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Seanad Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 19 May 1943

Vol. 27 No. 24

Finance Bill, 1943 (Certified Money Bill) —Second and Subsequent Stages.

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

Bíonn orm, im' Aire Airgeadais dom, bille airgeadais do chur os cóir an Oireachtais gach bliain chun éifeacht do thabhairt, in aghaidh na bliana airgeadais ar fad, do na rúin lena nglacann an Dáil tar éis na Cáinfhaisnéise. Toisc téarmaí an Achta um Bhailiú Shealadach Cánach, 1927, ní bhíonn éifeacht reachtúil ach ar feadh tréimhse teoranta ag na rúin a ritheann Coiste Airgeadais Dáil Éireann ag forcur cánacha no á n-athnuachaint no á n-athrú no ag cur deire leo. Bíonn éifeacht reachtúil fén Acht ag Rúin Airgeadais na bliana go ceann tréimhse cheithre mhí ón dáta luaidhtear ins na rúin chun na rúin do dhul in éifeacht no, mara mbíonn aon dáta den tsórt san luaidhte ionta, ó am rithte na rún ag an gCoiste Airgeadais.

Ós rud é nár gearradh aón chánacha nua le Cáinfhaisnéis na bliana so ní déantar leis an mBille seo ach na cánacha atá ann cheana do choimeád in éifeacht.

Mar is eol do na Seanadóirí go léir, níor deineadh aon athruithe ar na cánacha coitianta i mbliana ach chó beag. Nuair a bhí na figiúirí go léir bailithe le chéile agam, bhí sé soiléir ná béadh ar mo chumas an caiteachas go léir fháil tré chánacha gan ualach ró-throm do chur ar lucht íoctha cánach. Mar sin do shocruíos ar an méid sa mbreis a bhí uaim d'fháil ar iasacht mar a dheineas anuiridh.

Mar sin níl an oiread céanna cúise conspóide ann, tá súil agam, agus do bhíodh tamall de bhlianta ó shoin.

When I addressed the Seanad on the Second Stage of the Finance Bill, 1942, I emphasised that the revenue estimates for the financial year 1942-43 were framed in the hope that the nation would remain at peace and that the economic and financial structure of the State would not be unduly disturbed during the year. We are fortunate indeed that this assumption has been realised. We have been preserved up to the present from major disaster in spite of the constantly increasing strain to which the economic fabric has been subjected. The loss of so many of the sources of vital supplies from which we drew in the past has made us more dependent on our own initiative and native effort, which have responded to the call with varying degrees of success. In the sphere of shipping, for example, we have done not at all badly. Our shipping enterprises—old as well as new—have helped to supplement deficiencies in stocks of essential foodstuffs and to provide both industry and agriculture with a fair measure of much-needed materials and equipment. These shipping operations have also been of benefit to the Exchequer, for without the substantial quantities of dutiable commodities such as tobacco which they have made available to us it is certain that tax revenue in 1942-43, and especially customs receipts, would have fallen far short of the sums which were actually realised, with resultant injury to the services maintained by the State, and to our general economic well-being.

It will be gathered from the foregoing remarks that economic activity, including agricultural production, in the year just closed was fairly satisfactory on the whole, and this state of affairs was reflected in the continued buoyancy of the revenue during the period. With the exception of excise, which showed a slight decline, the main heads of tax revenue exceeded the sums estimated by varying amounts. Thus, customs at £10,660,000 was £395,000 above the estimate. It is significant, however, that but for the increased yields from tobacco and, to a more modest degree, from sugar, wines, spirits and clothing, customs revenue would have fallen below the estimate. The combined customs and excise yield from tobacco, beer and spirits was £13,976,000 or 42.7 per cent. of our total tax revenue, excluding motor vehicle duties. Income-tax (including surtax and supertax) and corporation profits tax yielded £10,080,000 and £2,760,000, respectively, as against estimated receipts of £9,826,000 and £2,420,000. Together these two taxes provided £12,840,000 or 39.2 per cent. of the tax revenue, again excluding motor vehicle duties which, incidentally, also provided a small but welcome surplus, being £31,000 in excess of the estimate of £600,000.

The total tax and non-tax revenue in 1942-43 was £39,728,000 or £1,363,000 in excess of the estimate. With expenditure at £43,046,000, which was £1,224,000 short of what was anticipated, the close of the year revealed an actual deficit of £2,145,000 as against an expected deficit of £4,558,000.

Despite the savings in expenditure mentioned, Exchequer outgoings still continue to mount at a disturbing rate. While emergency conditions have inevitably tended to curtail the normal activities of Government Departments in many directions they have in others given rise to heavy and continuing demands upon the Exchequer, not only for the expansion of services such as the Defence Forces and the preparation of extensive schemes of evacuation and air-raid precautions generally, but also for the making of provisions by the State for allowances in cash or in kind or by way of subsidy to meet the increased cost of living. The requirements of agriculture also involve very substantial expenditure in connection with the importation of the necessary raw materials for the manufacture of fertilisers.

The largest single item of emergency conditions in 1942-43 was the Army and associated defence services in respect of which £8,395,000 was issued as compared with £8,155,000 in the preceding year. I estimate that the special emergency provisions which we have had to make in respect of military preparedness and on the social and economic fronts are costing us not less than £12,000,000 annually. While I, as Minister for Finance, derive some comfort from the hope that, with the end of the emergency, the Exchequer will be relieved almost entirely of this heavy burden, any optimism engendered thereby is tempered by the reflection that the post-war era will certainly bring its own particular problems of reconstruction depending to a large measure for their solution on the initiative and financial assistance of the State. Senators will have noted the ever-increasing clamour for Government intervention in fields of human activity which hitherto have been regarded as the field of private endeavour.

Our financial prospects in the post-war world will not, I fear, be too rosy, for the health of the Exchequer depends to a large extent on the general level of economic activity, especially in agriculture. We rely almost wholly on agricultural exports to finance industry and after the war the latter will be in dire need of reconstruction and re-equipment in order to regain and improve on former standards of production. Our exportable surplus of agricultural goods will, however, have to meet the severest competition from countries suffering from post-war depreciation of the standards of living and of wages. The possibility must also be reckoned with that currency may depreciate in competitor countries which may also by inflation or other such means have got rid of the debts piled up in wartime, thus reducing taxation for the service of debt and giving their producers an additional advantage over us. Agricultural countries desperately in need of imports for reconstruction purposes will be intent on pressing for sale anything which they have to offer.

It is partly so as not to hinder our chances of competing in such conditions as I have mentioned and partly because the present rates of taxation are already dangerously high that this year's Finance Bill provides for no additional imposts of substance. Further increases would, I believe, serve only to intensify unemployment by destroying economic incentive, by adding to costs of production and by reducing efficiency and competitive capacity.

Allowing for the minor alterations provided for in the Bill in income-tax, corporation profits tax and entertainments duty, the net yield of tax and non-tax revenue in 1943-44 is estimated at £41,582,000. Expenditure, after making the necessary adjustment in respect of capital and abnormal items, is put down at £45,137,000, leaving an uncovered deficit of £3,555,000 which, taking a leaf out of last year's book, I propose to meet by borrowing. Further borrowing will, of course, only serve to increase our national indebtedness, but that is the common lot of other Continental countries who have elected to follow the path of neutrality. They also feel acutely the economic and financial strain of maintaining agricultural and industrial production in face of trading difficulties, mobilisation of man power and large-scale expenditure on costly armaments and fortifications. That strain is reflected in the Budgets of the countries concerned where, unlike ours, declining revenues are a usual experience. The gap between revenue and expenditure widens and, to bridge it, they are forced to rely on borrowing to an increasing extent.

The financial disposition which I have thus outlined, entailing a deficit of more than £3,500,000 is, in a sense, even less favourable than it may seem at first sight because there is no certainty that the premises on which our suppositions have been built will be fulfilled. The premises are, as in previous Budgets, that, despite the extension of the war, no major economic misfortune will overtake the country; that some supplies from abroad of the various important commodities of which we are in need will reach us and that with the co-operation of home producers of food and materials we will be able to carry on with a comparative degree of comfort. These are the hopes that underlie the revenue side of the national accounts, and as our optimism in the past has been justified, so I trust it may be in the future.

I have not thought it necessary to burden Senators with detailed accounts of the national finances for 1942-3 and for the current year, as these will no doubt have already come to their notice following the Budget Statement which I made a fortnight ago in Dáil Eireann and through the various Papers dealing with the matter which have been presented to Parliament. With the foregoing remarks, describing broadly the basis of the Finance Bill of 1943, I confidently commend the Bill to the favourable consideration of Senators on this, its Second Reading.

The decision of the Minister for Finance not to increase taxation this year has been regarded everywhere as a wise decision having regard to all the circumstances, and I share the general view. The speech made by the Minister in the Dáil has been stated to be the best Budget speech he has made, and I am inclined to agree, not because he was able to show a satisfactory position, but because he showed pretty clearly that our financial position is not satisfactory, and that in his opinion we cannot go on indefinitely at our present rate of expenditure without an increase of taxation. It is to my mind very important that this should be realised. Personally I do not believe this country can stand increased taxation without an increase in unemployment and other disastrous results, and the sooner we make up our minds that when the war is over we must cut our coat according to the cloth, the better.

Unless I completely misread the signs of the times, it is clear that once the war is over there will be a demand on the part of the people of all nations for better living conditions. Men and women in all lands will expect a genuine effort to be made that, in the words of the Atlantic Charter, they may "live out their lives in freedom from fear and want".

No country will be able to ignore this demand, and it cannot simply be met by increased social services. I believe that we will have to tackle the problem of unemployment more seriously than we have ever done before. If the vast majority of our people have regular employment it will be comparatively easy to provide social services. I cannot conceive of any scheme of social services within the financial resources of a State of this size which will provide freedom from want for all our people unless we have first solved or largely solved the problem of unemployment.

I have already said that we cannot stand higher taxation, and that we will have to live within our income after the war. You cannot tackle unemployment without expenditure. What, then, is the remedy? I believe the only solution lies in a drastic reduction in the expenses of government. This can only be done by a complete change of attitude, first of all on the part of the Government, and then on the part of the people generally.

The Minister made some interesting and, I think, wise remarks about the steady increase in State activity and the tendency to undue reliance on the State. I agree with almost everything he said in relation to these tendencies, but as far as I can see he is the only Minister in the Government that holds these views. Actions speak louder than words, and as far as I can judge it is the policy of almost every Department of State steadily to increase intervention in what was formerly, and what I still think should be, the domain of private enterprise.

The steady increase in the cost of the Department of Supplies is alarming, and most of the expense is due to State interference. It may be admitted that some of this was inevitable during the emergency, but I, for one, am convinced that much of the activity of that Department was unnecessary, and could have been much better left to private enterprise. In many cases I am convinced that the total supplies would have been greater if left to experienced trade organisations. I know that in many cases the State interference was against the best judgment of those engaged in trade and industry whose experience was far greater than that of any of our Ministers or officials. The Minister stated in the Dáil that there is no growth of bureaucracy, and that civil servants generally advise against State interference rather than for it. I can well believe that what he says is true as far as most civil servants are concerned.

In any case, whether advised by civil servants or not, the responsibility is on the Minister and that means simply that in spite of the views of the Minister, as stated in his Budget speech, the responsibility for the enormous increase in State interference and control during the last few years lies on the Ministers of the present Government, individually and collectively. When any difficulty arises, the Government's answer almost invariably is more State control. In my opinion, the fault lies with the Government and not with the people. Manufacturers and traders who have sought to organise their own supplies have been discouraged, and even those who met with success have been brought under Government control against their will. I wonder if the Minister for Finance would have made the same speech if he knew all the facts. In spite of his remarks, I do not know a single person who really believes that this Government wishes to reduce State interference and control. If it does so wish, it has a very strange way of going about it.

You cannot increase State control and interference without a growth of bureaucratic government. Details must be carried out by the Civil Service, and if these details involve control and departmental interference with individuals or with trade or industry, then you get an increase in bureaucracy. To object to the growth of bureaucracy is not to attack the Civil Service. The training of our Civil Service fits them to be efficient servants of the State and of the people. It is when a Government calls upon them to become masters rather than servants, and to undertake duties for which they are neither trained nor fitted, that public resentment arises.

I see no hope for a balanced budget unless State expenditure is reduced, and I see no hope of reduced Government expenditure unless State control and interference are drastically reduced. What is wanted is the substitution of co-operation for State control, of consultation for interference. It may not be easy to bring about the necessary change, but I am satisfied that it could be done. Whether it is easy or not I am sure it ought to be tried, and that the time to start is now.

Those of us who have visited England since the outbreak of war will have seen in front of us at every railway station the question: "Is your journey really necessary?" It seems to me we require a Government here which will examine every proposal for State control and interference with the questions "Is it really necessary? Will it benefit the public at large to an extent commensurate with the cost and other drawbacks?" When there is a doubt as to its being absolutely necessary the answer should be an emphatic "no." I have a feeling—and in this I do not expect the Minister to agree or disagree—that if the Minister were in an autocratic position in the Government he would be inclined to say "no" to a very considerable number of schemes which involve heavy expenditure.

Last year and the year before when I spoke on the debate on the Finance Bill, I advocated the creation of a National instead of a Party Government for the period of the emergency. When I read this year's Budget statement I became more and more convinced that I was right. I believed then, and I still believe, that a National Government could face up to national problems in a way that no purely Party Government could do. This applies as much, if not more, to our financial problem as to any other question.

To reduce State control and Departmental interference, which seems to be the only way to reduce State expenditure, requires two things. First a Government with the courage to say "no" to proposals which will increase the power of the State over individuals, unless such proposals are absolutely unavoidable, and secondly, a substantial increase in co-operative effort among the people who will have to do for themselves many things which the State now insists on doing. The Minister, I presume, stands behind his leader in the advocacy of the continuance of purely Party government. Does he really believe that his Party, if returned to power, will stem what he calls "the tide of Governmental intervention", and will turn over a new leaf on the lines of his Budget speech as reported in columns 2286 and 2287 of the Dáil report of 5th May? I certainly do not, but I do believe that we have a very large number of competent and loyal persons in this country, who would freely and willingly get behind a National Government and give their services in a co-operative effort to rid it of unnecessary State interference. Rightly or wrongly most industrialists and traders are reluctant to identify themselves with Party politics. This also applies to a large number of other persons. They are ready to serve the State, but not a Party, especially during a period of National Emergency. For this and other reasons I still advocate a National Government, but I do not propose to enlarge on it at any great length on this occasion, especially as the Minister has pointed out it is now being left to the people to decide.

I am, however, amazed by the attitude taken by the Taoiseach to the proposal for a national government as reported in the Press of last Monday. He said that to think in terms of a National Government was a despairing programme, and was the last resort of a beaten Party. To my mind to propose a National Government in a time of national emergency would be the act of a strong and wise Party, which had sufficient confidence in its policy to be ready to co-operate with others in doing the things necessary during a time of crisis, and leaving until later on those parts of its policy which were controversial and would not meet with general acceptance at any rate during the emergency.

