Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Thursday, 23 Apr 1925

Vol. 11 No. 2


I beg to move:—

"That it is expedient to amend the law relating to Customs and Inland Revenue (including Excise) and to make further provision in connection with Finance."

In moving that resolution I would like to reply to a point that was made by Deputy Baxter last night. He said that the influence of the Minister for Industry and Commerce seemed to have been, as it were, given too much weight to in the settlement of the Budget which is now before the Dáil. I would like to say that while due weight was given to the views put forward by the Minister for Industry and Commerce, there was consultation with the Minister for Agriculture, that as a matter of fact, in settling the lines of this Budget, I had consultation with the Minister for Agriculture before there was any consultation with the Minister for Industry and Commerce, that the Minister for Agriculture was aware of the reasons for all the proposals, and that the Minister for Agriculture was invited to make any suggestion that he thought would be for the benefit of agriculture. He naturally did not make proposals for the protection of agricultural products although I discussed that question very many times with him. One has to look over the whole field in dealing with matters like this. If you take some very narrow view, a sort of view that, I think, was advocated from the Farmers' Benches yesterday, and if you act on that, I believe that there would be no possibility of getting this country out of the rut and enabling it to go ahead. It should be remembered when we are bringing in proposals for the increase of employment that something in the neighbourhood of £3,000,000 has been spent in the last three years in connection with unemployment benefit. We have now a debt due from the Unemployment Fund to the Exchequer of £1,220,000 odd. In addition to the expenditure that has occurred in connection with the actual grant of benefit, other expenditure has been incurred for the purpose of relieving distress and unemployment. We have tried to get the best possible value for the money spent on these works, but everybody knows that if you have an element of relief entering into the execution of any public works, you will not get as good value. The whole morale is, to some extent, vitiated by the fact that you are doing work for the relief of distress and absorbing the unemployed. It is very hard in these circumstances to get the full value. Indeed it is impossible to get the full value. We have been really obliged to spend very considerable sums, one way or another, for the relief of distress caused by unemployment. I do not think that any section of the community can look forward with equanimity to simply giving out doles. I think all classes will benefit, and the taxpayer will benefit, as a taxpayer, by getting rid of this drain on the Exchequer. This country is an economic unit. You cannot do the business of the country well by simply taking one class, whatever that class may be, and looking just within the narrowest limit, taking the narrowest circle with which you can possibly circumscribe that class's interest, without taking into account all the reactions that the conditions of that class would have on the conditions of all classes. We have, as I said yesterday, been feeling all the time that the interests of the agricultural community must have first consideration from us. But we do not think that it was giving the best consideration to the interests of agriculturists by merely trying to continue things as they had been in this country. If we can absorb an appreciable amount of the unemployment of the towns, if we can get rid of some of the expenditure that has had to take place for the relief of distress due to unemployment, we will ultimately relieve the agricultural community. If we let that distress become a sore, if we let it become a source of poison of one sort or another for the whole nation, the farming community cannot escape.

We cannot be satisfied with the outlook and the policy that would leave us content to have our farmers carry on their work, to send their sons and daughters to other lands, as has been the case in the past, and do nothing to try to keep people born in this country at home and give them opportunities for work. There are, as Deputy Sears pointed out, more interests to be considered than merely the man on the farm and his eldest son. We have to look and do the best for our whole population. A great deal of extra expense falls on the taxpayer because the institutions that have to be maintained are more expensive here than they would be in a country where you had a greater development, with lower postal charges, with the rates of pay not lower at any rate, somewhat similar rates of pay. The Post Office in Great Britain pays its way. The Post Office here cannot possibly be made to pay its way. It is also more expensive to collect taxes in a country like this. I already pointed out that one of the great difficulties about getting the substantial reduction in railway freights that would be desired, is that the traffic does not exist. If your population is sparse, and going to grow sparser, then there is no hope for satisfactory transit system being developed in the country.

In conclusion, I would say that in this Budget we have considered the agricultural interests. The Minister charged with looking after agriculture has been consulted time and again. We have aimed at aiding agriculture as at aiding other industries, but we have taken the long view. We feel, just as building up industries by protection does cost something, that it is a wise protection and investment. You acquire an asset for the nation in productive capacity that did not exist before, and we think that in taking that long view of the economic position of the nation, we are best serving the interests of the farming community.

In dealing with the Budget as a whole, I think the first feeling of every Deputy is not only that the Minister has expounded it with the clearness and lucidity that we have come to expect from him, but that also in distributing the remission of taxation which he was able to make, he has done it with fairness and impartiality. That is what we have learned to expect from the Minister, and I hope and believe that we will never be disappointed.

While I am congratulating him on these two points, there is one point in regard to his Budget which I cannot congratulate him on, and that is on its originality. The only original features in the Budget have been taken from last year's speeches of Deputy Johnson. I congratulate Deputy Johnson on having his ideas adopted at one year's remove, but I rather tremble at the prospect of what leader of the Labour Party the Minister will sit at the feet of next. If it is Deputy O'Connell, I suppose the national teachers will get their rights again. I gather from what the Minister said before he introduced this resolution, that he will not follow Deputy Davin in an onslaught on the banks. But I do regard almost with alarm this perceptiveness of the Minister, this susceptibility to suggestion. My alarm is hardly mitigated when I discover that he has even taken one idea from myself. Last year I suggested to the Minister that he should not be afraid of borrowing for non-recurrent expenditure, and I am glad to find that in this year's Budget he has grouped his non-recurrent expenditure and is prepared to meet that out of capital, and not out of revenue. That is exactly what I intended last year. I was somewhat misrepresented in certain quarters as urging the Minister to embark on a career of wild and reckless borrowing. I would not do that for two reasons. One is that I knew the Minister would not do it, and the other is that I have too much sense. There are certain abnormal items of expenditure that have occurred in this country during the last three or four years that might reasonably be met out of capital and not out of income, and I am very glad to find the Minister has accepted that point of view, and is, therefore, in the position to give some remission of taxation to the taxpayer.

I only wish he could have gone further and adopted another suggestion of mine, which I have been making at intervals for the last eighteen months, and that is, to deal with the question of national expenditure by setting up a small impartial expert committee to inquire into the Estimates and to see where reductions could be made—a committee on the lines of that which was adopted in Great Britain four years ago, called the Geddes Committee. That committee would not have an easy task. The Minister, I admit at once, has done his very best to reduce the expenditure of public departments, but there is a moral authority about the verdict of an outside committee of experts on questions of taxation and finance that no Minister can have, because questions of Party influence, Party power and submission and Party meetings are bound to be considered. They may not be rightly considered. I believe the Minister has pursued a courageous and impartial course in dealing with this matter, but there are bound to be people in the country who think that the Minister has been biased, and the verdict of an impartial committee would carry greater weight than the verdict of any Minister, however honest or impartial he may be.

