In Committee on Finance. - Finance Bill, 1935—Second Stage.

I move that the Bill be now read a Second Time. The main provisions of the Bill have already been before the House in the form of Financial Resolutions, and, in view of this, and of the fact that individual clauses will be explained in detail on the later stages of the Bill, it is scarcely necessary at this stage to refer to them except in a general way. Part I of the Bill consists of nine sections relating to income tax. The provisions of the first eight sections, with slight exceptions, were embodied in Financial Resolutions Nos. 1 to 8. There are, however, one or two minor modifications to which I may briefly refer. In Section 3, there are two new sub-sections. Sub-section (5), which is introduced for administrative convenience, provides that where a valuation, as increased for income tax, is not a multiple of 5 the amount should be rounded to the nearest multiple of 5/- below the odd figure. Sub-clause (6) enables the Revenue Commissioners to ante-date, for the purpose of Schedule A, a reduction in the poor rate valuation where they are satisfied that such a reduction would give a more accurate measure of the real annual value for the year prior to that in which the reduced valuation would come into effect.

The last clause of Part I of the Bill, that is, Section 9, has not previously been before the House, but it merely provides that certain of the Revenue Commissioners' officers may, at any time, grant the usual statutory allowances, deductions and reliefs in computing income tax liability. The necessity for this clause arises from a deficiency in the existing legislation which does not allow officers of the Revenue Commissioners to grant reliefs after assessments have been settled by the Special Commissioners. Part II of the Bill, consisting of about 20 sections, deals entirely with Customs and Excise and the proposals embodied in Sections 10 to 22 have been before the House in the form of Financial Resolutions already. There are, however, one or two changes here in certain of these Resolutions, one being designed to make generally clear that the duty chargeable on rice meal at reference No. 6 in the Second Schedule will not apply to preparations which, in the opinion of the Revenue Commissioners are made from rice husks. In regard to the duty on hydrocarbon light oil which will be confirmed by Section 21 of the Bill, sub-section (12) makes provision for a penalty for contravention of the regulations made by the Revenue Commissioners under the preceding section or of any of the conditions imposed by them in such regulations.

In connection with Section 22, which embodies the provisions of Financial Resolution No. 23, I should mention that power is taken to continue beyond 1st July next the existing provisions in regard to the issue of licences which were due to expire on that date in connection with this duty. Sections 24 and 25 relate to the entertainments duty, Section 24 providing for the new scale and Section 25 for an exemption —a very minor exemption—in the case of certain greyhound racing tracks. Section 26 relates to the termination of new duties and, in connection with this section and Section 27, very full notes have been circulated to Deputies setting out in detail the effect of the clauses. The last two sections in Part II of the Bill have not previously been before the House. Clause 28 merely provides for giving clear legal authority for the present practice of charging duty on the value of alterations or repairs on the reimportation of dutiable articles sent abroad to undergo such operations.

Clause 29 increases the general penalties for false declarations in respect of Excise duties. A similar provision has, of course, been in force since 1919 in relation to Customs duties. Part III of the Bill relates to death duties. Two of the clauses, numbers 30 and 32, have already been before the House. Clause number 31 will give the Revenue Commissioners power to make estimated assessments of death duties in cases where persons liable to deliver an account of property for the purpose of such assessments fail to do so. A similar power, of course, already exists in the case of income tax. Under the clauses, ample powers of appeal are provided, so that the tax payer will be safeguarded against any injustice which might arise through the making of excessive assessments.

As regards clause 33, which relates to the payment of money standing in the names of two or more persons, there is a widespread practice of placing money on deposit in joint names. On the death of one of the persons in whose names the deposits stands, the money becomes the property of the other person or persons, without any formality whatever such as the production to the bank of the probate of the deceased's will. As the existence of such deposits is frequently not disclosed in inland revenue affidavits for death duty purposes, there is a very heavy loss of revenue. The clause accordingly requires the bank, in cases such as I have referred to, to refrain from transferring the money on deposit to the survivor or survivors until there is produced a certificate from the Revenue Commissioners that there is no outstanding claim for duty in respect of such money in connection with the death of the deceased.

Clause 24 provides for the continuance for a further period of three years of the temporary exemption hitherto granted to certain public utility concerns, to building societies and to the Agricultural Credit Corporation Limited. In Part V. of the Bill the definition under Section 48 of the Finance Act, 1920, is extended so that a member of the Saorstát Exchanges carrying on the business of dealer will be able to avail of the flat rate of transfer duty applicable to stocks acquired to be held by the dealer in the ordinary course of his business. The clause, we hope, will effect an improvement in the market for local securities here, which is restricted to some extent by the limitations imposed by the existing definition. The two remaining clauses, numbers 35 and 36, are the usual ones relating to the care and management of the taxes and duties, and the short title to the Bill.

I propose to confine myself at this stage of the Bill to a few remarks and a few questions. The staggering burden of taxation which this Budget imposes is all the more alarming for want of an understanding of the Government's policy and point of view, and their general economic outlook. In this, as in many other phases of the Government's activities, what is very specially disturbing is the fact that there are so many confusions and conflicting utterances that it is impossible for anybody, however painstaking and sincere, to arrive at a comprehension of what it is they are driving at or where it is they are proposing to get to. We could face with more courage the prospect of expenditure on the scale which is being laid down for us by the Government if we had reason to believe that they had any sort of sane outlook upon the general economy of the country, and if we were not distressed and disturbed by all sorts of inconsistencies in their own statements about it.

Take as a characteristic and rather a key question the matter of the bounties that are being given on exports, and the fact that it is thought proper to finance part of those bounties by borrowing. The Government have alleged, or the Minister for Finance speaking for the Government has alleged, that those bounties must be regarded as temporary and abnormal. While they have said that, they have not given us one single reason for thinking them temporary or abnormal, and I ask the Minister in all seriousness when he is concluding the debate on the Second Reading of this Bill to let us into the secret of his philosophy about the bounties. Under what circumstances is he expecting that they will come to an end? Is it that he is expecting a settlement of outstanding disputes with Great Britain, which will enable our products to get in without tariffs and even without quotas, or is it that he intends to give up the British market as a bad job in a year or two, and not attempt to get our agricultural products into it at all? I think he will see that we are entitled to know which of those two things he means. Presumably, he must mean one or the other. I had supposed, judging by the actions of the Government over a now fairly considerable period of time, that they had become convinced that the British market meant something permanently valuable and important to us. While they were slow to admit that thought into their speeches they did ultimately admit it into them, and were anxious to disclaim earlier speeches in which they referred to the British market as if it were a kind of curse of God which he had got to get rid of as soon as opportunity offered—as soon as we had earned enough merit to be relieved of the curse.

