Mr. MacDermot, speaking on this Vote, said that it is a rather ironical commentary on the many promises made in regard to employment. It is more than an ironical commentary; it is a confession of failure. It is a definite condemnation of the people who believed in the fool promises which were made, and made so plentifully, about the time of the elections. Deputy Byrne has said that this Vote is not sufficient. I do not know that that point should be pressed too far, but it could with justice be pressed so far as one could put it against the people who are at present bringing forward this Vote. I remember that one occasion when a Supplementary Vote of a quarter of a million pounds was introduced around one Christmas period, the Minister for Finance, as he now is, referred to it as being enough money to give three weeks' employment by way of a Christmas present, and stated that his policy was not to give three weeks' employment on doles or relief schemes, but to give 52 weeks' employment in industry. If a quarter of a million pounds represents only three weeks' employment what does £50,000 represent? Even the man who cannot add up his own budget figures should be able to tell us that. I say that argument can be pressed too far, and should not be pressed too far, because the resources of the country have got to be considered. It is easy to take any of those figures and, taking the number of counties or constituencies, to say: "That is only so much per constituency." Each Deputy could say: "In my constituency that would not provide for the unemployed for one week." That has been said on pretty nearly every Vote of a relief type which has been introduced during the past 12 years. The resources of the country have got to be considered. They have particularly to be considered by the people who made a failure of the First Loan. They have got to conserve their resources very much indeed. Yet, on the other hand, there is a problem. I will even confine it to the unemployed as considered under the Unemployment Insurance Acts; people who are anxious and willing to work, who cannot get work, who are dependent on work for wages, and dependent on what they can earn through work for what is to keep them alive, are now offered £50,000. It is not to be forgotten that that is in addition to £350,000 and £150,000—a grand total of over £500,000. Again, might I refer to the plans with regard to unemployment that got the Government into power. Those plans did not promise relief schemes; they promised work. They did not promise work on relief schemes—work of a transitory nature; they promised work in industry. They promised work in industry which was going to be permanent in this country. They promised work in industrial occupation; once in, a man was going to be in as long as his industrial life lasted. Industries were going to be firmly seated in this country. The plan announced that, in a selected number of industries, over 84,000 people —even the odd hundreds were mentioned—would get employment. In the end we are faced with a third Vote for relief schemes. Surely it is a slight criticism to say that this is an ironical comment on the promises.
I want to repeat the figures given out from official sources in relation to this matter, because it is the very life of the country that depends upon the knowledge of these figures and an appreciation of what the figures mean. The Minister for Industry and Commerce when challenged here one evening about industrial occupation said that the best test of employment in the country was the test of the moneys paid into the Unemployment Insurance Fund. It is easily the best test. Stamps are affixed for men when in work. If the number of stamps in any particular year increases, thus increasing the revenue of the Fund, it is a sign that more men have gone into employment, or else that those who were in employment previously have been at work for a greater number of weeks. The Minister took as his guiding rule for all this that every £4 extra into the Fund meant a person in employment for 50 weeks in the year, and that again is an accurate calculation. I do not want to say, and I am sure it is not going to be understood that I am saying, that everybody who goes into employment goes in for 50 weeks in the year. But this is a good basis of comparison.
The Minister for Industry and Commerce told us that the income of the Fund had increased year by year over a number of years and he finally brought us to the point of 1930 and told us that in 1933 the increase in the Fund was £60,000. By dividing that by the £4, representing a man in employment for 50 weeks in the year, he said that meant 15,000 people in occupation and so it did. We had analysed later the difference as between 1930 and 1933. The years 1931, 1932 and 1933 form a good basis for comparison because there is no confusing factor, no change in the contributions. When these figures were analysed we found that in 1931 the Fund had risen by £45,000. The present Minister for Industry and Commerce had nothing to do with that. If we take his division by £4, it meant that 11,000 people had gone into insurable occupation for 50 weeks in the year over and beyond the people in it in 1930. That was before the present Minister had anything to do with industry. We had further figures for the year 1932 and they showed an increase. Mark the difference between the years. The year 1932 was the great year of industrial development, the year in which there was in fact all the multiplication of tariffs, subsidies, bounties, everything that was to found industry in this country. All that the Minister could show in that year was an additional 5,600 people in employment.