A committee of this kind could also draw up a scheme in an advisory capacity, a scheme of economy not for one year, but for a period of years. You cannot make any enormous economy in one year, and I believe the Minister in that direction has done all that could be done. But I do believe that a scheme extending over, say, five years, dealing with vacancies when they arose, could be usefully framed. I hope that the last word in this matter has not been said, that eventually the Government may come to the conclusion that the support of a small expert committee of this kind would help rather than hinder them. I do not quarrel with them for assuming their own responsibility, but a burden shared is a burden lightened, and in this matter I believe they would do well to lighten their burden. At the same time we can have no really permanent reduction of taxation without a reduction of expenditure. That is the case which I am trying to make, and the case for the remission of taxation is an almost overpowering one.

I was reading the other day the words of a Chinese historian. I was not reading him in the original Chinese. I found there a definition of the task of government that seems to me exceptionally clear and true:

"To create offices and to establish government is for the end of nourishing the people. To tax the people and to get revenue is for the means of supporting the government. A wise ruler does not increase the means at the expense of the end. Therefore, he must first pay his attention to the business of the people, and give them a full chance for their economic activities. He must first enrich every family, and then collect the surplus of their income."

Those are the words of the learned Lu Chih, who wrote very nearly twelve hundred years ago. The Chinese in those days were a very wise people, and he seems to have anticipated the idea which we ought to achieve now in the twentieth century.

The Minister, I think, in framing the Budget has taken some of these truths to heart. He has taken them so much to heart that he is almost gambling on them I think. I would not in normal circumstances accuse the Minister of the gambler's temperament, but I rather gathered from his words yesterday that he is staking a great deal on the prospects that there will be a revival of trade and industry, and that this will be a dry and profitable season for the farmer. I remember an ancient sage saying that he did not care who made the people's laws so long as he could make their songs. This is the first time I have known a Budget based on a popular song. The Minister for Finance framed his estimates on the assumption that it is not going to rain in the immediate future. He has evidently been convinced, because not only is he gambling on the chances of a dry season but he is actually imposing a tax on umbrellas. I fervently hope that he will not be mistaken. But I think that the Dáil ought to realise, as the Minister himself suggested in his closing words, that if this is not a dry season, if agriculture is still hampered, and if trade and commerce do not revive, then some of this taxation that is now being removed will have to be reimposed, and it will be very much more difficult to reimpose it than to remove it.

I just want to refer to an omission— not a complete omission but a certain omission—in the speech of the Minister. I wish he had told us a little about what is called the statistical tax—the tax of 6d. on every entry to the Customs and also the 6d. tax on every parcel. What he said yesterday was:

"The delivery fee on parcels produced revenue at a rate of £47,000 per annum and reduced the number of incoming parcels from 54,000 to 39,000 per week. The Custom Entry Duty brought in revenue at the rate of £40,000 a year, but does not so far seem to have had any effect on the number of consignments imported. As, however, it only came into operation on 1st September last it will be continued at any rate for another year."

I should like that last sentence slightly amplified. Do the Government still think this a good tax? Do they think it is a tax that imposes no hard ship on the community as a whole? Do they think it is a tax justified by results? Do they think the revenue it produces is collected without friction and inexpensively? These are points on which we have had no enlightenment at all. I would like to know more about the cost of collection of this tax. Another factor we should know a great deal about, when dealing with the decrease of parcels is, what has been the increase in the book-post. Speaking as an individual, where I used to receive two parcels weekly, I now receive two book-post parcels which are not included in these figures. I think it will be found that the net decrease in parcels, if you take the book-post into account, is very much less than the figure given by the Minister. In practice, everyone who gets books from libraries, gets them now by book-post where possible, instead of by parcels post.

On the general question, I hope that when the Minister replies he will give us the judgment of the Government on the working of this tax. Six months ought to be enough to give some indication, at any rate, as to whether it is a fair tax, whether it is an easy tax, and whether it is a tax that is not an undue burden on the community.

I want to turn to the result of last year's protective duties. I find a certain amount of difficulty in dealing with them because, except for the information that we got yesterday from the Minister for Finance, we have very little knowledge of how these duties have worked. We now know the revenue they produce, but we have no definite information as to any increase of employment, and increase of industry as a result of the duties. In the beginning of last December I moved for a return showing the effect of these duties on employment and the Minister for Industry and Commerce told me that he could not give me such a return, but that he could obtain from the various firms in these industries a statement of how they had worked out as regards employment. That statement has not been forthcoming. Whether it will be forthcoming before we finish discussion on the Budget, I do not know. At the moment, at any rate, we are absolutely in the dark. When he introduced the duties last year the Minister for Finance stated

"We have decided to recommend to the Dáil the imposition of certain duties which will give us limited but sufficient experiment in the use of a tariff for the stimulation of Irish industry. By the end of the year we will have a clearer idea of the efficacy and all the reactions of protection as applied to Irish conditions than could ever be obtained by mere discussion and speculation. Actual experience would teach us what fiscal policy is suited to our conditions."

We were rather negligent last year. We omitted to ask the Minister the meaning of the word "we." Who are "we" who are to learn, and who are "us" who are to be taught? Is it officials of the Ministry of Finance? Is it the Executive Council? It is certainly not members of the Dáil, because we have really no definite knowledge, no official knowledge, of any kind whatever, of the working of these duties. We know, since yesterday, the amount of revenue they produced, but as regards employment and stimulating the few industries, we have only vague general statements, such crumbs as fell from the speeches of Ministers on various occasions. A little came from the speech of the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs in Cork a week ago. How the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs knows more than any other Deputy, seeing that he is not a member of the Executive Council, I do not know. He is skilled at finding things out. Where we have information, that information is very conflicting.

The Minister stated yesterday that in the bottle industry something had been done to increase employment. As far as my information goes, at Ringsend at any rate, there has been no increase of employment. With regard to confectionery, undoubtedly there has been increased employment. The duty has stimulated the confectionery industry without any excessive rise in price. Therefore, I think the Minister has a success. As regards the other duties, I am doubtful about the boots duty. The Minister was optimistic about it here yesterday. Again I turn to the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs. With that frankness with which he always addresses his constituents, he asked, "Why is there not another boot factory in Cork? Why at any rate has not the existing factory been extended as a result of the duty?" As regards soap and candles, the Minister himself admits that we have no data. As regards bottles, our data rather conflict. It is admitted there is no great increase. That is the position in which we have to consider the maintenance of these old duties and the imposition of new duties. For myself, I am inclined to think that, always with the exception of confectionery, these duties have not perceptibly increased employment. Certainly they have not increased employment on any great scale. They have vexed and harassed the public to a considerable extent and sent up the cost of living.