On the other hand, I now find—I do not know whether it is due to electioneering influence; perhaps it is— that their latest literature seems to go back to the old position, that the British market is gone forever; that the British market has collapsed, and has collapsed permanently; that the British buying power must be regarded as something that is going to go on declining, and that over and above that the British Government have adopted a protectionist policy which is inconsistent with the British market being any longer much good to us. Now, if that is their view of the case, it is very difficult to explain a great many of their recent measures and perhaps, as an outstanding case, to explain their coal-cattle pact in which they went to what I think an onlooker would regard as extraordinary lengths to get additional live stock into that British market. They went to the length of actually coaxing the British to accept more annuities from us in the shape of tariffs by the bribe of a monopoly for the supply of coal to this market. When they act in this way, and when they have started again talking in another way, it is really very disturbing for anyone who has the prosperity of the country at heart, because while there may be two views about a particular economic policy proving successful in the long run, there really cannot be two views about an absence of policy proving a failure in the long run. If the Government are constantly shifting from one foot to another and altering their point of view, what hope is there at all for the future prosperity of the country.

It is impossible to touch on these matters without considerable repetition of things that have been said already, but which fundamentally are so important that repetition of them is permissible. I want to put it to the House once again that if the Government are framing their financial and economic policy for this country, assuming that they have one at all, and this conflict of statements leads one to fear they have not—but if they are framing a policy upon the view that the protectionist measures taken by British Governments for the sake of their agriculturists in Great Britain are measures necessarily injurious to us, they are making the greatest possible mistake. If they would only use their memories a little bit, or if they would look up debates in the British House of Commons or Irish newspapers of the pre-European War period, they would easily ascertain that the policy of protection for agriculture in Great Britain is something that was always earnestly desired by the people of this country. The reason that the British tariff reform policy before the War was looked on with so much suspicion as it was, was because the whole tendency of that policy was to create protection for the industrialists without creating any protection for the agriculturists. The food tariffs that had been originally proposed were pushed more and more in the background and it was pretty obvious that British electoral considerations were going to push agriculture into a back seat. But as regards agricultural protection, there was no difference of opinion in this country in thinking that it would be a fine thing for Ireland, and the fact that we have our political independence now is no cause for thinking that it would not still be a fine thing for Ireland.

The Ministers themselves have experienced the desire of the British to trade with us. The British are, of course, conscious of the fact that even as compared with Australia or Canada or New Zealand the balance of trade between Great Britain and Ireland is very much in favour of Great Britain and that we are taking a proportion of their goods which altogether exceeds in proportion what is taken by other parts of the Commonwealth. That fact gives us an immensely strong bargaining position and the further fact that in these days of wars and rumours of wars the British must be very conscious of the importance of having a prosperous Irish farming community at their doors to ensure a food supply near at hand is also immensely in our favour as a bargaining asset. That being so, there is no reason at all for thinking that we could not turn the British agricultural protection policy to our own advantage, that we could not get into exactly as good a position as the British farmer himself with regard to the admission of our goods into that market.

The Fianna Fáil propagandist keeps harping on the fact that the unrestricted entry of cattle into Great Britain is gone forever. I daresay that is true, but it does not follow that unrestricted entry of cattle from the Irish Free State into Great Britain is gone for ever. The British farmer himself has to submit now, it is true, to co-operation in various schemes that regulate production. There has to be a more scientific adjustment of production to consumption—better organisation and better marketing. But none of that need in any way be a hindrance to Irish agriculture. It can, on the contrary, be a help to it and I think at any rate the Government ought to have it as their aim. I see the very great difficulties that their policy towards Great Britain creates in achieving that aim, but I think they ought to have it as their aim to secure that Irish agriculture gets the very great advantages that ought to be available to it as the result of the new British policy of protection and restriction and organisation. I would have more hope for the financial future of the country if I thought the Government were even aiming at that.

That is the first thing I would like to ask the Minister to tell us, really what is behind his view that bounties and sudsidies are only of a temporary character, only of an abnormal character to meet a crisis, and that we can look forward to the day when they can be dispensed with. I would like to know under what circumstances does he think it possible that they can be dispensed with; whether he subscribes to the view that the British market is something we can wean ourselves from altogether, as his pamphleteers are now informing the electors of two counties where by-elections are taking place; whether he thinks that the British market has collapsed, that the British buying power has gone, that British policy in any case is adverse to our having the footing in that market that we ought to have or whether, on the contrary, he is optimistic about that market and believes that we will soon be able to get back in there without the aid of bounties at all. One thing is quite certain and that is that nobody can hold the two views at once. These views are fundamentally inconsistent and irreconcilable. The Government must either keep to one or the other. It is only fair for them to tell us on which leg they stand.

The other question I want to ask the Minister is this: I asked him this question on the Budget debate but did not elicit an answer. I hope I will be more fortunate this time. My question is this—what is the real meaning of this additional indirect taxation that the Budget contained—on tea, on sugar and bread? Is it that the Government has come to the conclusion that direct taxation has reached its limit? I think if the Government have come to that conclusion the Minister for Finance ought to tell us so quite plainly—that we have to face the fact that an increase in the rate of income tax or an increase in the estate duties or in the rate of super-tax would cause loss rather than gain to the revenue. The yield of such taxes is already unsatisfactory and disappointing, and must we reconcile ourselves now to the view that any further increase in expenditure in this country has got to be paid for by imposing additional taxes on articles of popular consumption. I think these are fair questions, and questions that ought to be answered by the Minister.

There is a minor matter that the Minister just touched on in his Budget speech and then left severely alone, and that is the future of the sugar and the future of the motor car industry. In both cases the Minister said that their future was precarious and insecure. I would like that statement of the Minister's developed. I would like to know what is to be accomplished and what possibilities there are of its being accomplished in order to make these industries secure instead of being precarious. I hope then that the Minister will be more enlightening on these matters in winding up the debate on the Second Reading than he was in the Budget debate. In general, I hope he will give us a better opportunity of understanding the whole economic philosophy of the Government, and if we could once understand it we might face the future with a little more confidence than we do. Their economic philosophy may be bad. I am certain it is bad so far as they have one, but it would be better to be sure that they had an intelligible economic philosophy than that they had none at all. The present situation is that not only are their utterances conflicting as between each other, but different utterances of the same Minister are so conflicting about the economic outlook that it is impossible to make head or tail of it.

