UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE BILL, 1924 (SECOND STAGE).

I beg to move the Second Reading of the Unemployment Insurance Bill, 1924, which is necessitated by the fact of the high rate of unemployment at present existing in this country, and secondly by the large number of those unemployed who have exhausted all their contributions, on which they could draw benefits, accrued under previous Acts. A few figures with regard to the actual state of unemployment benefit are necessary. The latest returns to hand show that from 18th October, 1923, to the 5th May of this year, 78,685 persons lodged claims for unemployment benefit, these claims having been allowed. Approximately 34,000 had exhausted all right to benefit to which they were entitled on the 12th April of this year; 37,000 had their rights to benefit completely exhausted by the 3rd May. An estimate has been made with regard to the future and that estimate is that approximately 56,000 will have exhausted all benefits to which they might be entitled by the 1st July, and 73,000 would have exhausted all benefit at the end of August. By the 15th October, 1924, there would be no benefit unexhausted. One deduction arises from some of these figures. If you take an applicant for benefit who had been allowed the maximum number of days, that is to say, 156 days, the earliest date by which he could have exhausted his benefit in the second benefit year was the 17th April of this year. I have already stated that 34,000, approximately, had exhausted by the 12th April, all the benefit to which they were entitled. It is clear from those figures that that number have no further credit on the Unemployment Insurance Fund; 34,000 are definitely without further right to benefit from the fund. The balance of 44,685 remain for consideration, and the estimate is that about 19,000 have sufficient contributions to entitle them to the full term of 26 weeks, and some benefit to spare, which would fall into and be available in the next benefit year. Consequently only 19,000 have any hope of benefit in the next insurance year on the statutory basis established by the Act of 1923. That was the position which had to be faced: 78,000 people who had lodged claims which had been allowed, and only 19,000 without any great reduction in the ranks of unemployed, have any right to benefit in the next benefit year. The rest would have benefit completely exhausted and would be left without any resources, as far as the Unemployment Insurance Fund was concerned. That, of course, led immediately to the conclusion that some further provision for the relief of unemployment by way of unemployment benefit was necessary. The only question then to be decided was the manner in which this provision should be made. There was the question of either covenanted benefit or uncovenanted benefit. Uncovenanted benefit is very difficult to check, is much more wasteful even than the covenanted type, and is a severer drain on public funds. The expenditure necessary in connection with the supervision of the covenanted benefit has to be made in any event; the offices are there and the officials are being paid, and it was thought better, on a full consideration of all the circumstances, that the covenanted benefit system, the insurance system, should be adhered to in preference to the uncovenanted type of benefit. That means that this Bill is founded on that basis, the old insurance principle, with a small difference. The unemployment insurance goes on the principle that there is some proportion between contributions paid and benefit to be received, and that is adhered to with this difference, that benefit is to be paid out in advance of contributions.

I have no doubt that the word "dole" will be frequently mentioned this afternoon, and I would enter a protest against its use. It can only be considered a dole on one assumption, and that is that the money is never to be repaid to the Fund. That is not the intention that we have at the moment. The intention is that the employer, the employee, and the State shall repay in any year in which unemployment will be only normal—it has to be recognised that there is such a thing as normal unemployment in a country—the advances made by the Central Fund to the Insurance Fund. On that basis there is no justification whatever for applying the term "dole" to what is proposed in this Bill. It is based definitely on the old principle of some proportion, some relevance, between benefit to be enjoyed and contributions paid. Taking into consideration the number of those who have exhausted the right to benefit, on the present basis it is clear that the normal procedure of one day's benefit for every contribution is not desirable and would not meet the case in the present circumstances. The main proposition in the Bill is that any contributions paid for a person in an insurable occupation since the 8th November, 1920, are to be revived, and benefit will follow on the revival of those contributions. That may not be quite clear from the terms of the Bill itself, which seems to limit the revival of contributions to the second benefit year, but this Bill has to be taken in conjunction with the Act of 1923, and that, in Clause 3, stated "for the purpose of determining the amount of benefit to which a person is entitled no account shall be taken of any benefit which may have been received by such person between the 7th day of November, 1920, and the commencement of the first benefit year." That provision is carried into the present Bill and the effect, consequently, is that any contributions paid for a person in an insurable occupation since the 8th day of November, 1920, are revived, and the ordinary benefit follows thereon.

That is the first and the main proposition in the Bill, and the position of the person at present unemployed who was at any time in an insurable occupation and had stamps paid for him is this, to put it in another way: The machinery for the proper method of counting what benefit has been received is roughly this: stamps are put on, representing contribution to the fund. When benefit is paid the stamps are cancelled. The effect of this Bill will be that stamps cancelled since the 8th December, 1920, will be revived. These cancelled stamps appear as if they were new stamps and entitle a person to benefit. The second main point in the Bill is with regard to persons enlisted in the National Military Forces. The proposition with regard to them is, that for a period of service which terminated on or before the 29th of June, 1924, in the case of a person who, before the date of enlistment, had had paid for him, under the Unemployment Insurance Acts, either 20 contributions at any time, or 10 contributions since the 8th November, 1920, there shall be paid to the credit of the Unemployment Fund by the Minister for Defence not less than 24 contributions for every insurance year, or portion of an insurance year, covered by the military service of such person. The contributions so paid are then credited to such person. That seems to go back even further than the 8th November, 1920, because it speaks of 20 contributions at any time, or 10 since the 8th November, 1920. That is explained by this fact, that the Act of 1920 re-adjusted the basis on which unemployment insurance was given, and included for unemployment insurance purposes many more people than were included in any previous Act. Those who were included in any previous Act and who had not exhausted the right to benefit had their contributions brought forward by the 1920 Act, and the 1920 Act is taken as the basis of all succeeding Acts, because it brought forward the contribution question and increased the number of those who might draw benefit under the terms of it.

The rest of the Bill is pretty well all machinery. It grafts itself on to the 1923 Act, takes away the second benefit year set up by that, establishes in place of it a new second benefit year, and third, fourth and fifth special benefit years, and then sets out a period over which all further benefit years shall be counted. The period dealt with in this special benefit year section is from the 29th June of this year to the 16th of October next year, and that period of about 66 weeks is divided into three benefit periods of 17 weeks, 21 weeks, and about 29 weeks. It is a matter of machinery, and the clause which follows the setting up all of these special years, limiting the maximum benefit payable in any benefit year, has to be taken in conjunction with this clause. Ten weeks is the maximum period over which benefit is payable in the 17 weeks period; 16 weeks is the maximum period over which benefit is payable in the 21 weeks period; the maximum is 15 weeks in the third period, and the maximum is 26 weeks in any normal benefit year. With regard to those who are likely to be benefited under the present proposals, and for how long they are to receive benefit under them, this may be of interest: I previously said that 78,685 people had been allowed benefit in the second benefit year. I have now to add on a number of 4,143 who, prior to the 17th May of this year, had been disallowed benefit because they had not 12 contributions to their credit. That proviso with regard to 12 contributions to credit is repealed in this Bill, and will not hold for the special benefit periods; that is, we are dealing now with a number of unemployed, about 82,000. Under the proposals of this Bill 25,000 persons will be entitled to 6 weeks benefit, or less. I have to make a rough division here in order to give totals—it is quite arbitrary, but it divides them into a period of benefits which may be looked forward to under the present proposals. Twenty-five thousand would be entitled to 6 weeks benefit or less; 20,000 would be entitled to between 6 and 13 weeks benefit; about 16,000 will profit to the extent of 13 to 19 weeks, and 21,700 will have between 19 and 26, the maximum number of weeks benefit.

The only other item which I wish to make any comment on at the moment is this: With regard to the total cost of unemployment benefit from the period, 30th June, 1924, to the 25th March, 1925, it is estimated in that period at about £600,000, but if no new Act were introduced, the total cost of unemployment for that period would be about £400,000. This Bill, therefore, puts on the unemployment fund, or at the moment on the Central Fund, an additional charge of something not less than £200,000. This is an estimate, and I say something not less than £200,000 because the estimate is put somewhat higher. £200,000 is the minimum charge on the Central Fund to be afterwards repaid from the Unemployment Insurance Fund.

Is that assuming the present rate of unemployment?

Yes, I am taking the proposals in the Bill which include the continuation of benefit at the present rates.

That is the payment of benefit at the present rates?

Yes. That is all that is contained in the Unemployment Insurance Bill of 1924. One other thing I would like to say. I had intended to go into matters in some detail, but there will be other opportunities for dealing with the things I had desired to discuss. This is not the sole contribution of the Government to the unemployment question. This is not a solution, it is an immediate reaction to the present high rate of unemployment in the country. It is not meant to be anything more than an alleviation of the very evident distress. It is not in substitution for any scheme which may be brought forward of a good type to relieve unemployment by providing work or by stimulating industry. Those are the two divisions of approach to the unemployment problem that I make. There are certain temporary relief schemes. These I think can be discussed, and undoubtedly will be discussed on my own estimates, and that will be more or less the proper place to discuss them. With regard to the general stimulus of industry, next week there will be introduced something in the nature of a Trade Facilities Bill, and on that the question of the better approach to the unemployment problem by way of stimulating industry can be raised. I simply mention these matters in order to point out that this is not to be taken as the sole contribution of the Government to the solution of this very big question. It is the immediate reaction to it, and is not to be taken at all as even the best view of what is the right thing to be done in the circumstances. It is a thing done because the distress is there, and it is obvious it has to be immediately attended to. This seems to be the best way of immediate attention. Relief schemes take a certain amount of time. They are expensive and extravagant. It may be said they are not so extravagant as giving money which is entirely unproductive. That is so, but the question brooks no delay and consequently some attack had to be made on this question. The less immediate attack will be made afterwards on the question of estimates and on the Trade Facilities Bill.

Could the Minister tell us roughly the present number of persons to whom these Unemployment Acts may apply, and the present number of such persons who are unemployed?

I am afraid I do not get the distinction. The number of persons to whom this Bill would apply will not be less than the 82,000 of whom I have spoken.

