee or Commission similar, though obviously varied in many respects, to the United States Tariff Commission, should be set up, and at any time, on giving due notice, any association of manufacturers or any persons able to satisfy that body that they represent a substantial interest, should be allowed in public to state their case for a protection duty for a particular industry or purpose, and, after a period of two or three months, any person or association of persons similarly concerned should be allowed to show how such a duty would injure an Irish industry, or injure the public, or that it would be against the interests of the Free State as a whole. We would then get the two sides in public. I do not say that the Minister should be bound, I personally would be against it, to publish the report.

The Commission should be composed of expert civil servants, trained in the hearing and sifting of evidence. My suggestion is that before the Minister could introduce his Budget, or put on or take away duties, there should be a case stated before such a Commission. When in the United States some time ago, I had a long conversation with the Vice-Chairman of the Tariff Commission there. I understand that the President there has power to impose or reduce tariffs but he cannot do so until the matter has been publicly heard before the Tariff Commission. I would suggest that if some such procedure could be followed here, it would not be costly and would obviate a certain amount of pressure of a semipolitical character with which every Finance Minister is bound to be faced in regard to such duties, such as Mr. Churchill was faced with recently in regard to a trade he was trying to protect, although the members of the trade did not like it at all. I will just give one instance by way of illustration. In this Bill a duty is imposed on bottles, empty bottles, imported into the Free State. A certain manufacturer of Irish ink finds that he cannot at present, though probably he will in six or seven months' time, obtain bottles necessary for him in the manufacture of his ink in Ireland in competition with English firms. To get the bottles he has to pay 33? per cent. and fill them with Irish ink, whereas the English manufacturer gets them in free because they are not empty. In our intention to help the Irish bottle industry we are putting out of business an industry for a couple of months, at least. I suggest that if there were a public hearing before a Commission it would assist the Minister in regard to that question before introducing his Budget. I throw out the suggestion and hope that before next year it will be considered, and that in some form or another this, or some other proposal, will be adopted to ensure the publication of the facts, so that we may not make any mistake. I am largely in agreement with Senator O'Farrell. I think it is a great mistake to suggest that with protection we may not for a period have increased prices.

If you do not face the fact that with protection you are liable to have increased prices, you will have a great deal of misunderstanding. I will not try to convince Senator Sir Nugent Everard that the prices of Irish-made boots has not increased. He was of the same opinion last year and has not changed his opinion. The Senator seems to have been born a free trader. He is of opinion that the price has not increased. Many kinds of boots, particularly those for children, are not made at present in the Free State, but I hope they soon will be. The price of these is increased.

I mentioned that Irish manufacturers were not increasing the prices, and I stick to that statement, but the retailers may be profiteering.

If the Senator looks at Hansard he will find that he stated more than that. That statement I think is entirely correct. In fact one firm of manufacturers of a certain class of boots have actually reduced their prices since the duty was put on. I hope, in future, the Minister will try and get away from import duties which are not protective and which complicate the issue, such as the duty on motor cars or other things not made in Ireland, and for which there is no particular case for protection. There again if you could have a public tariff commission before you took off these duties you would have a claim made by interested persons for a reduction of the import duties, that is, a claim by people who would say they were about to make motor cars, and that it would be a benefit to them. We would know exactly what the case was before a decision was reached in the matter. There are other matters that could be dealt with by recommendations, and the only reason I have spoken on this on the Second Reading Stage is because I cannot see that my suggestion could be made in the form of a recommendation.

I do not intend to enter into a detailed examination of the Bill, but it appears to me that the most outstanding feature in the Finance Bill of this year is the section in which the income tax is reduced by 1/- in the £, and it seems that that has given general satisfaction all round. I must say quite frankly and honestly that I think the means by which this reduction has been brought about in income tax is not very creditable. I want to be quite clear about it. From the figures circulated by the Ministry I think I am nearly right in saying that the total amount realised by the 1/- off the income tax would be nearly made up by the amount that was saved by taking the 1/- off the old age pensioners. It appears to me that you are robbing the poor and giving it to the rich. On a former occasion during a discussion here we heard, and no doubt we will hear again, Senators claiming rights for the people which they had under the British Constitution, and urging that they should not be filched away. Old age pensioners had the right to 10/- a week under the British Constitution, and they would be having that now if they were under the British Constitution. By the change in the Constitution they have had 1/- taken off their pension, and I do not remember people standing up here to champion them, and claim that their rights under the former Constitution should be preserved.

