That is £5,000. And the administration of the service is going to cost at least £15,000. Before we examine the merits of that proposition, let us first of all see the measure of the burden involved in our claim that they should pay one penny for every £2 turn over. That is less than ¼ per cent. on the total turn over; and as Deputy Beamish pointed out, it is an infinitesimal portion of the price of a pound of butter, .003 per cent. off the price of a pound of butter. It is about a charge of £25 a year on the average creamery. Will any man here who knows the expenses, the overhead charges of a creamery, just consider what proportion £25 would bear to any one of the substantial charges. He must admit that it will be one of the smallest charges in connection with the creamery. And the intention at least of the Bill is to increase the value of our exports of creamery butter by millions and millions a year, and we hope that we shall be able not only to increase the value by millions, but to increase the quantity by 100 per cent. I know something about how difficult it is to run a business that is not paying, and to run a business that is in debt. The creamery that is going to find this particular charge a really serious burden might, I think, as well be closed. Such a creamery as that is in a bad way. Even a creamery in a shaky position could bear it. Deputy Baxter speaks of a creamery that will have to pay £9 a week or over £400 a year. Well, such a creamery must have a tremendous turn over. The average creamery will pay about £25 a year—£25 in a turn over of between £13,000 and £14,000. This is a Special Committee, and we all know a little about the running of creameries and business generally, and I put it seriously to any business man here: is it a serious proposition for any creamery that is well run to pay this ¼ per cent, on its turn over? Is this charge a serious proposition in itself as compared with any of the other overhead charges that exist at the present moment?
If the Bill is to have any benefit at all it ought to make up the amount of the fee to every creamery immediately, and in the very near future it ought to save three, four, ten times the amount of it to any creamery. In our main scheme we are asking the taxpayers of the country to find £5,000 a year for the creamery business. And remember further that we have our creamery inspectors and our dairy schemes costing about £20,000 at the present moment. And it is the taxpayer—largely the farmer, I agree, but the small farmer of the west, the store farmer as well as the dairy farmer—who is paying that charge of £20,000 at the present moment for the administration of the creamery services. And but for the fact that we are inspecting the creameries and doing other work in connection with the creameries at the present moment it would cost us a great deal more than £15,000 to run this Bill. If the services of the Department of Agriculture in connection with creameries ceased in the morning it would cost, I should say, about £25,000 to administer this Bill; but when we are making the existing services fit in with this particular additional service it will cost about £15,000; and the taxpayer under our scheme will have to pay £5,000 of that £15,000, and £15,000 extra if you take into account the whole cost of running the daily services, that is, even under the scheme of the Bill. If we accept Deputy Hogan's amendment the position will be that, first of all, the taxpayer will have to find the cost of the present dairy services of the Department of Agriculture, and will have to find £10,000 the extra cost of this service, and that the creameries with a turn-over of £4,000,000 at the present moment—a figure which, I hope, will be £8,000,000 in six or seven years—will find £5,000. It is not a good enough proposition. I know that it is a very easy thing to concentrate on this particular item, and to make it as small as possible, and instead of making it one-halfpenny for every 28 lbs. to make it one-halfpenny for every 100 lbs. That would be a very nice and easy thing to do, and this proposal of one-halfpenny for every 28 lbs. is almost as indefensible as the proposal of one-halfpenny for every 100 lbs. And I should be inclined to say that the soundest thing for the farmers would be to endeavour to pay the whole cost of this service—it is easily collected and the burden is small—and to allow the taxation that would otherwise go to it, to be reserved for other services, the cost of which it would be difficult to collect in this fashion. There was one point made in connection with this which I think is sound. As the years go on and the scheme is running, it may be that we shall find that the volume of butter will have increased, and that some of the difficulties in connection with this scheme will disappear. We shall probably get more co-operation, and possibly we shall not require the same amount of inspection. People will do more for themselves. And in three or four or five years time it may be found that 4d. a cwt. would be too much. But as the Bill stands we have no option, we must charge it. When the Bill was being drafted I was under the impression that the cost would be £10,000 or £12,000. My opinion now is that it will take £15,000; and if I was drafting the Bill now I would not make the same case for the Minister for Finance. I would be willing to accept an amendment—and it is the only amendment which I think I could accept with fairness—to the effect that no more than 5d. per cwt. be charged. If experience showed that it was necessary to relieve the taxpayer, If experience showed that the creameries were getting all the value which we hope they will get out of the Bill, such a proposal would enable us to increase the fee to 5d., or, on the other hand, to cut it down to 3d. or 2d. if the circumstances would justify it.