The Taoiseach is also reported as saying "that it would be an evil day for democracy in this country if a National Government were to be formed." Obviously, the word "democracy" means a very different thing to different people. To my mind, it would be a triumph for democracy if a freely elected Parliament was able to form a National Government in which all sections could co-operate to bring the country through a period of extreme difficulty by leaving over for later controversy and decision the matters which divide parties, and which do not require urgent legislation.

This is one of the shortest Finance Bills we have had before us and there is very little in it that I wish to refer to in detail. As usual the minor alterations are by reference to previous Finance Acts, both British and Irish, and are therefore difficult to understand. As far as I can see there is nothing I have to criticise in Parts I and II, but I should like the Minister to explain more fully the extent to which Section 3 will operate in providing for wear and tear allowances for machinery not in use.

I have always been, and still am, in favour of the principle of an excess profits tax for the duration of the war. The provisions made by the Government seem to me fairly reasonable as far as companies are concerned which had established a normal profit-earning basis before the war.

I am afraid, however, that the Minister has failed to realise the position of companies who had for various reasons not reached what might be regarded as a normal profit standard, and I think I ought to point out that the new proposals in Section 13 will not remove the dissatisfaction which exists amongst shareholders and directors of such companies. I am not a shareholder or director in any company which has not a better pre-war standard than could be obtained by a substituted standard, so I am not, therefore, airing a personal grievance. I do not believe, however, that any company can prosper and build up the reserves necessary to make its business fully established and able to meet the ups and downs which occur in trade if it has to pay in taxes 75 per cent. of its profits over 9 per cent. or 10½ per cent. on its capital as well as over 40 per cent. of its profits up to 9 per cent. or 10½ per cent. on its capital.

The Minister has slightly improved the position as from January, 1943, but it is evident from his speech as well as from his actions that he fails to appreciate the effect that this tax may have on companies formed since the establishment of this State. If, as is quite possible, there is a trade slump at some period after the war, these companies may find themselves in a serious position and very much worse off than older companies which, having an adequate pre-war standard, have been able to make normal and regular reserves during the emergency.

The assurance by the Minister in his Budget speech that the State will have to make provision later on for losses through a slump in the value of stocks is welcome and valuable. This may prove most important for many of our manufacturers, but I am sure the Minister will realise that loss on stocks is only one of the contingencies against which reserves should be built up. Few, if any, companies can survive for a long period of years if they are unable to build up substantial reserves against depreciation and contingencies.

I have seen accounts for some of our more important industries which have convinced me that even the 10½ per cent. on capital now proposed is not by any means sufficient to meet the difficulty.

I am aware that a similar position exists in Great Britain, and that under the legislation in force there the position of new companies is even worse than here. But the proportion of new companies to the whole total of companies operating in that country is very much smaller than here. In view of the large number of new industries established here since 1922, I think that the problem of new industries in relation to excess profits should be specially examined, and that the Minister would be wise if he were to appoint a small independent committee of a few accountants and a few experienced business men to advise him. I doubt if the difficulty can be met simply by fixing a higher percentage on capital as a substituted standard. What is required is to see that these companies will be neither worse off nor better off in profits because of the war situation as far as it is possible so to provide.

I am still quite unable to understand why the Minister continues the differentiation in the percentage allowed for the substituted standard between companies formed before and after the year 1934. If there is to be any differentiation at all it should be the year 1922. According to the Minister and the members of his Party, the tariff assistance given to Irish manufacturers prior to 1934 was inadequate and insufficient to secure an increase in industrial development. Why companies formed in this country prior to 1934 should be penalised as against those formed since this Government developed its industrial policy is beyond my comprehension. It seems to me to be most unfair legislation. Admittedly, tariffs generally were lower under the previous Government, and if companies formed before 1934 were unable to secure an adequate profit standard they should have the sympathy of the State.

To put all companies on the same footing as regards the substituted standard would not, of course, meet the main difficulty. The Government has rightly restricted the dividend payable on ordinary shares to 6 per cent. or the best pre-war dividend, whichever is higher. I fully approve of this action, and do not think that it should be changed during the emergency. This is, however, an admission that 6 per cent. on ordinary shares is a fair dividend, and it is my contention that every company, whether old or new, should be allowed to make enough profits to pay the fixed dividend on its preference shares, if any, 6 per cent. on its ordinary share capital and provide normal reserves before it has to pay excess profits tax. If this principle were adopted, there could be no reasonable objection to the State taking in taxes during the emergency 75 per cent. of the additional profits. "Normal reserves" are not the same in every class of business and therein lies part of the difficulty. That is why I suggest that an independent committee should advise the Minister on this problem. It is possible that they would say—as the Minister's advisers have, probably, said—that it is insoluble, but, on the other hand, it is possible that something would occur to them that did not occur to the civil servants, who, I admit, did their best but did not succeed in finding a way out of the difficulty.

Some of our industrial companies are being placed in the very difficult position that they must either fail to provide what they know to be adequate reserves or pay no dividend or only a very small one on ordinary share capital. If they adopt the former course they will endanger the future of the business. If they adopt the latter, they will seriously reduce the chances of getting any further capital from the public for further development of the industry.

If anybody from the other side wishes to speak at this stage, I will gladly give way.

The Senator is in possession.

Perhaps I had better say what I have to say then. I feel a great deal of sympathy with the Minister both in his capacity as Minister for Finance and in his capacity as electioneering politician, because at the moment, as you are doubtless aware, I am something of an electioneering politician myself, and I should like, therefore, to address certain remarks to him as from one electioneering politician to another. I agree that the declining sun casts lengthening shadows, and perhaps, when we are in the light of electioneering, our eyes are somewhat dazzled by the glare of that declining sun, if we look towards it, and somewhat obscured by our own lengthening shadows if we look away from it so that we are not able, perhaps, to observe and contemplate big national financial problems so circumspectly or so circumferentially as we would if the electioneering sun were somewhat higher in the heavens. I should like to console the Minister in that respect by the reflection that individuals in my experience, and I believe Governments too, are much more likely to be punished for their virtues than for their sins in this world. I do not know how it will be in the next world. The Minister might perhaps make reply that, in that case, he fears no punishment at the hands of the electors because he has shown no virtues, but I think if he said that, he would be wrong, because I am not sure that there are not some virtues in the Minister. I certainly have little fault to find with this present Budget, which in the narrower sense of the term, cannot be regarded as an electioneering Budget at all. Taking it by and large, the Budget has my honest approval, and I quite sincerely congratulate the Minister on having produced on the whole, so desirable a Budget.

In the course of his remarks in the other House the Minister expressed certain sentiments with which I find myself in hearty approval. They have already been referred to by Senator Douglas. I agree with the Minister and with Senator Douglas that—

"unless we can change this attitude on the part of the people or whoever is responsible and learn to depend more on our individual and group efforts and less on the Government, there is no hope of averting State omni-competence and an ever-increasing and ever more costly Civil Service."

There is a real danger of what they call an omni-competent State coming about in this country and I do not think the Government is entirely to blame for that. I think that one of our national characteristics and one of the reasons why we objected so much to British rule in the old days was that the British did not govern us at all. They left us pretty much to ourselves and we had—I am speaking now for myself as in many ways a typical Irishman—a kind of national instinct for governing, preferably ourselves, but when ourselves were not available for ourselves to govern, many of us were quite prepared to become British proconsuls in the service of British imperialism. I think another national characteristic on the part of many of our people was a willingness to accept government and governmental regulations to a degree which I must say has considerably surprised me. I was hoping our people would display greater individual independence in relation to government and that they would carry on their rebellious instincts, so to speak, in constructive ways even when they came to be governed by a National Government of their own. So the danger of this omni-competent State is perhaps, a real danger.

Might I say, for the comfort and consolation of the Minister, that the one cure I know for the omni-competent State is the omni-incompetent Government? There are some unkind people sitting not very far from me who probably would be prepared to argue that the Minister's Government is an omni-incompetent Government. I am not saying that it is so or that it is not so. I am not saying that the Minister's Government is supremely efficient either but I do say that if that is so in any way, it reflects great credit on the Minister and his colleagues because recognising the supreme danger of the omni-competent State and, recognising that the only possible cure was an omni-competent Government, they have proceeded to administer to our people this necessary and somewhat unpleasant cure, and if they go down at the forthcoming election in consequence of that attempt they will, nevertheless, have deserved well of this generation of Irishmen.

The Minister seems to me, in the course of his remarks elsewhere and here, and in the course of his whole political record, to be something of a chimera. I think the classical definition of a chimera is to be found in the Sixth Book of the Iliad of Homer, line 177. My colleague here on my right could quote the line if the official reporter knows sufficient Greek to be able to take it down. However, the purport of that definition is that a chimera is an animal of which the forepart is a lion and the other principal ingredient in his anatomy is a dragon. Now, the Minister is a lion in his defence of individual rights and of private enterprise but in his attitude to the de facto extension of State-control he has been something of a dragon. When individual enterprise and individual rights asserted themselves by a desire, say, to import artificial manure manufactured abroad in preference to artificial manure manufactured in Drogheda or somewhere here at home, because the foreign product could be obtained more cheaply than the home manufactured product, inevitably there was a swish of the dragon's tail and one more import was added to the list of tariffed articles or to the list of those articles for which an import licence had to be obtained.

If you look at the customs and excise tariffs you will find hundreds of things, both semi-manufactured things and things which are virtually the raw materials of some of our most important industries, that have in the course of the last few years been the victim of that swish of the dragon's tail. An instance was brought to my notice quite recently of that tendency to restrict imports, just because they are imports, which is not without interest because it shows that this antipathy to imports existed right into the present war period and in fact that it has only recently come to an end when imports themselves began to show signs of drying up. At the end of 1941 a certain boot merchant in Dundalk was offered, by an English exporting firm, a thousand pairs or a thousand dozen pairs of rubber boots. His quota was already full, and he put it up to the Ministry of Supplies that he should be allowed to import this additional consignment of rubber boots. I can give the details of this case to the Minister, which he can verify afterwards if he doubts the accuracy of my information. The Ministry of Supplies said "Nothing doing."

That matter could be more suitably raised on the Appropriation Bill. It is a question of administration.

Very well. I will bring it up on another occasion. Another example of the somewhat inconsistent character of the Minister's colleagues' outlook on those problems is likely to be illustrated here this very day. The Minister deplores the tendency of governmental control of industry to expand at the expense of private enterprise, but, when we finish with the Finance Bill to-day, we are extremely likely to have to pass through the Committee Stage a Creameries Acquisition Bill, the effect of which will be to enable the State to acquire certain creameries now owned by private individuals. That would be all right if we did not know that a similar phenomenon has existed for the last 10 or 15 years, and that at the beginning of that policy everyone understood that the State was only acquiring those properties with a view to passing them over to private ownership in a different form, namely, in the form of agricultural co-operative societies, but for one reason or another the State has continued to hold those properties.

I am no doctrinaire about the rights or wrongs of State operation of industry in certain circumstances, but I do say that the State should not, by a kind of automatic process, allow itself to practise a policy of this kind which has not been considered in all its bearings, and has not been approved after deliberate consideration by the Oireachtas. I also say that the attitude of the State towards the Dairy Disposals Board, and in other matters, is in flat contradiction to the very admirable sentiments which the Minister expressed when deploring the decay of private enterprise and the growth of Government interference.

In the course of his remarks here and elsewhere the Minister mentioned that our agricultural output has been stationary in the last few years. At first sight that is a surprising statement. It is also a very regrettable fact, but that is another matter. Everyone understood that, with all this additional tillage and so on, there should be signs of a substantial increase in the total agricultural production here, and yet we find that the volume of agricultural output, taking it as a whole, has remained more or less stationary, although doubtlessly the elements of which it is composed have varied somewhat in their proportion one to another. I should like to say in that connection that this phenomenon illustrates the fact which the war has also made clear with reference to our industrial situation, namely, the extent to which our production as a whole depends on our being able to import the necessary raw materials. Industry here is notoriously dependent on imported raw materials, but even agriculture is and has been and probably will be dependent to a surprisingly large extent on the free import of the necessary raw materials if agricultural output is to attain its maximum. One of the reasons why our agricultural output has failed to increase is the fact that those elements in our output which depended on the import of raw materials from abroad have simply disappeared. There was a time, not so many years ago, when we bought 6,000,000 or 8,000,000 cwts. of Indian corn, for which we paid perhaps £2,000,000 or £3,000,000, and we turned that into finished products which were part of our total agricultural output, and those finished products were probably worth £4,000,000 or £5,000,000 or £6,000,000.

With the disappearance of this desirable raw material, that element in our output has also disappeared, and that state of affairs I think helps to account for the surprising phenomenon that our total agricultural production has failed to increase. There is also the consideration that we were short of artificial manures for many years, and still shorter in recent years. That again is an example of necessary imports having an effect on our total agricultural production.

Finally, there is the fact that we had to plough up for cereal production a lot of land which normally would have been producing grass. No one questions the necessity for doing that under national emergency conditions; I am merely pointing out that, if we grow cereal crops on that land for the time being, we cease to profit by the grass which otherwise would have grown on that land. More tillage means for the time being at any rate less grass, and grass happens to be one of our most productive and important national crops, although with wise management it could be made a great deal more productive and a great deal more important. It is very much to be hoped that the Minister, or whatever Government is in power when the time comes, will see to it that, after all this orgy of tillage has come to an end and we are back again to more normal conditions, whatever land finally ceases to be tilled is laid down to a proper mixture of pasture grasses, and suitably treated with the necessary amount of superphosphate, so that the grass grown on that land may be better in quality than the grass which was there before the land was broken up at all.

In the course of his remarks in the other House, the Minister also expressed himself as rather hostile to guarantees and subsidies. There again, I instinctively sympathise with his point of view, and yet for practical reasons I find myself differing from him, because there are times when even subsidies are a necessary element in public policy, and I think a national emergency period like the present is one of those times. I seem to remember—it was two or three years ago; about 1940 or 1941—a certain colleague of ours here advocating guaranteed prices for certain important agricultural crops, including oats, following on the unexpected collapse of the price of oats in the early part of the war, after it had risen to a considerable degree in the first six months of the war period, and I seem to remember that the Government rather set its face against a fixed price for oats at that time. Well, it has had to modify that policy since then, but the case of potatoes is perhaps more important still.

We are now suffering from a shortage of potatoes. A year ago, I am told, farmers could not give away their potatoes at this time of the season. Farmers in the potato growing parts of the country found themselves with considerable surpluses of potatoes and came to the conclusion that it was hardly worth while to keep them this year. That is the reason why potatoes are short now. It is easy for me, and for a Government, to be wise after the event, but, looking back on the last 12 months, I think it would have been wise on the part of the Government a year ago to have published a guaranteed price for potatoes of at least 5/- per cwt. which would probably have had the effect of inducing farmers last year to grow a larger acreage of potatoes than they actually did grow, and, therefore, would have provided against the disappearance of all kinds of potatoes such as we deplore to-day.