I mean the total number of persons who would be insured in the Saorstát and the total number of persons who, under this Bill, would be entitled to draw benefit. I want to get the proportion of those who are insurable and those who are entitled to benefit under this Bill.

There are certain figures with regard to those insurable in Ireland under the various Acts.

I realise that it would be an estimate.

The figure for all Ireland advanced under the 1911 Act from 80,000 to about 130,000, and I think the estimate now was somewhere in the neighbourhood of a million and a quarter for all Ireland. I have no figures at hand with regard to people who might have come under the 1923 Act. That would be no great help, I think, to Deputy Johnson, because that limited the number very definitely to those with contributions to credit.

Would the Minister say if a person who has had no contribution at all since November, 1920, even though he had been continuously employed up to that date from the coming into operation of the Insurance Act in 1912, comes into benefit under this Act?

So far as I can understand the question, no person without a stamp to his credit on the 8th November, 1920, will benefit under this Act.

At the outset I want to congratulate the Minister on going a little further than his predecessor so far as unemployment insurance is concerned. When the 1923 Act was introduced here the Deputies on these Benches foretold that it would not do very much to relieve unemployment. I think time has proved they were correct, because for the past twelve months not alone have people been in a very bad way through unemployment, but they have been subjected to a great deal of annoyance by reason of the fact that the recent Act was subject to many different interpretations. The local managers of exchanges were not able, to any great extent, to tell people whether they were in benefit or not. People had to keep in constant touch with the Labour Exchanges week after week, and in the end they were told they were not entitled to benefit. I submit that if the machinery of the Act and the different sections of it had been less complicated, people would have known their positions at the beginning and managers would have known then whether claimants were entitled to benefit or not. So far as I can see, in this Bill the machinery has been simplified and whilst I congratulate the Minister, as I did at the beginning, on going a step further than his predecessor, I say that in my opinion he and the Government ought to go a little further. For instance, sub-section 2 of section 1 of the Bill sets out the period in which benefit begins. It begins on the 30th June, 1924, and terminates on the 29th October, 1924—ten weeks out of seventeen weeks. To my mind, that is not sufficient to deal with the present situation, because you have huge numbers of unemployed who have not had benefit for a considerable time and I think there ought to be a greater proportion than ten weeks out of seventeen paid at the beginning at any rate. The tendency is for the number of weeks to increase in each benefit year. I think if the Government and the Ministry of Industry and Commerce are in earnest in dealing with the unemployment question, they should put this the other way—that is that the greater number of weeks should be at the beginning, in the first benefit year. I think that is a reasonable proposition and it will be generally agreed that ten weeks out of seventeen weeks, with so many men without unemployment benefit for such a considerable time, is rather a low proportion.

I have just asked the Minister a question as to whether a person who has had no contribution at all from November, 1920, is entitled to draw benefit under this Act, and he has definitely said "No." I think that is where a great mistake has been made by the Minister. He and everybody in this House, I think, will agree that it was in the year 1920 the great slump came and this, if persisted in, will disqualify men who had been insured continuously under the original Act of 1911. There are men who had been continuously employed in iron works and in the building trades for eight years, and they will be disqualified now under this Bill. Those men are decent men who are very anxious for employment, but who cannot get employment. Employment cannot be found for them. I think the Minister ought to recognise that, and to bring in an amendment, or introduce some new section into the Bill to enable him to deal with persons of that kind.

There is another class of workers who are entirely forgotten so far as this Bill is concerned. I know what I am going to advocate now will not be taken very well by the Farmers' Party. I refer to the case of the agricultural labourer. There are numbers of agricultural labourers unemployed at the present time, through no fault of their own. No provision is being made for them from any source, and I do think that if the agricultural community is not able to bear the same expense that the industrial population is called upon to bear in support of their unemployed, at least some modified scale of contribution should be brought about, and some modified system of benefit should be introduced into this Bill to enable unemployment in agricultural areas to be dealt with. Unemployment is every bit as serious in the agricultural areas as it is in the industrial centres. Something should certainly be done to relieve the large number of agricultural workers who are at present unemployed. I do not want to suggest anything which would put an additional burden upon the agricultural community, but I think that it is a very serious matter to a community when a large proportion of that community are unemployed and on the verge of starvation.

There is a section of the Bill which deals with ex-members of the National Army. I am very glad that something has been done in this connection, because in the last Bill which was passed here, National soldiers were not dealt with as they were entitled to be dealt with. Many points might have been stretched in their favour. After all, they did important work—work which they were called upon to do by the State at a very dangerous time—and they were entitled to better treatment by the State that called upon them to do that work. There are other men whom I think this Bill does not cover —civilians who were employed in the different barracks during the period of the trouble last year and the year before. These people did not get their cards stamped by the Army authorities during the period they served in civilian positions in the Army.

I am wondering if the Minister intends to do anything for these people. I have in mind the cases of men who were employed as civilians in different barracks through the country and who, when they applied to have their cards stamped, were told they were not entitled to have them stamped. As a result, after leaving the Army, they were disqualified from receiving benefit. As such small numbers are involved, and as the amount of money required is so small, I think the Minister should, on a subsequent stage, do something for these people. Many amendments could be suggested to the Bill, and it is the intention of Deputies on these benches to do something in that respect. I would again stress the necessity of bringing into benefit some of those who had been insured continuously from 1912 to 1920 when the slump came. These men are entitled to special consideration and I know that some of them have been continuously looking for work. Men do not want the unemployment benefit if work could be provided for them. It is work not unemployment benefit that is wanted, and when you find men looking for work, and unable to get it since 1920. I think some consideration should be given to their cases by the Minister.

I would like to congratulate the Minister on bringing in this Bill, as I think it will go a good way towards relieving much of the hardship now caused by unemployment. There are one or two minor points that I would like to have cleared up. Up to the present it has been the practice that not only were agricultural labourers not entitled to the unemployment benefit but any worker who happened to live in an agricultural district was disqualified, because of that fact. The fact that a man, even a tradesman, lived in what was termed by the officer an agricultural area disqualified him from benefit. I would also like to ask the Minister's consideration for another class, carters. These are men of the labouring class, who own horses and carts, and as a rule are employed by the county councils. They did not come in under previous Unemployment Acts. When they are thrown out of work they are very hard hit. In addition to having their wives and families to support they have to try and feed their horses. The number of these men throughout the country is very large. I think the Minister should consider the question of bringing them in under the terms of this Bill by allowing them to contribute when they are working, so that they will be entitled to benefit when they are unemployed. I think the Minister is to be commended for bringing in this Bill.

There is one section of this Bill that I wish to speak about in particular, and that concerns ex-service men of the National Army. Prior to the Truce hundreds of men were arrested and interned. The majority of these were too young to be in constant employment. On their release they joined the National Army and after eighteen months or two years' service they were demobilised. They are not entitled to any unemployment benefit.

Why are they not entitled?

They have not been entitled up to now. I can send you a list of 50 cases where the men were refused unemployment benefit at the Labour Exchanges because they had no stamps on their cards, prior to joining the National Army. It is all very well to congratulate the Minister and the Government on introducing this Bill, but I hope the compliment will be returned by agreeing to the suggestions that were made by Deputies Corish and Morrissey. It is nearly time something was done for the large number of men who are now unemployed and who are not entitled to any unemployment benefit. It has been suggested here that this is a dole. To my mind, it is not a dole at all, as the majority of those entitled to benefit, as well as their employers—in addition to what the State gives—contributed towards unemployment benefit. Such contributions are far greater than the amount that is paid out to the individual worker by the Labour Exchange. I want to ask the Minister to do something for the agricultural workers. In every county where there are 700 or 800 agricultural workers you have 200 or 300 unemployed. That may not be the fault of the farmers, as they may not be able to find markets for their produce, but the fact remains that the agricultural workers, whose labour is of as much advantage to the State as that of any other workers, are suffering. I think they should be treated on the same footing as other workers and allowed to come in under the Unemployment Act on paying contributions. In addition a contribution will be paid by the employer and a grant given by the State. If that was done these people when unemployed will not have to be looking for home help. When the expenditure on home help increases in the different counties, the Minister for Local Government and Health comes along and dissolves the Home Help Board. If those who have to seek home help could get employment, or could get benefit from the Labour Exchange, it would not be necessary for the Minister for Local Government and Health to do such an unpopular thing as to dissolve these boards.

I wish to ask the Minister for a definite reply as far as the case of ex-service men is concerned. I know of hundreds of cases where men, who had been in the Army for two years, but who had no stamps on their cards, were not entitled to, and would not get out-of-work benefit. Of course, I am pleased to see that the Minister is taking into account all the disqualifications in connection with stamps with a view to granting to the unemployed these benefits. Another thing I wish to complain about is the way in which these benefits are given. Now, taking all classes of workers, whether artisans or labourers, who come under the head of this unemployment, they have to call six or eight weeks to the Labour Exchange and sign week after week, and some of them probably have to walk as far as 6 or 8 miles for the purpose of signing, and at the end of that time they are told that they do not come under the Unemployment Insurance Act, or that they have not sufficient stamps on their cards, or else they are told to go home and that the manager of the Exchange will communicate to them in writing. This is the way this business has been managed. I do not know what it was meant for at first, whether Mr. Lloyd George, when he introduced it for Great Britain, meant it for the purpose of relieving distress or for the purpose of making big jobs to provide certain people with positions under the Act. But if this is really an Act to relieve the unemployed, I do not see why people should be expected to call 6 or 8 times week after week to the Labour Exchange and sign there and be told in the end that they had nothing to get. I had a case in my mind that I mentioned here in the debate on the adjournment, the case of an Athlone ex-service man. He had served two years and forty-eight days in the Army. He had not been in employment prior to joining the Army, but he had been 12 months in prison. While in the Army he got married and he was blessed with two children. When he was demobilised from the Army he called several times at the Labour Exchange, with the result that he never received one penny from the Labour Exchange because he had not been employed prior to joining the Army. Now, the Minister states in section 4, sub-section (3) that—

"This section applies to every person enlisted in the military forces of Saorstát Eireann for a period of service which terminates on or before the 29th day of June, 1924, who in respect of employment before the date of enlistment has had paid for him under the Unemployment Insurance Acts, either twenty contributions at any time or ten contributions since the 8th day of November, 1920."