I turn to the new duties. Here again we have no facts or figures before us as to the extent of employment in the furniture, in the apparel, and the various other industries proposed to be protected. Personally, I am very sorry the Minister has found it necessary to impose any new duties at all. I think I would sooner have seen a smaller remission in taxation and no new taxation of any kind, because it is an old maxim of political economists that any new tax is a bad tax, because people are not used to it, and therefore they feel that its imposition is harsh and oppressive. In the satisfactory circumstances the Minister found himself in, I believe he would have done better by leaving new duties alone, and let us see how we got on for a year by studying the working of the old duties which have not yet been fully tested. These new duties tend to bring home to the citizens, every hour almost, the pressure of taxation on them in their ordinary life. We are getting to a situation in which almost every ordinary commonplace necessary of life is taxed. I will ask the Dáil to imagine the day of an average middle-class man, possibly one of my constituents, when this Budget becomes law, as I suppose it will become law. He gets up out of his taxed bed, shaves himself with his doubly-taxed shaving soap, and puts on his taxed clothes. Then he does the only free thing he is able to do in the day, he sits down to his free breakfast table, and that is only free if he does not take sugar in his tea. Breakfast finished, he puts on his taxed hat and goes out of doors. If the Minister's aspirations are not fulfilled, he puts up his taxed umbrella. He wears out his taxed shoes walking to the tram or train to get to his business. When he gets there, he sits down in a taxed chair, wearing out his taxed trousers at a taxed table on which he probably finds an income tax form. He goes out to lunch. He takes a glass of taxed beer out of a taxed bottle, and after that, he smokes a taxed cigarette. Then, when business is over, unless he can get a lift home from a friend in a taxed motor-car, he goes to a cinema and pays entertainment tax. Finally, he gets home. He is asked by his wife to admire her new taxed jumper. He sits down and listens to his daughter playing a tune on a taxed piano, which is lighted with taxed candles. He takes a taxed glass of whiskey from a taxed bottle, washes his hands with taxed soap and, finally, he pulls the taxed blankets over his over-taxed head in bed.

That is not an unfair presentation of what modern life is coming to. If you take the point of view of certain economists and statisticians, that it is a good thing that people should realise that they are paying for the State, it is all right, but if you hold the view that I do, that a tax should be unobtrusive and should be enforced at intervals, then I venture to think it is a bad thing and causes discontent. Of course, the man will have another penalty if he looks at the clock, because that is taxed, too. He even looks at the time in a taxed clock. I have been longer than I intended, but I do want to stress this point. I have tried to put it humorously. The average taxpayer is annoyed by the multiplication of taxes, and this new tax— particularly the tax on wearing apparel, which will extend to socks, collars, ties and gloves, many of which are not produced in the country at all, or, if produced, are only produced in limited quantities—is going to cause an amount of annoyance and irritation that renders it not worth while. We should strive to have few taxes, and simple taxes. Our taxes are rapidly becoming numerous and complicated.

Will you have it all on income tax?

That is one idea. Deputy Johnson would be in favour of that. I said a few taxes, not one tax. I would rather have a few than a large number of taxes. In the few I would include income tax. I do not come from Cork. There is one fact which enters into this matter on which we have no light whatever: that is, the cost of collection. I think the cost of collection of the tax on apparel is going to be a serious item in the balance sheet. On this we have no light whatever. When we have tried to get information as to cost of collection of taxes from the Minister, we have been confronted with impossibility. Consequently, the only thing to do is to go into the Estimates and try and find out how much the duties imposed last year have increased the cost of collection of taxes. I may be wrong —I admit this is only an inference from the Estimates—but I find from the Estimates that in the Customs and Excise Department the costs of temporary clerks has increased from £12,839 to £23,800. In other words, it has almost doubled, while the cost of watchers—who, I presume, are people to prevent smuggling—has increased from £2,180 to £6,000. The cost of watchers is nearly trebled. That, I presume, is because of the taxes we put on last year—the "limited experiment in protection." That process is going to be continued. I think any business man, dealing with a question of this kind, would like not only to have an estimate of what the tax would produce on one side, but what it would cost to collect on the other side. That is a sound business principle. So far we have not done that. I cannot help thinking that this multiplication of small taxes is going to give us a great deal of trouble in collection. But the more serious aspect of the taxes—and one I want to touch upon briefly, but with some emphasis—is the effect of those taxes on the cost of living. That is the one serious outstanding problem that the Government has failed to deal with. There have been repeated promises, from the Governor-General's address eighteen months ago, which stated that high wages, high prices and high profits could not continue, to the President's pledge, a little over a year ago, that legislation would be introduced to enforce some correspondence between prices and value, and to the Trades Loans Act, which has not been productive in creating any fall in the cost of living. Attempts after attempts have been either promised or made, and still the cost of living goes up. If Deputies have had time to study the Estimates, they will have found one serious and important matter for last year and the year before. The figures for the cost-of-living bonus of the Civil Service was 90 last year. This year it is 95. It has gone up five points, and that is going to cost the country at least £70,000.

About £85,000.

Then I underestimated. I always prefer to underestimate. That practically nullifies the cuts made in salaries by the Minister for Finance. I cannot help thinking that in part, at any rate, the rise in the cost of living figure is due to some of our experiments in taxation last year—to our experiment in respect of boots, for instance.

Can the Deputy say what the current change in the English figure is.

I can tell Deputy Johnson that. Our increase on the index basis is seven, and the British figures increased by three.

Is that for the same period?