It can be said that his plans had not time to develop. Let us take that as an excuse. Then we come to the year 1933. The difference between the year 1932 and the year 1933, on the Minister's own criteria, was an additional 1,500 people. In two years of the Minister's industrial development schemes, in two years of high tariffs, in two years of bounties and subsidies, of giving Government credit, putting Government funds at the disposal of people, about 7,000 people went into employment. In the last year before the present Minister had anything to do with industrial development 11,000 people went into occupation.
Again the excuse might be made that even in 1933 it could be said that the plans for developing industry had not fructified. That might pass for an excuse were it not for the fact that the Minister had boasted, with regard I suppose to the first dozen of the industrial development schemes that are on, that "the job is done." So the job is done, and in the year in which the job was announced to be done 1,500 people went into new occupation. In the two years leading up to the year in which the boast was made that the job is done less than 7,000 people were put into occupation of an industrial type, whereas in the year before that Minister had anything to do with industry £45,000 was added to the Fund, equalling 11,000 people put into occupation.
That is the positive side of the industrial development. Let us take the negative side. While the Fund is being built up by contributions paid by those in occupation during the year, it is also drawn on by those who, having been in industry, failed for some reason or another in a particular year to get employment. Being insured, they are enabled to draw from the Fund as long as their stamps last. I asked a question last week to discover what was the draw on the Fund —the minus side of industrial occupation. We found that as between 1931 and 1932 the draw on the Fund had increased by nearly £100,000. In other words, when there were some people going into employment, although not as many as in 1931, there was in 1932, as compared with 1931, something in the region of £90,000 odd extra drawn by those who in that year failed to get employment.
That shows both sides of the industrial problem. Fewer people came in, with big tariffs imposed, in the period as to which the Minister said, in relation to six or seven of these schemes, that "the job was done." No pretence that it is impossible to determine when a factory has been erected— because we are told that some of the factories are extensions and therefore cannot be segregated from the original buildings—no excuses or glosses of that sort are any good against those figures segregated by the Minister himself; £45,000 increase in the Fund in 1931, 11,000 people put into employment; in the succeeding two years somewhere about 7,000 people went into employment. In the year 1931 a certain draw is made on the Fund by those who were unable to find occupation and who were insured against not being able to find employment. In the year 1932 the draw on the Fund was nearly £100,000 more. If that shows healthy industrial development, figures can be made to mean anything.
While all that is revealed to us through these official figures, there is the other side—the non-insurable population of the country; the people who are not in insurable occupations; the people, in other words, who are employed either in domestic service, in agriculture or in horticulture. Where do they come in? Some weeks ago at a dinner the Minister for Industry and Commerce boasted that we had reached the lowest point with regard to employment; that from this time on there would be a progressive movement. There has been, but not in the sense he meant. The unemployment figures have risen every week since then. They now total 96,000. Are they agriculturists? At least, are they people who were employed on the land, but who can no longer find occupation on the land? The Minister has provided an Unemployment Assistance Act. He says it is going to provide for 60,000 people who will not be able to find employment, as they are not insured. His colleague, the Minister for Education, estimated the figure to be 90,000. Let it be 60,000 minimum or 90,000, these figures, according to both Ministers, represent people who are not in insurable occupations, and who will not be able to get work. That is for people apart from the industrial group. Of course we see it reflected in the home assistance figures, which have risen. There may be an excuse with regard to the home assistance figures that people are drawing it that should not be allowed to do so, and that people are getting home assistance who should be getting unemployment assistance. I do not know if that excuse is going to be made. I do not think there is any other excuse.