In this matter of potatoes, I think our neighbours in Northern Ireland have had a more fortunate experience than we have and their whole policy of subsidising the various forms of agricultural food crops would well repay study by our people down here, and, perhaps, even the compliment of imitation. The practice up there is to pay a subsidy of £10 an acre for every acre of potatoes grown and £3 an acre for every acre of oats or wheat and, also, they have some system by which in the case of potatoes, if they are wanted for human consumption, they are taken off the farmers' hands at a fixed price, but if it turns out that they are not wanted for human consumption, the farmer is able to buy them back again from the State at a much lower price and use them for the purpose of animal feeding on his farm. That system seems to have worked remarkably well with them and something of the kind might, even at this late hour, be adopted here if we want to guard ourselves against these successive gluts and scarcities of potatoes.

Again, I am not sure that the method of subsidy should not be applied to an even greater extent in the case of butter than anything we have had in recent times. I am not going to argue this point at length, because I have already said enough about it in this House on a recent occasion, but if you do want to keep our best cows and heifers in this country, and to encourage an increase in the number of cows and heifers for the rest of the emergency period, one of the things that must be done is to make the production of butter in the dairying districts definitely profitable. That means that a price of as much as 3/- per lb. for butter must be guaranteed to those people in the creamery districts, and if you are going to keep the price of butter to the consumer down to its present figure of 2/- per lb. which is very desirable, it would mean that the State would have to pay the difference between 3/-, the price to the producer, and 2/-, the price to the consumer. That would mean a matter of about £3,000,000 additional on the expenditure side, but I for one, would gladly see expenditure swollen in that kind of way so as to encourage and maintain production in all desirable directions while at the same time preventing any further increase in the cost of living to the masses of the population —a cost of living which is already much too high.

The present gap between revenue and expenditure is a matter of some £3,500,000. From my point of view, I would rather see additional taxes on beer and tobacco bringing in an extra million or two, and additional expenditure in the matter of food subsidies which would lead to a final gap of about £3,500,000 rather than have the present Budget with its lower total of both expenditure and revenue.

In this matter of keeping down the cost of living by means of subsidies, the British seem to have developed a fairly complete technique, and their cost of living has been prevented from rising above 20 per cent. over the figure prevailing in 1939. That has cost the public revenue a matter of £140,000,000 a year, but, from the point of view of economic stability, both now and afterwards, that cost has been well worth while. That method has been adopted not only in Britain, but in practically every civilised country in the world, belligerent as well as neutral. In our case, the cost of living has already sky-rocketed up to 60 per cent. above the 1939 figure, and I think we will have to face very firmly the necessity of preventing any further increase in the cost of living while at the same time stimulating desirable forms of agricultural production by adopting this method of subsidy from the public revenue.

Now, as to what the Minister had to say about inflation, I applauded his sentiments to a very large extent. He distinguishes between the external and internal causes of inflation, and makes it quite clear that he realises his responsibility for keeping control of the internal causes of inflation. The external causes of inflation are things which are not fully—in fact, are not at all— under our control. An unbalanced Budget is one of the traditional causes liable to produce an inflationary situation, but I am not in the least worried about the inflationary effect which this matter of £3,500,000 may have, especially if the Minister proposes to borrow the money from genuine investors and not from the banking system. I imagine he does propose to obtain the money in that way, but, even if he proposes to borrow money from the banking system, I would still maintain that this inflationary element in our economy would be much less dangerous than something else which is going on all the time.

That is the continued acquisition by our banking system of external assets reflecting our surplus of exports of all kinds over imports of all kinds and reflecting the increase in remittances of money from people now working in England to their families in Ireland. That increase of sterling assets is of the order or magnitude of £15,000,000 a year and represents, from the point of view of national economy, an increase in our investments and economy, but it also represents a potential inflationary element with us because the money which arises in connection with surplus exports, and so on, is naturally treated as income by the people who have produced those products exported, and whose whole income, or most of it, may depend on being able to sell cattle and other things in the export market. They cannot be expected to treat those funds otherwise than as current income, to be spent accordingly, but, unless the country, as a whole, deliberately withdraws from circulation and invests abroad an amount of money equal to the amount which is currently being piled up to the credit of the country in the form of surplus sterling balances, that piling up of external balances has a definite inflationary effect. So long as it remains in the banking system at all, it is bound to have some potential inflationary effect, whereas if private individuals and institutions proceeded to buy British securities as a lock-up investment to the extent of the £15,000,000 now being added every year to banking resources, the effect would be to take that money out of the banking system. It would be locked up as the private reserve of individual investors so that any inflationory effect it might have on our national economy would be completely negatived. I cannot think of any other way in which that inflationary effect can be negatived short of individuals deliberately buying as private investments an amount of British securities equivalent to the annual amount of this increase so long as the emergency lasts.

I know that it might be difficult to make an electioneering point of that suggestion, but I am putting it to the Minister in all seriousness, because I think that it should be considered as one of the possible remedies which are in our own hands to prevent the present abnormal situation from inflating our present price level unduly over here. I should also like to say that, in any remarks I have made, I was not inspired by any desire to blame the Minister for the present situation, and that I congratulate him most sincerely on his sincere and honest Budget.

I think that on every occasion since this Seanad came into existence I have pointed out, both in connection with the Finance Bill and the Appropriation Bill, the futility of our position here. This burden of taxation that is placed on the people of this country is for the purpose, almost entirely of running the various Departments of State, and the appropriateness or evaluation of how that money is being expended can only be assessed according to the value of the work that is done by these Departments. It is hard for us to differentiate between the Finance Bill and the Appropriation Bill because, in relation to both those Bills, the Minister for Finance comes in here, and he is the one Minister who really can get up, honestly and quite cheerfully, and express his detachment when it comes to a question of demanding an account as to the suitability or unsuitability of the work of all the spending Departments. I think it would be a very good thing if, not every year, but periodically, time were given, and if legislation were so arranged, that such things could be considered, not merely in detail, but in their totality. For instance, every time that a Budget is approaching, quite a number of people are worried as to what the effects of the Budget will be.

Most of these people are going to judge the Budget in relation to one particular item. If they fear that there may be an increase in income-tax, they worry about that, and then, if as a result of the Budget there is no increase in income-tax, they say that it is a very good Budget, although, in fact, it may be a very bad Budget. The producers, purveyors, or consumers of alcoholic liquor may be disturbed as to whether the taxation on such a commodity will be increased and, if they find that it is not increased, they say that it is a very good Budget. The same applies to cigarettes, tobacco, and other commodities, but that kind of judgment has no relationship whatever to the question of whether the action proposed by the Government is for the national good or not. Therefore, I think that at some time one ought to have an opportunity of going into the whole question of whether this money is really required and is really going to be used in, not only a good way, but in the necessarily best way for the benefit of the people of this country.

Personally, I think that this tendency, as I might call it, of choosing one item, which is only incidental in a Budget, by which to judge that Budget, is absurd. We are endeavouring to collect each year, more money than is actually collectable from our people. Another difficulty is in connection with what I might call the "flunkeyism" of some of our people who are always looking towards what is happening in England. Such people like to point out that the income-tax in England is 10/-, whereas it is only 7/6 here. Now, that analogy is completely misleading. We are always thinking about what is being done in England, and, when it comes to a question of social legislation, it seems to be almost impossible for some people here to resist the demand that because a certain thing is being done in England it should be done here. It should be realised, however, that what might be a good thing in England, might be a very bad thing here. It may be that in England, in conditions of war, 10/- income-tax is quite a suitable proportion, but it may also be the fact that in our present conditions in this country 7/6 is quite an unsuitable proportion, and, personally, I think it is. At the present moment, we are in a condition of peace. We are spending more than we can raise, and what is being spent is actually being thrown away.

It is spent during the year, and that is the end of it. In England, on the other hand, they are waging an enormous total war. They are not balancing their Budget, of course. They have imposed an enormous burden of taxation upon their people for their enormous war industries but, at the same time, if you take the item of agriculture, you will find that the productivity of English agriculture has been increased by something like 70 per cent., since this war began, and it must also be remembered, with regard to the enormous new installations that have been put up for the manufacture of instruments of war, and so on, that they might be regarded as what I might call a capital asset in the coming peace time because they will be easily revertible to the production of non-warlike goods. In this country, the value of our agricultural products has gone down, and the industries that have been bolstered up as a result of enormous tariffs have tended to become non-productive.

Here I should like to digress, Senator Johnston mentioned how the Minister had expressed his disapproval of giving subsidies to industries. It might also be said that in that regard the Minister was disowning his colleague, the Minister for Industry and Commerce, because, when you put a tariff of, say 75 per cent., on an item of goods, you are really farming out taxation. For instance, if I can buy a watch of given make for £2, and if the Government puts a 100 per cent. tariff on the importation of that watch, it means that I can be charged £4 for the watch that is made here or buy a similar watch for £4 when it is imported, and that means that when I buy the imported article I give the Government £2 towards the running of the administration of the country, thereby relieving myself and other taxpayers of a burden, but when I buy the watch that is made here, the extra £2 goes to the manufacturers and the workers. That amounts to farming out the taxation to private individuals, and putting the £2 in their pockets instead of in the pocket of the Government. In such a case, certain things have to be taken into account. One has to realise the benefits that may be conferred on the community but, actually, so far as the workers and manufacturers here are concerned, they are being subsidised in such a case. Therefore, I hold that we have been subsidising enormously the manufacture of various articles here, and we have failed to notice that there were certain disadvantages in that.

There was a time, for instance, when one's letter-boxes were cluttered up with enormous masses of literature informing one of new impositions of taxation. That was before the war. Now, periodically, we are told that a tariff has been removed from a certain item. We know that it is generally removed when the article has become unprocurable by importation. One of the causes of reduced production is the inability to secure things which the Government carefully excluded for the purpose of farming out taxation to private people in the enormous system of tariffs. In judging whether or not this is a good Budget you really have to keep in mind what the money is going to be spent on, if it is going to be spent for a good purpose, and if it is being used for the purpose in the most economical way. There is no purpose that the people of this country, from the lips out, are so ready to say is a good purpose as education. When you have £5,000,000 spent on education some people are inclined to say that the small sum does not matter much. One of the dangers of the position in which you are not balancing your Budget is the tendency to say that another £1,000,000 or another £100,000 does not make any difference. That is universal psychology, yet we must still look at the smaller sums. Some time ago we had a new Education Bill brought in. I am not going to allow a false modesty to prevent me saying what I think. I showed conclusively that the Bill as introduced by the Government was contrary to the provisions of the Constitution, and not only that, but was contrary to the Constitution, because the Constitution had adopted a certain form of words which enunciated a certain natural human right.

I am afraid that that would be a matter for the Appropriation Bill—if indeed the matter could be reopened except in a particular way.

All I want to point out is that as far as this Bill is concerned a less financial provision would have been required if the Government had not used its Whip on the Fianna Fáil Party to make them vote for that Bill. In considering the suitability of this Bill you must have in mind the good the money is going to be used for and whether it is most economically attaining that good. I feel unhappy that I cannot give illustrations because people always expect us on this side of the House to prove what we say. I pointed out last year that the method of taxation was socially bad. I pointed out the case of a man and woman both having a certain means—£220 I think it was. If they choose not to get married the Government takes only a certain amount of tax from them but if they should be so misguided as to go and get married the Government imposes additional taxation upon them up to, I think, the amount of £36. That is so even when they have a child. People say: "Is not it splendid when there is a child there is a remission of tax?" but two married people with one child are mulcted in income-tax more than two people who have not got married. There has been no change in that. Another way of judging whether or not this impost that we are going to put upon the people is good would be to judge whether it is going to be productive in the future. In the countries at war most of the taxation we know is just being exploded in lethal detonations but as far as England is concerned I have already pointed out that agricultural production has increased and there is enormous new development in the way of factories and many other things which are going to be permanent assets. If you are going to make comparison between the taxation in the two countries you would have to make allowance for that.

With regard to the incidence of taxation, Senator Douglas referred to new industries in this country. I object to the phrase "providing employment". The truth is nobody has a real hankering to be employed. Not being an idealist I can say this. Most people work because they want certain things and can only procure them by applying their labour to some objects of nature to make other people give them the things they want in exchange. As far as this country is concerned production must come from co-operating with nature in exploiting the surface of the soil in agriculture or by applying labour to the things already produced inside this country or outside it or by digging in the soil and producing hidden wealth in the soil. Here I am not too well informed, but I believe there are certain mining industries operative at the moment. I remember during the last war it became economic to produce certain mineral wealth that in normal times it would not have been economic to produce. If there is only a certain percentage of ore contained in the soil in normal conditions it would not be economic to work it when there are other countries where the ore content is so much richer. It simply does not pay because the selling value of the ore would not be sufficient to pay for the labour. Senator Douglas talked about corporation tax and excess profits tax. I know of many people in England who at this moment are paying the 100 per cent. excess profits tax for which they will get credit of 20 per cent. at the end of the war but when the end of the war comes their business is going to be no longer productive.

I do not know what is going to happen in England but I can imagine that in this country during the period of the war it might pay to start certain mining industries here. If you are going to do that you have got to be ready for a great outlay of capital, and you know the position is going to be radically changed after the war. You might be able to make an enormous profit during the war if the Government left you alone and then at the end of the war you would not be able to sell except at a loss. Suppose in my back garden I were to find a small deposit of some mineral and were to get a number of friends to agree to put capital into exploiting it we would be subject to corporation tax, income-tax and excess profits tax, and all the rest of it. In taking that into account we would say, naturally, that if we put £100,000 into this we might make so much a year, but we have got to calculate that during this period of the war we have got to get the capital back.

Does the Government take such matters as that into account? In England you are paying the 100 per cent. tax but you will get 20 per cent. credited at the end of the war. Is the Government here prepared to do that? In the case of things which it may be profitable to do during the war but which it may not be possible to continue after the war, will any allowance be made or any credit given? Is there any provision going to be made for loss of capital in the case when a business was started which prospered during these years but which is liable to cease at the end of the war?

What I mean is you put in £100,000, you have made £50,000 and the Government has taken possibly £40,000 and then you find that you have only the scrap value of your machinery. The Government, in that case, would have profited by £40,000. The owners would have put down £100,000. They would have got about £50,000 and the scrap value of their machinery. In such a case, the only gainer would be the Government and the great losers would be the adventurous exploiters of that industry. If there is any good in the industry, I think that the Government should, at least, create a condition in which the people who put their money and their labour into it will know that, if there is any real profit, they will not suffer a loss, that the Government, taking the whole period of the war and some period afterwards, will not impose such taxation as will take all their profit and impose loss of capital upon them.

I have referred to the talk about "providing work." I wish we could get away from that phrase. There is something absolutely ridiculous in it. If you put a tariff of 1,000 per cent. on tea, you would, probably, have many people growing it in hot-houses here. They would be wasting their time and robbing the tea consumers but they would be "providing work." It would, however, be more honourable for them, and better for the people, if they were to get a subsidy from the Government for doing nothing or were to rely for maintenance on the St. Vincent de Paul Society. What we require is increased production. Strictly speaking, taxation should only go up if the value of production is increased.

If the production of the country is going down and the taxation remains the same, the Government of the country, in ratio, is costing much more than it previously cost. If you put up taxation while the production of the country is going down, then you can only realise the extent of the burden on the people by relating the decrease in production to the increase in taxation. It is only by taking matters of that sort into consideration that we can judge whether or not we are justified in enacting the propositions which the Government puts before us.