Yes—from January, 1924, to January, 1925. That is on the basis of the Minister's returns. There is a much greater proportionate increase in our figures than there is in the British figures. I do not want to make an unfair point. I admit that increase in the cost of living arises in many cases owing to circumstances over which we have no control whatever—the state of the world markets, shortages in Canada or South America and other matters which our Government cannot control and cannot be blamed for not controlling. I do not want to make an unfair point, but I do think that our fiscal experiment of last year did contribute to the increase in the cost of living. I am very much afraid that this year's experiment is going to make for a further increase, because clothing is one of the important factors in the cost-of-living figure. Last year boots increased in price and clothing increased in price by about two per cent. Even if the whole 15 per cent. is not passed on to the consumer, if only 10 per cent. is passed on, it is going to mean a very serious rise in the cost of living figure and, therefore, a very serious rise next year in the bonus payable to civil servants. That bonus is a very large sum. We do not always realise how large it is, because it appears separately in the different Estimates. I had the curiosity —and I notice that a newspaper had the same curiosity at the same time—to go through the items for bonus in the different Estimates and tot them up, and they amount to about £1,400,000 every year. We should be very slow and very careful before we do anything that is calculated to increase that bonus.

I am very much afraid that this experiment we are making now is calculated to increase it. I ask the Committee to consider whether it is really worth it. We must weigh every consideration. If there is a real and genuine prospect of expansion of industry, if there is a real and genuine prospect of abolition of unemployment, then probably it is worth it. But I think we ought to have clearer and more definite evidence than has yet been laid before us, that there is a prospect of that happening. Personally, I do not like to urge the Committee to adopt any British precedent, but I do rather wish in this matter that we had followed the procedure that the British Parliament has adopted this year. If any industry wants protection, it should come before a small court of inquiry and prove, firstly, that it is suffering from unfair foreign competition; secondly, that it is in a position to employ extra labour if given the protection of a tariff, and, thirdly, that the industry itself is efficiently conducted. I believe that if we had done that, we should have more scientific evidence, based on facts and not on mere opinions. I am not denying that there is a case for protection in some cases. In the case of hosiery, there is probably reason for protection, because we have an old-established industry which has built up an export trade, as well as a home trade. It is suffering from foreign competition. There is, I think, a case for protection there; at all events, there is a case for inquiry. Another industry that the Minister has not protected might, I think, make a claim for protection— the match industry, which, I think, is efficiently conducted. I am not saying that there is never a case for protection. I am saying that we ought to approach this question more cautiously and set up greater safeguards for the public than at present. Above all, we ought see that the industry which is protected is one that is capable of expansion and that will give additional employment.

The chief industries to be protected in the Minister's Budget—the apparel trade and furniture trade—are both industries which have very little use for unskilled labour. The furniture-maker is a craftsman. I was told today that out of five apprentices taken into furniture workshops probably only one of them will prove suitable, and, in any event, it takes years and years of training to teach a man to make furniture. In the same way, the tailor is a craftsman. If you take the average man from the unemployed list and set him down to cut a suit, the result will not be satisfactory either to the wearer or to the maker. These are trades that must be slow of expansion, because you have to train the workmen, and, in the interval, the increased cost imposed by the tariff will fall on the average consumer.

I do not want to argue the question as to whether a tariff raises the cost of living or not. I think it is generally admitted that it does, but in case any Deputy disagrees, I would refer him to the Report of the Fiscal Committee, paragraphs 108 and 109. The members of that Inquiry were, after all, men of considerable experience. The Chairman is our representative in the United States and he knows what a protective tariff is and how it works. Professor Bastable is one of the leading authorities on public finance, not only in the United Kingdom but in the world. They were all men of a certain amount of special knowledge. In that paragraph, which I will summarise, they say that it is self evident that a protective tariff increases the cost of living; that it cannot be effectively counterbalanced by reduction in any other duties—such as duties on tea or sugar—and that the cost to the community from a protective tariff is not confined to the increased price that will be paid for the protected article. That being so, and having regard to the fact that this increased cost of living question is a vital question—so far as I could see, at the last bye-elections, every Government candidate pledged himself to deal with it, though they all very wisely refrained from saying how —I submit to the Committee that the inclusion of those duties is calculated not to benefit the country but to do it harm, and that they are a blemish on what is otherwise a good Budget.

I desire to congratulate the Minister on having introduced an excellent Budget and— in spite of what Deputy Cooper says— a very original Budget. A characteristic of the Budget which appeals to me is that in arranging the incidence of taxation, the Minister has evenly spread his fresh taxation and the relief which he has given over all sections of the community. I must admit that, in the course of the Minister's speech, my Free Trade tendencies received some serious shocks, but the effect of those shocks was considerably mitigated when I came to examine the reliefs which he gave in taxation. My great objection to tariffs is, and always has been, the risk that they may increase the cost of living. On this particular occasion, from analysing the figures, I find that the total revenue from the proposed new duties amount, in the aggregate, only to £615,000, whereas the total remissions of taxation come to about £2,454,000. Even if we exclude such items as income tax, corporation profits tax, Post Office receipts and agricultural grant, we still get a remission on tea and sugar of £1,500,000, as against new duties of £615,000. As far as the argument which Deputy Cooper urged at length—that these new duties would increase the cost of living—is concerned, I think it is at once disposed of, when one comes to see that in these two items alone the taxpayer is receiving relief to the extent of nearly three times the amount of the new duties imposed.

One of the most important statements which the Minister made in the course of his address was, to my mind, that in which he told us that he was not going to break any new ground in future. People who object to tariffs will naturally receive considerable consolation from that fact. The Minister, in introducing his tariffs last year, emphasised the fact that these tariffs were of an experimental nature, that they were designed with the object of ascertaining if, and to what extent, they would benefit Irish industries and give additional employment to Irish workmen. Even though one holds Free Trade opinions, one must agree that having regard to the unsatisfactory state of employment in the country at the moment, it is desirable that every possible avenue should be explored in order to see what is the best way of bringing about the curing of the great evil of unemployment. For that reason, I consider that the Minister was justified in carrying out these experimental tariffs, and I also go further and say that inasmuch as he is giving relief in other duties, and that the cost of living will not go up, he is still justified in carrying on these experiments.

Notwithstanding that, I consider that one of the most reassuring things he has stated is, that he does not propose, in the life of this Government, to break any fresh ground. I think, from the point of view of stability in business, that alone is a good thing, and I sincerely hope that neither this nor any future Government will propose any fresh tariff which may be calculated to increase the cost of living, at all events, until such time as it has been definitely ascertained that an increase in tariffs will, in point of fact, relieve unemployment and tend to develop our industries. I am not at all impressed by the case the Minister has made with reference to the very great benefit which, he has stated, has already accrued to Irish industries. He stated that, in the case of boots, the number of employees had been increased approximately by 80 per cent. I would like to have a little more light on that 80 per cent., and would like to know on what figure the 80 per cent. was worked. I would also like to know to what extent an increase in employment has resulted, owing to people having either extended existing factories or built new ones. I understand that one new factory has been built. If that increase of 80 per cent. applied to the actual number of people manufacturing boots in the ordinary course of a year's trading, if there was an increase of 80 per cent. shown on the number of people employed before, then that would be a convincing argument to me; but, as a matter of fact, my own opinion is that it will take probably another year or two before the full effect of this or any other tariff has manifested itself, and before the Minister or anybody will be able to make his mind up and say that Irish industry has been definitely improved.