Well, now, that does not cover the points that I wanted to raise. Men who have been arrested from 1917 have not been employed. Men who were too young, and who joined the National Army at sixteen or seventeen years of age had no stamps on their cards; they had no contributions; and those classes of people would not be entitled to any benefits under this Act. I am sorry that the Minister for Defence is not here. He probably might be able to give an explanation as to why men serving in the Army only get one stamp per month instead of one stamp per week on their cards. It is the duty of every employer to see that everyone of his employees pays a certain contribution, even if he only works one hour in the week. In one particular case I know of a man who worked for one hour, and out of what he was to receive for his work 1s. 10d. was stopped under the Unemployment benefit, and he received 2d. for working an hour.

He is a scab.

He may be from your point of view, but from my point of view he desired to work. Now I do not see why the Government cannot have a contribution given in the case of men in the Army each week. Then when these men are demobilised, even if they have not been working before they join the Army, they will be entitled to ten or twelve or sixteen weeks, according as the case may be. I should like to know further whether it is the intention of the Minister for Industry and Commerce to increase the grant to married men. You have a large number of married men who are willing and able to work, and cannot find employment, and I think it would be necessary to give some little increase to the married men. At the present time a married man gets 2d. per day for each child, that is one shilling a week, which would not be sufficient to buy milk for even one child. This amount should be increased; and I certainly hope that the Minister will take this matter into account. I can furnish him with the names of fifteen men who have been serving in the National Army, and who are entitled, or should have been entitled, to receive their out-of-work benefits, but who are not receiving them. I congratulate the Minister, and I appreciate his attempt to deal with the problem of unemployment. I think every member of the Government is as much interested as any other Deputy in this question of unemployment. We must find work for the unemployed. I have been accused of saying that I do not agree with a man going to the Labour Exchange and holding his hand out for alms. I do not agree with it. The workers do not want it; the workers want work; they want something to show for the money they receive; but under this particular Act the workers own the money they are receiving. The State may be giving a little contribution, the Minister mentions £200,000. £200,000 amongst 80,000 men will not buy a great lot. But we welcome every small mercy. We must find some way out of our present difficulties. It is up to every employer in Ireland to try to find employment for one extra man and if they do the workers of Ireland will not want to trouble the Government for very long.

I rise to congratulate the Minister on the introduction of this Bill. I look upon it as a genuine attempt to meet the distress due to unemployment. But in congratulating him I should like to point out to him that he has made no provision for those young fellows of 15, 16 and 17 years of age who have grown up since the year 1920, who have not been at that time working in an insured trade and are now left without any benefit. Well, looking at these young men as they are in the country to-day without any employment, I think it is the duty of the State to come forward with schemes of public utility to enable those young men to be trained so as to become useful citizens. We have had put before us small schemes of arterial drainage. I have put some of those up to the Ministry of Local Government and they have been turned down. The President on one or two occasions said that those schemes would be carefully considered. Well, if that is the way they have been carefully considered there is no use in our putting them up to the Government at all, or in speaking about them. I think that in dealing with the problem of unemployment as the Minister is doing, he is not getting at the root of the matter. What we want is work, and I do not think that it is at all impossible if the Government intend to relieve unemployment as it ought to be relieved—I do not believe it is impossible to do so. I, therefore, look to the Government to give us something else than unemployment benefit.

We believe that this Bill will, as the other Deputies in this Party have said, do something to relieve the position that exists in the country at the present time. As has also been said, we should very much prefer that work of a constructive nature should be undertaken instead of this Bill. But as the Minister has pointed out the difficulties that exist in that respect at the present time, we think that this Bill will do a certain amount of good towards relieving a position that is becoming worse every day in the country. I was very glad that the Minister made clear a point that was not very clear to me up to then as to some of the disqualifications that were removed by this Bill. On reading the Bill it was not very clear to me at any rate that the disqualification by which you received only one day's benefit for each stamp was removed. I think that the fact that it has been removed is one of the best aspects of the Bill.

There are some defects that Deputy Corish has pointed out, and probably the one that will be dwelt on most will be that in connection with the gaps in the unemployment benefit. As he pointed out, out of a possible seventeen weeks the first period of ten weeks benefit is too little. I suggest that the Minister should favourably consider an amendment to improve the position in that respect when the Bill goes into Committee. I was glad to notice also that the present deplorable position of a good many ex-National Army men has been improved. As Deputy Lyons has mentioned that matter, I would like to draw the Minister's attention to the grievances of a number of ex-National Army men which have not been removed so far. I understand that in the case of a number of men who were attached to the Railway Protection Corps and who were demobilised when their services were no longer required, they have not yet received benefit. I think they are in a worse position than any other ex-members of the National Army, because I understand that their ordinary contribution was deducted weekly. The point has not been made clear whether they are entitled to benefit. Some claims have been paid but in Cork a consider able number of claims are outstanding. It may not be the fault of the Minister for Industry and Commerce and it may be a matter for the Minister for Defence, and if the Minister could do anything to clear up that position it would mean a great deal to such men. I met one of these men in Cork this week and I know that he had neither clothes nor food and he was signing at the local Labour Exchange for the last five or six months. His position was desperate and if this matter is within the province of the Minister for Industry and Commerce, such cases as these should be cleared up. As I say, we believe that this Bill will go a good way to improve things, but in welcoming it I am more concerned with the hope which the Minister held out that this will be followed by schemes of reconstruction in the future. The Minister has given us hope that the Government are inclined to look on this matter in a more favourable light than that which we were led to expect from some of their actions. On the whole I think the Minister has made a serious attempt to improve the position and I trust that the works and the schemes which he foreshadowed will materalise within a short time and further improve the position.

I should like to ask the Minister to explain a little more clearly to me, and perhaps also, to other Deputies, what he estimates the total cost to the exchequer of this Bill will be. I understood him to say that on the assumption that the present conditions will continue, his estimate is £600,000, but £400,000 of that is allowed on the estimates submitted, and therefore an additional £200,000 will be necessary. I can find in the estimates before us under the heading "Unemployed Insurance" for the Ministry of Industry and Commerce a sum of £200,000 but I do not see a sum of £400,000. Perhaps I misunderstood him, but I should be glad if he made that point clear. I listened attentively to his concluding remarks and welcomed the admission on his part that he recognised the extravagant nature of this proposal for dealing with the present difficulty, and that really nothing but the urgency of the matter drove him to this method. I trust that he is giving his earnest attention to the introduction of schemes which will be of a productive kind. They may be expensive, but at least there will be some result to show of a lasting character which we cannot expect from measures of this nature which may be necessary but which are really unsatisfactory.

I do not think that we here on these Benches can understand the position of the Labour Party in congratulating the Minister on the introduction of this measure. It is going to cost the State £200,000, and I think it is regrettable that the Ministry did not some time ago recognise that unemployment was the very urgent problem that we all know it to be, and that they did not have the vision to put some better scheme before the country than the present one. The unemployment dole is very unsatisfactory and very demoralising, and the sooner the situation can be met by some other method the better for the country as a whole. £200,000 would do something if expended on a scheme of reconstruction. That is going to be spent under the present Bill, and when it is spent the country will have got nothing for it. It would have been much better policy for the Ministry and the country that they should have conceived a scheme and put it before this Dáil that would have given us something for the money that is to be spent. What we feel is that this problem has not been handled the way it ought to have been, because really to have the State called on to pay £200,000 for the relief of unemployment, and that all that will be got in return is to have these men continuing to walk around when plenty of work is to be done in the country, is not a satisfactory way of dealing with the situation, and it is regrettable that the Ministry did not recognise this long ago. We know that the situation to-day demands that something must be done immediately, but the pity is that that fact was not recognised six months ago, or earlier, when, perhaps, another and more suitable scheme would now be in operation, relieving unemployment, and, at the same time, be of much more benefit to the State than what is being proposed at the moment.

Deputy Corish and Deputy Colohan are two members of this Dáil with whom I frequently have the happiness of perfect agreement. I rejoice on the present occasion to find no reason for disagreeing with them except one, and that, perhaps, arises from their over-zeal in the cause of the unemployed. It is only natural to regard members of the Labour Party as specialists in all that concerns unemployment.

They are in constant and close touch with those who are most affected by this scourge of lack of employment, and consequently when I find all from those benches speaking in eulogy of the Bill, I am satisfied, if I had not been already satisfied, that it is an excellent and commendable measure. I have further reason to believe that it is an excellent measure for the particular purpose that it is intended to meet in the opposition of Deputy Baxter. One can always knowa priori that Deputy Baxter and certain of his colleagues will object to the expenditure of public money for any purpose other than the relief of agricultural rates or for the cheaper purchase of land or for some other advantage for one section only of the community for which all the others, in their conception, were made to exist. The phrase was used to-day “the better way.” It suggests to me, with regard to dealing with unemployment, that I might formulate three ways and call them the better way, the good way, and the present way.

And the bad way.

Better would hardly be in any sense a superlative for bad. Deputy Professor Thrift will see my purpose in this classification in a moment. The better way for the relief of unemployment is undoubtedly to make employment, just as the only effective cure for insomnia is sleep. The only effective cure for unemployment is employment. Now, the Minister has already mentioned that to stimulate industry and to promote trade and a greater exchange of goods, the production of them at a cheaper rate would be an excellent method for providing relief. But that obviously depends upon a variety of conditions that cannot be created or even controlled by Acts of Parliament, even by Acts emanating from the worthy Minister from which this proceeds. You require low taxation to begin with. So long as taxation is high, so long there will be in proportion—not in exact proportion, of course —a depression of trade. And the only way to recover the normal conditions under which we shall lower taxation is not the feasible way for the Minister to-day. Another way, and the way usually resorted to, is that of providing relief works, and that is what Deputy Baxter evidently wants to have this money expended for.