Deputy MacDermot has put a question in this debate that I intended to put myself. I will enlarge a little on it because there is some apprehension amongst people concerned in the motor car business as to the intention that lies behind the Minister's remarks and his Budget statement. The Minister indicated that there had been a considerable loss in revenue through motor cars being assembled in this country. I think he anticipates on this year's figures a loss of £300,000 compared to the higher figure that was obtained when cars were imported complete. But it is felt by those in the industry—and that is only one aspect of the motor taxation—that there is an actual increase according to the Minister's figures in the amount raised in road taxes. There is a substantial increase in the amount raised out of petrol taxes. I think what it is desirable to explain is why that particular industry is warned that it must be prepared for an increased taxation in the future. So far as the luxury side of the motors is concerned it must be covered by the petrol tax, the tax which brings in such a very big sum. If the Minister agrees to that point, if he agrees that so far as luxury is concerned, the petrol tax accounts for that side of the industry and that the road tax is sufficient to meet the expense that is required to maintain the roads for motorists, then it would seem that there is some explanation needed as to why that particular industry must be prepared for special taxation.

It is held by those interested in it that the motor industry is in the same position as any other manufacturing industry after you have removed the luxury aspect from it. Those who have put their capital into the business of assembling cars are naturally apprehensive as to the Minister's statement. They would like to know on what grounds he holds that the revenue which was derived from the importation of cars must now be raised by excise duty. Is that the principle of the Government's economic system, that where import is replaced by home production and where that import was yielding revenue to the Exchequer the same amount of revenue must now be raised from that industry within the country? It is interesting from an important point—it affects a number of people who have put money into this business, and I am sure the Minister will be prepared to clear the air on this subject and give an explanation that will satisfy those who are at the moment concerned.

I think it is time, when dealing with the Finance Bill, that the Minister for Finance should let us know at this stage, before we go into the detailed work of the Committee Stage, when he and his colleagues are going to stop the deceptive practices that they are practising on the people and, particularly, when they are going to stop these in relation to the very important matter of industrial development in this country. We have had all kinds of deceptive practices on the people. The Minister for Finance on the 15th May told us what his Budget was going to be and what the surplus at the end of the year would be. He did that after he had arranged with the Minister for Industry and Commerce that, under the gentle title of a licence, a 5/- tax would be put on every ton of cement and that the Minister for Finance would get from £65,000 to £68,000 this year. Although he went ever the full statement of the year's finances and told us. I think, that he would have £10,000 in hands at the end of the year, he omitted completely to say that he was going to get £65,000 in through this back-door.

All that was discussed on the Cement Bill.

As I say, the Minister for Finance deceived us as to what the financial position was going to be at the end of the year. He deceived us as to what he was doing. I am only mentioning that as a sample—that on the very eve, because I think it was the eve, of his coming in here to make a statement as to what the financial position would be, both during the year and at the end of the year, he arranged with the Minister for Industry and Commerce, to get from £65,000 to £68,000 out of the pockets of people dealing in cement which was to go into the revenue. But there was nothing said about it here. As I say, it is one of the samples of the deceptive practices of the Minister.

Then the Minister for Local Government issued a statement on housing in the beginning of the year through the columns of the Irish Times and told us all about the great work being done in connection with housing. He stated that during the year ended 31st December, 1934, 6,239 houses had been completed by private persons and public utility societies throughout the Free State. That was not so. He included in his figures an extra 1,522. Wherever he had given a grant of, say, from £25 to £40 for the reconstruction of a house in a rural area, either by adding a bit of a kitchen or changing the roof and putting on a different one, he put that into his figures published in the Irish Times for the benefit of the people of this country and said “new house built.”

That was not the Minister for Finance.

I am mentioning it as a sample of the deception——

Of the Minister for Finance?

The position is one in which every Minister who is operating in this kind of way, is affecting the whole economic situation of the country, misleading the people in treading a very difficult economic road, and making a complete hash of the finances of the country and the hopes of the Minister for Finance, either for this year or next year. Let us get to the position to which I want to come. I consider that this is a suitable occasion upon which to ask the Minister for Finance when they are going to stop their deceitful statements and practices, particularly as bearing upon the industrial development in this country. We see that the number of persons employed in agriculture is decreasing, and that the taxes put on the rest of the people in the State have increased by nearly £1,000,000 this year, without saying anything about the £65,000 for cement, or the other things which may come on during the year. The people engaged in ordinary industrial occupations and engaged in service in the country are the people from whom, at any rate, the finances of this country are going to be drawn.

In 1932, we were told about all the additional taxation that was going to come from the rich. The Minister for Finance then put on extra taxation amounting to £3,900,000, which was all supposed to come from the rich, but it did not. He is putting on directly this year £1,882,000 in extra taxation. As was pointed out here, that will come out of every penny that crosses a counter to buy anything for the furnishing of an ordinary poor man's house and out of his tea, sugar and tobacco and the odd time he goes to the pictures. I want to know, now that we are depending on that particular class of person, the person employed in ordinary industry, for the upkeep of the State, what the position of our industrial development is, and when will the Minister stop the deceptive practices going on at present, and let the people realise the nature of the industrial development going on and the extent to which it is going on.

We have been given samples of the deception going on. The Government organ told us on the 3rd June last that under the Cumann na nGaedheal Government five cigarette and tobacco factories were closed. The Minister for Industry and Commerce, in answer to a Parliamentary Question in this House some time after March, 1932, told us that between March, 1932, and March or February, 1933, 11 factories had been set up for the manufacture of furniture and upholstery. He told us that seven of these were furniture factories established in the City of Dublin and that three were upholstery factories also in the City of Dublin. This House was told that industrial development was going on at such a rate that seven new furniture factories and four new upholstery factories had been established during 12 months of the Minister's operations.

Gradually, we are getting the preliminary figures for the Census of Production for 1933, and we find that, in spite of the allegation that seven new furniture factories and four new upholstery factories were set up in this State in the first 12 months of the period of office of the Fianna Fáil Government, we had less people employed in 1933 in the furniture industry. These figures only reached us in March last, but at the end of the year in which the Minister told us that, there were less people employed in the furniture industry and less money paid in wages than was paid before the 11 new furniture factories were set up.

It is not permissible in the debate on the Finance Bill to discuss detailed matters that should properly arise on the relevant Estimates.

I am leading up to this, that when we take the accumulated figures from this report of the Census of Production for 1933, and look at the wages paid throughout the different industries we get a picture of things, as regards industrial development in this country, of which this House should make itself aware and of which this House should make itself aware particularly when it is discussing financial business. All the preliminary figures, with the exception of items that I shall mention later, for the Census of Production of 1933 are now to hand.

And the Directory.