I notice that the Minister, in dealing with the effect of his tariff on soap and candles, was somewhat vague. He did not give us any figures at all to express the measure of improvement which accrued to those trades, and I assume that he is not particularly convinced, in his own mind, that any particular benefit has yet accrued to these trades. Now I come to the proposed tariff on bottles. This happens to be one of the tariffs about which I do know a little. Last year, the Minister imposed a tariff on certain classes of bottles of 33? per cent. This year he proposes to extend that to all kinds of empty glass bottles and empty glass jars. I am in a position to state, from my own experience, that the tariff which was put on bottles last year has been of no benefit whatever to the Irish bottle industries. They have been idle practically all the time since, or certainly for a great portion of the time. I have in my office at home at least half-a-dozen letters which I received during the last three or four months from the Irish bottle firms to the effect that they were not able to supply bottles, that they were temporarily closed down, and that they were not getting sufficient orders to keep their works going. Even in the case of English firms, who are looking for bottle orders, they require very large orders, say, of 500 gross and upwards, before they will agree to execute your order at all. The fact of the matter is, that whether it is owing to high wages over here or to lack of materials —whatever the reason may be, I do not profess to know—in my opinion at all events no tariff will establish the Irish bottle industries unless at very great cost to the people who use these bottles.

One of the things that is particularly noticeable about the Minister's proposals in connection with bottles this year is, that the tax is now to extend to all kinds of bottles; for instance, medicine bottles, laboratory bottles, sweet bottles, and, I presume, jam jars and all kinds of jars, the vast majority of which have never been, and in all probability never will be, manufactured in Ireland. The plain fact of the matter is, that the only glass bottle which is manufactured, or ever has been manufactured in Ireland within my knowledge, is what is known as the ordinary black or dark-green porter bottle, and even in the case of that particular bottle, we cannot get delivery of orders. They have not sufficient work on hands to keep them going. From my experience of that industry, I think that particular tariff, and the continuance of it, will certainly not do any good, but rather, I think, will have the effect of raising the price on a certain proportion of our export trade. There is quite a large business done in exporting whiskies to other countries from Dublin. If these bottles have to pay an extra tax coming in, then the finished article going out to compete on the other side or in other countries will, of course, be penalised to that extent, and I do not think that is by any means desirable.

In this connection—I suppose I may call this an intensely teetotal Budget— I think it rather a pity that the Minister was not able to see his way to give some remission off the whiskey duty or the beer duty. One fact in connection with that duty is, that the old Irish pot-stilling industry is gradually dying out. The Minister, in his statement, admitted that the revenue from spirits dropped by one and a half millions last year. As far as revenue is concerned, I am firmly convinced that if he had taken £1 a gallon off the whiskey duty he would have got more revenue. In connection with the duty on stout, as it is well known to everyone, the duty on stout and beer in England is £1 per barrel less than it is here. The English Exchequer made an arrangement with the English breweries by which the breweries conceded 4/-, with the result that beer and stout in England are sold at 1d. per pint less than in Dublin or in the Saorstát. In all probability the English Chancellor of the Exchequer—it is not, of course, for me to anticipate what he will do—will reduce the beer duties in England. At all events, there is a very strong rumour to that effect in trade circles, and, of course, if he does that, it will make a larger difference than at present as between the prices of beer and stout in England and in Ireland. There is no question of doubt about it, but that the price of beer, to the ordinary workingman in Ireland, is a very important one. There are certain grades of work in the City of Dublin in which stout has come to be regarded almost as a necessity. Even doctors will tell you that it is a nourishing diet, and whether for good or evil, the Dublin workingman insists that he has a right to a certain amount of stout in the day during the course of his very hard and intermittent work. I do think that the Minister might have melted his heart a little bit and given some relief in that direction. I think these are all the details that I wish to refer to. In conclusion, all I have to say is that I suppose we must be thankful for small mercies. I again congratulate the Minister on the liberality and fairness of his Budget, the benefits of which have been fairly evenly distributed through all classes of the community.

No Deputy in the House listened with greater surprise and delight to the Minister's Budget than I did. It seems to me that by one bold stroke he has atoned for his former sins of avarice. In present conditions I cannot help wishing that I could have heard the private conversation between the Minister for Finance of 1924 and the Minister for Finance of 1925, and the grave misgivings of the former and the cheery optimism of the latter. I can imagine Mr. Blythe of 1924 asking Mr. Blythe of 1925, "What about balancing the Budget with a gross expenditure of £30,000,000 and a gross revenue of £25,000,000?" It was suggested last year that figures, which have not been substantially changed as far as the ordinary running of the country goes, justified a reduction not only in direct, but also in indirect taxation, but the Minister on that occasion replied that the suggestion was so absurd that he did not consider it worthy of any answer. And when, later on, it was suggested that there should be clearly pointed out to the country the division between ordinary running expenditure and extraordinary or abnormal expenditure, that also was greeted with grave misgivings.

I rather object to Deputy Cooper claiming the parentage of the present Budget, or of the financial policy in this respect. Long before either he or I were members of this Dáil, Deputy Magennis broached this doctrine, which is only being acted upon this year. If Deputy Magennis cannot claim to be the father of the Budget we may, at all events, consider him as the grandfather of the present Budget. As one who last year had to criticise the Department of Finance, rather violently, for its lack of policy, I must readily admit now that the Minister has adopted a policy which is in conformity with the requirements and the dignity of the nation. By showing confidence he has done the only thing that can inspire confidence in the country at large. Reductions in taxation are founded, as he pointed out, on the differentiation between extraordinary and ordinary expenses of the State. Several large items, in the total of over six millions, I, and many other Deputies, were not aware were of an abnormal character. He has rightly included in this total the cost of public works of an abnormal nature, particularly reconstruction of all police barracks throughout the country. He has excluded the one-and-a-half-millions for pensions under Article X of the Treaty. He is perhaps right in doing so, in one way, in view of the long period which will elapse before this charge will come to an end. At the same time, I urge upon him to consider the various proposals for meeting this charge. The charge under Article X of the Treaty is in the nature of an international obligation and funding is now quite the fashion in international financial obligations, and I would urge upon the Minister to consider at any rate a scheme for the possible funding of that expenditure.