As far as I understand it, but I may be entirely wrong, while the Minister reduced the income tax by 1/- in the £, he did not reduce in the same way as the British Government did, the charges on the initial income. The British Government reduced very largely the income that might be charged in addition to lowering the rate of tax. As far as I can understand it, this 1/- reduction is only of advantage to the comparatively large income tax payer. I do not think that is fair, or that it will facilitate the collection of income tax in Great Britain, for property held by people in the Free State. There appears to be great complication in the matter owing to the two systems of income tax. With regard to the question as to the payment of compensation, raised by Senator O'Farrell, I think it is unfortunate that this matter has not been settled already. People who have been awarded compensation by their own judges many months ago, or even a year or more ago, are still waiting for payment of compensation. These people have to pay income tax, and they have been threatened to be put in jail. Whether the amount of compensation awarded was too much or too little is a question that I do not want to go into. When the Compensation Bill was being introduced we heard plenty of soft talk about judges being high and honourable men on whom we could depend to give proper decisions, but now they are being thrown over by the Ministers themselves, who will not accept their decisions.

During a discussion by the Associated Chambers of Commerce in the Free State it came out that there were bitter complaints from various parts owing to the delay in the delivery of goods. Shopkeepers, and particularly drapers, are severely hit by this delay. Some of the people are of opinion that the fault lay with the Customs authorities, but others thought that it lay with the carriers. There is a very serious grievance in this matter, and I mention it, not by way of complaint, but merely to put it before the Minister, so that it might be remedied. Up to the present, and until a certain Act came into force, the general period for the delivery of goods from London to Dublin was three days, and at present the average period for delivery is about one month. Though we pay Customs duty on the third or fourth day after the goods were dispatched, we find that those goods are not delivered, for some reason, for a very considerable time. I believe that the cause for the delay lies with the carriers. I am not sure of that, but if it does not, then the fault must be with the Customs body. Whatever is the cause, serious loss is being inflicted, particularly on the drapery merchants. I ask the Minister to have an inquiry made into this matter, and to have it remedied. I do not want to make an alarming complaint about it at all, and I can understand that in dealing with these new taxes it takes a long time for officials to get experienced in the work. I hope, when the machinery is improved, that people will be able to get delivery of the goods in quicker time, at least two or three days after Customs duty has been paid on them. With regard to the 33? per cent. tax on furniture, mentioned by Senator O'Farrell, I believe that that is a perfectly sound tax. So far as furniture is concerned for middle-class requirements and cheaper grades, we are in a position to supply nearly all that is required, and we expect in a year from now to be able to supply the whole demand for furniture in the Free State of every class from the highest to the lowest.

We do not, however, hope to be able to sell the furniture at precisely the same price as it can be sold by the London manufacturers. It could not be done. Senator O'Farrell, in mentioning this, did not tell us that the tradesmen in Dublin, Cork and Limerick, are paid 50 per cent. more than in London. Perhaps he did not know that that is so, but it is a fact. The best we can do to taking the operation of 50 per cent. on raw materials, is to give sound durable furniture at 10 per cent. above the London prices. That we are prepared to do. We cannot sell at the London prices, because it costs about 10 per cent. more to produce here. Another item we cannot produce, and perhaps the Minister is not aware of it, is the Austrian bentwood chair, which is exceedingly popular. These chairs are made in Czecho-Slovakia, and are made of red birch, which does not grow in any part of the world except in the Carpathian Mountains. About 30 years ago, when this trade began to develop largely, other countries, such as Germany, France, and Austria, got this particular red birch from Czecho-Slovakia, known as Bohemia at that time, and they all made these goods.