So is the Directory, and we are waiting to have a look at it. It was possible for two private persons to bring out a directory last year and for one private person to bring out a directory the year before that. I understand from the newspapers that the Directory promised for 1932 is out to-day, but no Deputy is able to get a look at it to-day because it is not in the Library. I hope that it will stand scrutiny.

The Deputy has made a mistake, because all the figures for the 1933 census are not to hand. In any case, what has this to do with the Finance Bill?

I said that these were the figures with the exception of certains items which I shall mention. Part of the Census of Production that deals with food, drink, tobacco and industries covers 27 heads. They have all been issued with the exception of butter, which perhaps, will not be issued; bread, which perhaps will not be issued; building, timber, metals, excluding engineering, and mines and quarries. Altogether 21 of them are issued, and when we look at them and see the people upon which this burden of taxation is being placed and the condition in which industry is, we see that during the last years for which we have the figures £24,620 less were paid in wages in the malting industry than in the year before the Minister took office; £55,279 less in the brewing industry; £7,058 less in the distilling industry; and £26,055 less in the tobacco industry. I see that Deputy Moore has left the House, but he probably knows that £296,000 less were paid in wages in the coach-building industry in 1933 than in 1931.

The Deputy has referred to 21 heads of production. Surely he does not propose to go into the figures relating to all those categories. The Estimate for Industry and Commerce will soon be before the Committee. Perhaps the Deputy is disposing of that Estimate now.

Well, Sir, I shall summarise the figures. There is a number of headings under which there is an increase in wages paid and there is also a number in which there is a serious decrease in the wages paid. The increases in wages paid amount to £463,864 and the decreases to £438,447, and this is after two years of all the talk we have had about the alternative market that was to have been built up for farmers in order to make up for that market that was taken away from them. Two-thirds of our farmers' market lay outside this country before 1931. The Minister was going to provide an alternative market to replace the market that was being taken away. He was to build up the towns and so on. Two years of his work of building up the towns has shown, under 21 out of 27 headings in which he deals with industrial activity under the Census of Production that there has been a decrease of £438,000 in the wages paid in certain lines and an increase in other lines, and that that increase has been principally in the clothing industry. Figures have been quoted here on several occasions to show that the consuming capacity of our people in clothing, furniture, and a number of directions like that, has decreased very definitely. The Minister for Finance repudiated that suggestion with regard to boots, and he challenged certain figures that I had given with regard to boots. He said most emphatically that the people here were using as many pairs of boots as ever they used, although they were costing something like £256,000 less than they cost them in 1931. I did have curiosity enough to find out whether they were using as many, and I found out that they were; for this reason, that during the year the Minister spoke of—1933 —120,000 dozen pairs of boots came into this country that could not be described under any heading under which boots were ever described in this country before because they were the kind that cost 1/7¼ per pair.

Where did they come from?

I do not know where they came from, but I suppose we could find out. However, we were told in this House, when we were considering the consuming capacity of our people and the conditions of our people with regard to the necessities of life, that everything is quite alright; that we are saying here what is not true, and that the people are wearing as many pairs of boots as ever they wore: but now we find out that over 120,000 dozen pairs of boots, of a description that could not be found in the records previously—a special place had to be made for them—came into this country at 1/7¼ a pair. I wonder how many people does the Minister think are going to be dependent on boots that will cost 1/7¼ a pair in future. I wonder, when people are reduced to that condition, to what extent they are going to support taxation for tea, sugar, and everything else that the Minister is taxing to-day? The Minister asks this country to pursue the policy he is pursuing at the present time in the hope that a very secure foundation is being laid upon which, not only the cost of government can be raised in this country, but the people themselves can lead comfortable, effective and happy lives. A whole range of industrial works has been run over, particularly by the Minister for Industry and Commerce, at different times; saying that the job is done. We have over 120,000 people unemployed at the present time. In the western counties—Donegal, Sligo, Mayo, Galway, Clare and Kerry, six counties extending along the west of Ireland—there are 50,000 people in receipt of unemployment assistance to-day. Where is the industrial and financial policy of the Minister for Finance leading these people? What kind of lives lie in front of them? What kind of times are these people going to have for themselves in this country? What kind of families are they going to raise? These are questions that we should like the Minister to address himself to when dealing with this stage of the Finance Bill.

He told the Chamber of Commerce that, after this year, we could expect normalcy in the matter of budgets. In reply to a question here, he said that the normalcy period was to begin on 1st April next. Is normalcy in the matter of budgets to mean that we are going to bear the cost on the basis of the figures that are there at present and that we are going to bear that while our agricultural and industrial situation is what it is? If it is, the Minister for Finance and the other Ministers ought to tell us that. We ought to know, starting out this year, with the growing bitterness of spirit that is in the country, with the steps the Government are taking to squeeze the last penny out of the unfortunate farmers throughout the country and with the number of farmers whom they are now driving into a condition in which they can no longer carry on the business of farming in a satisfactory way, and, therefore, will be no good mark for taxation purposes in the future, where we are going. The general economic situation in the country is growing worse. The figures we are getting with regard to industrial development in the country show that a very great deception has been practised, and we ought to know where the Minister's policy generally is leading.

One of the things the Minister recently said was that five cigarette and tobacco factories were closed during the régime of the Cumann na nGaedheal Government. The policy of the present Government has, as I said, reduced the wages paid in the tobacco industry by £26,000 in the two years for which we have records. On the other hand, the lie is given in the most emphatic way to the other statement when the Minister looks at the figures quoted by the Minister for Industry and Commerce himself, which show that an industry in which the full-time equivalent of employment in 1922 was only 500, was handed over to the present Government's administration with 1,817 people added on.

The various items of the Finance Bill will, no doubt, come up for discussion when we reach the Committee Stage, but we ought not go into that discussion, in view of all the talk there is at the moment about industrial development and in view of the importance that must attach to our industrial population in future, without being told something about the condition of things on this stage of the Bill. In particular, we ought to appeal to the Minister from every side of the House to stop the deceitful practices carried on, and the deceitful statements made, with regard to industrial development here and to tell us the plain truth. When we know the plain truth, we can pursue intelligent policies, make the best use of our resources and take the best plan for industrial development here to secure an increasing number of people in sound and constant occupation in the country.

I should like to ask the Minister, with Deputy Mulcahy, how long he thinks he can continue borrowing for the bounty system and how long he thinks it can be good financial policy to do so. I agree with Deputy Mulcahy when he makes the assertion that the wage-earning capacity of the people has decreased instead of increased. Deputy Mulcahy says it has decreased by some £30,000 odd, but I am perfectly satisfied that it has decreased to a greater extent in the industrial side alone. When the agricultural side is taken into consideration, the wage-earning capacity of the people has been reduced by many hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of pounds. In a situation like that, the Minister thinks it is the proper time to increase the cost of living on these people, that is hardly sound finance and that is what this Bill proposes to do. There is no doubt that cost of living of the family in the rural area, whether the small farmer's or the labourer's has increased by a considerable amount and it is going to impose very great hardships upon them.

