I do not know whether the Seanad would like to have—or perhaps not like —a lengthy disquisition on all the clauses of this Bill, and, on the assumption that Senators do not want the proceedings on the Second Stage to be unduly prolonged, since the Bill is in effect a Committee Bill, I will content myself with saying that the Bill consists mainly of clauses consequential on the Financial Resolutions passed by the Dáil on Wednesday, 20th June, and which had previously been adopted by the Dáil on 2nd May, and its main purpose is to give continuing effect to these resolutions passed originally on 2nd May. Accordingly, I proposes to refrain from a detailed analysis of the Bill at this stage, but to deal briefly with sections which refer to matters not mentioned in the original Budget statement or covered by the Financial Resolutions already passed.
The principal among these is Section 6, which is concerned mainly with conversions under the Government Loans (Conversion) Act which has been passed by the Oireachtas. It is essentially a relieving section and is linked up with the Act to which I have referred. Under the proposed terms of conversion, a cash bonus of £1 per £100 of stock is being paid. That cash bonus will not be subject to income-tax so long as it is paid to an ordinary investor, but would be brought into account if the stock were to be held by a concern whose normal business it was, among other things, to deal in stocks and shares. It may happen, however, that the holder of such stocks and of the new conversion stock might not wish to realise the stock in question until some later date, and accordingly, Section 6 provides that the cash bonus will not be taken into account for income-tax purposes until the conversion stock is actually realised. The justice of that will be seen when we remember that the conversion stock may have to be realised at a discount and, accordingly, the loss on the realisation should be set against the profit which the cash bonus might be taken to represent.
The next section is Section 9, which deals with mineral hydrocarbon light oils and again, it is an exemption section. For the past two years, certain carboys of tractor vaporising oil have arrived in this country which conform in some respects to the statutory definition of petrol, though I should like to emphasise in that connection that the oil is quite unsuitable for the normal engines in which petrol is used. Normally, tractor vaporising oil would be chargeable as hydrocarbon oil, other sorts than petrol, but, where it is for use in an agricultural tractor, a rebate of the full duty is given and in effect, therefore, no duty is payable on hydrocarbon oils, other sorts.
The difficulty which has arisen here is due to the fact that, as the kind of vaporising oil to which I have referred conforms in some respects to the definition of petrol, it would, as matters stand at the moment, be liable to be charged with the duty upon petrol, in respect of which a rebate of only 8d. per gallon would be payable. The purpose of the section is to authorise the Revenue Commissioners to grant, as in fact they are already doing extra-statutorily, the full rate for tractor vaporising oil which is of specification.
Section 11 relates to the warehousing on drawback of home-made liqueurs and compounded spirits. The warehousing of spirits is founded very largely upon the Spirits Act, 1880, which is in some respects archaic. The section will permit home-made liqueurs intended for home consumption to be warehoused on drawback of duty and, what is perhaps more important, warehoused in bottle instead of in cask. At present they can only get a drawback if they are warehoused in cask, and the fact that they will be permitted to be warehoused in bottle will enable manufacturers of homemade, that is, Irish liqueurs to hold stocks without paying duty until the spirits are withdrawn for sale.
Section 21 relates to the capital services redemption account and its purpose is two-fold. The House will remember that in last year's Budget provision was made for the setting up of a capital services redemption account, which was to be fed by annual sums calculated by reference to the estimated expenditure on capital services. The purpose of this section is to adjust the annuity payable to the capital services redemption account by reference to the actual expenditure on voted capital services during the last financial year, that is, the year which ended on 31st March last.
The second purpose of the section is to provide for the annuity which would be payable in respect of this year's estimated figure of £12,079,000 odd for capital services. The adjustment involves a corresponding change in the interest element of the annuity—which is effected by sub-section (3). Finally, for administrative purposes, power is taken to pay the annuity into the account during the year whenever and in such amounts as may be determined by the Minister and not, as in last year's Finance Act, in half-yearly instalments.
These, I think, are the only sections to which it is necessary to draw attention at this stage. When the debate on the Committee Stage opens—I was assured, I think, at the last sitting of the Seanad, that the Committee Stage would be taken to-day—I shall be glad to deal with the special provisions of each of the separate sections.
Before I conclude, I should like to say that I propose, if the Committee Stage is taken to-day, to ask the Seanad to introduce a recommendation to provide for a reduction from 5 per cent to 1 per cent. in the ad valorem duty attracted in respect of a house qualifying for a grant under the Housing (Amendment) Act of 1948 where the lease or conveyance is delayed until the house has been built and the giving of the lease or conveyance is made dependent on the payment of the price of the house to the builder, and also to enable the Revenue Commissioners to deal with other cases in which, by reason of the neglect of solicitors for the lessees to secure the endorsement of the Minister for Local Government prior to the stamping of a conveyance, stamp duty has had to be assessed at 5 per cent. instead of 1 per cent., which was the original intention of the Legislature.