The Bohemians, finding that was injuring their business, put on an export tariff of 50 per cent. on this particular wood, and stopped the export of it, with the result that they have the trade now all over the world reserved for themselves. The import tax on these chairs increases the price to the poor, who are least able to bear it. If the Minister could see his way to remit the tax on that particular item, I think it would be a very great boon to the poor people. I think it is a very well-balanced budget, and it is pretty fair all round. No one profits very much by it, and no one loses much. On the whole, I think it is very fair, and I am sure the next one will be better with the experience the Minister will have got from the operation of the tariffs. The tariff question is a subject that might be debated here or in any other chamber for a whole year, and probably at the end we would get no further.

I do not think I need make any general statement with reference to the Finance Bill. It is so long since it was introduced, and so many statements have been made in reference to it, and they were so widely published, that I would be only repeating arguments Senators have made already. Certain of the points raised by Senator Sir John Keane have been dealt with by me in the Budget speech, which I think he has before him. I have really no more to say with regard to it. So far as the rationing of Departments is concerned, with a view to a reduction in expenditure, I have no grounds for believing in it. I believe no Department would be content with this rationing, and you could not depend on any chamber supporting a Minister for Finance in saying that the rationing should be adhered to. The Department of Agriculture was supposed to carry on with its endowment, but that endowment had to be supplemented, and we had a complication in accountancy. When it is urged that there is a big demand from some public Department, and when the Department that administers a particular service says all the things it is doing are necessary, it would not be possible to adhere to the ration, and you would have to vote additional money or the system would break down. There is no method of reducing your expenditure except by the time-honoured method. People may talk about the British Treasury, which we used to attack, but it is simply by the method of the British Treasury applied here that you can get economy.

The report of the Revenue Commissioners for the first year when we had our own system in operation, that is the year 1923-4, will be ready in little over a year from now; that is the earliest date. The report for the year 1922-23, will really be a British report, because the services had not been divided, and the British Government collected portion of the revenue. That report will be ready in August next, but it will give no great help towards showing what is our national income. Senator Sir John Keane asked why was the door closed. I think I indicated already why the door was closed. We did not want at the present stage to commit ourselves to a general tariff, and of sliding into the position of having a general tariff. We do not want to have this continual pressure applied by manufacturers from year to year before the country has had the opportunity of fairly judging the facts of the application of the tariff. I believe if we do not close the door we would have many business men and manufacturers devoting efforts towards getting a tariff when they would be better employed in attending closely to the businesses they are carrying on. We felt we had done a certain amount, that we had done enough to put beyond doubt what will be the general effect of tariffs in the country in all the circumstances that face us here, and some period should be allowed for the results to manifest themselves. When saying that the door is closed, I specifically referred to manufactured goods.

If it is thought during the year that something should be done in regard to agriculture, we are not pledged against that, but certainly the question of the application of protection to agriculture is an extremely difficult one. In the framing of the Budget I spent much more time in conference with the Minister for Lands and Agriculture than with any other Minister or the rest of my colleagues. As a result of the conferences we were not able to come to any conclusion in the matter. We were not able to agree to any measure of protection for agriculture, except on one thing, which is not really dealt with in the Finance Bill, and that is the establishment of the beet sugar industry. Reference has been made to butter, but it is doubtful whether a tax on butter would increase winter dairying in this country. I believe the more probable result is that it would lead to additional quantities of butter being put in cold storage. On the other hand, a project like the establisment of a beet sugar industry on a substantial scale would lead to increased winter dairying. That would be the slower method but it would be more efficacious. If we were to deal with beet and flour, we would be tackling a very difficult problem, and one which would have to be weighed more carefully than any other step we have taken in the matter of protection. There would be a substantial increase immediately in the price of the necessaries of life. In most of the other things that are taxed there could be expected, even among the very poorest of the people, a certain reduction of consumption. In other things a reduction of consumption is not possible.