This has been fairly well said already, but I should like to add my word of protest against it, and in particular, against these increased taxes on sugar, wheat, tobacco and such things. These will fall very hard on old age pensioners and on the unemployed and it is in that situation again that the Minister proposes to reduce the moneys voted by this House for the relief of these particular people. While it may be said that income tax and the other taxes have reached the peak point, I personally feel that, even if they have and even if it may be a greater hardship on people with incomes to pay more, it is a fairer sort of tax because unless a person has an income, he will not be called on to pay the tax. To take it from the poorer section of the community in the form of taxes on tea and sugar is a very grave injustice, in my opinion.

There is another section of the community which has been very severely hit within the past couple of years and for whose relief no provision is made in this Bill. I refer to the hackney-car owners. They have had representations made but no consideration has been given to their point of view. The hackney-car owners are a very useful body of citizens. They are hard workers; they work at all hours and times and the competition is so keen that the prices they can charge are now very moderate and very reasonable. As everybody is aware, these hackney-car owners purchased their cars——

There is no increase in the tax on these.

I said that the Minister has not given any relief. I am not blaming him for putting on a tax; I am blaming him for not taking off a tax. I hold that it is quite in order to say that the Minister should have been a little more generous.

On the Second Stage, a Deputy is entitled to state what provisions he would like to see in the Bill.

That is what I am doing and I am putting it in my own particular way, which I hope will be in order. As I say, they purchased those cars from the motor trade. In that way they assisted the finances of the State, because the persons who sold those cars were buying new ones and those new cars brought in a revenue to the State. In that sense they were of great help to the Minister for Finance. Those cars were bought at all sorts of prices, and they were of all sorts and descriptions of horse-powers. The Minister himself realised some time ago that those people were a class of the community that deserved some consideration, and he did reduce the horse-power to a flat rate of £10 per car. The number of hackney-cars registered in the country in 1932 was 3,919, and in 1934 because of the change from the flat rate to the £ per horse-power rate the number was reduced to 3,350. That shows that they are unable to meet that particular tax, and I submit to the Minister——

May I interrupt the Deputy for a moment to point out that the tax on hackney vehicles is paid into the Road Fund, and the Minister for Finance has no responsibility for administering the Road Fund.

It does not come within the ambit of the Bill.

He can raise it on the Department of Local Government.

The Minister could reduce the tax if he wanted to.

If the Minister cannot reduce the flat-rate he could give them a reduction on the petrol tax, which is a very severe burden on them. I also submit that the Minister could give the hackney-car owner a remission of tax on the new car that he buys.

I could go further and give them cars for nothing. That is what the Deputy seems to want.

And put it on to sugar and tea.

I should not like to see them get cars for nothing; I should like to get one myself under those circumstances if the Minister would be good enough to give it to me. I know perfectly well that the wool does not grow so soft on the Minister; it is only in an odd case where it is said he has a bucket under the table full of cash that he does anything of that sort. Those people are a very useful section of the community. The Minister has not given them any relief under this Bill, although I submit that a very sound case has been made for giving them relief at this particular time. As I say, they pay a tax on petrol; they pay tax on their tyres and on new cars if they buy them; they pay a rate and other taxes as well; they are hard pressed with bus competition, and I think the Minister should give them some relief.

I pass from that for the moment, and come to the various other duties that I think should not be imposed at this time. I refer in particular to the duties on wheat and tobacco. Wheat is the bone of life as it were; it is something we cannot do without, and everybody, rich and poor, has to pay this tax. Deputy Davin said that he was glad tobacco was taxed, and that he voted for it. It is not the first time I have spoken in the interests of pipe smokers, and I think this is a very unfair tax. There is already sufficient taxation without this addition to it. After all, tobacco is not a luxury to the working man in the country districts. It is an essential part of his daily livelihood. There are several hard smokers who would do without a meal rather than do without a smoke, and I think, in view of the fact that the wage-earning capacity of the whole country has been reduced, the imposition of the tobacco tax is very unfair. Even at this late stage I would suggest to the Minister that he should reconsider the imposition of the duties on tea and tobacco, and give exemption from them. At the same time I should like to urge him to give some relief to the hackney-car owners. Owing to the restrictions of the debate I may not have made for them the case which I should like to make, but I do suggest to the Minister that they are worthy of consideration, and that he ought to give it to them.

I presume we can look upon this Finance Bill as a very practical expression of the general policy of the Government in this country. The taxation represented by this Bill—and the taxation not represented in this Bill, which, as I pointed out before, is a very considerable item and should be taken into account when considering the effect of this Bill on the country—would in any circumstances be a very serious thing for the country, but in the present circumstances, with the principal industry of the country practically ruined, with the purchasing power of the people greatly damaged, and with the taxable capacity of the community seriously decreased, this Budget, coming on top of the various other evidences we have had up to the present of the Government's reckless financial policy, can only be described as appalling. Not satisfied with the increases in taxation which they had already put on the country, the Government proposes, in the present instance, to make further increases. Several million pounds had already been put on by previous efforts on their part to deal with the finances of the country, and now that amount is greatly increased. As I said, it is not merely greatly increased by the amount mentioned here or by the amount that this Bill represents, but it is greatly increased by other taxes as well.

There are a number of taxes that are not mentioned in this Bill, but they should be taken into account when we are dealing with the amount that the country has to meet, and with the capacity of the country to meet the charge that is being placed upon it. There is a great portion of the sugar tax not referred to in the Budget or in this Bill. The butter tax, the wheat tax, even the extra amount that was levied for the unemployment insurance, the bacon tax—all these things which, in the normal state of affairs we might have before us, are not represented here. The amount as actually represented by the Bill and by the Budget would, in any circumstances, be a matter of very serious consideration for the country, but it is all the more serious because of the crisis that faces the country. Even the supporters of the Party opposite down the country, not merely Fine Gael supporters, but men of all Parties, farmers at the different meetings, having heard speeches, have now only one question to put. They may be appalled at, they may feel the extra taxes, but the question they are really interested in is, what chance is there of stopping the ruin of agriculture, of stopping the war that is causing that ruin? With our principal industry brought to that particular pass, so that it is borne in upon the supporters of every Party that the thing cannot continue, to impose a Budget of this kind on the people is nothing short of criminal.