There are, as the Minister says, periods of normal unemployment. In every country and at every time there were periods of unemployment. It is due to the fact that at certain seasons of the year the Egyptians had nothing to do, that they built the pyramids and these various attractions that bring people with a surplus of money on long tours to the East. The great defence for these uneconomic works is that they provide employment in these slacker periods, and that they produce results which otherwise it would not pay the State or people to undertake if there were a better type of productive work to engage labour at the moment. Now, I come to the third method, by the consideration that the second method requires time. Although this is an emergency procedure it requires time to elaborate plans, because otherwise you would have confusion and expense and the waste that Deputy Baxter deprecates. Meanwhile, what is happening the people in the city who have no employment so far? Are they to die or are they to be left to die?

Deputy Baxter used an extraordinary phrase—that the money spent to keep those citizens alive who have a claim upon us would be money wasted and money thrown away. Does he consider that the preservation of human life, that the discharge of a duty to humanity, that to give heart and to give encouragement to those who labour in the State, that if things go contrary with them in the future they will not be left to perish by a stony and callous-hearted State—does he mean that that money is thrown away? It is not productive in the ordinary conventional sense of the word, but it is productive and constructive in the better sense. After all that we have learned in recent years, or rather, after what some have tried to teach us in recent years—to look upon human life as of very little value—some of us are old-fashioned enough to look upon the value of a human being as being higher than cattle or higher than farm produce.

Some of them very little, beginning with the Professor.

I quite accept that valuation of me given by Deputy Gorey. From the very first day in which I had the happiness of sitting alongside him in the last Dáil I learned his private opinion of me at various times and in various ways through the subterranean channels which it is his constant habit to employ for the expression of his feelings. We, at any rate, on these benches do not regard human life as of such little value. In any case, it is not the schoolmasters who are perishing, but men whom we regard as good citizens, men who have done good work and are anxious to do it again, because I quite agree with Deputy Corish and Deputy Colohan that what the workmen really wish for and what they would be better satisfied with, is work. But the work is not forthcoming at the moment. Work, even of that uneconomic kind for national purposes will require time, and consequently this S.O.S. signal has gone out, and it must be attended to, and that, I think, is the defence of a Bill of this sort. It is meant to meet an urgent necessity of the moment, and it is frankly only a palliative. Deputy Cooper has introduced the habit into the Dáil of illuminating passages of his speeches with autobiographical details. If I may follow the example set, I recall that I was seasick for 36 hours. The ship's surgeon recommended me brandy, not, as he was careful to add, that it would cure me, but it would keep me from collapse. Now, that is exactly the purpose of this Bill. It is to save from collapse the social organism. That is, at once, its excuse and its glory. It is a measure that frankly recognises the rights of the citizens in these deplorable conditions, or in these unhappy circumstances, to call on the State which has benefited by their labours. It is a recognition of the very same principle as is recognised in the Old Age Pensions Act, a recognition of closer unity and solidarity, and I would commend that view of the matter to Deputy Baxter.

I am always pleased to listen to Deputy Professor Magennis, and the more so on this occasion because if he had taken the very opposite side of this question he would have done equally well. He has that peculiar class of intellect that can see good points on every side.

Even in the Farmers' Party.

That is the part I am coming to. The Deputy made an allusion to the fact that because one of the farmers' representatives objected to this particular means of relieving unemployment thata priori the money was wasted. That was his argument. Is it not a fact that this particular fund was overdrawn to the extent of one million last year? It was £750,000 in debt at that particular time, and is it not a fact that we are now in the fifth or sixth month of the year? What I say is that something should have been done during the last six months to formulate a scheme which would have given some relief. The Government should not be continuing to hand out doles. This is a foreign production that came from England. It had its inception in the brains of a certain British statesman, who brought it in as a war measure. Why should we, seven or eight years after, continue this system, which is absolutely against progress and is the cause of a lot of the unemployment that we have? We have the cases of men who refuse to work because they can get the dole. Let us be fair and straight about this. I do not object to the utilisation of State funds for the purpose of providing men with work. No man objects to that, but what we do object to is sinking the funds of the State in a constant river of expense towards an object which is only a palliative. The money could be as well spent in giving us results which would be of lasting benefit.

I did not intend to take any part in this debate, but I have been struck here, as I am usually struck, by listening to the cheap wit of the Professor—a class of wit that he always treats this House to at the expense of the people who represent the agricultural community of the country. We know that Deputy Magennis is a wonderful twister of words. He can twist them any way, and he always has instances to give us, and here, I think, he referred to the Pyramids and something else. Now, I wonder would the Professor—judge and all as he is of many things—call drainage and reclamation of land, and some other things in this country crying out for attention —would he call these something after the fashion of the work of Pyramids? This question of unemployment, and the questions we are facing to-day, are questions that have not sprung up at the moment. Unemployment was a question that was pressing for attention six months ago, twelve months ago, and two years ago. It is a question that any sensible Government would have tried to make provision for, even though that Government had in its Party gentlemen like Professor Magennis.

Is it in order, A Chinn Comhairle, for one Deputy to address another as Deputy Gorey is doing?

No, Deputy Gorey should refer to the Deputy as Deputy Magennis.

That would not be offensive.

I do not think this matter has been treated in the right way. I think that provision at the right time should have been made, and not now. You are practically driven to make provision now. You are forced to do it. There have been meetings, deputations, marches about the city, and I do not think the Government deserve very much credit now for doing what they are doing. I do not believe—and I do not think any sensible man in the Labour Party or outside it believes—that this method is going to breed a healthy citizenship Deputy Professor Magennis may object to that, but that is the view I hold. I do not think that this kind of thing breeds work, nor a desire to work, and the desire to work is everything. It breeds an unhealthy state, and brings about an unhealthy position, and it is almost impossible to get away from that unhealthy and undesirable position. This is not a matter on which the Deputy should direct his sneers towards us. We make our remarks in perfect good faith, and I did not think that anything is added by those cheap sneers of the Deputy, to which we are accustomed. What we want here is a genuine desire to work, and by work we will breed that desire; and by payment for work—not payment for idleness by doles—not to have men standing round corners, wearing their clothes against bridges and walls. This thing is wrong; it is bad statesmanship; it is bad citizenship, and it is a thing we object to for the reasons I have stated.

I feel it necessary to make a few remarks in this debate on account of the remarks made by some of the Deputies who preceded me. I feel we have not approached this Bill in the proper spirit. When the Minister placed it before us he made it absolutely clear to the intelligence of every Deputy in the House that he introduced the Bill simply as a matter of necessity. He made that absolutely clear to us, and also foreshadowed possible legislation and an indication of measures to meet for the present the unemployment that prevails in the country. If we keep that point of view before our minds, we would not perhaps work ourselves into a state of vexation, let us say, as a mild word, over the expediture of public money for this particular purpose. I sincerely believe, with Deputy Magennis, that money in existing circumstances that has to be spent on feeding little children and feeding families of men out of employment, through no fault of their own, is money, not alone well spent, but wisely spent. And it is money that the nation is simply called upon to expend if it is to have regard to its own credit and its own honour.

I know cases of men who have been in employment for fourteen or fifteen years up to a period of three years ago, until the business they were employed in fell through. These men never lost a day's work through their own fault in their lives. I knew some of these men to be total abstainers and to have spent twenty years of their lives between two employers, and I know these men to be hungry because of the unfortunate circumstances of their being unable to get employment. The children of these men are hungry, and many Deputies know there are such other cases in every part of the country at the present moment. This legislation is not going to be permanent; it is merely temporary, until this country can find its feet, until the farmers are in the position—which they are not at the present time—to give more employment. The time must come, and will come, when there will be more employment for the agricultural labourer. I think that if the mild measures of Protection which the Minister for Finance introduced in the Budget, and others that he foreshadowed, had been accepted in the proper spirit, they would have helped a good deal to case things in the future. There are industries in this country that can be kept going, and must be kept going. There was one thing referred to by Deputy Gorey with which I am in entire agreement, and that is that men should be paid for work—an honest day's pay for an honest day's work. I congratulate the Minister on having introduced this measure at the present time in the interests of the unemployed section of the community. I think it is absolutely necessary—but I hope it is only temporary—and I hope the reason for it will have departed before the end of the year.

While I agree with my colleagues on these benches in an expression of gratitude for the small mercies that are contained in the Bill, I have some amount of sympathy with the point of view expressed by Deputy Baxter. If there had been prevision a year ago this Bill would not have been necessary. If the money on which £200,000 would pay interest and sinking fund had been advanced for constructive work, this Bill would not have been necessary. The problem, I am afraid is not going to be met by this Bill alone, and the Minister recognises that. The problem of unemployment insurance is not going to be met by the Bill alone. The Minister has said quite clearly and honestly that the Bill is mainly concerned with insurance and it intends to carry on the provisions of the last Bill, retaining the principle of insurance and not uncovenanted benefit.

We welcome as a better principle the principle of insurance against unemployment as against uncovenanted benefit. We pointed out the necessity of the insurance scheme so that there should be some general revival, and any persons who were likely at any time to be unemployed should be compulsorily brought into the insurance scheme. What has happened? As pointed out by one or two Deputies, you are maintaining the insurance character of the scheme and you are leaving out very considerable numbers of people who are just as human, and who, therefore, without food will go hungry, as the people who are insured. The pain of unemployment is just as great upon the person not insured as upon the person insured. I do not know what the numbers may be, but there are considerable numbers who have come into manhood since 1920 and who have not had insurable occupation since then. They are at present unemployed and they continue to be unemployed and are not to be brought into insurance and therefore will not get benefit.