He said that any further reduction in taxation must be the result of a reduction in the ordinary running expenses of the country. All Deputies, I think, agree with that. With the exception of the funding of the pensions, I do not see any other possibility of reducing taxation in the future. The Minister did not point out how any large reduction could be brought about at the present time. Deputy Cooper has referred, at length, and on many occasions, I admit, to the importance of setting up a Geddes Commission for cutting down, if possible, the cost of administration. At the present time the principal item of expenditure is the £10,000,000 or more than £10,000,000 which we have to pay in salaries for civil administration. It is quite obvious that sooner or later the time will come when such a Commission will be inevitable. But to-day the Minister has got a very good excuse for not setting up that Commission, in that it is impossible at the present time to get any clear idea as to what is the normal establishment for the State. Abnormal establishments are required in many of the Government Departments at the present time. For instance, in the Department of Defence, for winding up Army affairs, particularly Army finance, in the Department of Public Works, for compensation and for the reconstruction of Government property, in the Department of Agriculture, getting the new legislation into operation, in the Land Commission, for carrying out the Land Act, and in the Revenue Department for dealing with arrears of Income Tax and, also, with machinery for collecting the new duties. In these and various other Departments swollen and abnormal staffs will be required, and it will be a long time before they will complete the work for which these establishments are necessary. But the time will come when it is possible to set up such a Commission, and I hope when it does come, the Minister will see that it has the largest possible powers, and will include in its scope the whole form and nature of the administrative machinery in order that we may apply the administration absolutely in conformity with the requirements and resources of the country as a whole. In the meantime, I suppose we must rely upon the vigilance of the Department of Finance to make possible any reductions in the present taxation until this time next year.

With regard to the new duties, Deputy Cooper has protested against the imposition of these duties, and has drawn a harrowing picture of the unfortunate average man who is taxed almost out of existence. Deputy Cooper's average man has got one remedy, and one only, to escape from having to pay such heavy, and so many, taxes, and that is by buying Irish goods. Some people may consider that the duties which have been put on, as proposed in this resolution, are inadequate. It is true, I think, that they have been carefully selected in order to hit as little as possible the agricultural community. Individual Deputies may support the claims for protection of several industries, but I am not particularly interested in any one industry more than another. Mention was made by Deputy Egan of the position with regard to soap, and whether the existing taxation had benefited the soap manufacturer in this country, but the Minister was vague as to the result of the tax.

As far as I know, the reason why the duty has not had any appreciable effect upon the soap manufacturers is that the producers abroad have themselves paid the tax and have not raised the price of the articies that are sold in this country. They have done so, presumably, in the belief that the duty was only of a provisional or temporary nature and that by proving it had no effect in developing the industry at home, it would eventually be withdrawn. I believe that not only by keeping it on, but by adding to it, these manufacturers will probably be disillusioned and there will be an increase, possibly, in the price of soap and also an increased protection for soap manufacturers in Ireland. For myself I would be glad to see some small protection for agricultural implements.


Possibly the present depressed state of agriculture would make it advisable to defer such protection for a few years. For that reason I regret the self-denying ordnance which the Executive Council has put on themselves by placing themselves in the position not to impose any further duties without consulting the electorate. If the Government consider they have a mandate to go as far as they have gone, surely they could go a little further? Deputy Cooper referred to the tax on parcels, particularly on parcels of books, and he suggested it should be removed, as it was objectionable. I disagree with him there. I think there should be a prohibitive tax placed on books or periodicals coming from abroad.

And newspapers.

Yes, and newspapers. I do not know if this is a matter for legislation, for the Minister for Justice, for the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs, or if it is a matter for discussion on the Budget. I think it probably is. Certainly I think the country as a whole would welcome any tax put on objectionable literature introduced from across the water. These are the remarks that I was anxious to make in connection with certain items in the Budget. I congratulate the Minister on the decision that he has at last arrived at. I think it was a very courageous and wise decision, and I am sure it will meet with a very real response throughout the country by way of reviving the economic life of the people.

I think it will be agreed that the pivot of the Budget is the happy stroke by which the Minister managed to transform a deficit into a surplus, the deficit being of a quite respectable size. He has turned it into a surplus that offers him an opportunity of giving benefactions to different sections of the community. I think the method by which he has done that is a correct and sound method, by transferring certain kinds of expenditure to debt. I am not going to take any part in the investigations that have been made by one or two Deputies as to the paternity of the suggestion of recurrent and non-recurrent expenditure.

It is pure-bred.

I have always held that it is a sound principle of procedure that what might be legitimately defined as non-recurrent expenditure should be put to debt and only met in respect of its debt-charges from year to year and not in respect to itself. But, having adopted that principle, I think the Minister has not justified the particular items that he has so transferred, and I would like him, in winding up this debate, to touch upon those various items if he would. If I remember rightly, when the phrase was first used, to the expression "non-recurrent" was added "or foundational expenditure." Two years ago it was obvious that we, as a State, having only just been established for some six months, were incurring various forms of expenditure that was of a foundational nature and that was incidental to the establishment of the State. It was not only non-recurrent, therefore, but was a foundational expenditure. I think only that particular type of non-recurrent expenditure ought to be funded. There are certain kinds of expenditure which are non-recurrent but which, nevertheless, ought to be met in the year in which they are incurred.

I now here desire to strike a note of caution in regard to the procedure which the Minister, although he at one time was not in favour of it, has now accepted. Not merely has he accepted it, but he has accepted it to the extent of making it the very basis of his whole Budget. I will take, by way of instance, the various items that he has so transferred, making up the sum of £4,686,110, which he calls non-tax revenue. He sets that out in his speech yesterday under seven heads, dealing with the various items. There are: "Local Loans in respect of new capital; Public Works and Buildings; Property Losses Compensation; Personal Injuries Compensation; Technical Instruction—not ordinary technical instruction, but a duplicate item that was in previous Estimates; expenditure in respect of the Army over and above two million pounds, two millions, therefore, being accepted by him as being normal expenditure in respect of the Army, down to which figure it is proposed we should go. With all that I agree; but then the particular item to which I am now directing attention is under the letter G, included in his category yesterday. He says: "Central Fund Services, Services of Debt, Sinking Fund, etc., being the provision included in Central Fund Services for repayment of ways and means advances and savings certificates."