I have seen the defence put forward by a prominent member of the Government that taxation and the Budget are means of securing a redistribution of property. What is there going to be left to redistribute if the Government continues on its policy, if the Government refuse to take into account, as they are quite obviously refusing, what the people are suffering? What will there be to redistribute? Does not anybody see that when the Government deliberately adopts, as I gather from the statement of the Vice-President that it is a portion of their deliberate policy to adopt, taxation as a method of redistribution of wealth in the country, that with the present conditions prevailing, with the destruction of the main industry, that it is nothing else than using pauperisation as an instrument of Government? I have heard of various forms of terror being used as an instrument of government; I have seen one great Government use starvation as an instrument of government, but of deliberate policy to use what, in the present circumstances, amounts to pauperisation as an instrument of government is possibly unique. What will there be to distribute when the Government has done with their policy and what evidence did the Vice-President find in this Budget, what evidence can he find in this Bill, of redistribution? Take this Bill, take the new taxes that are proposed in this Bill to be put on the people, and where is the redistribution? Possibly between individuals, but certainly not between what might a few years ago have been called the comparatively comfortable, and the poor. Where is the evidence of the redistribution of property of which the Vice-President speaks?

The new taxes are to be borne by everybody, and they fall, therefore, as indirect taxes will fall, in the first instance, most heavily on the poorer classes of the population, on the worker and even on the unemployed. What is there at the present moment that any of these people, put them in or out of employment, wear or eat or use or that they see—what is there that is not taxed, that they, out of their scanty means, do not pay a tax on to the Government, directly or indirectly? Where is the redistribution of wealth of which the Vice-President speaks? You have reached the end of that policy of redistribution, as was clearly acknowledged in this Budget, as was clearly acknowledged by the hints dropped by the Minister for Finance and the President. The wealthy have been raided to the full capacity already and, therefore, you have to fall back on the indirect taxation of every man, woman and child, be he poor, or be he a man with some little property. You have abandoned your policy of redistribution and, when the Vice-President spoke the other day of taxation as a weapon for the redistribution of wealth, he was living in the past, because as the whole structure of the Budget and the Bill shows the time when it was possible, by means of taxation, to redistribute wealth from an alleged well-off class for the benefit of a poorer class—that time has passed, and the Budget is proof of that.

It required only a couple of years of the Government in office, a couple of years of their policy, to empty those coffers. Saturation point has been reached, as has been pointed out again and again, and it is not the rich who are being taxed directly any longer. They all will have to bear it, the income tax people as well as everybody else, because this is bound to give rise to demands for higher wages. This is bound to affect industrial investment, and, therefore, it hits everybody, but directly, in the first instance, the money is taken not, as in the first Budget, presumably, from the wealthy—though there again it would hit everybody—but it is now directly taken from everybody, from the poor as well. Where is the redistribution there? The tax on tea, the extra tax on sugar, the increased price of bread, the increased price of tobacco—where is the redistribution of which the Vice-President boasts? Is there any evidence of it? There is none, and the reason is perfectly clear. The Government, some years ago, started on a financial rake's progress. So far as money is concerned and so far as economics are concerned, the Government have continued that, and now there is nothing left in the places where they thought there was money. Whether they like it or not, they are forced to levy taxes on all the people. Last year, and the year before, and in 1932, they pretended to tax the rich for the benefit of the remainder, but now they are forced openly to tax everybody. That is the position the Government of the country is facing to-day. It is facing this demand of increased taxation, this demand for increased revenue at a time when the principal industry, as a result of their policy, is on the very verge of collapse, when many of the farmers are already crushed beyond the verge of collapse.

There are countries in Europe that, as a matter of deliberate policy, have sacrificed deliberately the agricultural community in order to push on industrialisation. But what have you here in this country as a result of Government policy? Not merely the exploitation of the farmer for the benefit of industrialisation, but you have the exploitation of everybody and you have the sacrifice of everybody. The town is being sacrificed as much as the country. It is not the farmers alone who must ultimately bear the brunt of the fight that is now going on. The towns must bear it as well. That is what is so hopelessly contradictory in the Government policy. You take up this Bill and look at it; or you turn up any week in this House and you find new taxes or new tariffs proposed. For what purpose? Undoubtedly there is the plea on the part of these people of the building up of industries. There are plenty of examples of these efforts in this Bill; not a month or week passes but there are new taxes put on.

At the time that the Government are doing that, at the time when they are heavily taxing the people to build up these industries they are making the future of these same industries insecure and I might add hopeless and helpless. What chance have any industries of surviving in this country no matter what tariffs you impose and no matter what governmental methods you may think up? What chance have they of being an ultimate success if the purchasing power of the community is being ruined? What is the situation? Heavy taxation, not in thousands and hundreds of thousands, but in millions, is being added, and that not only with the present being less able to bear it, but with the future being pawned and bankrupted as well. If, as a result of the Government policy, you determine to ruin the primary industry of the country, where are you? Our primary industry up to the present and for a long time to come, no matter what the Government does, is the agricultural industry. If you make up your mind to ruin that primary industry how can you expect the others to live? You urge your policy of protection in order to build up industries here. Do you not see that you are cutting the ground from under that policy by the way you are ruining the primary industry? Do you not see that you are securing its failure and that you are not giving it a chance when you are destroying the purchasing power of the country? How can our manufactures, which, apparently, this Bill is meant to help and which the general policy of the Government is meant to foster, succeed with a population unable to buy them? How can there be that wealth distribution of which the Vice-President boasted the other day if the main industry is ruined? How can you have wealth to distribute when our trade has vanished, when our principal source of wealth has been destroyed, when the cattle trade alone in two years has lost to the extent of £6,000,000? What is the chance for these industries? None. What is serious is that the Government really is carrying on two conflicting policies in this as in everything else. We have plenty of examples of that every day in the policy of the Minister for Agriculture, and we have it here now again. In their agricultural policy on the one side they take drastic measures to secure its success and, on the other hand, they take equally drastic measures to secure that it will fail. What are they doing? They are not merely sacrificing the farmers. They are sacrificing the towns and the country both, not to an economic idea, not for the purpose of building up the country, but to an insensate political policy, to a dispute with their principal neighbour. One thing is clear and it ought to be clear at this time to the Government as it is becoming gradually clear to most of their followers in the country by bitter experience. That is that unless the markets are open for this country there is no chance for a revival of our principal industry. There is no chance of any permanent success for our minor industries. You are cutting the ground of any hope for any industry, great or small, unless you can open the markets. When I speak of opening the markets I do not mean opening them to the extent of £10,000 or even £100,000. All that sort of thing, these minor trade agreements, would be of some value if your main position was secure. As they are they are worthless. This is merely playacting and juggling with the situation. When the Government has deliberately thrown away millions of trade on which the future prosperity of the country must depend, it is absurd for them to think they can counteract the evil they have done by these minor trade agreements. What does £10,000 of an increase in trade here and £100,000 of an increase of trade in some other country matter when millions are being lost? If you had made these millions secure, all these minor agreements would be of additional advantage. But with the deliberate policy of the destruction of our main source of wealth the thing is ridiculous. If you think you can remedy a serious situation with the small palliatives that are scarcely palliatives at all, you are making a mistake.

