One of the difficulties I shall come to in a minute is the one mentioned by Senator Hartney. I shall deal with it now, as Senator McHugh has interrupted me. Senator Hartney seemed to miss the point which is of absolute importance that, in the undoubted restriction that there will be of resources available for development not merely here but in any country, it is essential that those resources be put to real productive use. If, in the past, they had been put to more productive use then we would not have the emigration of which Senator McHugh speaks. The only way of stopping the flow of emigration is to put more and more of our capital resources to productive development and less to non-productive purposes. In relation to employment in particular —and it is vital that this be appreciated —during the expenditure of capital moneys on non-productive works employment is given and, therefore, there are jobs for the people concerned. However, when that capital expenditure on non-productive work is concluded, there are no jobs for those people and our capital resources have been weakened by the amount that has been expended on that non-productive work—a worse state of affairs than the first.
On the other hand, if we utilise our resources for productive purposes we shall have, from that utilisation of capital expenditure, not merely employment for those who are building up the development but, after the capital buildup is concluded, there will be a productive asset there that will continue to provide income and employment thereafter. That is the vital difference which we must appreciate and which must be borne in mind. In that connection, I want to make quite clear exactly where I stand in relation to programmes of capital development.
I believe that what we want here is the largest possible programme of productive capital development that the people will sustain. In that sentence, the emphasis must be on the words "productive" and "sustain." That is why, because of my belief in the emphasis on the word "sustain," I spoke at such length yesterday on the position of our savings and compared them with those in other countries. In that connection Senator Cogan and also, I think, Senator O'Callaghan, mentioned the question of expenditure on the land project. The fact is that, in the current year, we shall be expending some £400,000 more than was expended on the land project in 1954-55, approximately the same as was expended last year. As we all know, this year, in the late spring and early summer, we got much better weather for doing that type of work than we would have in normal years. In addition, there were some improvements made in administration. The result was that, because of the weather conditions and the administrative improvements, more work was done in the early part of this year than was done in the early part of other years.
What has happened is that, as a result of the speeding up of work in the early part of this year, there has been an exhaustion of the amount allocated for the work for the current year. As Senators are aware, that allocation was recently reinforced again and the reinforcement will enable more work under the land project to proceed in the whole country at the moment. In relation to that, I want to make it quite clear that there was no bringing to a close, as one Senator suggested. In fact, the allocation for the land project for the current year at £2,691,000 will be approximately £400,000 more than the similar allocation made by my friends opposite in the last year in which they were in office.
Senators Douglas and Guinness referred to the effect that this Bill might have in relation to existing firms who had already gone into the export market. Senator Douglas was rather inclined to think that a tax concession, which he worked out at £1,187 10s. on his own figures, is a very meagre one. I must confess I take issue with him there at once. A tax concession of £1,187 10s. on a profit of £5,000 is a pretty big concession. In fact, if I were in the fortunate position of being able to engage in export industry at the moment instead of being most inadequately paid as a Minister, I would regard that as being a quite useful concession.
The case made by both Senators was that this was not rewarding the firm who had already gone out and got export markets. That is true. There is an element of reward in the provision by virtue of which there is the choice of 1955 or 1956 as the datum year. But the point of this Bill is not to reward anybody; the point of this Bill is to get increased exports. It is on that basis, and solely on that basis, the Bill is framed. If, for example, I were to go back and give a concession in respect of a firm which, shall we say, exported nothing in 1948 and exported £100,000 worth of goods last year, if I were to allow them to choose 1948 as their datum year, and this year they only exported £50,000 worth of goods, they would get a concession, not for increasing their exports in the national need, but for decreasing them.
That situation might not arise but it seems to me to be wrong to look on the matter on any basis other than that of giving a concession in circumstances when exports are being increased. That is looking at it from the point of view of the national need, not, as I think both Senators looked at it, from the point of view of the reward for particularly industries concerned. I certainly pay tribute to their enterprise in going out and getting markets up to this, but I do not think that it would be justifiable in the national interest to deal with that on a system of retrospective reward, which is really what their argument comes to when analysed to rock bottom.
I may say also that Senators are incorrect when they refer to the necessity for the ploughing back of this amount. I had originally provided that there would be a plough-back of the concession. I was anxious, if I possibly could, to retain that. I had provided it on the basis that there would be a plough-back of the profits that are to be made from excess exports. During the discussion in the other House certain representations were made to me by Córas Tráchtála and others. It became clear that I had to take a definition for profits which were not going to be the actual profits but would be what we would deem profits for the purpose of covering a case where an exporter was able to get a lower margin of profit in the export market than in the home market. I felt it would be quite unrealistic that the plough-back should be in respect of not what was a profit but what was deemed to be a profit. On that account, I had to change that provision during the course of the passage of the Bill through the Dáil and it is no longer in the Bill as it comes before this House.
Senator Douglas also asked about unprocessed gypsum and shell-fish. As I said in the other House, the position as regards unprocessed gypsum is that it will be considered further and, when that consideration is concluded, the result will be announced as soon as possible. It is not possible to consider all the ramifications and implications which will arise from this Bill. As far as shell-fish are concerned, I am afraid it is the shell-fish itself that does the processing rather than the person who exports the shell-fish. Therefore, it seems to me that Senator Douglas correctly estimated the effect there.
When making his general review, Senator O'Brien expressed the hope that the levies would be temporary. He said that if they were not temporary they would lose their sharp effect. As I explained at the time they were introduced, they had two effects. One was the deterrent effect. I agree with him that there is this shock effect but there is also a second effect—that is, that the moneys that are collected by the levies go to that extent towards reducing the deficit financing that was part of the cause of our adverse balance of payments. In considering the effects of the levies at all, one must consider not merely the deterrent effect but also the effect they have in bridging that deficit.
I do not think there were any other points raised on the Bill itself. I think the general view in the House was that, as part of the desire of the Government to increase production and increase exports, the Bill was a desirable one. Perhaps I should refer to one thing said by Senator Murphy. He seemed to misunderstand what I meant by the differences between an open and closed economy. It is not at all on the lines that he indicated. A closed economy is one in which you do not have free movement of materials, that is to say, free imports of the raw materials and the resources that are required to carry on the economy. We have not got, and could not hope to have, what one might term self-sufficiency in that regard. Unless we have available within our own economy the resources to meet all modern living requirements and eventualities, we must bring those in and it is because of that and because of the movement of funds that goes with that necessity to bring in imports, if there is a shortage in internal production, because of our lack of resources, that we are an open economy, not because we maintain a parity link with British sterling.
Incidentally, I may add in that respect, that even in present circumstances, I think Egypt maintains parity with British sterling, so that it is not necessarily a sign in the direction that some of the Senators would like me to interpret that link.
I think I have covered most of the points that were raised. I am grateful to the House for the manner in which they accepted the proposals contained in the Bill.