Without some further information than is in my possession at the moment, I fail to see, although I agree with the principle that non-recurrent expenditure should be funded, why this particular item is included in the category of such non-recurrent expenditure, and so turned over to a fund. There probably is some reason in the Minister's mind, and I will leave it to him if he will deal with that more fully when he comes to reply. As it seems there now, it appears to be of the nature that is strictly recurrent, and therefore should not have been funded. I think, while I am about it, I may mention that we are really getting away from the time, like the last two years, when we were incurring a vast amount of expenditure that was both non-recurrent and foundational. We are now at a period when we have almost attained— many think we have attained—a period of normality in the ordinary running of this huge business concern that we call a State, where, apart from special matters of a developmental nature, National Debt charges would have to be incurred. All other charges would be of a nature that ought to be treated as, perhaps, non-recurrent, perhaps recurrent; but in any case they would be of a nature that ought to be met in the ordinary revenues of the year. I agree with the principle, however, that the Minister has now accepted.

I move on to the next point upon which I would like him to deal more fully when he comes to reply. It is in regard to this particular debt. A sum of money is being transferred to debt, increasing the amount of debt existing at the present moment. He set out the various forms of debt which we have now. The total debt outstanding at the present moment, whether in respect of National Loan, Compensation Stock, Savings Certificates, or otherwise, according to the figures he gave, was £13,360,000 odd. To that must now be added £6,116,492, giving a total indebtedness at the moment, and as a consequence of the statement the Minister made yesterday, of £19,476,000 odd—roughly, nineteen and a-half million pounds. That is to say, nineteen and a-half million pounds is the indebtedness of this State at the present moment. It is not a large debt; it is a very small debt. As National Debts go now, it is a very small matter indeed, but the Minister stated yesterday also that the National Loan outstanding, after having been sunk to a certain extent by the operations of the Sinking Fund, was £9,760,000 odd. That is to say, that of the total debt which this State incurs because of the matters to which the Minister referred yesterday, and as a consequence of this Budget, of the total of nineteen and a-half millions, nine million and three-quarters have been funded at the present moment. That leaves another nine million and three-quarters to be funded. The amount of debt which, as a consequence of the Budget, the Free State will have to fund, will be, roughly, £10,000,000. I think the Minister should take the opportunity of the Budget and the winding-up of the debate on the resolution which is moved to-day, to make a statement as to what steps the Government proposes to take for the issuing of a further loan so as to fund this amount of money. I think that will be looked for, and I think the Minister would do well if he would deal with this question of the unfunded debt, the proposals for its funding, with any particulars as to the amount of the issue he may have in his possession as the result of the decisions of the Executive Council.

On that basis the Minister proceeds to remit certain taxes and to impose certain fresh taxes. It is inevitable as a result of his speech, and even if he had not used the words it would be inevitable in view of what had occurred, that a large number of Deputies would make a reference to the old discussion as between Protection and Free Trade and that we would get the usual tags that we always hear whenever either of these words is brought into a debate. Deputy Cooper, for example, spoke about an increase in the cost of living. I think Deputy Egan has largely answered him on that matter. I fail to understand how any Deputy could state that the result of the present Budget will be to increase the cost of living when the total amount of revenue to come into the State as the result of the taxes to be imposed by the Budget will be less than it was before the Budget was introduced. It is agreed that there will be an increase in respect of certain matters where new taxes are introduced, where those taxes did not exist before, but they will be compensated for by reliefs that will be given, and that are intended to be given, by taxes that are remitted and by taxes that are lowered. Inasmuch as the total revenue will be less, the cost of living will be less and must be less.

I suggest that the right attitude for the Dáil to adopt in regard to this question is not to burden itself with the words "Free Trade" and "Protection" at all. I think we would all agree that it is necessary that this State should confront its own difficulties for itself. It has now entered upon its third financial year. Three years ago it received, as a result of its connection with Great Britain, a fiscal system and a scale of taxes that were originally devised for the needs of Great Britain, the needs of a highly technical, industrialised country, devised and drafted for its needs and not devised and drafted for our needs at all. It was clearly necessary once we broke away from that system, once we broke away from the unity with that system, that we should set down our own problem, take stock of our own circumstances, and devise a system of taxation that is suited to our conditions, without respect to any of the prejudices that tax might carry because we had taken it over from people with whom we had been previously connected, people whose circumstances were very greatly different from ours. In other words, we should not consider a tax as being good or bad in the degree in which it could or could not be called Protection, or in the degree in which it could or could not be called Free Trade, but it should be considered in the degree in which it was a good tax suitable for our own needs.

I take it if we were starting off entirely fresh, being bound by no prejudices and no burdens of the past, and we had to consider a tax, we would proceed in that way. Supposing there was at this moment no such thing as a tax on tea or a tax on clothing and the country had to consider which of the two taxes it was better for the State to adopt, as being most suitable for the lives of the people, I believe that the majority of Deputies would come to the conclusion that the tax that would suit us the better of the two would be a tax on clothing, because the tea has now become a necessity of life just as much as clothing. There are many parts of clothing that are of the nature of luxuries, whereas tea, while once considered as a luxury, is now a necessary commodity in the life of every household. Therefore, it is not whether we can or cannot make our own clothing, whether these new taxes will or will not give protection, that I suggest the matter should be considered. I suggest that it should be considered in the light of which of these two taxes is better for us in this country. The tax on tea is paid, in respect of every part of it, by the consumer. That is not true of a tax on clothing. If 4d. be remitted from tea or added to it, the circumstances of the distributive trade in that commodity are such that the whole of that benefit or the whole of that burden can be transferred, and should be transferred, to the consumer. In clothing, that is notoriously not the case. Some of us have had experience of the very remarkable fact that is to be met with in ladies' clothing, of how many items there are, all getting the same mysterious figure that stops short a farthing off a shilling. You get item after item marked up to a farthing off a shilling. I decline, and I have always declined, to believe that these articles that have always received that one mysterious figure, 11¾d., or whatever shilling may be before it, were all manufactured at one price. It is perfectly clear that the haberdasher, or whoever the person may be, if he finds himself with a commodity that can be put up to the nearest 11¾d., he pushes it up to the nearest 11¾d. There is a case where this tax will in part be paid for not by the consumer but by the distributor. Therefore, I think, as between these two taxes, apart from the argument as to free trade or protection, that the better tax is the tax on clothing, and a relief that will give the greatest amount of benefit to the consumer will be a relief in respect of tea.