I dealt in my Budget speech with the Corporation Profit Tax and I mentioned that it is linked with the question of death duties. At any rate, we could not consider it apart from the revenue it produced. We could not consider the abolition of this tax without considering also some method of getting the equivalent of the death duties on property held by corporations not registered here. It might be, as I pointed out, that you would have a company registered in Great Britain owning enormous property here who had, may we say, for the sake of argument, practically the entire shares owned by one individual, and the person succeeding that individual would become virtually the owner of a great property here. Yet if the company were registered in Great Britain, and the owner of the shares lived in Great Britain, although property of great value here would virtually, though not technically, pass on his death, we would get no death duties. We would have to consider how we would get duties in in that case, having regard to the large properties held by foreign companies here, before we could consider the abolition of the Corporation Profit tax. Stamp duties on companies is a minor matter, but is one I intend to consider during the coming year. Senator MacLysaght spoke about the issue of premium bonds. I have no objection to premium bonds. In fact, I would like to try an issue of them in the market here. We could not do that if we were looking for substantial sums. You will get the private individual to subscribe to an issue of premium bonds, but you will not get a corporation or trustees. I believe it would not be possible to get a big sum by premium bonds, but, on the other hand, you would interest in the fortunes of the State a certain class of individuals who would not subscribe to any other form of loan issued.

I cannot share to the full Senator Sir Nugent Everard's enthusiasm for protection. If I were too much in his company he would make me a free trader. I am not sure about tobacco. At present, at any rate, the position is that the manufacturer of tobacco can get Irish leaf for nothing. He simply pays the duty, and gets the leaf for nothing, and he, apparently, is not willing to take it. I promised in the Dáil that we would give consideration to the matter, but I do not believe in the future of tobacco growing. I do not believe, with Senator O'Farrell, that by borrowing we can pass national burdens on to posterity.

The Minister has made a statement and he has repeated it so often that he will forgive me——

AN CATHAOIRLEACH

To correct him again.

No, this is the first time. The Minister said that if a manufacturer purchased Irish tobacco for the amount of the preference that he gets it for nothing, that is to say, the grower gets 18d. for the tobacco, and the manufacturer is recouped—I am only looking at it from the point of duty—by the remission of 18d. He should also have mentioned that before the abolition of preference for the Colonial and Indian tobacco, that not only did he get it for nothing, on that principle, but he also had only to pay about one-fourth of the preference to the importer. Therefore, the manufacturer in this country is naturally annoyed that by the abolition of this preference duty given to India and the Colonies, he is being deprived of a good thing in favour of Irish-grown tobacco. The consequence is, he is not buying it, and that is the only reason.

I am not sure that Senator Sir Nugent Everard has corrected me, but he may have supplemented what I have said. I think many of the arguments we hear about passing on national burdens to posterity are not correct. I am not sure that it is possible for a nation to pass on burdens in the sense that Senator O'Farrell suggested. We withdraw money from industry where necessary, but if it is withdrawn by borrowing, it is not very different from withdrawing by taxation.

I only approved of the Minister's policy in respect of that. I did not enunciate a new policy.

I do not wish to get as much credit as Senator O'Farrell is giving to me. I think that the reduction of taxation should have a stimulating effect, and, coming to what Senator O'Farrell said in reference to the reduction of income tax, I believe that we cannot afford in this country to have our income tax higher than in Great Britain. I believe it produces the export capital. It should be remembered that there is from £150,000,000 to £160,000,000 of Irish capital, which is Irish only in the fact that the virtual owners of the capital live here. If they go out of the country, we lose it. It is invested elsewhere, and that is the only grip we have on it. We lose the income tax from that capital if they go out of the country. You could lose a good deal of capital, and encourage investment of capital outside this country, because people might go out of the country with their capital to escape taxation, if our taxation were much greater than in other countries. I believe it would be impossible for us in these circumstances to hope for a flow of capital here, if we were to make our income tax higher than in Great Britain. I believe, whatever we do with other taxation, we must aim, however hard it may be at the particular time, to keep our taxation to the British level, and under it. With reference to what Senator Farren said regarding the reduction in income tax and old-age pensioners, it would be just as easy to say we had abolished the duty on tea at the expense of the old-age pensioners, or had reduced the duty on sugar, and I think it would be truer.

I do not want to be drawn into theoretical arguments with Senator O'Farrell, that revenue producing taxes do not raise the cost of living. Notwithstanding what Senator Sir Nugent Everard said, I believe a protective tax must increase the cost of living in certain cases. It must have that effect. Most of these taxes are certainly bound to have that effect to a greater or lesser extent. We must regard the effects of higher charges on the public like money spent on the education of a boy. It costs more to educate a boy than to put him into some blind-alley employment. You produce an earning capacity by the money you spend on him. My contention is that by the money we are forcing the community to spend, through our tariffs, we will produce an earning capacity, and our industries will benefit. There is no doubt that tariffs increase the cost of living. The justification of them is that they give us an increased capacity for production, that they give us new resources, new industries, and any increased cost to the people is by way of investment.