The Government has made no attempt to justify such an imposition of taxation as is imposed by the Budget to which this Bill is relevant. It has not attempted to justify the other methods of raising money which the Government directly and indirectly has imposed. Many of these are not even mentioned in this Bill or in the Budget statement. It would be a very serious proposition and bad policy for a country like this that is trying to establish industrialisation to place on the people such a burden as this Budget is placing. If the Government is to make good the industrial position it is going a bad way about it in placing a burden like this on the people. But you have the position that, at the very moment this burden is placed on them, their trade is yearly disappearing by tens of millions. All that is nothing but criminal folly on the part of the Government. There was only one respect, in so far as this Budget was concerned, in which there was some bit of hope for the farmers. We had the alleged excuse for delaying the introduction of the Budget—that the Spring Show was coming on. There was at that time a hope that the Government would take better counsel in the matter of their Budget. Most of us would like to have seen the other Budget, the one that was to have been introduced instead of this Budget. Let us hope that as bad as this Budget is it is an improvement on what was to have been brought in eight days previously.

This is document No. 2.

This is document No. 2 and, like the other document, it is a rotten document. The country might have been wakened up to the seriousness of the situation much more roughly had we got the other document.

We are dealing with a concrete Bill, not a hypothetical one.

Quite so, but I say the hypothetical one would represent the financial state of the country even better.

The Chair has no knowledge of that.

Neither has the Deputy, but he has suspicions, even though of an unsuspicious turn of mind. As I said, a very serious situation is confronting the country and it is revealed in this Bill. There are many things that should be in this Bill that are not there. Deputy MacEoin has referred already to one of them. May I refer to another? It is one of many that should have been in the Bill—that is the famous coal tax. Why is there no provision in this Bill——

That has been already discussed.

Perhaps the Minister will make his point. He has no point to make. I thought so. The question of the tax was not discussed on the quota motion—deliberately not discussed on the quota motion. The question of the tax belongs to the budgetary side of the matter. This was a case in which the Minister could have followed by a provision in this Bill the revision of policy, if there was a revision of policy. But this Government does such extraordinary things that you never know whether there is a revision of policy or not. Why is this coal tax being kept on, which is heaviest on the purchasers of the smaller amounts of coal and, therefore, the very poor? This is another method of the redistribution of wealth the Vice-President spoke of! Where is the redistribution there, any more than you have it in the case of tea, sugar, bacon, butter, bread, or any of these things? Why was it put on? It was put on as a war weapon for the purpose of hitting the British, as was clearly stated in this House. That was the motive of putting on that tax. It was pointed out at the time, of course, that merely slavishly copying the British was too childish and absurd—that because the British put on a tax on our cattle, which we had to pay, therefore if we put on a tax on their coal the British would have to pay. That seems very simple. Anybody who knows the conditions and the economic relations of the two countries can see that we pay the tax on our cattle and that we pay the tax on coal. The brilliant war measure of the Government, that suddenly came upon them as an inspiration to hit the British with whom we were at war, with whom we are still at war, was to put a tax on the coal that our own people pay. The revenue benefited, but the Irish taxpayer paid.

Then there is a change, or is there a change? We are still at war. The war is on to the full limit at present and I gather from official publications of the Party which the Government represent that it is intended to keep on the war. No surrender! But, apparently, just as we are keeping on the war, we are also keeping on the tax on coal. The weapon against John Bull in the coalfield is still to be used, even though we have peace with him in the coalfield, even though, not merely is the coal not to be prevented coming into this country, but it is the only coal practically we can get from abroad. The weapon is still kept there, but, of course, now it is openly and clearly a weapon against our own people. It is again one of those taxes that hit everybody, but that hit the poor people far out of proportion to the extent to which they hit the rich. It is a very strange conception by the Government, of which Deputy O Ceallaigh is Vice-President, of a method of redistributing wealth.

The whole Budget shows you the lengths to which the Government are prepared to go, not in promoting the welfare of the country, but merely to force their own policy on the country. Financially and economically the country can go down; but the only thing that is to stand upright is their policy of political warfare against Great Britain. For that the country must pay; must pay in taxation, must pay in the ruin of its industry, in the actual ruining of its principal industry and, undoubtedly, in the destruction of any prospect that the other industries might have, owing to the destruction of that principal industry. For that reason, because it does represent and well represents the policy of the Government, this Bill should not get a Second Reading.

To prove too much is to prove nothing. The Deputy who has just sat down said that we pay the tax on cattle and we pay the tax on coal. What does that mean? According to the Deputies opposite, it means that the economic position of this country vis-á-vis the British nation is that they can impose upon us any tax they like up to the total difference between the market price of goods and the bare cost of continuing production. The Deputy who has gone out probably does not understand that, but that remains a fact. If that is so, if the economic position of this country vis-á-vis any other country is of that character, then it is imperative that that economic condition be altered at whatever cost.

Tell us how you are going about it?

I do not propose to make again the speech upon this particular subject that I have already made. The Deputy, if he chooses, can find it in the proceedings of the House, but I am most certainly not going to make it for the education of the Deputy. I put the proposition to the House, as I have put it, and I ask any one to contest that proposition: that if it is true, in relation to this country, what is true in relation to no other country, that any tariff put on by us must be paid by us and any tariff put on by outside people must be paid by us—if that is true, as Deputy O'Sullivan says it is true, then it represents an economic position and an economic relation that has to be changed at any cost whatever. There is no limit to that proposition. If the statement made by Deputy O'Sullivan is true, then any cost and any sacrifice which is necessary to change the permanent continuance of that condition is necessary and is right. The Deputy went on to say that a very serious position was revealed by this Budget. There was a very serious position revealed for— what is the name of it?

Fine Gael.

The big wind—a very serious position for them. This Budget represents the breakdown of previously tariffed articles as a source of revenue. That is the serious thing that has happened. The tariffs that used to be put on in this House for the purposes of revenue have disappeared. The tariffs that were put on 20 or 30 articles since this Government came in have disappeared. Why? Because the goods which were being tariffed and from which that income was being obtained, are no longer being imported. That is the serious thing that the Budget represents.