At any rate, the fact is that after two years of intense industrial development, after two years of the new policy, which is supposed to be steadily driving us to more tillage, we find on the one hand, in the Minister's industrial policy, there has been less increase in two years than there was previously in one year, despite the vast scheme of industrial development. As far as the agricultural community is concerned we find the unemployment figures at the moment to be 96,000. We find the Minister trying to provide for these—I presume it is the same group—by an Unemployment Assistance Act. His own calculation is that 60,000 people are not insurable. Of the industrial groups who will not be able to find work—his colleague says they are 90,000—while they are preparing, home assistance figures have gone up with an enormous bound. I stress again, that the excuse that might have been made, that schemes of industrial development have not yet had time fully to come into play, is negatived by the Minister's statements. He said on an occasion in this House with regard to groups of industries, that his job was done. He said that at a dinner; he said it in this House, and he said it at meetings outside the House. His boast was that his job was done. This is the second year of his great scheme. He said that 1,500 people were going yearly into employment. There is one test which the Minister used, to show that everything is rosy or, at any rate, that prospects are bright in this country. He takes the figures for imported articles, which are at present tariffed here, and says that in such a year we imported goods to the value of £500,000, and last year we only imported goods value £50,000. He then draws the quick conclusion that we are making up goods value for £450,000, which were previously made abroad and imported. There is no proof that we are doing anything of the sort. We may not be buying that amount of stuff. The people may not have the purchasing power to expend on these commodities. If it is said that they are spending the money on articles now made at home, then there is a test that can be called for, and that should be supplied at once.
The Census of Production is given for various industries, the amount involved, and the net product per worker in the industry. With regard to confectionery and sugar, the Minister is disposed to rely on it in a great measure. He says that imports have been cut down from about £500,000 to £30,000 or £40,000. If £450,000 is spent on sugar and confectionery, which is supposed to be made here, but which was previously imported, then there ought to be a corresponding rise in those employed in that industry at home. Do the figures bear out the assertion that there are goods worth nearly £500,000 now being produced here which were previously purchased abroad? The figures prove nothing of the sort. The figures can only be made to prove that by assuming that the nett production per head of those employed in this industry has gone from £200 to about £2,000. That conclusion is ludicrous. It is quite clear that in many industries importation is falling off. It is undeniable that as a result of high tariffs a certain amount of what was made abroad is being made at home. It is equally undeniable that in the last few years, while the economic war was being waged, the purchasing power of the community had lapsed considerably, and that there was not the money to spend on these articles.
Merely to say that in one year there was such an importation of certain articles, and in another year so much less importation, does not prove that the difference between the two figures is what is made at home. In the last two years it goes to prove, as far as this country is concerned, that the same amount of money is not being spent on these articles, but is reserved for something else; that the money is not there to spend, and that there is not the demand at home. There is no reflection in the figures on those employed in industry to correspond to the difference between what was imported previously and what is now imported. The purchasing power argument has got to be used in another way. In a recent speech I noticed that the Minister for Agriculture was boasting about the decrease in the importation of maize. He drew the conclusion quickly—and drew the one that was satisfactory to him—that the same amount of feeding stuff was required, but that maize was being replaced by something produced at home. The feeding stuff was required for certain purposes, but purposes for which it was previously required, no longer exist. There is not the necessity to purchase the same amount of any type of feeding stuff. Is there the same demand for any type of feeding stuff for animals as there was last year, or as there was previously? We are told there is a plan with regard to agriculture, the same as regards industry. I want to hear that discussed on very broad lines; details can be filled in afterwards.
In the year 1931 there was a certain type of farm economy in this country. Certain things were produced out of the earth. Some of what the earth yielded was eaten at home by human beings, who accounted for a certain amount, and animals accounted for the rest. Some of the animals fed on what was produced, were consumed at home or used for stock raising purposes. The rest were exported. The exporting fact meant and could easily be translated into this, that different types of animals represented a certain amount of tillage. If there are not the same markets, and if there are no alternative markets, then the number of animals bred for use outside this country diminished? The number of cattle bred in this country for use outside diminished so the acreage that supplied the feeding stuffs for these animals must go down. We can replace it. We are going to grow something else; we will grow wheat. I know the argument is that we can supply our own wheat. Anyone can make a calculation?