I do believe that it is blinking the facts to say that if the cost of living does not go down, at any rate it will not go up, as a result of tariffs; but I do not think it is right to state that manufacturers will not rise to the occasion and the opportunity. Certain manufacturers have certainly risen very well to the opportunity. In the Dáil, I indicated the manufacturers of confectionery. There is no doubt that they have actually reduced the cost of their goods, and they have improved the quality; that is admitted. They have very considerably increased the manufacture. Manufacturers of jam and confectionery have certainly taken full advantage of the opportunity that the tariff gives them, and that is one of the cases where there was no increase at all, and where, as a matter of fact, there was an actual reduction, due to the use of the factories to their full capacity. That is a case where they rose to the opportunity.

Fault has been found with the boot manufacturers. It is a much more difficult business for a boot manufacturer suddenly to increase his capacity, but it has been increased, and I believe that during the present year it will be very much more increased. Reference was made to the starting of tobacco factories, when we set up our own revenue system in April, 1923. Some of the tobacco factories are not completed yet. That is in itself sufficient to indicate that you cannot have an instantaneous increase in production and an instantaneous increase in the extension of factories in operation. Two or three years must elapse; people must look round for capital before they decide to build a new factory or to extend an existing factory. When they have decided they have to consider many things, what sort of plant they will instal, they have to get plans drawn up, get machinery, train hands and make arrangements for the employment of managers and specially-skilled people, and there must be considerable delay. All the indications that I see go to show that very fair advantage is, and will be, taken by Irish manufacturers of the opportunity that these tariffs have given them, and I believe that we will have industries firmly established, that we will have plant of the requisite size and capacity installed, that we will have trained workers gathered together, that we will have skilled organisations and skilled direction brought in, and that we will have industries built up that will, in due course, stand on their own legs. If that costs the country something in the meantime, provided that it is not too much, it is a good investment for the country. If these industries are established fully so that they can stand on their own legs, it would be as good as the finding of an oil well or a gold mine.

For the hundred and thirty years during which money was spent in the building up of the linen industry in the North, which is one of the great props of the prosperity there, I think that the million and a half pounds, or whatever the sum was that was spent in subsidies over that long period, was a good investment. I, at any rate, advocate production along these lines, not along the line of stating that the community will not have to pay anything. Of course, there are limits to what the community can pay. By trying to go too fast we might easily bankrupt ourselves, just as a poor man might send one son to the university, but if he has three or four and tries to send them all, he may break down in the middle and have to withdraw them. It is just the same in connection with the increase and development of industry. I believe that we must go slowly and carefully, that we must not overstrain the people, that we must not put too heavy a burden on the industries we have for the sake of the industries we are to have.

I have gone into this question of the delay at the ports. I am satisfied that the delay is not due to the Customs. I do not say that individual cases may not arise where the Customs are to blame, but speaking broadly and generally, the delay is not due to the Customs. Somebody instanced a case where duty was paid three or four days after the goods were dispatched from London, and where delivery could not be obtained for a month afterwards. Where such a case occurs it may be said without doubt at all, that the delay is due to the carrying company. The position was, I think, that some of the carrying companies did not realise that the Irish revenue system was a permanent feature. I do not know whether they liked it or not, or what their reasons were, but they certainly were very slow to take steps to provide the requisite accommodation, and some of them had far too little in the way of transit shed accommodation for their requirements, even before these new taxes were put on. When the new taxes were imposed, and goods had to be delayed for Customs requirements, and had to be put into the sheds, a state of congestion and confusion arose, and the public are suffering for it. As a result of discussions in the Dáil, I have gone into the matter with a good deal of care, and I am satisfied that, speaking broadly, and not taking into account exceptional cases which will always occur, there is no delay by the Customs.