There has been reference to the tendency towards the omni-operative State. I habitually raise my very weak voice against that. I do not put much heart into it because I can see that the whole tendency of the world is towards the omni-operative State. The very people who protest against it are really assisting in bringing it about. You cannot give a Government responsibility without giving it power. That is why the bureaucratic spirit is growing so much in the Civil Service at the moment. The Civil Service have behind them the Government, with its unrestricted power of demand on the people. The Civil Service have to bring about a certain condition. To bring that about, they want every restriction on their action removed and they seek to be given complete freedom. Is the work well done? If I may, I shall give an instance of what I consider the ineptitude of this bureaucracy. It is a minor instance but, if I would not be out of order, I could give dozens of other instances. The matter might, however, be more appropriate to the Appropriation Bill. I know a certain lady and, by arrangement by the Department of Supplies, when she gets her book of coupons for rationed goods, she has to lodge them in a given shop. In England, one does the same sort of thing but, in England, if the ration is a lb. of sugar per week, you are bound to get your lb. of sugar per week. In this case, the person concerned was unable to get sugar for six weeks. At the end of six weeks, they were able to give sugar, but they proposed to give only the lb. for that week—the seventh week—having no regard for the six weeks during which the lady was unable to obtain sugar, although her coupons were lodged in that shop.

The people in the shop told her that it was against the rule of the Department of Supplies that she should now get her arrears of sugar. Apart from the inequity of that—the Government having told you to register at a shop, fails to see that the shop has the means of providing you with your ration—it is definitely calculated to assist the operations of the black market. When shopkeepers know that all they have got to do is to say to a customer or a great number of customers: "Sorry, we had no sugar and we are not allowed to supply you with arrears," they can create a store which they can sell, not at the controlled price, but in the black market at a much higher figure.

Part of the money which we propose to collect from the unfortunate people of the country is for the running of the Department of Supplies. Just note the way this bureaucracy is run. Is the Department prepared to put on paper its rulings as to whether or not people should get the ratio of supplies allotted by the Department? When this lady was about to write to the Department of Supplies, I was able to tell her, from my knowledge of the Department, that, instead of getting a written reply upon which the Department could afterwards be challenged, she would merely get a telephone call. There is absolute and contemptible cowardice on the part of the Department in dodging putting things on paper. We are paying so that the Government may protect the people and maintain equity, but, when such a situation is brought about, the Department tries to dodge its responsibility.

That matter could be more appropriately raised on the Appropriation Bill.

I quite understand that. I should like to know what one can really talk about on this Bill. We have, apparently, to admit that £40,000,000 odd has to be raised for the purpose of administration, and then ask only whether or not this is the best way of raising it. The answer to that depends upon the particular vested interest one represents. If I represented alcohol, I could say that it is a bad way of raising the money because the tax on beer and spirits has not been reduced. If I represented some other interest, I might say that it was a good way, because these taxes had not been reduced. We are here in a condition of peace, and year after year, with diminishing production, we are going further into debt—spending more than we can raise by taxation. That would be all right if we could look forward to an enormous blossoming of productive activity and to an increase of national wealth when the war ends. If the Minister could only give us that guarantee, I should be very happy. Instead of that, in this country, as in other countries, as Senator Douglas pointed out, there will be a demand for guarantees of absence from fear and absence from want. There will be a clamour for those things.

If a Government has got to guarantee absence from want, absence from want means that you must have available a certain proportion of the fruits of man's labour. If the Government has got to guarantee for everybody enough of the fruits of man's labours as will satisfy them, it can only do that by being in a position to command men to produce exactly what is wanted. I do not see how it can do that without a further advance towards a totalitarian State. It does seem to me that all this modern clamour is largely a revolt against human responsibility. Certain things we need and certain things we have a right to have, but we really only achieve that right when we have applied to the very maximum our own natural powers to work or our own natural abilities to produce the value of what we consume. If our deformity or insufficiency were of such a kind that we are not able by our own activities to produce something of equivalent value to what we need to consume, then we become appropriate objects of charity. One of the difficulties of charity is that we cannot all be recipients of charity. Charity implies a receiver and a giver. What I want to establish is that if the State is going to be a guarantor in that way, that we are going to be free from fear and free from want, that may be quite a good thing, but if you put that responsibility on the State, then equated to that responsibility there must be power. If the Government is to have that responsibility, we must face up to the fact that we must allow it a firmer grip on the people who form the community. I shall not go into that matter in any greater detail.

It does seem that we are expected to say that this is quite a splendid Budget. It is really nothing of the sort, but I am not saying that if I were responsible for it I could do something better. We have to recognise that this Budget indicates that the value of our production is decreasing while the expenditure of the State is increasing. If you admit that, and we have no guarantee that production after the war in this country will exceed the amount that our people need to consume themselves, then we must face the fact that we are increasing our debts and we are putting the future into pawn. If we were suddenly plunged into war knowing that we had spent more than we produced, I do not see what sort of success we could make of it.

The concluding remarks of Senator Fitzgerald would apply to practically every country in the world to-day. Expenditure is increasing everywhere enormously, to an extent altogether out of proportion to the resources of the countries of Europe particularly. I think any citizen of any State, speaking of the Government of his country, would have to use the same form of words practically as the Senator used, but I should like to know what solution he proposes. It is easy to criticise, but it is a difficult matter for anyone placed in the position of the Government at the moment to discover an alternative method of running the finances of the country. None of us likes excessive expenditure if it can be avoided. Take the expenditure on the Army at the moment, for instance. We are spending an enormous sum of money entirely out of proportion to the resources of the country on that service, but it is a form of insurance. Does the Senator think that any citizen of this State, who examines the matter home, would object to that expenditure? The money spent may be the means of saving us from a far greater evil.

Taking a case to the High Court just to ascertain whether we were legislating against the Constitution—what does that ensure us against?

The fact that we have an efficient disciplined force in this country may secure us against the danger of invasion. I shall not deal with the Department of Education because I held up Senator Fitzgerald for dealing with education matters. I do not see how we could possibly avoid raising as much money as we are endeavouring to raise by this Budget. We are not living in normal times and every other country has to do what we are doing. A national Government has been suggested but, if a national Government were in being, I do not know that it would improve the situation in the least. This Government has consulted people connected with trade and industry. For instance, the men in control of our shipping are men who have been conversant with shipping and who are competent to administer shipping services. Again, we have men who understand the fuel situation put in charge of Fuel Importers, Limited. That is a way of spreading responsibility for the supply of things that we most need. Bureaucracy is a thing that we all dislike and there is always the danger that if it is allowed to grow, the individual citizen will gradually drift into a frame of mind in which he will lose all initiative and leave everything to the people at the head. Personally, I should be very sorry to see such a situation arise. At the moment there is the danger in this country that people are inclined to say: "Oh, the Government should do this or the Government should do that." Instead of using their own energies and endeavouring to find ways out for themselves, they are inclined to throw the responsibility more and more on the people at the head of affairs. It would be very unfortunate if the country were to drift into that state of mind. For that reason we are all afraid of bureaucracy. We are afraid that civil servants will get practical control of the country and that we shall find ourselves in the position that the country will be run wholly by a Civil Service administration.

It is very hard to criticise the Budget at all. Senator Fitzgerald pointed out a moment ago that because the Budget does not hit us immediately we are inclined to say that it is a very favourable Budget.

I think the people of the country as a whole are inclined to agree that it is a good Budget. We cannot avoid mortgaging the future; we cannot throw on the present generation the whole cost of the administration of this country in the present abnormal period. We have to do what every other country in the world is doing—pass it on to those who come after us. It would be unwise in the extreme to impose on the citizens of to-day the whole cost of our administration in these abnormal years. That would be a burden impossible for the people to shoulder, and I think the Minister has done a very wise thing in passing the burden on to the future generations.

It is difficult to maintain a clear frame of mind having regard to the many and diverse views expressed on this Finance Bill. Whether the doctrine of laissez faire is still to the fore, or whether we should proceed to a full and complete totalitarian regimentation of industry and commerce, are questions about which it is difficult to make up one's mind. From my point of view, the Finance Bill is one which I relate to the touchstone of production. That aspect of the matter has been discussed here this evening. It seems to me that the elemental question is whether we are able to produce more and hence distribute more; whether we are able to produce more by the existing system, or whether we should adopt some other system to secure that desirable end. In a country like this, agriculture naturally takes the paramount place. It is by agriculture that the people live, and, if the agricultural production of a country is declining, then every other aspect of production in that country will decline also. If we examine it through the agricultural microscope, we find that, despite compulsory tillage, there has not been much alteration in output, although the Minister in his statement told us that agricultural production was fairly satisfactory.

It is difficult to see how the state of agriculture can be considered satisfactory if we look at the matter from the point of view of the importance of potatoes in the national economy of to-day. Other commodities produced from the land, such as sugar and wheat, in my opinion are more affected than potatoes by climatic conditions. Wheat and sugar depend to a very large extent on a good season. But, with the Argentine and Tristan d'Acunha, this country is outstandingly capable of producing potatoes prolifically. If at the same time we have a shortage of that food which enters so largely into the diet of the citizens of this country, if we are not able so to organise our agriculture as to yield a sufficiency of that commodity for our own people, to say nothing about export, it seems to me that there is something wrong with our economy.

That is one aspect of this question. Another aspect—one can only refer briefly to those matters, as to whether the country is sufficiently taxed, and whether that taxation is duly and properly related to the economic difficulties of the country—is the fact that we have still with us an army of unemployed people, despite the fact that another large army has left here and gone to another country, and that there have been other outlets without which our unemployment position would be one of major significance for the country as a whole. How are we to get over those difficulties? The Minister told us that the consumption of luxuries helped to solve the financial position. I think it was tobacco and wines that helped to solved the financial position. to the extent of 47 per cent. It seems peculiar that, while luxuries are being consumed to that extent, we have at the same time large numbers of people leaving the country because they are unable to secure employment at home. Those are contradictions of an outstanding character, and this debate here this evening brings home in clear contradistinction the difficulties which are besetting the Government, the Oireachtas, and the people. Senator Douglas stated that, in his opinion, a national Government might be a solution of those difficulties. I do not know whether such a Government would face the economic difficulties of the country in any more forthright manner than they are faced by Party Governments. I have some doubts on the subject. To my mind, the difficulty lies in the fact that our whole system of society is changing before our eyes.

We see changes of a political character taking place in other countries. We see the old Parliamentary system being ruthlessly rooted out in certain countries, and see it tottering and shaking in some others.

Now, that in my opinion is but a political reflex of certain economic changes and a certain economic instability which has previously occurred in these countries, and it seems that no matter what we say or do in this Bill or in any other Bill, the same changes are inevitably bound to occur here, because we cannot escape, even in this island washed by the Atlantic ocean, the economic changes now occurring in Europe and about to occur with greater force in the near future. I think that in discussing the financial provisions of this Bill, we who hold some responsibility in the country, should, so far as lies in our power, make it definitely clear that some method, other than the method of taxation and rating, is necessary to avoid the difficulties and solve the problems that are confronting us. A good deal of forethought is necessary, and sometimes when I hear people talking about post-war planning, it annoys me, when we hear nothing at all about present-day planning.

Unless there is some present-day planning, the economic structure which seems somewhat ramshackle now, and which becomes more shaky and ramshackle every day, will fall down before our eyes if we are not courageous and scientific enough to meet the new situation by new methods, new men and new thoughts. There is no use in our burking this issue and pretending that the provisions of the measure before us this evening will produce potatoes, or stop 80,000 people leaving the country, or get fuel into Dublin from the country to provide for the coming winter. We are not going to meet any of these outstanding miseries of the people by the methods prescribed in this Bill, or any similar Bill. Whether, in moving forward to meet these difficulties, we develop a more bureaucratic State or a more totalitarian State, is to me a matter of no significance. Meeting all those difficulties is the important thing, and if we have to move towards a greater co-ordination of the governmental and other processes of the country and it is called bureaucracy, then I am one who is not afraid of the word.

For quite a considerable time, the State has had to interfere in industry. The number of Acts which passed through the House of Commons in the days of William Ewart Gladstone was very small in comparison with the number put through the same House to-day, and their principles would be very different. In the intervening time, the State has had to interfere more and more with the daily life of the citizen. The State does not do that for the mere desire of doing it, but because it is necessarily obliged to do it owing to the developing complexity of society. This diversity and complexity compel some authority to deal with these questions and problems affecting the daily life of the citizens, and only the State is able to do it and to do it satisfactorily, deplore as we may the State having to step in. What other authority is capable of doing it?

On another Bill last week, it was suggested that co-operative societies can do a lot of useful work. I am one of those who believe in the principle of co-operation, and I have worked in that movement for a considerable time. I would like to see more co-operative societies, and I would like to see the State acting towards them as a mandatory authority. That is one way we could develop our capacity in such affairs. If I may digress for a moment, I am satisfied that if you put on the Statute Book Acts such as the County Management Act, where you take away from the people the right to do their own work in local administration, then you deprive them of a certain capacity of thinking and dealing with all the other affairs of their lives. Therefore, without taking up too much of the time of the House in matters of that character, I would say that it seems to me that there is very little use in our discussing these questions and deploring them, unless we progress forthrightly and courageously towards methods of dealing with them. These remedies are not to be found in Acts of this character, and I am not satisfied that what has been adumbrated here and elsewhere on the question of national Government will help, but I am satisfied that it is advisable—perhaps not much time is left to us now—to do something in the nature of what we have advocated before, viz., the setting up of an economic council to advise the Government of the day on matters of an economic character.

It has been complained that the Civil Service in dealing with matters like the Dairy Disposals Board, for instance, or in other commercial matters, tends to become bureaucratic, that they are not acquainted with the necessities of commerce and, consequently, are inefficient and incompetent. On the other hand, the Government has to have a Civil Service to guide it, but, at the same time, the Government will have to be the supreme authority, and commerce, or those who represent commerce, cannot be given a free and independent hand to deal as they think fit with the affairs of the country. It seems necessary to bring together these various forces and factors in the country and marshal them to promote the good of all. Everyone born into the State has a right, and a sound title, to an adequate living in the State, but we find that some people are driven from it by the exigencies of economic circumstances, and that they are not given that which is their natural right. We see people walking hungry through our streets deprived of what a right and proper State would give them—the right to live—and the State is not properly constituted and is not fulfilling its functions until such time as it has completely and entirely abolished poverty and emigration from our midst.

Year in and year out we have statutes dealing with Budgets and financial resolutions of all kinds, and we have Senator Douglas propounding a panacea on one hand and Senator Fitzgerald propounding a panacea on the other. In my opinion, it is advisable that these various ideas—each containing a certain amount of good— should be co-ordinated, and the people of this country allowed to live their lives in the happiness and enjoyment to which they are entitled as human beings.