Let us assume that next year we are growing in this country all the wheat that we require for our own needs, and let that be measured out in new tillage. That is one side of the account. Take the other side. We are no longer looking for a market for export. Therefore, we are no longer looking for an exportable surplus. Let us take that in relation to live stock. If, for the next ten years, we are only going to breed in this country the number of animals which will be required for human consumption at home or else for breeding purposes for animals for further use at home, how many acres now tilled will go out of cultivation? Will it, in the end, be more than we will put under the plough because of wheat or anything else that we are going to grow new in this country? That can best be summed up as it was summed up here recently. There are between 10,000,000 and 12,000,000 arable acres in this country. There was a certain number of these being tilled in the year 1931 under a certain type of farm economy. Supposing this country sets out to get to this point of self-sufficiency and this only; that it will raise in this country only what is required for consumption at home and is not going to look to the exportation of a single animal or a single item of agricultural produce, how many of the 10,000,000 or 12,000,000 arable acres in this country will have to be tilled to supply home needs and not supply anything else? Will it not be at least 1,000,000 acres under what was tilled in 1931, and if it is not that, what is the figure? How many people are going to be engaged per acre on what is tilled, new or old? Where are the people who are in the country going to find employment? Tillage will certainly decrease under these conditions, and if tillage decreases more people will go out of agricultural employment and if they are looking to get employment in industrial activity in this country they will see their own generation out, and probably another generation will pass, before the change over is accomplished if the rate of speed is going to be even the 5,600 odd that got into industrial employment on the first spurt of activity, the 1,500 that got in on the second burst of activity or the 7,000 odd that got in in the two years; two years so successful that the Minister has got to say at the end of it that the job is done in relation to most of the big industrial groups.
Surely if there is a plan both of these points of view have been considered. Surely if there is a scheme that is worth calling a scheme, there must have been consideration given to the fact that in the year 1931 or in the year 1932, when the present Government took over, out of every 1,000 people employed in this country 530 were employed in agriculture, and about 100 employed in industry. Surely there must have been some thought given as to what was going to happen to the 530 per thousand employed in agriculture if tillage, in fact, was going to decrease under the scheme of the Government, and immediately on that there must have been some consideration given to this problem; how are we going to increase the 100 per thousand employed in industry so as to get it up not merely to balance the number that go out of agricultural employment but that will give an opening to the others who are coming on to the labour market year by year.
Now was there a plan: was there anything to direct activity: was there a scheme which allowed for a decrease in agriculture, or did the scheme envisage an increase in agriculture as well as an increase in industry, and are the results working out according to the scheme? Can we be told now as to the number of people extra in agricultural employment over and beyond those who were in it in the year 1931? Can we be told what their hopes are for remaining in agricultural production if the scheme of not aiming at an exportable surplus in any item of agricultural produce is going to be carried out? Can we be told how long are those transitory arrangements about relief schemes and unemployment assistance going to be necessary? Has any member of the Government, or the Government as a collective group, any idea as to when the country can be shown some increase in agricultural development: some better increase than we have at the moment in industry? Whatever the figures are—it is to be presumed that the increase is going to be kept up year by year—can we get any relationship shown between those figures whatever they are and the number of people, whatever that number may be, who are at the moment unable to get work of any type and who are dependent on the getting of work for the wages which they will exchange for food to enable themselves to live? The figure may be 96,000, the present total of those who are registered. The figure may be the 19,000, as the Minister for Agriculture thought it was going to be of those who need not register because they are not in insurable occupation. It may be merely the 60,000 that the Minister for Industry and Commerce is optimistic to believe in. Supposing it is even the 60,000, and supposing that there is no further decline in agriculture, what hope has the Minister of speeding up industry in the matters in regard to which he has not yet said that the job is done so as to occupy industry year by year for some years? What is the number going to be and in what groups of industry are they going to be placed?
Remember we had it all set out in the plan. Eighty-four thousand odd were to be put into occupation. How many of them have gone in: how are the groups working out? What are the groups in which achievement is superior to the Minister's expectations, if there is any such group? What are the ones in which development is expected on any considerable scale, and has not yet been got on any considerable scale? If there is a plan, if there is an ordered development, and if there is a working to a goal which has been properly looked to and the means and methods of achieving it have been properly surveyed, it ought to be easy to answer these questions.