While I would prefer a general insurance scheme, I fear this Bill is going to maintain or continue the hardship that the social system imposes upon those who are unemployed and not insured. As Deputy Lyons has emphasised, you have a considerable number of people who went through the Army. As I understand it, unless they were in an insurable occupation before 1920, they will not come under this scheme. We know that many of them were very young men before that time and they were in anything but an insurable occupation. No insurance would accept them because of the danger of their occupation. They will not receive a benefit and they are just the type that will make danger for the country.

I say that is a defect, and it would have been better to abandon, if necessary, the principle of insurance in the meantime, so that these people could be brought into a scheme of benefit imposing upon them the liability of permanent insurance, and out of that be able to get repayment for the amount advanced. I would like Deputies to think that this Bill, to the extent that it is contributory, is an advance on the credit of the persons being insured. It is an advance in belief that their power to labour will be employed and will be productive in future, and therefore it is no different from an advance by a bank to a firm that has potential productive capacity.

I am glad the Minister has emphasised the unwisdom, and untruth if you like, of the charge made in reference to this scheme. The epithet "dole" was used. It is no more dole than the Governor-General's allowance; it is no more dole than any benefit or any insurance or any penssion. It is the payment in advance of work to be done. It is our duty to shorten the period of those advances to see that the payments for no work shall cease, and that work can be provided, during which period there will be no need for any further payment of insurance benefit, and when, as a matter of fact, the repayment will begin.

Notwithstanding what the President said yesterday, I am going to put to Deputies and to the Ministry the problem that faces me. I want to ask what are the prospects for next year or the year after? We have seen records of the export and import trade. We know that excessive imports will have to be paid for by exports, inasmuch as we do not know that we are doing any service which will be equivalent to export of goods and might be called exportation. I want to know what is being done to enable this country to be in a position to repay for present excessive imports in one or two years' time. Are we seeing any increase in wealth production in the country? Is any preparation being made for that general increase in productivity?

I would like if the Minister for Lands and Agriculture were present; he might tell us what his latest returns are regarding the increase or decrease of tillage and the prices for those things which are being produced. Even though there may be no increase in production, are we going to rely upon an increase in prices in the British market? We may be able if we get that increase in prices, to meet the excess of imports but we have to bear in mind that that market is going to be supplied from all over the world, and that the hope of the British people is to reduce prices there. Unless we see a very considerable increase in actual wealth production of exportable commodities, we are not going to see an improvement in one or two years' time, but a worsening of the present position.

Now, this may be dubbed as pessimistic. It may be charged against me that I am doing what the President deprecated yesterday. But I would like to have some statement of an authoritative kind of what are the prospects in the way of increasing wealth production so that we may look forward to this state of unemployment steadily decreasing. When Deputies decry this kind of a measure I think they ought to ask themselves why such a measure as this is necessary? Why was it invented, as I think Deputy Wilson suggested, by a British statesman? I would suggest to Deputy Wilson and others that the general system of production and exchange which is in vogue, and is supported by him and most of the Deputies in the Dáil, inevitably results in unemployment. It has been recognised owing to the development of moral conscience that there must be some ameliorative schemes propounded to meet the evils which are inherent in the system of industry and commerce, and which, unless we ameliorate them, will inevitably mean utter degradation and chaos.

Now we have an attempt at ameliorating an evil which is the inevitable result of the system of industry and commerce of which most Deputies approve. If you are going, not only to maintain the evil system, but to remove the amelioration what do you expect the country to come to? You are going to have everything that is bad and nothing that is good. I say that so far as this scheme improves the position of those who have been insured we welcome it, but it ought to be extended so as to include those people who have not yet been insured. We have no right to leave out in the darkness those who were not fortunate enough or lucky enough or wise enough to have been in insurable occupations and lucky enough to have employment in these occupations. It would be well, if there is anything to be said for this principle of insurance—and most of the Deputies outside the Farmers' benches approve of it—to extend it to those who have not been insured hitherto, and not to allow it to be said that we are going to leave this section of the community outside the door while others are getting some crumbs inside. I would like to see this scheme amended in several directions. I would like to see the gap closed up to a very great degree, if not wholly. Indeed I would like to see it wholly closed. But I would like to see a much smaller gap than is proposed in the Bill. I think, too, it would be an improvement on the Bill and on the general scheme—and it is required by the facts of the case—that the dispute disqualification ought not to continue. People who are accidentally and by no act of their own brought into unemployment because of disputes ought not to be debarred from benefits under this scheme. There is no use, I suppose, pressing upon the Minister that the rates of benefit should be increased, but there should have been provided in the Bill some scheme for a training course, especially for the younger insured persons, while drawing the benefit.

There is another matter which I would hope it would be possible to deal with, if not by an amendment to the law, by general administrative reform, and that is an improvement of the system of appeals to the Courts of Referees. The appeal system to the courts has been proved, I think, unsatisfactory. The administration is faulty in that respect. It does not give any satisfaction, and I would hope that if it is not possible to deal with that administratively it will be done by legislation. I do not know whether it will be possible to amend the Bill in that direction, and if it is not, I hope the Minister will consider seriously the taking of other steps to bring the Appeals Court and the Court of Referees into harmony with what the requirements of the cases are. I would again draw attention to the necessity for amending the Bill to allow of those who were in the Army, and others outside the Army that did not come into insurance prior to the 1920 period—even if they were following an insured occupation, or if they were not in benefit at that time—being brought into this scheme. Young soldiers, or young men going into the Army, many of them following the example of their higher officers, and, shall I say, thoughtlessly getting married, find themselves now uninsured and with no prospect of insurance even under this Bill. Their position is a very serious one, and I would appeal to the Minister to take the cases of all those young men into account and try to bring them within the scope of the Bill in some way or other.

Deputy Johnson used one expression which has rather stuck in my mind. He said that if there had been prevision there would have been no necessity for the introduction of this Bill, and I cannot pretend not to understand that by that the Deputy meant that the Government—the Executive Council—should have foreseen an acute stage of unemployment at about this time. I would like him, however, to apply the sentiment in a broader way, and to recognise that the circumstances with which the Bill deals are simply an exemplification of the fact that a country, any more than an individual, cannot have its cake and eat it; that we, or a large section of us, have gone about deliberately to create unemployment, and unemployment in a very acute way. The Deputy, I think would scarcely deny that the biggest factor in creating and maintaining unemployment which faces us is the lack of security, the lack of ordinary confidence amongst the people that would enable them to put their money into any productive enterprise. He says that it is our duty to shorten the period over which it will be necessary to expend money in the manner provided by the Bill. I agree; I would have agreed with that sentiment any time those two years back, that it is our duty to bring about conditions where the normal play of individual enterprise would be sufficient to drain up unemployment. But where you have insecurity, where you have all the factors making for insecurity, you will have unemployment, and you will have it despite any legislation that the Dáil and the Seanad may pass.

Deputies say that the remedy should not be the dole, as it is called; it should not be in the manner of the Bill; it should be by large public works; the State should go in for great public enterprises and drain up the unemployment so that we would be able to see results for our money. That was more or less the line taken by Deputy Baxter and other members of the Farmers' Party. They did not go—of course, it was not necessary for them to go—to the point of saying in what manner the money should be secured for these purposes, whether by increased taxation or by borrowing. If they had been specific, if they had come down to earth and suggested a course they might possibly have come up against obstacles. If they had suggested increased taxation there would have been a negative cry from many quarters of the Dáil. If they had said borrowing, they might perhaps have had to go a step further and say whether the borrowing was to be at home or abroad, and answer such crude questions as to what the rate of interest would be. When you come to borrowing you come down to a question of credit, a question of security, and this or any other country's credit is and will always be the honesty, the good sense, and the industry of its inhabitants. If we go out to the markets of the world to borrow for the great public works, the great reproductive enterprises which Deputy Baxter vaguely indicated were desirable, the prospective lender abroad, with his few hundred or few thousand pounds, which he wishes to invest, will ask himself certain questions about this country: What kind of people are they? What is the situation there at the moment? Is the writ of the Government running freely in every square mile of its territory? A country's credit is the honesty, the industry, and the good sense of its people.

I wonder if Deputy Baxter or any other Deputy ever considered for a moment what the effect on this country's credit would be if we were able to announce that all the lethal weapons in the country were in the custody of the Government of the country; or what the effect on the country's credit would be and, through that, on unemployment, if we were able to say that there was no party in the State questioning or showing any sign of questioning, the ordinary principles that apply elsewhere, namely, that National policy is decided by the people in their collective wisdom, or folly. It is because the answer to these questions which the prospective lender would put to himself are not as favourable as they might be that the question of borrowing for reproductive enterprises, or for any other kind of enterprises, is not as easy as it might be. We cannot eat our cake and have it, and whether we eat our cake in riot, and wantonness, and destruction, in militaristic intrigues, or in any other way, then we will not have that credit and that security which alone will really and permanently cure unemployment.

While one sympathises very largely with the views expressed by the Minister for Justice we could understand those views better if we were dealing for the first time with unemployment as arising out of the recent troubles. While I agree with the Minister and with other Deputies that the recent troubles have aggravated the situation, they cannot be looked upon as its cause. The Minister has said a good deal about the responsibilities of the people in the matter of security for loans, in the matter of the good name of the country, but I think that the Government of the country also has a good deal of responsibility in that connection, and I would like the Government to bear that responsibility in mind when they are introducing measures in the Dáil which, to some extent, affect the credit of the country. Some of us who are commercial representatives have been laying stress upon these points, and we would like the Ministry also to consider them and say if in some of these measures, instead of, as some of us have alleged, injuring the credit of the country, something might not be done rather in the other direction, of inspiring confidence in the country by wise statesmanship.