Bhí trácht ar ball ar Rialtas Náisiúnta, ach tá Rialtas Náisiúnta againn fé láthair—Rialtas atá ag déanamh a dhíchill ar son muintir na tíre seo. Dubhairt cuid de na Seanadóirí go mba cheart dúinn plean do cheapadh i gcóir na haimsire a bheas ann nuair a bheas an cogadh thart. Tá sean-fhocal ann: "Is glas iad na cnuic atá i bhfad uainn." Agus mar sin is féidir bheith ag trácht ar an saoghal a bheas ann san am le teacht, ach dar liom is fearr an rud is féidir a dhéanamh fé láthair a dhéanamh ar son muintir na tíre i n-ionad bheith ag breathnú amach ar an aimsir atá i bhfad uainn. Bhí an Seanadóir Ó Loinsigh ag cainnt fé ghanntanas prátaí bheith ann. Do b'í an drochaimsir fé ndéar an ganntanas san. Mhínigh an Rialtas anuraidh gur cheart do na daoine prátaí a chur thar gach rud eile ach amháin an chruithneacht. D'iarr an Rialtas ar na daoine prátaí a chur agus dhein na daoine rud ortha.

I think it is a very bad practice in debates such as this to make attacks against the civil servants. As we all know, the civil servants are responsible to the Minister concerned with each Department, and each Minister is responsible for the work which he does, to the Dáil and Seanad. Senator Lynch has made what I consider to be an excellent suggestion: that it would be far better to make plans to enable the country to meet the situation that is confronting it than to be looking towards the far and distant future. We have often heard it said that the faraway hills are green, and it is quite easy for people to paint rosy pictures of the bright future facing the different countries at the end of the present war. We had some experience of those rosy promises on a former occasion, and we have no great assurance that the rosy promises of to-day will be any more effective than the rosy promises that were made during the last war.

Senator Lynch referred to the present shortage of potatoes throughout the country. As far as I understand his speech, he stated that the potato crop was not by any means as perishable as the wheat crop, the oats crop or the barley crop. Well, I ought to know something about the potato crop, and my experience is that the abnormally wet harvest last year had an effect in the case of heavy land, the result of which was that a large proportion of the pototo crop was rotting in the ground. In the spring of last year an appeal was made by the Government, pointing out to the people that the most important crop to grow, after the wheat crop, was the potato crop. That appeal was responded to and, as far as my information goes, there was a larger acreage under pototoes last year than in the previous year, but owing to the heavy loss for the reasons I have mentioned, there happens to be a shortage of potatoes during the last few weeks. Now, a bad harvest is not a thing for people to make Party capital out of, and I think that no one should make such a suggestion.

It has been said that we ought to have a national Government. I really thought that we had a national Government. It seemed to me that the idea conveyed in that suggestion was the formation of a coalition Government. A coalition Government is not by any means a national Government; it is more or less a make-shift Government and no Government of that kind can deal with abnormal situations. The world is continually changing, from year to year and from day to day, and no government, no matter how gifted its members may be, can tell what is going to happen even in the near future. In my opinion, our present Government has done very well. They have not been perfect, but they have done remarkably well, and I think that we in this country ought to congratulate ourselves that we have been able to carry on so well so far. Like Senator Lynch and other Senators who have spoken, I deplore the great exodus of our people from this country to another land. That is bad for the country, but, of course, these people are carried away by promises of high wages.

And empty stomachs!

It is unfortunate that they have to go, and it is also an unfortunate thing that we have to send to these people some of the limited amount of food that we have in this country. If you read the revenue returns you will see that a good deal of the parcels that are sent from this portion of Ireland to Great Britain and other places outside this part of Ireland are largely intended to provide food for the people who have left. That is a deplorable thing, and I am afraid that it is on the increase. Certain restrictions have been placed on the export of food, but I think it would be necessary to have stricter regulations in that respect. Passports have been refused to people employed in agriculture, and there is a certain restriction on the number of such people who wish to leave, and I think it would be better for themselves eventually that they should remain here, because all is not gold that glitters, and the promises that are put up to them do not always prove to be a reality. We have to face realities in this country, however, and I think we can congratulate the Minister. He has not performed miracles but he has done well, and I think he ought to be congratulated on the fact that in these abnormal times he did not find it necessary to increase taxation. There is a question of £3,000,000 or £4,000,000 being borrowed, but we are doing so much in this generation that posterity ought to be able to do that much for us.

It is usual for considerable latitude to be allowed in this debate on the Finance Bill, and after all I have heard here I think that this occasion is no exception. I was interested in the remarks made by Senator Lynch, but I did not quite see exactly what he had in mind. He suggested that an economic council would go far to settle present economic problems, but did the Senator realise that there is a world war on? Our economic troubles are very slightly, if at all, under our own control. Our whole trouble now is to secure goods, and no economic council is going to do much to relieve that position. We would do well to realise that we cannot live as a self-contained island. I am afraid a lot of people have been looking for that and think that we can live apart as a self-contained nation without any regard for our productive capacity and our population, and that by some magic, if our production is not enough, an economic council will make it sufficient to support our population. The Senator made a reference to the island of Tristan d'Acunha. I do not know much about the island of Tristan d'Acunha except that it contains a very small population. How would it be if our population were packed away on Tristan d'Acunha? Would the Senator find that an economic council would get him out of the difficulty of supporting the population? I think that emigration from this country has been a necessary safety valve. Even to-day I think if we were not getting relief from large numbers of our population who are working abroad we would be in an infinitely worse position. Therefore, I would ask the Government to go very carefully in regard to the request made by Senator O Máille that the Government should place further restrictions on the export of labour.

I know that there are people living in dire want and it is not from any desire to leave the country that they go abroad but simply from necessity, in order to support their families even on a bare level of subsistence. I think it would be almost cruel to say to those people "you have got to stop here because there is a possibility of work in agriculture or in turf," when there are opportunities for earning good wages abroad and remitting money to their families. With regard to the Budget proper the Minister for Finance both in this House and in the Dáil has received congratulations on the way he has dealt with the Budget. I wish to join in the congratulations in respect purely of finance. I mean this. The Minister, presented with a deficit of £3,500,000 met that deficit I consider in the best possible way in the circumstances. I would go further and congratulate the Minister and the Government on the general manner in which our finances have been handled during the war. We have borrowed extraordinarily little. In fact, it seems to be a puzzle how it has been done. I think there has been only one loan during the war and at present there is only £1,500,000 outstanding under Ways and Means. On the question of pure finance I say the Government is to be congratulated but you cannot, in my opinion, divorce pure finance from policy and I cannot say that I can congratulate the Government, of which the Minister is a member, on their general policy as distinct from their pure finance.

In respect of the cost of living the Government has got a lot to answer for. I feel that the Government should have made it a major objective, when the war began and certainly when they saw the scarcity arising, to stabilise the cost of living, I would almost say whatever it cost. Personally, I should be prepared to see a much larger measure of borrowing and even more taxation in order to stabilise the cost of living. I think the figure of £3,500,000 in subsidies has been given. I would not mind if that amount was doubled if the cost of living was kept steady. It was managed in England.

In England the cost of living during the war was kept practically unaltered. In the last four years it has risen only 15 points as against a corresponding figure of 68 points in this country. Moreover, I feel that the stability of the cost of living was implicit in the Government policy of anti-inflation. When the Government announced that it was not going to allow any increase in the cost of wages, under the famous Order 83, it was a necessary corollary of that policy that the Government should say, "We are not going to allow an increase in the cost of living." On that policy they could have stood, and it would have been logical, whereas, of course, it was impossible to carry out their intention of stabilisation of wages, and we have this continued ferment of requests for bonus Orders and standard of wages Orders, which are very undesirable but unavoidable in the circumstances, especially on the eve of an election. The Minister had these points in mind, because in his Budget speech—I am reading from page 2267 of the Debates—he said:

"We forget that these countries are fighting a desperate battle for survival, and that this expenditure measures the extent to which their citizens deny themselves many of the necessaries and most of the amenities of life, and even the boon of life itself. To put it another way, all resources of manpower and material are to the utmost extent possible taken by the Government."

It is not as if the people were being told that the Government was going to stabilise the cost of living, and with that in view was going to ask the people to submit to restrictions within reason, but was not asking people to starve. The people in England are not starving. I am told their health is better than ever. Their food is dull. They have no cakes or cream, and they have other restrictions. But I have been in England a good deal, and personally I have enjoyed the escape from the rather over-fed feeling you get when you have all these unlimited quantities of fats and creams, and so on. That, of course, is a personal point of view.

There would have been no real hardship if our people had been asked to submit to the rationing which the people of England have to undergo. The health of our people would not have suffered. Some of those who can afford to eat large meals would have been much better for the experience of rationing. I cannot agree that the people, if they had been told the whole story and asked to cooperate, would have resented a much earlier and more drastic system of rationing. That is where I feel the Government have failed in their rationing policy. All along, they have been too late. The machinery of rationing should have been prepared early in 1940—at the latest. It might have been used only gradually, but the administrative preliminaries should have been undertaken much earlier. Then, the Government would have been in a position, as occasion arose, to apply it in a systematic manner and without the rush and confusion which have resulted from their leaving it too late. Without such a system of rationing, increase of prices could not be prevented.

When goods were scarce and money plentiful, what could you expect but a rise in prices—call it inflation or anything you like? Except the goods were completely unobtainable, that would have occurred. We should have entered upon rationing much earlier here. Although we are not fighting for our life, we are living for our life and our whole future is bound up with the result of the present conflict. The second recommendation does not change but the practice certainly does. Consider the position during the last two wars. During the last war restrictions were of a very different character. We were much more inclined to hold on to the old, traditional methods of uncontrolled supply and demand. The result was that money rates went to fantastic heights and the cost of living in belligerent countries went equally high. We have gained experience since then and I think that everybody will agree that belligerent finance, rationing and control have been much better managed during this war than they were during the last war. I am rather afraid the we have not profited to the extent we might have by the experience of others.

I should like to go back for a moment to the speech of Senator Lynch. I could not make out what he wanted. I know that he wants this country to support, by some magic, a population without limit. Apart from that, does he want the new order brought about by Parliamentary or totalitarian methods? That is the real issue involved. When he referred to the ramshackle condition of Parliamentary Government, I could not help thinking that he would like to get away from it.

Mr. Lynch

I have no such desire.

I am glad to hear that. Ramshackle and inefficient as it may be, the destruction of all we value would be involved if we were once to depart from what is generally known as the "Parliamentary system". One of the outstanding achievements of Great Britain during this war was that, in spite of provocation from certain quarters, and in spite of the trial of patience it must have been to the Government, the Parliamentary system was allowed to function practically unimpaired. Senator Fitzgerald dealt with the inability of certain citizens to get their allowance of rationed goods—sugar, in the case he mentioned. I heard the same complaints. I do not want to pursue that point specifically but I do ask the Government to consider, even now, whether the public are not entitled to the services of some organisation corresponding to the Citizens' Advice Bureau in Great Britain. That is a local authority organisation. Any citizen can go to it and say: "I cannot get my ration", or "What is my position with regard to unemployment allowance?" The regulations being so complicated, it was considered desirable in England that citizens should know where they stood. I feel that the Government should have before now—I mentioned this before—set up an organisation corresponding to the Citizens' Advice Bureau. It might be a nuisance to the Government, but it is their duty to let the citizen know the full extent of his rights.

That leads me to another feature of our present administration which I do not like. I have been asked by people, relatives or friends, on occasions, to try to do something for them. I have gone to Government Departments and have received the utmost courtesy from the officials. I have had the things I sought done at once but I heard of poor people going, month after month, trying to get things done. That is wrong. I have, naturally, means of access to Government Departments which other people have not got and I appreciate the courtesy I receive but it is a weakness of the system that a person of influence or position can get things done, while poor people cannot get things done— or, at least, cannot get them done so promptly. I feel that a citizens' advice bureau would have gone a long way in securing equal rights for all citizens in this matter of Government treatment.

Senator Douglas said a good deal about Government interference. I am not disposed to pursue that matter beyond saying that I have been, from the early days, very dubious and very critical of the whole of our economic policy of self-sufficiency. Parliament decreed otherwise and the country went down the slippery slope, establishing industries recklessly. I thought that there was no good in harping on the matter and nagging but I still feel profoundly anxious about some aspects of our policy of self-sufficiency. I feel that some industries which have been established are almost as artificial as the tea industry which Senator Fitzgerald said might be established if only money were put into it. There are some industries so exotic and in respect of which prices are so high that it is utterly unfair to the consumer that the Government should stand behind them. Having said that, I say no more. Those of us who have their ears to the ground—I am sure the Minister has his ear to the ground—must know that there are things going on in relation to licences and quotas which are profoundly disquieting. There are people in the country who could write quite an illuminating book, with the title given to a book published in America, "What Happens in the Dark." The Minister, I think, knows what happens in the dark. I am afraid that these happenings in the dark will continue so long as we have this system of licensing without publication. I do not need to be more specific.

This question of licences and privileges by which people who can make things are allowed to regulate imports and the whole method of Government control of new industries is profoundly disquieting. It is part of our system of self-sufficiency. We have all seen some circulars about it. I leave it at that. I think most of the members of the House should know only too well what I have in mind.

I mentioned that the cost of living has risen some 60 per cent.—from 178 to 273 over the 1914 base since the war broke out, while the British cost of living for the last three years has been practically stabilised. I shall mention only one other country, Canada, which has a price level of only 14 per cent. over the pre-war figure, and that with a very moderate measure of subsidy but with a very high degree of public opinion. Public opinion in regard to the black market in Canada is of a high order. I wish it were higher in this country. When we talk of a cost-of-living figure of 273 here, that is based on the controlled price of goods you can get, but if you want to get a certain number of these goods which enter into the cost of living, you have got to go into the black market and spend a great deal more than those compiling official figures have any knowledge of.

I want to ask the Minister one question with regard to a publication of his Department, which shows, opposite each other in different columns, the liabilities and assets of the State. I refer to the tables of the Financial Statement, 1943. I want the Minister to deal only with this one point. Would he say that the difference between the liabilities which are £82,000,000, and the assets, which are £43,000,000, roughly represents the deadweight debt, because that possibly might be the construction placed upon these figures? That leads me to ask what value would it be right to place on certain of these assets. At present they are shown at their book value. Is that really correct? Probably the Minister may ask: "What value do you suggest?" Of course for securities which have no market it is very hard to suggest value, but I certainly say that it is not right that the shares of the Industrial Alcohol Company should stand at book value. The test I would apply is: on its balance sheet would the public take an issue of these shares without a State guarantee? There are others which I still question would be worth on that test their book value.

There is just one other point in connection with the assets. I mentioned this before in connection with the Creameries Bill, which we shall have again at a later stage in this sitting. I notice that we have an asset of £734,000 in the purchase of creameries. I imagine the Minister will tell me it is a good asset. He may probably be right. The Dairy Disposals Board has shown a certain trading profit. The only comment I make is, is it right that operations of the body which has that money should not be made known to Parliament? The Dairy Disposals Board, to which this money has been advanced, has given no account of its operations since its inception until the other day when it issued a consolidated balance sheet which was not very illuminating. I think it is only right and proper, seeing that such a large sum of public money is involved, that that particular body should publish annual accounts. That is done in the case of the Electricity Board, I think in the case of the Alcohol Company, and also in the case of other companies, the capital of which is shown as Government assets.