On these grounds I think the Minister has done wisely. What he has done in effect is to change the basis of our taxation. Deputy Cooper referred in protest to the originality of this Budget, but I do not think that that is a charge of which the Minister need have any fears. The Deputy also said that there was no information available on which Deputies could frame an adequate judgment. That information would never be available until it was first acquired, and it is an excellent thing that it should be acquired. I am now speaking in regard to the general terms of the Budget. I am not, and have not been, dealing with its particulars. I am not altogether in favour of the particular form of taxation on clothes, but what I say is, irrespective of the details and incidence of this Budget, that the principle is a sound one, and we should be able to consider the merits of the respective kinds of taxation without having our minds encumbered, without having to consider them in reference to fiscal debates that have no relation to this country. I doubt if these fiscal debates have reference to any country. I think I remember stating in this House before, when this matter was under discussion, that so far as I am concerned, and I have been reading this subject for twenty years fairly intimately, that if I were in Great Britain I should be in favour of the form of taxation that prevails in that country, and if anyone were to inform me that I were a free trader I should say that it did not affect me in the least, as the form is one which I consider suitable to that country, which depends on its carrying trade. Similarly, if I found myself in the United States, with its vast internal resources, I would believe in the form of taxation which it has devised for its needs, and, similarly, if anyone said that I were a protectionist I would say that that may be so, but it would not disturb a moment of my sleep. Similarly, in this State I agree with the Minister for Finance in branching out in the form of new taxation which he has undertaken, and I do urge when they are submitted to debate, as they should be, and submitted to analysis and criticism, that, at least, they should not be encumbered by terminology which has very little reference to us, and very little reference to our needs and circumstances. We should be able to discuss whether a tax is good or bad without being compelled to consider it as a protective or free trade tax. There is one particular tax where the Minister has made a remission, to which I wish to refer. I only wish to touch on one or two particulars of this Budget before we come to the Committee work, where we will have an opportunity of considering the particulars more fully. I refer to the income tax.

The Minister has received measured and moderate praise for his drop in income tax. I am glad he has given that relief, because I think the effect of it will be very widely felt by an increase in business activities, but while he is about it, I would like him to consider that this which we call an income tax, is not a tax at all. The English Minister with whose name it is associated, because he gave it its modern development, described it very aptly and justly by saying that it was not a tax but rather a code or system of taxation in which each different schedule was its own separate tax. That is just, and if the Minister is going to give relief I suggest that he might be wise to consider, even at this stage, before we come to Committee, the different schedules of that tax as a different tax of their own. Take the different five schedules. Schedule A is a tax on landed property, including houses— that is, a tax on rent. Schedule B is a tax on profits arising from occupancy of land. Schedule C is the income payable on interest out of public funds. I suggest that Schedules A. B. and C are schedules in respect of which relief is not so urgently required as it is in respect of Schedules D and E, to which I am not referring now. I would like all professions and forms of employment, including farming, to be brought under Schedule D, but profits arising from profession, trade, or employment, salaries or pensions, stand in an entirely different category from profits arising in respect of earlier schedules which are strictly non-productive and which, in a sense, might more legitimately be called idlers' taxes than the remaining two schedules which are taxes on working people. I suggest that that ought to be considered, that we ought not merely to speak of, and think about income tax as if it were one single tax, but we should deal with it as a whole code or system and deal with separate parts of it as separate taxes. If the Minister were to do that and put up against each particular schedule receipts in respect of taxes for that schedule he might be able to give a larger relief on Schedules D and E and a lesser relief on what I may call income derived from funds. I remember saying here two years ago and I hold to these words still, that the Minister and the State will find that relief given in income tax is one that will handsomely pay for itself in the future. I think I said two years ago in this House, when I urged the drop in income tax to 4/6, that that tax of 4/6 would in less than a couple of years be more remunerative to the State than a tax of 5/-, but I believe the rate of 4/- which will prevail when this Budget is passed will, in not very many years, prove more remunerative to the State than if the Minister had left it 5/-. I consider this drop a sound investment for the future.

I wish just to touch, in concluding, on this tax on wearing apparel. Deputy Mulcahy said yesterday that coupled with these taxes it should be remembered that the Minister said that it was not intended to break any new ground before a general election. This is a tax which will not directly help our own natural industries. Members of the Farmers' Party, and Deputies from different parts of the House, yesterday spoke of the bad state of our own clothing industry, and the various homespun industries in the West that are notoriously in a bad way. The tax will give them no benefit; it will only benefit the city manufacturer, or I might more properly describe him not as a city manufacturer, but as a city assembler of clothing. It gives no benefit on clothes, but only on the manufactured article, and I add my voice to those who put this matter forward yesterday that the real benefit that is required is the benefit to the manufacture of clothing, the raw material of which we produce in this country. I hope before we emerge from Committee the Minister will consent to the attempts that will be made to change these taxes so as to bring in the manufacture of cloth, and to make it apply less and less to the wide range of articles it at present covers. While some Deputy was speaking yesterday, the Minister for Finance interjected that special relief would be given in respect of travellers. I think that is a matter to which he might direct more attention in his concluding remarks. I may appear to close on words that would appear contradictory of what I have already said. I am not at all afraid of saying things that might appear to be contradictory of other things I have said. That would be a very absurd attitude to adopt in any assembly, but I have said we ought not to talk about Protection, and I adhere to that. Having said it, I go on to say that in considering taxes we ought to consider the utmost amount of Protection we ought to give. Those two statements are quite consistent, one with the other. I do not think that many of the taxes the Minister has introduced will help industries in this country. There are taxes that could help industries in this country lying very near industries which we already conduct—lying very near and parallel with the fundamental industry of this country, which is farming, and which we ought to encourage. I mention the manufacture of cloth, seeing that we grow our own wool.

Then I believe there is another point. I think Deputy Daly referred to it yesterday, and I am very glad to mention it myself, because I so seldom find myself in agreement with Deputy Daly that when I do I rejoice to celebrate the fact, and that is—why not something that would help our own flour-milling industry? I think these are matters that ought to be considered. In fact, I will go further and say that they ought to be considered now, because the Minister has said that if we do not go into these aspects of the question now there will be no further opportunity until a new House assembles some time in the future after the general election, and many of us may not be here to consider them at all, so we ought to take utmost advantage of the opportunity offered to us now. Generally these are matters that will be discussed in Committee. I think the Minister will be advised, in view of his own assertion, that he is shutting the door on further consideration for probably two years, to treat the criticisms in Committee with the utmost amount of hospitality. If it is any inducement, for my part, in respect of any amendments I may introduce, I may say that on the general lines of his Budget and the general policy enunciated of widening the basis of taxation, and searching for new taxes, which, even if not successful, will bring fuller information to this State than it has at present, I welcome it.