In the course of the interesting discussion that has taken place I was pleased to see that Deputies, like Deputy Johnson, did not altogether look upon the proposals very favourably. No doubt it occurred to his mind that we should devote ourselves a little more to the cause of these troubles and somewhat less to the effect of them. He went so far in that direction as to state that if more foresight had been used some years ago, we possibly would not have been face to face with the situation that now exists as regards unemployment. In that view I am not in agreement with him, as I will try to point out in a moment or two, but in developing the argument he asked the Minister to give some information of what was the possibility in the future of finding employment for some of the unemployed. He asked what are the prospects of better trade and the likelihood of an increase in the wealth production of the country. I was very glad to see the Deputy's mind turning in that direction. He also wanted to know what were the probabilities of increasing our export trade in order that it might help to pay for the imports. He then went on to abuse our system of industry and commerce, I suppose on the basis, though he did not tell us so, that it is responsible to some extent for the present state of our export trade. I would like to see the Deputy developing that particular point and showing us how it is responsible, but while he decried the system—and it is not the only occasion on which he has done so—he did not give us any idea of what he would put in its place. Possibly that particular line of argument might be a little out of order in the present discussion. He pertinently asked what are the chances of an improvement in our export trade. That is a matter one would like to see a little more attention devoted to. As the Deputy rightly pointed out, in the leading line of our export trade, which is agricultural products, we have to meet in the market of England, which absorbs such a considerable portion of our exports, competitors from all parts of Europe, and from countries outside Europe, and I think it would be nothing new to the Deputy if I mention that in order to meet that competition successfully it is essential we should have low costs of production for our manufacturers and for our products. I do not know that we have had much assistance from the Deputy, or from those who sit with him, in achieving that object, or that we have had any assistance at all from them towards lowering the cost of production, either by way of lowering wages or by increased production.

AN LEAS-CHEANN COMHAIRLE took the Chair.

Excess profits.

I happen to be connected with one industry in our city, and I will give that as an example, as I know something about it. I am sorry to say in connection with that industry in this poor country we are called upon to pay the highest rate of wages paid in Europe to-day for what is almost the lowest output of work. If that is an example of what we are to do in other trades—I am only speaking now of the trade I know most about—I am afraid we will not achieve much in the direction of helping or improving our position in those competitive markets on the other side, and thereby reducing unemployment. I will pass on from that.

Before the Deputy passes on will he deal with the matter in regard to that other two thirds of the population, who are not wage earners.

I am afraid a lot of this does not arise out of the Bill at all.

It is closely allied with it.

If the Deputy is not satisfied with the way I am dealing with these particular subjects it is open to him at any time to add anything I omitted. There is an aspect of the question, when we come to consider unemployment from the point of view of cause and effect, which has not been touched upon and which I think ought to have been. The Minister in his opening statement was rather inclined to look upon unemployment as he finds it at the moment as abnormal, and the situation as a temporary one not likely to recur in the future. I am sorry to say that I cannot agree with him in that view. We have, and I am sorry to say that it is not confined to this country, by reason of want of inquiry and other causes, allowed to grow up amongst us too many unskilled and too few skilled workers. If I were to give you figures in connection with some of our industries, as to the reduction in the number of skilled workmen, extending over a period of twenty-five years, they would, I am satisfied, alarm every Deputy. One of the serious causes of the present situation is that we are creating year by year far more unskilled labour than there is employment for, even in the best of times. Taking trade at its best, I am quite satisfied that it could not absorb the large amount of unskilled labour to be found in this country at the present time. If we are to succeed with this problem, we must go further into it and dig more deeply than any Deputy has forecasted in the remarks made on this subject to-day. It appears to me that our industrial system should be subjected to a thorough investigation. We are in this position to-day that while we find thousands—almost hundreds of thousands—of unskilled labourers unemployed, we have the skilled trades—even though they are in a depressed state—unable to supply the workmen required by those trades. There is something nationally wrong where you have in one department a large surplus of labour, for which there is no employment, and for which it is impossible, I am satisfied, to find employment, while in another department —even while trade is depressed—you have a scarcity of workmen. That is a condition of things that should not exist, and it is to that particular aspect of this question that I invite the Ministry to devote more attention. How that should be done will be a matter for the Ministry. It is a matter that should have the serious consideration of the Government. Whether that inquiry should be made by means of a commission—I think that that would be the most advisable way—or some other way, the sooner something is done in that direction, the sooner will something practical be done towards reducing unemployment.

Owing to the manner in which the last two Deputies have spoken, I find it very difficult to believe that they are endeavouring to create a spirit of confidence. In reply to some remarks made from the benches occupied by Deputy Good and by Deputy Hewat, the President, yesterday, stated that this country was bound to prosper and go forward. I suggest to the Minister for Justice, in particular, that if this country is to prosper and go forward, as I believe it is bound to do, we must look forward and not backward. What has happened in this country, arising out of our internal squabbles, has happened, and unfortunately cannot be undone. If we look around the world to-day and picture the situation of nearly every country during the last five or ten years, we find that each one has had its own share of trouble. Every country, large and small, has passed through a revolution, whether a social revolution, a political revolution or a bloody revolution. Those charged with the responsibility of guiding the people through troubled times—for instance, the French and other European Governments—when conducting war—did everything possible to bring the country out of the war, and they had the foresight at the same time, to make preparations for the coming of peace. That is what the Government of this country has not done. They conducted a war—although I think it is only a mockery to call it a war: it was a more or less armed scramble—but they failed to look forward to the time when peace would come, and to make preparations for absorbing, on demobilisation, the people who had became soldiers.

When replying to a discussion on this subject some time ago, the President asked how was it possible to borrow when the National Loan then stood at 93? I wonder if many Deputies have asked themselves what is the cause of the National Loan going down to 93? It may be—and to a certain extent is— due to the failure, or partial failure, of the Government to govern or to give an example of good government. By that I mean that the Government was not, at a certain period, able to control its own forces. I think that had a certain effect on the loan. I have been told that the banks, or banking concerns, have had a share in seeing that the National Loan was brought down to the lowest possible figure. I am informed on very reliable authority—in fact, by people who are suffering as a result of pressure from the banks— that some hostile action has been taken apparently after full and due consideration, by the banks, to inflict punishment on the people of this country who have dealings with banks—in a way they would not have done if the British Government was still here. There is another reason. I have been told by people who know more about dealings on the Stock Exchange than I do, that it has had a certain effect on the National Loan. In the ordinary course of events, people who are patriotic enough to put their savings into the National Loan, should be credited with doing so for the purpose of helping the country. I believe, unfortunately, that amounts in connection with the National Loan have been dealt with and handed out and doled out by speculators. When they throw that money on to the Exchange it brings down the National Loan. For instance, if a prominent investor, like Deputy Good, took £5,000 or £10,000 worth of National Loan, or if a prominent member of the Government Party took £20,000 worth of National Loan, and then threw it on the Stock Exchange, the immediate result would be that it would show a lack of confidence by people associated with the Government and in that way it would have a very bad effect on the price at which the National Loan stood in the market.

I have been associated with other Deputies in urging on the Government on various occasions the desirability of going ahead with the drainage of the Barrow. I joined a deputation composed of Senators, Farmers, and Deputies on the Government Benches. We met representatives of the Ministries of Lands and Agriculture, Local Government and Public Health, Finance, and Industry and Commerce, on the 3rd of March, when an offer was made, on behalf of the tax-payers of the affected areas, to accept half the financial liability involved in carrying out that work. Everyone, I hope, is convinced, as a result of the discussions on this particular scheme, that have taken place within the last 50 or 100 years, that it is a desirable scheme on which the people could be usefully employed, and that there would be a certain return to the State for the money expended. We were told by the Ministries concerned, or the Executive Council—I am not sure which, as it is very hard to distinguish who is responsible—that the matter would be considered, and that the deputation would receive a reply within a month. We have waited, but there is no reply. We are told that the Minister for Finance is the strong man when it comes to considering what money should be expended on improvements of that kind. I contend that it is not the Minister for Finance, but that the Executive Council are responsible for the failure to go ahead with this very desirable scheme. What do we find in regard to the Barrow scheme? We find that Messrs. Siemens', the German firm, have been invited to come across to Ireland and go down to the Barrow area.

When did you find that out?

I found it out from private persons who live in the area. It has been denied.

It is denied again.

They have been on an excursion in that particular area. It may be unofficial, but they certainly have gone down there on an excursion, and to make a report to somebody—to whom I do not know. I want the Government to ask themselves is it better that they should spend £20,000, through the medium of this Dáil, in giving out State funds to people without getting any return, rather than to spend a couple of hundred thousand pounds on the Barrow area—a scheme which if the money were found by the Government, would supply work for every unemployed person in the five or six counties surrounding the affected area. I say it is not the Minister for Finance is responsible, but that the Executive Council as a body must share the responsibility for not having the vision to deal with this matter, or for not giving time and consideration to these schemes before now. I am sorry the Minister for Justice was out when I spoke first. I am sorry he made the speech in the strain he did. One or two other Deputies or Ministers —I do not know which—made speeches in the same strain. I believe at the present moment a speech of that kind, coming from a member of the Ministry, does more harm than good. We are not, after all, as bad as we think we are. We are bad enough.

Speak for yourself.

I am speaking of the people as a whole. We are too much inclined, when we get up here to deal with any question of this kind, to look back at what has happened, and to say that £50,000,000 worth of property has been blown up in the sky, as a result of the foolishness of a small section of the people. That has been done. It cannot be undone. Let us, in trying to solve those great problems—which if not solved will, in my opinion, lead to a national revolution—forget the past, and not be always looking backwards.

Deputy Davin's way of creating confidence is to talk nonsense. That is the way of a great many people in this country.

Did you ever talk nonsense yourself?