Passing from that to more direct matters, there is one question I want to bring up—I brought it up last year also—in regard to a certain activity out of which the Government derives revenue, namely, betting shops. I said before and I say it again that I think it is deplorable—I do not know that the word "deplorable" is strong enough—that the Government should stand over a vicious traffic of that kind because there is no question about it that these betting shops are a temptation to people to borrow their employers' money, if you like to put it that way, in the hope that they will be able to pay it back out of the gains made from betting. It is a temptation to people on their rounds to stop, in their employers' time, to put on a bet in these betting shops. These shops take money that should go to the support of the home. It is no answer to say, as the Minister said last year rather flippantly: "Oh, well we all like to have a little flutter." It is a very different thing to have a little flutter. I have no objection to the Sweep where a person buys a ticket for 5/- or to betting on racecourses where a person goes out into the open air to enjoy an afternoon's recreation, but to have these temptations day by day set before our people places upon the Government a very great responsibility. We read in the Lenten Pastorals condemnations of certain forms of dancing. I visited the Island of Aran the other day and I found that no dancing, not even Irish dancing, was allowed there. I checked up on that because it seemed almost inconceivable that no dancing, even Irish dancing, should be allowed.

There was never any Irish dancing on the Island of Aran.

I see our broadcasting authorities have put a ban on crooning, and on the broadcasting of dance music and when I see these betting shops thriving all round the city under Government authority and the Government getting a revenue from them, I can only say that we are utterly lacking in any sense of proportion as to what is right and what is wrong. To say that there must be betting is to say that there must be other forms of vice, and why not licence them, too? I leave it at that.

I do not know whether the Cathaoirleach would allow me to make certain remarks, very limited, about the censorship.

No, Senator.

Well then I shall put down a motion. I thought it might save time if I were to deal with the matter now. I wanted to make some remarks about it but I shall put down a motion for next week.

That is all I have to say on the Budget. I am afraid the Minister will say that I am not being constructive, but of course the responsibility is not ours; the responsibility naturally rests on the Government—our function is largely critical. I admit that perhaps certain of my remarks may be said to be the result of being wise after the event, but I do think that even now—seeing that those restrictions are going to continue long after the fighting ceases, and that there will be a continuing scarcity of essential raw materials—the system of rationing and control should be tightened up, so as to stay this rise in the cost of living. Perhaps I should put it another way; I think that the Government should even now take steps to reduce and stabilise the cost of living, even if it does mean increased taxation or increased borrowing.

I wish to inform the Senator at this point that references to the censorship may be made on the Appropriation Bill, which will shortly be before the House.

Will we have it soon?

Perhaps next week. Other administrative matters may be raised on the Appropriation Bill also, provided that the Senators who wish to raise them give notice beforehand so that the appropriate Ministers may be informed. That is the procedure which has hitherto been adopted here.

Business suspended at 6.5 p.m. and resumed at 7 p.m.

I suppose that, in so far as the Budget which the Minister introduced recently imposes no extra taxation on the taxpayer, it will be regarded by these people as a good Budget. It is a good Budget for other reasons to which I shall not refer this evening, but the Minister in his speech anticipated that critics would take advantage of the discussion to point out many things, including things for which no provision had been made. He said:—

"I for my part make bold to say that the financial dispositions I have set before you this year offer to all sections of the community and to the various economic interests a fair apportionment of the State's available resources."

I would like to refer to the lack of adequate provision for many sections of our people. I refer, of course, to the more economically depressed sections and, prinicipally, to the inadequate provision for the unemployed who, through no fault of their own, cannot procure employment at the present time, and also to the inadequate provision for those afflicted with blindness who, I think, are very shabbily treated by the State, having regard to the disabilities under which they labour. I would also like to refer to the inadequate provision for old age pensioners. Undoubtedly, a little extra provision has been made in kind, but I think it is entirely inadequate to meet every increase in the cost of living.

Senator Sir John Keane referred to the "overfed feeling" he experienced on his return to Ireland after his sojourn in Great Britain, but, unfortunately, as he himself said, many of our people here are living in dire want and many of them have been compelled to go abroad to work in Great Britain—going abroad for reasons different from those which brought Senator Sir John Keane abroad. It is not love of working in another country that impelled them to leave their own. In that connection, I should like to refer to one item in the Budget—the provision of £9,000,000 for the Army. Army expenditure, as somebody said, is an insurance against invasion and is necessary in order to maintain the neutrality of this State. I am in thorough agreement with that expenditure. I think it is necessary, and I agree with those who stated that it is a good insurance, but I think it is just as important that the lives and health of our people should be maintained as well as the neutrality of the State.

Reference was made to the effect that this £9,000,000 would be cut off when the emergency ended because it was only a temporary provision made for our armed forces. I think we will have greater problems to solve when the emergency ends than even the maintenance of our neutrality or the provision of an army to maintain it. I think that sum might well be devoted to remedying the social and economic ills from which so many of our people suffer. Many more people, I should imagine, will suffer when the emergency ends, when the people who are in the Army are demobilised, and when those who are working in Britain will be very quickly cleared out of that country on the demobilisation of its own army and the return of its members to their occupations in civil life. Whatever Government is in power will have to face the problem of meeting the needs of over a quarter of a million people—the number which I think will be affected when the emergency period terminates. This country, I think, can well afford to devote that nine million pounds to solve social and economic problems just as it can afford to tax itself to that amount to maintain the Army at the present time.

I referred to the inadequacy of the provisions made for these economically depressed sections of our community, and, in that regard, I would like to point out that in respect even of those who are in a condition of employment, the Government has recognised to a slight degree, in any event, their responsibility to meet the ever increasing cost of living. Of course, it does not really compensate them, because the cost of living has gone up by 60 per cent. while the State has made provision for an increase of only 9 or 10 per cent. The compensation rarely reaches 10 per cent. I have had the experience of serving on these wages tribunals all over the country, and I know the very inadequate wages that workers are receiving at the present time, and, in fact, in some cases, we have not given them any bonus at all.

Instead of giving them the bonus to which they would have been entitled, the standard rate has been increased. That is an indication of the inadequate steps taken by the Government to meet the increase in the cost of living. They have allowed an increase to the extent of 8 or 9 per cent. in wages, but the cost of living has sky-rocketed to 60 per cent. during the present emergency. I think that that is a very bad system. I think I can say that we, in the trade union system as a whole, would prefer to get compensation for the increased cost of living by our own methods of negotiation, but that appears to be impossible under this Order.

I merely mention that in order to show how inadequate is the provision that has been made to meet the needs of the economically depressed members of the community, and I very much regret that the Minister has not taken steps to relieve the necessities or increase the benefits of these economically depressed sections of our community. I have never been a harsh critic of the present Government. I feel that they have been very much more inclined to extend benefits to the economically depressed sections of our community than their predecessors were. In that connection, I may say that I was rather interested by a document that I read recently with regard to candidates in the forthcoming election, which was published in the newspapers. Reference was made there to a speech that I made at Geneva, in 1938, at the International Labour Conference, where I praised the present Government—and, I think, quite fairly praised them—for doing all that they could to benefit the people to whom I am now referring.

I think that I was justified in making that speech at the time, but I do not think I could stand over it now, because I feel that the situation that now confronts us needs a lot more consideration and attention than is being given to it by the Government at the moment. When I made that speech, I was not a member of the House, and I was not speaking from any political point of view. I was sincere in saying that I thought that the Government had done a lot for the economically depressed sections of our community, but I do think that the Government has failed somewhat in that respect since then, even although there is no increase of taxation in the present Budget.

I merely rose to make that point about the economically depressed sections of our community, because it seems to me that nobody has made that point so far. Somebody—I think it was Senator Sir John Keane—suggested that the only remedy for our present economic ills was to be found in emigration, but it must be remembered that this country was able, at one time, to maintain 8,000,000 people.

The standard of living was very different then.

Admittedly, the standard of living is much higher now than it was then, but I still think that emigration is not the only solution that we can envisage for our economic ills, and I think it would be a confession of despair if we were to subscribe to such a doctrine. I should be sorry to see the day when any member of this House would suggest that mass emigation is the only solution for our economic ills. Some other Senator—I think it was Senator Lynch—referred to the ever-increasing bureaucratic tendency here. It seemed to me that the Senator felt that it was inevitable that the State should be called upon to interfere more and more in industry. I do not agree that the State itself, with an ever-increasing bureaucratic system, is the only authority that can promote the common good of the community as a whole, or safeguard the community as a whole. I, for one, would rather see the development of our whole economic system proceeding along the lines of having it considered as we are considering it at the moment, rather than that the State should take into its hands every aspect of our economic life.

I have not very much more to say. Senator Sir John Keane referred, I think, to the present economic system under which we function, but that system is one which may depart from us. One cannot shut one's eyes to the ever-developing outlook that is manifesting itself in Great Britain and other countries, the effect of which is the determination of the masses of the people in these countries not to be pushed back into the conditions of servitude and economic slavery into which they were pushed at the end of the last war, and in which they remained up to the beginning of the present war. We cannot ignore the fact that a considerable number of our own people may be infected with that same spirit, and I think it behoves the present Government, if they are returned to power, or any other Government that may be formed, to try to find a solution of the economic ills that affect and will affect so many of our people. I think it was Senator Lynch who referred to the matter of planning for the present, but I think that the problem that confronts us at the moment is very small compared with the problem that will confront us in the post-war period. Speeches and statements have been made in regard to planning, but I think the fact emerges that no real planning has been done. Various suggestions have been made. Senator Lynch suggested an economic council which the Trade Union Council and the Labour Party suggested to An Taoiseach at the outbreak of the war.

That suggestion was not acceptable to An Taoiseach or his Cabinet and we find ourselves in the position that we must be satisfied with the statement that the Government Departments themselves are planning for the post-war period. I would like to believe that but having some knowledge of the work that confronts the civil servants I do not believe that any real planning is being done. In connection with that I would like to pay my tribute to the civil servants. I know they are a hardworking body and I would like to pay a tribute to the excellence of their work. It is not their responsibility that the Civil Service has reached the magnitude it has. Senator Lynch has stated that the State has responded to the appeals of all sections of the country for more State intervention, and it is inevitable that the Civil Service should have reached the magnitude it has at present. I do not think I have anything more to say except to add my word of condemnation to that of Senator Sir John Keane when he deplored evils arising from the betting shops. I have probably more experience than he of the havoc wrought upon families and individuals by this evil. It is a worse evil than the evil of drink. I think it is an appalling sight to see poor men and women in these shops backing horses and depriving their families and dependants of the money which should go to other purposes.

I deplore that it is necessary that some of our revenue should be raised from that source and I think that it is no credit to the boasted Christianity of this State. The Budget in as much as it does not impose more taxation will be regarded by people as a good Budget. I am sorry I cannot join in that view because there is dire poverty and distress amongst our people even amongst those in full employment. With the restrictions of the infamous Order No. 83 they find it impossible to purchase the food they could get. I think I would be wanting in my duty if I were not to draw attention to the necessity for making provision for the depressed sections of the community.

I was not in the House when the Minister made his opening statement but I read very carefully the statement he made when he introduced the Budget in the Dáil. I noticed that one of the criticisms levelled at it was that it was unimaginative. I think that women on whose behalf I would like to say a word rejoice in the fact that it was unimaginative. It was the statement of a realist, of one who was in close touch with the condition of affairs in the country and showed that at least he did all he could to help the country through these difficult times. The difficulties are enormous and no Government however well-intentioned can remedy them all. I think it is to the credit of An Taoiseach and his colleagues that this Government, making an attempt to know the needs of this country and the direction in which there is danger, has taken cognisance of the position, and in the Minister's statement it was apparent that the Government was doing its best to provide whatever remedies it could. There may be other things they could do. When the Minister came to this House it would have been right to suggest what else he could do. I was not in the House for the whole debate, but I did not think that the Minister got so many very useful suggestions. However, it was brought home to him that there are serious needs in this country. It is up to all of us to try to help our poorer neighbours. Of the Minister's statement I should say that, while he very prudently did not attempt to balance the Budget by imposing upon the present generation heavy additional taxation, his statement was a balanced statement. Really, the mentality behind the Budget is not of less importance than the Budget itself. I wish to join with those who congratulated the Minister on his statement. At the same time there are some things we must all deplore. We must deplore that so much revenue is derived from the weaknesses of our people, from their addiction to drinking and betting. The country will never be in a sound position until the revenue springs from production. It is the aim of everybody, the Government and the whole Oireachtas, to bring that about.

We have to take serious measures in regard to unemployment. There have been palliatives for unemployment, but there has not, I think, been any serious attempt to study it in all its details, and to try to get a remedy. We will feel it far more after the war, when our people come back from England and the Army is not disbanded but reduced. The money expended on the Army is not only an insurance against danger, but is also a very large palliative against unemployment. I would hope that the young men in the Army, when they come out, will not only have a military training but a training in some productive work. I think it is a very good thing to have them working on the bogs.

If there is any attempt to teach them trades and to use their hands and develop in other ways it is all to the good. Senator Campbell referred to the difficulties of living under present conditions. The cost of living presses hard on pensioners. I know a man who at present is getting four or five pounds a week; next month he goes out on pension, but nobody thinks of giving pensioners a bonus. Why should they not get a bonus as well as anyone else? It is not because a man is in work that he gets a bonus, but because he needs it to help him to live. The man I have in mind will go out on a pension of 16/- a week without any bonus. I think that is a matter that ought to receive some attention. Emigration was spoken of, and I agree that it is deplorable that we should have our people emigrating in such large numbers, but I think that it has always been an unfortunate necessity. In the peace conference if there is a peace conference after the war, what we should aim at is to try to get a colony. I do not see why we should not have a colony as well as anybody else for some of our people to make a start in life. Of course, we can have colonies at home. Our land is not quite developed yet. With a good system of education, the dividing up of the lands, the settling of young people on the land and the training of the women to help their husbands to make these small farms successful, we could have our colonies here. All these things we must bear in mind and it is because the Minister is so closely in touch with the needs of the people that I feel we can safely leave the matter to him.

To quote a phrase which Senator Fitzgerald frequently uses, it seems to me that other members of the House understand as little as I do what is exactly in order and appropriate to discussion on the Finance Bill and on the Appropriation Bill. I do not yet understand what is in order on these Bills.


It is not difficult to do so. The Finance Bill deals with taxation and the raising of money by other methods, and the Appropriation Bill deals with the expenditure of the money so raised and administration generally.

Therefore, nothing should be in order on this Bill except the method of raising taxation and those other methods?


Exactly—how taxation is raised and the effects of that taxation on the community.

I fancy that the discussion has been, to a great extent, out of order because Senator Fitzgerald discussed the factories which were at one time referred to as "back-lane factories", and wound up by talking of a mine in his own back garden.

I apologised each time.


The apology was certainly in order.

It seems to me that the Senator was out of order when he had to apologise. The discussion on the Bill has ranged around the growth of bureaucracy and interference by civil servants with the normal business of the people. The view was expressed that the only solution of this problem was a more strict scheme of rationing. I think that that would be met with greater objection than was the clothes rationing system, in respect of which we had people parading in protest through the streets of Dublin. I fear that, as a people, we do not seem to be able to "take it". Anything that affects our position seems to evoke a protest of the most demonstrative nature we can manage. In connection with the cost of living here and in Great Britain, as referred to by Senator Sir John Keane, I should like to have clarified the question of the difference between the standard of living here and the standard of living in Great Britain. The standard of living here is luxury compared with the standard of living in Great Britain, where the rationing system has been enforced to a starvation degree. If we were allowed only 2 ounces of butter per week, we should have strong protests against it. If we had only the same meagre allowance of bacon as they have in Britain, we would have strong protests against it.