We have asked from time to time where are the factories? We were told at first that the Minister was in some difficulty because he did not know the difference between a factory and a workshop. Later, over the festive season, he thought of a better excuse: he could not give those figures because of course some activity was demonstrated by an extension of an existing factory, and therefore he could not point to it as a new factory. Therefore, the figures if they appeared might appear to falsify his statements. Surely it is possible for the Minister in any group of industry—the one he is fondest of is the sugar confectionery business—to say there: "I have previously announced that the importation of all the articles under this head has gone down by nearly £500,000. I have drawn the conclusion from that, that the £500,000 worth of goods previously imported are now being made at home." About £200, let us say, to make the sum easy, used to be regarded as the amount of wealth produced by each worker in that particular industry. If we have £500,000 worth of goods now being made here which used to be made abroad, we ought to be able to show so many new people employed in this industry. Can the Minister show it? Can he show a quarter of it? Can he show one-tenth of it? The last figures we got did not show one-tenth of it. If he cannot show that increased employment, does he say that a very small increase in employment is responsible for the manufacture at home of nearly half a million pounds' worth of stuff that used to be imported? If he does not say some of these things, what is his last excuse— or, at least, his latest excuse, because I do not suppose we will get his last excuse to-night—with regard to industrial development in the country? Remember, in the first half year of the Minister's sway he had 300 factories that he knew of. He could not state in this House to what groups they belonged. He could not tell us how many there were in the principal groups. He could not tell us, in the end, the difference between what he described as a factory and what would otherwise be called by other people a workshop. He has had two years in which to think over the problem. He was going to keep a directory and for months he delayed in sending out the ordinary lists of questions which should be answered before the directory could be put together. Now we find that it is not being done under his auspices but that the firms are doing it themselves, with the view, I suppose, that if it does not bear out what the Minister says he can say that it is not official. He can say that it is not yet the whole truth, and the whole truth, with regard to these new factories will remain locked in the Minister's heart.
In these circumstances, of course, we have got to get a Vote like this. £50,000, acording to the view of the Minister for Finance, would mean three days' work for the unemployed. That is what is to be given at this point. Is that what was promised? Is that supposed to be the answer to those people who believed that in certain groups of industries 84,000 odd people were going to be put into work? Is it to be merely a relief scheme of a transitory type, the cutting off of corners of roads, the making of pathways and approaches into Land Commission works, certain drainage schemes and so on—things possibly all good in themselves but clearly lasting only for a season so far as the work is concerned—is that to be the answer to the people who wanted to be put into industrial occupation of a permanent type and who voted for the Government that promised them that? It is the best that can be offered at the moment. I join with Deputy Byrne in welcoming the expenditure of this sum, although I also say that I believe that, with regard to these sums which are being expended year by year, each succeeding year will see less of them expended because the resources of the State cannot be strained beyond a certain point and it is impossible, unless there is better production in the country and a better yield from taxation in the country, to go on supplying all these moneys, necessary as they may be at a particular time unless the end is foreseen. If the end were that this is merely transitory, that there was a good guiding plan, and that there were going to be people put into occupation; that industrial production will improve in the country, and that people would have more money in circulation—bread often springing from good business activity—then, it is tolerable. If, however, it simply means that the plan either never was there or else was hurriedly excogitated at a particular moment, then, of course, this is only leading us further into depression and misery.
Deputy Byrne said that it would have to be voted this year and for years to come. There will be a bigger demand for this type of money next year if things continue to get progressively worse next year as they have been getting worse in previous years. There will be a bigger demand and a bigger necessity for it, but there may not be the same case in supplying it, and it may be that, eventually, the Government will find themselves compelled to stop this sort of relief, and they will have nothing else to offer instead of it. It is a poor answer, but it is some answer to those who believed in their promises and voted for them on account of those promises; but it is not the answer expected. It will have to do for the year. Deputy Byrne's warning will have to be taken that, undoubtedly, in the years ahead the demands will still be there and the necessity will be there. The only thing that remains to be seen is, will the money be there? Again I stress that what happened to the Fourth National Loan does not indicate that the money will be there, and certainly it will not be there if the Government insist on pursuing the policy they have been pursuing.