Mr. HOGAN

I will allow the Deputy to expatiate on that subject on another occasion. I am in possession now. I repeat that Deputy Davin's way of creating confidence is to talk nonsense. That would be all right if it were confined to Deputy Davin but unfortunately a good many other people in this country hold exactly the same view and believe that the way to create confidence is to close your eyes to facts and continue talking nonsense. Somebody has said that a man would rather die than think. There is a lot of truth in that. The one thing we are afraid of in this country is to be honest with ourselves and face facts. The minute anybody brings unpleasant facts under our notice we get up and talk platitudes and nonsense about being forgetful of the past and looking forward to the future. We are not to exercise the intelligence that Providence has given us and endeavour to draw lessons from the past in order to guide our actions in the future. I agree with the Minister for Justice that the main cause—and every Deputy in the House should face the position honestly—of unproductiveness and of unemployment at the present moment is that there is no security. The oftener we state the truth the better. There will be no productiveness and no employment, and not only no productiveness and no employment, but nothing worth while socially, politically or economically until there is security—security for the ordinary citizen in this country just as exists in every other civilised country. That is the fact. You have got to face it. You have got to remember when you are thinking of details such as unemployment—a most important detail I admit —when you are thinking about details like the unproductiveness of agriculture and the unproductiveness of the few industries we have in this country that underlying all productivity are the ordinary guarantees and safeguards that are found necessary in every civilised country. We have got to establish them beyond yea and nay, we have got to establish them beyond challenge, before we can have any productivity or anything else worth while in the country. That is the cold fact. The oftener it is repeated the better. No amount of platitude and no amount of futile optimism will alter that fact. Deputy Johnson asked a question which is very relevant to the question under discussion; what are the prospects of agriculture for next year? That is a question I have been asking myself for a long time. It is, I suppose, my business to consider that question.

Perhaps the Minister will understand my question better if I repeat it in this way: can he tell us not merely what are the prospects of agriculture next year but what is the present position regarding tillage in this country? Is it increasing or decreasing?

Mr. HOGAN

Speaking of last year, tillage is decreasing. Likewise, the numbers of live stock are decreasing. The production of wealth by the farmer is decreasing all round. That is the position. We can diagnose the cause, whatever about the remedies. We cannot get the remedies unless we agree on the diagnosis. That is an extremely important question and it is extremely serious that I should have to answer it in the way I have just answered it. There is decreased production all round agriculturally. That is the truth and we might as well face it. It is a really serious state of affairs, when you realise that the only industry we have worth talking about at the present moment in this country is agriculture. I wish the Dáil, which at times displays a tendency to treat agricultural matters as rather a good joke, would realise that. Speaking comparatively, agriculture is the only industry worth talking about in the country and agricultural productivity is decreasing all round. That is not a matter of doubt. There is no occasion for a debate over that.

I am afraid there is very great occasion.

Mr. HOGAN

The figures are there. The facts are there. They have often been put at the disposal of Deputies in the House. Here, again, we come back to the point of view which Deputy Davin would like to get away from. When every party in this House agrees as to the diagnosis we will have got a long way towards solving it, because in this country the reason we do not solve problems is because we are afraid to face them. I have stated the problem. It is there. I have stated the reasons and the causes. The cause is this: that the farmer is not producing at a profit.

That is the position. I should not say the farmer—neither the farmer nor the farm labourer is getting a fair chance in this country. That is perfectly plain. Another class in the country—the dealers, the people who make a profit by handling the goods, and their workmen, are getting too much as compared with what the producer—that is, the farmer and his labourer—are getting. There is no doubt whatever that the producer, that is to say, the farmer and his labourer, are not getting their fair share of the wealth, and that the persons who are handling that wealth, namely, the business-man and his labourer, are getting too much of it. I quoted figures which were published the other day, which showed that beyond yea or nay. I will not quote them again. I will not weary the Dáil again. I do not think that any Deputy in this Dáil can deny that.

What is the remedy? The difficulty that I am in is this: that the only class in this country at the present time unorganised for business purposes in their own interest are the farming class; and the Government are really powerless unless they are dealing with an organised interest. In the year 1924 the world has progressed beyond dealing with individuals. You cannot do it. The farmers of the country will have to organise themselves, and then the Government will co-operate with them. We have taken the necessary steps; we are ready. I am not thinking of politics for the moment. I am thinking of something that is a great deal more important, and that is business. Let me give one instance which will illustrate what I am thinking about. It is the story of a quantity of milk that left Kildare some time ago, and was distributed in Dublin. It was 80 gallons. It was put on rail at £3, that is 9d. per gallon; the much-abused Railway Company charged 1d. per gallon, that is 6s. 8d. I verified all these figures. That milk was distributed in Dublin at £10, that is to say, 2s. 6d. a gallon. That is to say 9d. a gallon was paid to the producer, and it was sold at 1s. 9d. more. Now, I do not blame the milk ring in Dublin. I blame the farmers of Kildare. This is a hard world, and we have to look after ourselves. And if the farmers for any reason refuse to organise themselves, cooperatively or otherwise, I do not see how we can do anything for them. This is only one example. Take any other item that they produce and market, and the same thing applies to it—the very same. There is a Trade Facilities Bill coming before the Dáil which will enable the Government, I hope, to co-operate with people who are worth co-operating with, and to put up a reasonable proposition in the way of giving them credits and helping them in other directions. Let the farmers get alive and get busy. Let them see if they have a scheme to put forward. We will help them. But we cannot help people who will not help themselves. The farmers should take charge of this country, and the sooner the better. They are entitled to take charge of this country.

We will at the next election.

Mr. HOGAN

I should not say the farmers. This is a democratic country. The farmers are 75 per cent. of the population. The population of this country is 3,000,000; the farmers and the labourers are together, 2,000,000; and they should see that they get in the country what is due to them. But they will not get it unless they organise themselves. If they organise themselves the Government can co-operate with them. If they do not, we cannot help them. The productivity of the next year depends upon whether the producer looks after himself, looks after his business. We can do nothing unless he does.

Has the Minister satisfied himself that the selling price of that milk was 2/6 a gallon?

Mr. HOGAN

Yes, that is what I said. I merely gave one example. It can be extended over the whole field. When the Trade Facilities Bill is introduced the farmers will be in a position to co-operate with the Government. We shall have to co-operate with somebody, and unless somebody comes forward we can do nothing. I need not go into the Agricultural Produce (Eggs) Bill or the Butter Bill.

I should like to remind the Dáil that we are discussing the second stage of the Unemployment Insurance Bill, and I might perhaps be permitted to run through a few of the points raised by way of criticism, before coming to some of the more general details. Deputy Corish raised a point with regard to the Exchanges, and alleged a certain amount of inefficiency on the part of certain men to discharge the work assigned to them. He rather attributed that to the intricacy of the Acts they have to administer and he pleaded that this Bill should have been simplified and might even still be simplified. As regards all that, I have simply to apologise. There is no other way out of the situation. When you attempt to modify for temporary convenience, permanent legislation it has to be done by legislation by reference to the permanent Acts.

The Acts so far have been intricate and this Bill does not simplify them to any great extent but it is inevitable in the circumstances that there has to be legislation by reference. If definite cases of mishandling of work are given to me then the Department will inquire into them and see if the defects can be removed. Deputy Corish also seemed to be in a difficulty with regard to people who are entitled to benefit under this Bill and I may have misled him by stressing the date, the 8th of November, 1920. I said that all contributions to a man's credit prior to the 8th November, 1920, are going to be revived. Now that is the farthest back date I get to, but, of course, though we start from there we do not end there. The contributions on a man's card since the 8th November, 1920, of course count and will of course be revived. If I understood Deputy Corish aright he seemed to complain that people who had never had any stamps to their credit are not getting benefit under this Bill. If that is his complaint I cannot answer it. I simply say that those are the facts, that we do not seek to give benefit to people who were not at any time since 1920 in an insurable occupation. This is an Unemployment Insurance Bill limited to persons in insurable occupations and we do not deal with people outside that class. He referred to civilians employed in barracks and alleged hardships as far as they were concerned. Now if there were civilians employed in barracks who previous to that employment had been in an insurable occupation then stamps should have been affixed by the military authorities; and if there is any hardship arising from negligence in that respect or from inadvertence to that fact, there is still a remedy. The second speaker, Deputy Morrissey, joined with Deputy Corish in complaining that the agricultural labourer was not included in this Bill and some other classes of persons were also spoken of.

I referred to the disqualification of workers, not necessarily agricultural workers, but workers disqualified because they lived in an agricultural district.

In answer to that all I can say is that there is no special disqualification of people on the ground that they live in an agricultural district. But if that remark is intended to convey that certain people are deemed to be agricultural labourers because they have not been in an insurable occupation then I fail to get the point.

The point I intended to make was that people although they had stamps to their credit and were entitled to unemployment insurance, when it was discovered that they were living in agricultural districts they were disqualified. There were several cases of that kind.

I may make a general statement on that. Deputy Johnson raised a point after I made a preliminary statement and I was asked what was the insurable population in the country and I gave certain figures. I said that the figures were vague and I am not prepared even yet to give the figures but possibly this general statement will suit his purpose. The people who are entitled under this Bill will be all insurable persons who become unemployed. That is to say, all persons in insurable occupation, and if there are people about whom Deputy Morrissey spoke who should receive benefit having paid their contribution the benefit will go to them.

All insured persons who become unemployed who have something to their credit. Do you mean before or after 1920, and what happens if they come into insurable occupation since then?

Since to-day?

Since 1920.

Any person who came into an insurable occupation, say in 1921, would have stamps to his credit. These stamps may have been cancelled, but they will now be revived. Deputy Lyons raised certain points which I do not intend to deal with at this stage, as they are all Committee points which can be met by means of amendment. He did raise the question of the Army men but I think he showed in the course of his speech that he had not adverted fully to section 4 of the Bill. That section indicates that contributions are to be paid by the Minister for Defence to the credit of such people as are insurable so as to ensure that these people have to their credit twenty-four contributions in respect of each insurance year during which or in part of which the person is serving.

Will the Minister make a little amplification of that? If a young man had not been in any occupation or had been in a non-insurable occupation before he joined the Army, what is his position?

Such person does not come under the Bill.

Would the Minister make it clear if during the time of the Anglo-Irish war a person was arrested and interned, twelve or eighteen months prior to the Truce, and immediately after joined the Army, will he be entitled to benefit now that he is demobilised?

A man with service in the British Army and who, shortly after demobilisation from the British Army, being unemployed as usual, joins the National Army—such a man not having been in an insurable occupation is deprived of benefit.