And quite right in an agricultural country.

We cannot compare our cost with the cost of living in a country where the strict enforcing of rationing makes their standard so low. Nobody here is on the starvation standard of living which is being enforced on the people of Great Britain. I was amused by the argument of Senator Sir John Keane that because we had 8,000,000 people here we had a famine. Surely we remember that it was the failure of the potato crop caused the famine. That is relevant also to the remark of Senator Lynch that the failure of the potato crop——

The seizure of the grain crop was also a cause.

The failure of the potato crop, in the first instance, and the seizure of the grain crop, in the second instance, were the causes of the famine. Last year, we had a scarcity of bread. People were very much upset because they had to eat potatoes then, when there were plenty of potatoes. This year we have plenty of bread and the temporary scarcity of potatoes should not be exaggerated to the extent it has been in the Seanad this evening. If I were to confine myself strictly to the terms of the Finance Bill, I should suggest some other system of raising money than that adopted in the Budget. I do not see any good alternative—unless the imposition of taxation on other vices. Senators have suggested that we should not raise money by taxing vices. Is it not true that by taxing vices such as betting and excessive drinking—I do not say that drinking in itself is a vice——

And marriage.

By taxing these vices, we produce revenue. The imposition of taxation on the vices which I have mentioned has been a deterrent. If additional taxation were to be imposed, I think that the Minister should consider the question of increasing the tax on cosmetics. I would increase the tax on cosmetics and increase the national revenue, because I do believe that the use of cosmetics is becoming a vice. I understand that I should not discuss anything relating to expenditure. I should like, however, to say that it would be a good thing if revenue could be collected for the purpose of giving greater facilities to youth organisations. I do not refer to the training of youth in military exercises or tactics, as has happened in other countries. I believe that we should look to youth more even than the unemployed, because the unemployed are, to a great extent, being looked after by the State, although I know that the position is not satisfactory from the point of view of Labour Senators. I think that the problem of the unemployed youths of from 18 to 21, who are at a loose end, is the greatest problem confronting our country at present, and will be the greatest problem in the post-war period.

The longer that post-war period is deferred, the worse the position will be getting for us. I suggest to the Government that provision should be made for greater facilities for the employment of youth in some productive capacity, or in some way that will interest them and keep them from breaking the law, as is frequently happening at present.

I should like to refer, in connection with the question of bureaucracy, to a leading article which appeared in a Dublin paper on last Saturday. It is typical of the references here to-night to bureauoracy and the increased cost of the Civil Service.

One of the phrases used in this article refers to the Civil Service Commission and says that—

"This is the body which holds examinations for appointments to the public services conducted by examiners whose names and qualifications are kept secret from the public which pays them."

This is an Appropriation Bill debate. Was this article written by the Minister for Finance?

It is the leading article in the Independent of last Saturday.

I thought the Minister for Finance was responsible for it.


Could the Senator not withhold that for the discussion on the Appropriation Bill?

I shall be very brief. This is the first time that anybody has been ruled out of order.


I do not want to rule the Senator out of order but I am afraid the Senator will not be brief and other Senators may want to raise the same matter.

With your permission I will just put one point to the Minister as this is a case with which the Minister is directly concerned. In a subsequent statement the article says:

"The women in the Stationery Office who were employed as charwomen when Fianna Fáil came into power have now been raised to the dignity of cleaners, but their wages have remained the same, 13/2 a week."

I would ask the Minister if that is a fact, that these women are still getting 13/2, and if they have not received any increase by way of bonus or in any other way.

I should like to support the remarks of Senator Campbell in regard to the absence of any real planning for the future. We have in existence a national conference, but it is not supported to any extent by Government funds and depends simply on individual subscriptions. We have also got a committee which has been set up to examine post-war agricultural development. I feel that there is a very serious danger in complacency as regards post-war conditions in this country, and I do not feel that any planning on the scale which is necessary is being carried on at all. While we may be planning for ourselves, I do not think that we are really taking account of the conditions which are likely to obtain elsewhere. I feel that any plan which we may adopt in this country in regard to industry or agriculture must be based upon the conditions which will obtain outside. For that reason, we must keep some sort of contact with nations who are likely to be our customers afterwards. Take Great Britain as an example. I think all those plans will be based on the interchange of goods. The United States and other members of the Commonwealth will be in a position, unless we make the necessary contacts now, to get first into the market where products similar to our own can be sold. Although we have made several inquiries, we cannot get an answer of any sort from any Minister as to what contacts have been made. The nations who are now belligerents will some time or other be at peace and will then be in a position, if a proper plan is now made, to buy our products.

Deirtear liom go mba mhaith leis an Seanad an díosbóireacht seo a chríochnú gan mhoill. Ar an adhbhar sin, ní choinneóchaidh mé i bhfad sibh. Níor chualas an díosbóireacht go hiomlán ach an méid a chualas di, is mó a bhain sí le morálacht na ndaoine ná bhain sé leis an mBille Airgeadais. Níl aon cháilidheacht agam labhairt ar cheist den tsaghas sin agus ar an adhbhar sin sgaoilfidh mé tharm í. Sé'n príomhrud a spreagas mé chun labhartha, an méid a bhí le rádh ag an Seanadóir Ridire O Catháin i dtaobh imtheachta roinnt de lucht gnótha na tíre. Sé'n rud a bhí le tuisgint uaidh, dar liom, go raibh calaois de shórt eicint ar bun. Má's fíor sin, tá súil agam go nochtóchar an chalaois agus go mbeidh an deis againn deireadh a chur léithe.

Most of the discussion I have heard this evening had to do, I should say, with morality rather than with taxation. Since I have no particular qualifications to speak on such a matter, I shall not detain the House discussing it. I neither smoke, drink nor back horses, so you see I cannot say, authoritatively, to what extent all these things are evils or what should be done about them. Arising out of the discussion, there is one matter, however, to which I should like to refer. I know the time is short, but I promise that I shall not delay the House very long. A remark made by Senator Sir John Keane with regard to certain industries or business people—I do not know what industries or people he had in mind—leaves me with an uneasy feeling that something underhand is going on in regard to methods employed by these industrialists or business people in this country. Some time ago, when it appeared that things were not going as they might, in the affairs of a certain company in the country, I think most of us interested in the industrial revival felt very unhappy and very uneasy, and I believe we were all very pleased when important information came as far as the Minister and he instituted an inquiry which had the beneficial results of which we all know. I would suggest that, if Senator Sir John Keane has information of that kind, he should not have made the statement in the way he did this evening but that he should come forward, make his information available in full and appeal to the Minister to use his power to set up an inquiry into the operation of these companies or institutions or individuals. I may be mistaken but I think the Minister has power, generally, to institute such inquiries.

If the Minister has not power to institute inquiries of this kind, then I suggest that something in the nature of a bureau or a permanent investigation body should be set up which, on reasonable application being made, I mean application supported by reasonable evidence, would have power to institute an inquiry into the operations of the specific business undertakings in question, something perhaps on the lines of the Committee of Investigation which sits permanently in the United States. I must say that I feel unhappy owing to the way Senator Sir John Keane mentioned the matter this evening, and I hope it will be cleared up very soon.

With regard to what has been done in the matter of the industrial revival, I feel the movement has thoroughly justified itself. I think that the success which has attended it, in spite of many difficulties, is an admirable tribute to the care with which the authorities concerned selected industries for support, and the care they took to see that only industries which were likely to make good in the country would get a start and would get an opportunity of continuing. It may happen—I think this is something which we should bear well in mind in regard to our industrial revival, and in regard to our policy of imposing tariffs or not— that from time to time industries which are considered worthy of establishment here cannot be justified on purely economic grounds; in other words, the same industry in other countries may prove more economically or commercially productive. I do not think it follows that such an industry, because it does not pay as well here as elsewhere, is not a suitable one for this country. Its product may be somewhat dearer here than elsewhere, but I think we would do well always to remember that it may be necessary, and sound economics, to pay something more for a home-produced article than for a similar article which could be obtained elsewhere, and that we should look upon any difference between the two prices as something in the nature of a national insurance premium.

I can quite understand that, if one were to adopt the standard of Senator Sir John Keane, certain industries which are considered most essential to the national well-being should not be supported, but I am sure if the people were asked whether they would be prepared to continue to pay something extra for the products of those industries they would have no hesitation, in view of their experience, in proclaiming that that extra price should be paid.

I was particularly interested, as I always am, in what Senator Campbell had to say. He said he has a certain experience of wages boards, but, especially because I am just as anxious as anybody else for enlightenment, I am sorry that he did not give us some information in regard to the working of those boards, and that he was not able to suggest to us any way in which things might be bettered. For instance, he told us of the percentage increases that have been granted. In view of his experience on the boards, I should have liked to hear from him a reasoned statement as to what would be the results, what would be the repercussions, if higher bonuses or greater increases than have been the rule up to this were granted. I am sure all of us agree that whatever can be done should be done for the members of the community who need assistance, but, as I said here before, it is one thing to wish that but it is quite another to do it. I am all in favour of giving the worker every increase that is possible, but I certainly am not in favour of befooling him by giving him to-day something in the nature of an increase and putting him in the position that, when he goes out to-morrow to buy whatever he wants, he finds that the price has gone up and that he is as badly, or worse, off as he was the day before, with all the consequent disappointment and depression that such a thing implies.

I join with Senator Mrs. Concannon and other Senators who paid tribute to the Minister for the realism he displayed in the Budget he has just brought in, and in his whole approach to the problems raised by it. It may seem a strange thing to say, but, even long before I came to this House, as I watched the trend of the Budget year after year and watched the increasing amounts which people were called upon to pay, it gave me a certain amount of satisfaction, because I felt it was evidence that we were at last waging war on poverty. It gives me satisfaction to think that we did not wait until the other day to take heed of what is now called the Beveridge Plan or to set about bringing something of its kind into force in this country, but that we began to wage war on poverty ten or eleven years ago, and have since striven to continue to wage that war with all the power at our command. Poverty is an enemy which is very elusive, very difficult to beat, but at least we can say with all sincerity that, from the day Fianna Fáil came into office, its Government has waged incessant war on poverty. If we have not reached the ideal of a Beveridge Plan it certainly was not for want of the wish or will to do it, nor was it for want of hard work on the part of the responsible Ministers.

We have not had a very prolonged debate to-day, for which I suppose some people are grateful. As I said before on many occasions, I enjoy coming to the Seanad and listening to the advice and even to the criticism that I get, sometimes in full measure, from its members. There was not much in the way of criticism of what is in the Finance Bill, or in the Budget statement that was so intimately discussed with it to-day. Whatever criticism there was seemed mostly to be developed around what was not in the Budget. Some members held that certain things which might, with advantage, have been inserted were not there, and are not embodied in the Finance Bill either. I think it is true that there are many things which might have been mentioned in the Budget statement and many things which might have found a place in the Finance Bill that may have been of advantage to certain sections of the community but, in anticipating criticism on the absence of certain things that were referred to here—some by Senator Campbell and some by others—I said in my Budget statement that we had to recognise that there is a limit to our resources in this country. We had to cut our cloth according to the measure. I do agree that our social services here are not 100 per cent. what I, or perhaps any member of the Government, would like to see them; nevertheless, the amount spent out of our national revenue on social welfare purposes is probably in greater proportion than in the case of many nations in Europe, small or large.

We could be more generous, perhaps, if our resources were greater. Some of us may hold that even now we ought to be much more generous, but I try, certainly with all the good will in the world, to extend to what Senator Campbell described as the depressed section of the community, all the sympathy I can with their condition, especially under present circumstances. I try to be as generous in financing social welfare schemes as I think our national revenue and national resources permit under present circumstances.

Senator Douglas, who raised several interesting points in the course of his speech, rather suggested, I think, that nobody, or at least very few people, had read the speech. Seriously, if I were to judge from the number of communications which I have received since the Budget statement in the Dáil a few weeks ago from all parts of the country, and I think every class of the community, that speech must have been very widely read indeed. Generally speaking I think that Budget statements are widely read; that has been my experience anyway. I have got some praise for the Budget statement and a good deal of blame and any amount of criticism. In the Seanad here this evening Senator Douglas suggested it was my best Budget speech and Deputy Cosgrave said something similar in the Dáil. They may not have meant to give me much praise by that, because I recollect their comments on my previous Budget speeches, and none of them were very good. They were hopelessly bad in the eyes of some people but, so to say, this was the best— they meant this was the best of a bad lot. Even for that kind of backhand compliment from the important people of the Opposition, one has to be thankful.

I do not know why that speech should be regarded as better than the others because in all these speeches and annual statements on our financial and economic affairs and the general review of the business of the Government for the year—the review which a chairman of a limited company is usually supposed to give at the annual meeting—I try always to give a candid, full statement of things from the financial and economic point of view, both for and against. I try to give a full and free statement, and I think if people will cast their minds back to these previous statements and read them, they will find that I did not gloss over anything. I have nothing to hide and I never wanted to hide anything as Minister for Finance. It is my duty, and I regard it as a solemn duty, to put before the Oireachtas and the country—perhaps not always as precisely—but, at any rate, in as clear and full a fashion as is possible, the exact financial and economic condition of the country. That, I tried to do this time and on other occasions, and I may have done it better this time than before. Certainly, it is true that there was always a disposition on my part to give the Dáil and the Seanad what they are entitled to get on that one occasion in the year, a full and clear statement as to what our finances are, and, so far as I can measure it, what the economic position is at that time.

I do not know what kind of position we may envisage after the war. I do not know what kind of a situation Senator Douglas has in mind as likely to exist here after the war. I think he suggested he did not agree with the position as I envisaged it. I wonder how he knows how I envisage it, because I have not said anywhere, so far as I know, what kind of world I expect to exist here post-war. I did refer to the possibility that it might be possible to reduce the heavy taxation that we are bearing at the present time, and I still entertain that hope, but, as Senator Campbell rightly said, new demands will be springing up every day, and if we are to judge by what is happening in other countries far and near—the nearer ones affect us more than those farther away—it is possible that, with the demands that may be made for economic betterment of our people and greater expenditure on social services of a new kind and a new degree, the drastic reduction in taxation that I looked for and mentioned in my Budget statement, and still entertain some hope of seeing in operation, may not be realised.

Senator Douglas evidently read carefully the remarks I made with regard to the increased Government intervention in private affairs and business that has gone on, and is going on, and probably will continue unless the people of this country change their present outlook. What I said in the Budget statement I stand by, and I would like to repeat and I think it is true of all Parties in the State—at present probably truer of the Labour Party than of any other Party as to degree—that they are making more and greater demands for direct Government intervention in the affairs of the citizen almost every time the Dáil or the Seanad meets. That is true and cannot be denied—true of all Parties, but, particularly true, perhaps, though they may not realise it, of the members, or some of the members, at any rate, of the Labour Party, if not the Labour Party as a whole.