I do not think it would be possible to release goods without having the Customs paid, on a suggestion that the railway companies should collect. If any such arrangements were to be made the railway companies would have to be responsible for payment. Take the case of the Customs entry duty, the 6d. stamp. The railway companies pay, and we do not care whether they recover or not; we get paid. If they were willing to adopt the same arrangement with regard to drapery parcels, I would be very pleased to give the matter consideration, but we must safeguard the revenue; we cannot afford to take the risk that goods will come in tax free. Not only would that be a loss to the general community, but it would be unfair to the public that individuals managed to escape. While I will give consideration to any proposal that would facilitate traders or others, I cannot do it at the cost of considerable risk to the revenue. Senator Douglas's suggestion about a tariff commission is a matter which, I think, if I dealt with it at all, I would have to argue at some considerable length. I do not think that anything like that is urgent for a year or two, even if it would work satisfactorily under the conditions that exist here. I do not think that it would do all the things that Senator Douglas hopes from it. For instance, on the question of ink bottles the position would be the same whether we had a tariff commission or not, because we have had every opportunity of considering that matter and of making any amendments that we thought necessary. I am not sure how the question of the payment of compensation arises on the Finance Bill, but perhaps it does. We are, of course, entitled to appeal against the decisions of judges, just as any ordinary citizen is entitled, and we must recognise that errors may occur, either through the fault of a judge or from the fact that the case was not fully presented.

Why not appeal quickly, and not keep the cases waiting a whole year?

We proceed with all due speed. As a matter of fact, a great deal of delay is due to the applicants' solicitors, who do not take the trouble to get the decrees signed, and delay in a number of cases has been traced to that. In other cases there are matters such as income tax and other liabilities that require investigation, but from the time when a decree reaches our office, if it is a clear, ordinary case, there is not more than three or four weeks' delay. Where an appeal is to be lodged the matter is dealt with with all due despatch, but an appeal does necessarily mean considerable delay.

On the question of a reduction of expenditure I have many times explained that it is difficult to see how very great reductions in expenditure can be effected. It is all very well to say, "You must reduce at all costs," but the people who say that can hardly mean it. It would be quite easy to reduce, but it may not be an economic proposition. I have heard people say that the present system of paying for the education of young people, instead of allowing the parents to pay themselves, was demoralising. If we were to decide that we would not assume any further liability for education, of course a great sum would be saved. Certain of the public health services could be done away with; at one time the country got on without them, and if we liked to go back to that state of things we might effect a great saving. I made a calculation, and I found that if we were content to do these things we would save £15,000,000 a year, but it is not a proposition I would like to make. The savings that could be effected are all savings of a somewhat ordinary character, savings on details. A matter that would occur to many people is this: We have different sets of inspectors down the country dealing with different things.

In certain cases we might have one person doing work that has been divided up amongst different sets. In certain cases we have inspectors doing work that perhaps might be done by the Civic Guard, and there are other cases like that. But it would take a great deal of that to effect a saving of half a million pounds a year, and anybody who reflects on it will realise that. Half a million a year would afford a welcome relief in taxation, but it would not carry us very far. It would give you 6d. off the income tax, but it would not give you a penny a pint off stout; it would give you only two-thirds of a penny. I want to suggest that great reductions in taxation are not to be got by economies; there are no economies that would enable us to give great reductions. We would be able to get minor reductions in taxation by them, but if we want great reductions there must be more development of the productive capacity of the country. I see no other way of getting them, and that is why we have concentrated our minds on things like sugar beet, the Shannon scheme, and agricultural legislation, because we want people to be able to afford the present rates of taxation and to bear them much more easily than they can bear them at present. We will not neglect economies; we have carried them out, we are continually dealing with detailed adjustments by which economies can be effected. The main service in which we could effect economies was the Army. We have got substantial reductions in that. We will certainly, in a year or two, get down to very nearly the £2,000,000 mark. I do not say that we will be down to £2,000,000 next year. At one time I said that it should be less than £4,000,000 this year, and that it should be £2,000,000 next year. I do not think we will get down to £2,000,000 in a year, but in the year after next we shall be very close to the £2,000,000 mark. We certainly have no desire to keep an Army of a size greater than is necessary for security, and greater than is necessary, to give us power of expansion to meet any sort of emergency that may arise that would throw a burden in regard to defence on the State.

Motion put an agreed to. Bill ordered to be reported.