A complication has been introduced by Deputy Johnson because service in the British Army would have entitled the soldier to stamps.

Would that be called an insurable occupation for that purpose?

It does not matter. If a person has stamps, the stamps will be revived. Now, with regard to internees whose plight is described by Deputy Lyons—they may cover a variety of persons. If they were people who had been in insurable occupations, and had stamps to their credit, the stamps are going to be revived, but if not they do not come under the Bill.

I want to point out that that it was not really the fault of the applicant that he had not stamps. He was too young to have them when arrested, and when demobilised from the Army he was old enough to work, but there was no work for him.

You might as well point out that it was not the fault of another type of person that he became an agricultural labourer, and that he was deprived of the benefit of the Bill. I can only repeat that people with stamps to their credit on the 8th November, 1920, and in any period since, are going to have a revival of benefit, a revival of stamps, and consequently they will draw their contributions and benefits. Deputy Murphy, I think, alluded to the gaps in the system. There are gaps, and these are necessary if the limited amount of money at the disposal of the fund is to be spread over the people whom it is intended to benefit. The gaps are necessary in the system, but an arrangement has been made that the longest period of benefit comes into the winter months. That is the only thing we could do. There have to be gaps on account of the absence of sufficient money to allow benefit to run continuously over the period. Deputy Thrift has raised the point with regard to the money voted. I said that the scheme under the Bill would cost £600,000, but that if no new Bill were introduced the drain on the State funds under the previous Act would be £400,000. Consequently I estimated the additional cost of this Bill at about £200,000. Deputy Thrift said that the Vote only shows an amount of £200,000. That is correct. That £200,000 represents the State amount of the contribution which is roughly one-third; it is less than one-third, but the £200,000 would cover the State contribution to the fund.

Would the Bill then cost the country £400,000 more than the amount allotted in the current estimate?

I am not quite clear on the estimate position. I have not considered that. The expenditure under the present Bill is £200,000. The cost to the Exchequer by way of advance is going to be £600,000. The State contribution to that which is now brought forward is about £200,000. The extra money to be spent under this Bill beyond what would have been spent under the Act of 1923, is £200,000. Deputy Baxter spoke, and was joined by certain Farmer Deputies in his plea, that the urgency of this problem had not been recognised a little ahead and that with a certain amount of vision the problem could be met and solved. I cannot agree with that. The urgency of the situation is certainly adverted to now, and I am not at all sure that in twelve months time this question of unemployment is going to be solved. I do not think that any recognition of the urgency or any amount of vision is going to get people into occupations where there is not enough work at the moment to go round. Everything will be done to stimulate industry and to try to provide work but even taking this plan and dealing with this matter as an urgent one I have no complete confidence that next year there will not be further drawings on the Unemployment Insurance Fund. The question of demoralisation was raised first by Deputy Baxter. It is interesting to turn to Item No. 7 on the Order Paper for to-day which is: "Local Government (Rates on Agricultural Land) Bill, 1924, Second Stage." Relief for farmers! Demoralisation! The Farmers party will no doubt throw out Item No. 7. when it comes to be voted upon.

It is the same type of demoralisation that accrues from that relief as will accrue from paying ahead to unemployed benefit in lieu of contribution which will afterwards be collected from them.

But the farmers will have to finance their own affairs. The Minister will find the money but we will have to find it for him later.

The difference is that the banks will have to finance the farmers and the Central Fund will have to finance the unemployment.

That is a great difference.

Deputy Baxter said, what I expected to hear from a great many people, that if the £200,000 was spent by way of a relief scheme the money would be well and wisely expended and there would be some return and some employment given. Let us make a comparison between money expended on relief schemes and money called for under this Bill. That £200,000, if expended on relief works, would employ 10,000 men for a period not beyond seven weeks. This money is going to keep alive, at any rate, to put it no further 82,000 men and for a period much longer than the seven weeks' employment that might be given by the application of this £200,000 to public utility schemes. Deputy D'Alton stressed the point I wished to have stressed here very definitely, that this is only one side of the picture. There is another approach to this problem, but this is an immediate approach. Deputy D'Alton spoke of measures to be introduced shortly in the hope of providing employment. "Measures" is going beyond what I said. I mentioned one Bill on which we rely considerably, that is the Trades Facility Bill, or Loans Guarantee Bill, whichever it may be called. There are other matters ahead that do not require legislation which we rely upon for stimulation of industry, but as a measure the Trades Facility Act is to be introduced and I stress that as the other approach to the question of unemployment.

Deputy Davin has exhorted us to look forward and not backwards, and if I may follow him a little away from the Bill into the political matters he raised, I wonder does he insist that this glance in retrospect is not of some value as teaching us how to attack problems in the future. I think, while it would be wise to forgive, it would be folly to forget recent happenings, and not to learn a lesson from the past. Deputy Davin described what happened recently as an armed scramble. I follow that logically in this way. In an armed scramble the combatants are merely rioters, and should not get political treatment. Political treatment should not be asked for them. I wonder does Deputy Davin repent of anything he said previously on the treatment of these people.

Quote anything I said. If you can do it I will be surprised.

I see Deputy Davin put it to me that what he has said would show repentance, and I leave it at that. He raised another question often spoken of here. Peace must have been seen on the horizon, and the problem of absorbing the unemployed should be considered. The use of these phrases seems to suggest that a majority of those who went into the Army in the last year and a half were taken from employment; that is notoriously not the case.

There was no employment at all for a great many who went into the Army. What happened was that a great many people previously unemployed went into the Army, and were returned to their previous state of unemployment when demobilised, so that it was not that so much work was lost by men going into the Army, but that they have reverted to their old position of unemployment; and it is to be taken into consideration when tackling the whole problem that for years past there has not been sufficient work in this country for those able and willing to work.

The Barrow scheme has been raised by Deputy Davin and some others, and apparently I should have made application to the Minister for Justice or the Minister for Defence to prevent any Germans from being sent to the banks of the Barrow.

I do not think I said that.

The Germans have gone to the Barrow on an excursion. They have been seen there and the deduction is that I am responsible for getting the Germans to come forward and investigate the Barrow with a view to taking up the drainage works there. The German spy mania was never very widespread in this country from 1914 to 1918, and I do not see why we should start such a mania here now. I dislike very much to hear this Barrow scheme, which is a very ill-omened scheme, mentioned. I came in contact with it departmentally about two months ago, and when reading information on it I found that the scheme when first mooted, was stopped by the outbreak of war. The war was the Napoleonic war. It was then revived and had approached the point where it looked as if something was going to be done. Then the 1914 war broke out, and now that we are actually nearing again an approach to the Barrow scheme, getting within distance of having plans prepared to deal with that scheme, it seems to me a very ominous thing.

Deputy Johnson dealt with the question in a very serious way. His first remark was that if the £200,000 had been spent by way of guarantee of interest and sinking fund on some stimulus to industry, the money would have been properly spent and spent in a way that would be calculated to give considerable employment. I cannot deal with what might have been done in the past, but I draw a certain amount of comfort from Deputy Johnson's remarks because they seem to me to imply that he will welcome the Loans Guarantee Bill.

Hear, hear. I recommended that long ago.

I am glad to have the Deputy's friendliness on this matter. The Bill is to be introduced next week, and it is a thing on which I definitely build for the future. We will have an Advisory Committee set up to consider all the schemes that may come along. If these schemes are passed as suitable, then there is provision made for guaranteeing interest. There are certain conditions attached to that. That, at any rate, is a better retort to this Bill than saying that £200,000 might have been spent on relief work of an extravagant type and of a more or less unproductive character. That Bill is going to be introduced, and on that Bill I rely considerably. A further criticism of Deputy Johnson's was that the Bill was not an Insurance Bill of the general type, and that it did not change the social structure. It does not attempt to do that. The whole organisation of society may have to be changed. That may be necessary, and it may be inevitable, but I cannot undertake to express an opinion on it.

With regard to this Bill, I say it is hardly fair to criticise schemes for not reaching to a standard which they never set out to achieve. This scheme never set out to change the social structure. It is a temporary measure limited in type and in application, and has no bearing whatsoever on the general framework of society. Deputy Johnson also had his doubts that schemes of different types might have been tackled, and tackled with some benefit to the unemployed previous to this. I found myself for two months in the position of being asked to make bricks without even being given the straw. If I may use a metaphor used in another place, I am given silk hats and I am asked to produce rabbits from them. Schemes, some foolish and some well thought out, and some very ragged have been put before me. To get back to the metaphor, I have had in the last two months a succession of glittering tall hats and some very dingy bowlers put before me, and I am asked to act the part of a conjurer and produce rabbits. That is not the way to tackle this question. The way that I propose to tackle it is with the Loans Guarantee Bill or the Trades Facilities Bill. Under this Bill we will have an Advisory Committee set up; we can have schemes examined outside the Department altogether and we can then see what can be done. I am personally not so confident that I can solely shoulder responsibility for all the work that is entailed. I feel that I will be constrained to turn down schemes that are put before me without giving any good reason and to refuse any help that may be given to me in the way of schemes or in the way of making an investigation of industry in the way Deputy Good spoke of. These schemes are, however, for the future. I want to stress again that this is a very small attempt to tackle a very difficult problem. There is an urgent problem here and now. There are certain people who are on the verge of shipwreck. This is the only seaworthy type of life-boat that I can send out to their assistance. It does not do me or them any good for people at this moment to insist that I should either have kept the storm away, or should have kept the boat from drifting near the rocks. That is not practical politics at the moment. The point is that there are certain people to be relieved. This Bill is an immediate approach to the relief of these people, and I trust that any money advanced under this scheme will not impede the advance of further money for reproductive schemes. This is not in substitution of anything more useful than what it is in itself.

Could the Minister say if the Court of Referees will continue in operation under this?

Question: "That the Bill be read a second time"—put and agreed to.
Third Stage fixed for Tuesday the 17th June.
Sitting suspended at 6.30 p.m. and resumed at 7 p.m., Deputy Cooper in the Chair.