I personally think that that is going in the wrong direction. I think that it may end up here, whether we dislike it or not, in having a system something comparable to the totalitarian system. That is the direction in which we are developing, and perhaps it might be thought that the thing that we hate most is the thing to which we are falling a victim most. Perhaps, a warning of that kind might be taken to heart by the various Opposition Parties. I do not think it will, but at any rate I think it is worth while to mention it. I think it would be wise for all Parties to consider that aspect of the question.

Take, for instance, one item that has been mentioned by several speakers during the debate to-day, by way of criticism of the Government— not particularly, perhaps, as a criticism of the Minister for Finance, as such, but of him, as a member of the Government. That had to do with the shortage of potatoes. Now, it may be right to blame the Government for the present shortage of potatoes, but so far as I am aware the supply of potatoes—the growing of them and their distribution—has always been a matter for private enterprise. The farmer grew the potatoes, and commercial men marketed them and stored them, and there was no need at any time for Government intervention. There were times when potatoes were in short supply, but mostly they were plentiful. I myself have known occasions when there was a shortage of potatoes but now, when there is a shortage, we are asked what is the Government doing—why have not more potatoes been grown, and so on; and the first thing that is said—not necessarily by the Labour Party but by the main Opposition—is that the Government is immediately responsible for the shortage of potatoes. That is one example.

I do not think that the Labour Party put forward the shortage of potatoes as an instance.

No. I do not want to put the blame on the Labour Party in that instance, but I could give hundreds of instances—especially since this emergency—where it has been asked why are not the Government going around collecting potatoes from the farmers, why the potato factors should not be set aside, and why the Government should not take steps to see that the potatoes should be brought up to Dublin and other such centres.

But the Government has, of course, interfered. First of all, the Government interfered in the matter of bringing the potatoes up to Dublin, and then interfered in the matter of distribution here in Dublin.

Listening to some people talking, one would imagine that there was not a war on at all, or that there was any shortage of transport, whether by rail or road. I do not think that I am the only Minister who is inclined to believe that this interference in business, commerce and industry would not be desirable. I know that there are other Ministers who share the same opinions as I have, but when there is constant pressure from all sides on individual Ministers of the Government as a whole to do things that require to be done—things which, admittedly, let us say, private enterprise is not doing quickly enough— then it is very hard for either the Government as a whole, or an individual Minister, to resist the pressure that is brought upon them, and, as far as I can see, that tendency is likely to continue and, perhaps, to increase as time goes on.

Does the Minister say that he believes that that tendency will continue after the emergency?

Most certainly, and I believe that it will probably increase. That is the way I see it, and with that probability in view, bureaucracy—and it all depends on what one's definition of bureaucracy is —is bound to grow, develop, increase and multiply, the more there is of State control in the affairs of life of the ordinary citizens of the State. We are told, for instance, that the number of civil servants has increased and that the cost of the Civil Service has increased considerably in recent years, but that arises out of the constant demand by all Parties in this State for increased services to the citizen from the State. We are constantly criticised about the increased cost of the Civil Service and the increasing numbers of civil servants, but the very same people who demand that there should be more and more interference by the State in the affairs of private individuals or private citizens are those who denounce us most for the increased cost of the Civil Service and the increasing numbers of civil servants.

Under present conditions, with the mentality as I see it at the moment and as, I think, it is developing, I do not see much hope of Senator Douglas's ambition being realised, of there being less interference by the State in private affairs and more responsibility being placed outside. I cannot see it, as things stand at present. Senator Douglas pointed out that the cost of government is heavy. I admit that. I think he said that the cost of government is too heavy, but how are we to measure whether it is too heavy or not? As things are at the moment the cost of government is heavy, and the burden of taxation is certainly very heavy, but it seems to me that, if we are to judge by the financial condition of the country at present, I could not say truthfully that it is too heavy. What I mean by that is that I do not think it could be deemed to be beyond our resources. It is not, because money is actually coming in; but it is must be borne in mind that a time is bound to be reached, if taxation goes on increasing and increasing, when heavier taxes will not produce any additional revenue. That is true of nearly all taxes if we take them separately, but we have not reached that stage yet, so far as I know, talking generally.

Since I became Minister for Finance, however—it was not my job to do it when I was in other Ministerial capacities, because I had other work to do—it has been my job to think always of the cost to the State. As Minister for Finance, I have to direct my mind particularly towards the cost involved in any additional social services that may be proposed. Now, one of the social services that has been demanded on all sides—demanded particularly by the main Opposition Party, and the Labour Party has also been very vocal on the matter—is the matter of family allowances. That has also been put forward by members of my own Party, and even by some of my Ministerial colleagues.

If the Bill could have been got through and put into operation before the end of this financial year, I would have had to make financial provision for it. That would have cost, and will cost when it comes into operation, a very heavy sum, no matter how low may be the rates of family allowances, or children's allowances, which-every you may wish to call them. This social service is bound to make a heavy bill. It must be provided for out of taxation. You cannot borrow for it. I am not saying anything against it if it can be afforded, but some of those who are most vocal in demanding this social service will be the first to criticise the big increase in taxation and the vast increase in the cost of social services that must follow the operation of a children's allowances scheme. One other interesting matter that Senator Douglas developed was the question of a national Government. The Senator said that the Minister stands behind his Leader in opposition to a national Government. I think I stood before and behind my Leader in that matter. I spoke out my view before ever he did —in recent times, at least. My view was against it. I thought it would not work, and I think so still. Senator Douglas thinks that a national Government faces up to national problems in a way no Party Government can do.

The Senator may be truer in that statement than he knows. What is called a national Government or coalition Government cannot to my mind face up to national issues in the same courageous way that a Party Government can when it is sure of its followers. I have been wondering in the last few weeks what brought about the somersault in Deputy Cosgrave's views—a complete volte face in a few weeks. I quoted before the views expressed by Deputy Cosgrave and it may be no harm to do so again, as Senator Douglas thinks the matter is of so great importance. Here is the quotation from the Official Report of the 8th-10th July, 1941, columns 1319 to 1320 on the Emergency Powers (Continuance) Bill, 1941:—

"Occasionally people have taken to themselves the privilege of dealing with what is needed in this country, and what should be done to improve the situation, to inspire more public confidence and so on. Even the Taoiseach, on one occasion, and the Minister for Supplies on another occasion gave expression to the views regarding what some people call a coalition Government, and, other people, a national Government. A national Government or a coalition Government in this country is an impossibility. Everybody who talks about it ought to know that there is a different language spoken, there is a different conception of civic duty and civic responsibility on the two sides of this House, and that this is not the time when we should accentuate those differences or magnify whatever criticism we have to make of each other. It ought to be finished and done with, once and for all. There can be no coalition Government and no national Government in this country in present circumstances and there is no reservation with regard to present circumstances. We are in absolute and in entire disagreement with the Government regarding the manner in which they have handled this situation from the beginning and let there be no misunderstanding about it."

That is as clear and definite a statement on coalition government or national government as you could get from the leader of a political party. That statement was only made in 1941:—

‘A national Government or a coalition Government in this country is impossible.'

That was Deputy Cosgrave's view in 1941, and it was still his view later. I have not got the quotation, but I remember a passage in which he said we ought to have formed a national Government on the outbreak of the war, but that, of course, there should be agreement on fundamentals. I am not quoting his ipsissima verba. If agreement on fundamental policy was a necessity for the formation of a national Government, it could not have been formed at the outbreak of the war because there certainly was not on vital fundamentals that measure of agreement if we are to judge by certain statements made by certain leaders of Deputy Cosgrave's Party. In the Irish Times there is a quotation from Deputy Cosgrave's speeches recently made. The Irish Times political correspondent says:—

"I endeavoured to obtain from the Leader of the Fine Gael Party his comment on this allegation quoted from Mr. de Valera's speeches, but Mr. Cosgrave was not available. At the headquarters of the Party, however, it was stated that Mr. Cosgrave's speeches gave the complete answer. On January 18 last he said, when the emergency became more acute, as a result of the development of the war in June, 1940, Parliament had still most of its legal life to live before it and it might have seemed a wise course for the Government to abandon the system of one Party Government."

I will not read the whole of it. Of course Senators will have read it in the Irish Times. It says again, that at Cork on May 11th, Mr. Cosgrave said——

If Senators have read the other piece they will have read this too.

I just want to revive my memory. Deputy Cosgrave said:

"If as a result of this general election we have the responsibility of forming a Government it is our declared intention to form a Ministry based upon national rather than Party adherence. In a period of national crisis the Government ought to be broad-based on the different political Parties of the State. A national emergency needs control by a body representative of the country rather than of a section."

That is Deputy Cosgrave in 1943, and here is Deputy Cosgrave in 1941:

"In no conceivable circumstances —I think that is a proper paraphrase —could there be a national or coalition Government."

What kind of leader for a political Party is he who would make such somersaults and expect people to take him seriously in either one statement or the other? I remember reading quotations of what some British people thought about their Governments, but I could not get them in time. There was one that you will find in a book by Ivor Jennings.

What is the title?

"Cabinet Government."

I thought that it might be the Finance Acts.

I think that the Senator got a fair amount of latitude to-day.

I should want a little more.

The Minister did apologise, as Senator Fitzgerald did.

I do not think it is necessary, because the Leas-Chathaoirleach is a sensible man. This is Wm. Ivor Jennings on Cabinet Government, Mr. Jennings is Reader of English law in the University of London. He quotes from a book of Mr. Winston Churchill, the title of which is, I think, World Crisis. Here is what Mr. Winston Churchill said on coalition Government:—

"From the moment of the formation of the coalition——"

he is referring to the coalition during the last war.

"——power was dispersed and counsels were divided, and every military decision had to be carried out by the same sort of process of tact, temporising and expansion which occurs over a clause in a keenly-contested Bill in the House of Commons in times of peace."

That is one quotation from Mr. Winston Churchill. Here is another:—

"I was strongly of opinion that it would have been better to break up the Cabinet and let one section or the other carry out their view in its integrity than to preserve what was called the ‘national unity' at the expense of vital executive action."

These people have had experience and that is the view of one man whose opinion is, probably, worth serious consideration because he served in coalition and national Governments.

That was his view. Evidently, he changed his view on this occasion.

He had more experience.

Probably, he had to submit. That was his view with regard to the coalition Government in which he served. He was not the boss then. Now, he gets his own way, probably, and, being the boss, he may have changed his view. Having considered the matter, Ivor Jennings gives this view:—

"In a coalition Government, there may be little personal loyalty and no Party loyalty. The Cabinet has a plethora of eminence. There are rival policies as well as rival ambitions."

This is the last quotation with which I shall trouble the House.

"Of the coalition of 1915, we have some graphic descriptions. Its members were constantly looking over their shoulders to see whether they could carry their Parties with them."

If I had time, I could get other views, from persons of, perhaps, even greater eminence than Mr. Ivor Jennings, which you might be interested to hear on this question of coalition or national Governments versus Party Governments. I am not saying: in no circumstances at no time would a coalition Government be valuable, but I honestly do not see it working at present.

Senator Douglas went on to deal with the question of the trade slump after the war and its effect on companies. After the last war, the British Government legislated financially to deal with the problems that then arose and we contemplate having to do the same thing on this occasion. Certain special arrangements will have to be made to meet the possible slump and provide a variety of allowances for people who have invested money in stocks which, some time after the end of the war, may not have anything like the value they have now. We envisage the making of such special arrangements as will secure that our industries and businesses will be able to carry on.

Senator Douglas also dealt with the differentiation between companies formed before and after 1934. There is one reason why 1934 was selected: that is, that from that time up to the time of the outbreak of the war a great many new companies had been established. These companies had not sufficient time to get on their feet financially and there was not sufficient time to enable the tax gatherers of the State to decide what might be a fair standard for the different varieties of companies. We had to arrange then for special consideration for them. I understand that Senator Douglas was not able to remain to move the amendment of which he gave notice. He desired certain allowances to be increased in the case of some of the older classes of companies. I wanted to say in reply to Senator Douglas, if he were present, that up to the present no case has been made to me or to the officials of my Department or the Revenue Department in favour of increased allowances for these older companies. Only one case of an old-established business was brought to my notice. On investigation, we found that we were treating that company very generously—I do not exaggerate in saying that. If any case is made to my Department by the older companies, and if figures are given to show that we are inflicting an unbearable burden on them in any way, I shall be happy to examine their cases sympathetically.

The Minister seems to be short-circuiting the Committee Stage.

I was answering Senator Douglas because it was intimated to me that he would not be present to move his amendment.

It is now 20 minutes to nine, and the Minister may have quotations to give us from a book on gold-mining in Burma. Therefore, I am not sure that we shall be able to finish all stages of the Bill to-night. I think that Senator Douglas's amendment was directed to obtaining a statement from the Minister specifically explaining the distinction between the circumstances of a company formed before 1934 and the circumstances of a company formed after 1934. The Minister has said that no representations have been made to him showing hardship on any company established before 1934. No hardship may have been imposed on a company established after 1934.

Cases of hardship were put up to me by the Federation of Industries.

And in favour of?

Special treatment for these younger industries.

It does seem to me that legislation should be equitable and not merely directed to satisfying those who raise most clamour.


The Senator must not make another speech.

I should like, for my own enlightenment, to ascertain why a company established before 1934 does not require special treatment while a company established after 1934 automatically requires such treatment and can only be dealt with equitably by receiving such treatment.

If the Senator reflects for a moment, it will be obvious to him that the older companies would have had time to build up reserves and get a proper profit standard.

They might have time to build up debits.

In one case where they had not a profit over many years we allowed them, and the law at present allows these older companies 50 per cent.—at least in such cases as were shown to be hard cases—more than they could have asked for. No one case has been proved to me for special or sympathetic treatment for the older companies. If there is a case I shall be glad to hear it. I understood that the Seanad was likely to get through the other stages of this Bill to-night so that I shall not detain the House unduly although there are many other matters to which I should like to refer. One thing which struck me, as it also struck Senator O Buachalla, was the statement of Senator Sir John Keane about strange things being done in the dark in regard to quotas and matters of that kind. I should personally be very happy if whatever Senator Sir John Keane has in mind as to strange things that are done in the dark, were subjected to the light of day and, if strange and improper things are being done, that they should be shown up. I would ask Senator Sir John Keane to do that. We are in the happy position in this House that we are privileged, that we can state the whole truth or what we believe to be the truth about anything. If anything wrong or improper from a business point of view or any other point of view is happening that should not happen, we should be told fully and frankly about it.

In reply to Senator Lynch I should say that we are providing out of this Budget, in round figures, £5,000,000 to provide employment. That is a considerable sum out of our present annual Budget. It may be that it is not enough, but it is a considerable sum. I should like to develop further his ideas as to whether we are likely to be affected by the special economic changes taking place but, unfortunately, I have not time to do that to-night. In regard to Senator Campbell's remarks about social security in England, I should like to point out that the Beveridge report is not in operation and, goodness knows, if it ever will be. We all remember the promises made during the last war about making Britain a country fit for heroes to live in. I should like to see the recommendations of the Beveridge report in operation and then we can compare them with what is happening elsewhere. In reply to the remarks of Senator Fitzgerald in regard to mineral development, I may say that I am personally sympathetic in that matter. I am having it examined at present to see what can be done to assist people who have put up, or who are anxious to put up, capital for mineral development.

Question put and agreed to.
Agreed to take the Committee Stage now.