Quote the figures.

Read the Minister's Budget. He will tell you precisely the things which have ceased to produce revenue. It is because, to whatever degree it has been successful, the policy of the industrial advance of this country has been successful, that those revenues are disappearing and as far as I can see, if there is going to be a considerable or a complete success of the industrial policy, taxes must be transferred from those things which were previously taxed to other things whatever they may be. It is no use whatever keeping a tariff of 100 per cent. or 1,000 per cent. on boots, on wearing apparel, on underclothing, on lead pencils even, on wood screws, on nuts and bolts, when they are being no longer imported into the country if we are to have tariffs for the purpose of revenue. The really serious thing that has happened in this Budget is that it has been revealed that the protective taxes that were put on by this Government have been really put on for the purpose of protection and not for revenue, and that the taxes that were ostensibly put on as protective taxes by the previous Government for the purposes of revenue and not protection, have been converted by this Government into taxes for the purpose of protection.

What is the purpose of the wheat tax—revenue or protection?

Both, if you like. There is a transition stage and every honest man in the House will recognise that there is a transition stage. Take the case of any industry which we want to start. There is a fear that the mere intimation that a tariff will be put on will mean that the country will be flooded with possibly two or three years' supply of these goods. If a tariff is put on before there is an industry to be protected, it is in order that there may be a barrier, a fortification behind which the industry, which otherwise could not grow, will grow and everybody recognises that. I mean they ought to recognise it now. They had no reason to recognise it during the previous régime where the taxes that were put on did not diminish in their return because they were neither of such a character nor backed by such an administration, that the industry which would extinguish them, would grow up, under them. What has happened? There is a total, a complete change in the policy and the purpose behind taxation. The policy behind the Minister for Industry and Commerce has been to destroy the yield of every protective tax put on by the Minister for Finance and he has succeeded in doing so. The measure of his success——

Is the adverse trade balance.

The measure of his success is the measure of the increase of the protected industrial activity of this country. The Deputy said that there had been an increase of taxation by millions. There has. Why? Because there has been an increase of expenditure by millions—a very simple proposition. Anyone who objects to the increase of taxation is objecting to the increase of expenditure. There has been an increase of taxation by millions. There has been an increase of expenditure by millions. To what portion of the expenditure do you object? When you have said that, you have made an honest and an honourable case for the reduction of taxation and until you have said that, you have not made an honest or an honourable objection to the increase of taxation. Mind, I am not, quite frankly, one of those people who willingly wish a large increase in taxation. I have never been and I never pretended to be. I would like to see as large as possible a portion of the total production of any community left in the hands of those who produced it, to be used by them and through them for the benefit of the community. I have no hesitation in saying that, and so long as the objection to an increase in taxation is put on that basis, I think a man can honourably oppose it but no man is entitled honourably to say: "I object to the fact that the Budget this year is £2,000,000 more than last year" unless he is prepared to allege either of two things (1) that that £2,000,000 is being worse spent than if it were left in the hands of those who produced it to be administered by them——

Would the Parliamentary Secretary reconcile that with his previous principle?

Either that, or the administration of the total fund has been so bad that there has been, through that administration, gross loss of that total on taxation revenue. I do not know any other ground upon which honourable and responsible members of the Dáil can object, and to the extent to which they can show that I will be behind them in any objection that they do make. The next thing that is said is this: if you are going to tax you ought not to tax the poor, you ought not to put it upon meat, on butter, tea, sugar, coal and tobacco; on all those things which are consumed by the poor. If anyone in this House can name any single thing capable of taxation which is not consumed by the poor, and which can be taxed without detriment to the interests of the State, I am perfectly sure there is a Minister sitting beside me who will be extremely grateful to hear of it.

What about your electioneering promises?

The Deputy says "electioneering promises." All right, 5 per cent. on those.

It is too much.

Five per cent. on the promises made by Deputy Cosgrave——

——in the last election when he said: "I am going to relieve the country of half the total annuities." He said that in the previous election he was beaten because the bidding was too high. He started to bid high enough in the last election and why did he lose? Because the people would not take his bet.

What did the Parliamentary Secretary promise?

That the Deputy will remain quite until I have finished, but perhaps that is too much to hope for.

If you get another glass of water you will be stronger.

Yes, if there were something strong in it. I think the House will agree that it is extremely difficult to find anything capable of taxation some portion of which is not paid by the very poor. I know nothing in the whole range of taxable commodities and resources which is not consumed by the poor and by the very poor. The Fine Gael Party do not want income tax increased. Deputy O'Sullivan, who has just sat down, told us that income tax was paid by the wage earners from whom it was not collected by the State. He said that an increase in income tax meant inevitably a demand for an increase in wages. I think he reversed the proposition and was thinking in a different sense. An increase in the price of commodities invariably means a tendency towards an increase in wages in order that the same real wages may remain. In exactly the same way an increase of direct taxes invariably means a tendency to reduce wages.

I will give the House a concrete and definite example. At the present moment the Cork Harbour Board is losing money. Its revenue is insufficient to maintain all its employees. Part of its expenses are in income tax which is levied even though the total expenditure of the board is greater than its income. Part of the money that has to be made good by a reduction in the permanency and security of the labour of the employees of the Cork Harbour Board is represented by the income tax that the Cork Harbour Board has to pay. I would like to assume that, apart from what Deputy McGilligan calls the usual skirmish—a lot of skirmishing goes on in debates of this kind—there is a certain amount of intrinsic honesty lying about and distributed over all the benches of the House, and I am asking any member of the House to tell me anything that he knows that is capable of taxation, a certain proportion of which will not be paid by the very poorest people of the country. If Deputies are not in a position to answer that question, not merely by one item but by a sufficiently large number and variety of items upon which there can be put a tax sufficient to bring in the whole revenue required to run this State, then they are not entitled to be regarded as honest men if they use the mere argument that a tax is wrong because it is paid by the poor. If, therefore, there is no article which cannot be taxed of which the poor do not pay a portion, everything is an article which nothing can be taxed, and there can be no revenue and the Government of the country ceases automatically. Therefore, I take it that there is no one in this House who pretends to think that the mere fact that a commodity which is taxed is consumed by the poor is a sufficient, valid or real argument against the taxation of that commodity.

What can be done? We have got to tax things that are consumed by the poor. The poor consume coal. They do not consume all the coal. They consume tea, sugar and butter, but they only consume them in proportion to their income. We have got to tax things that the poor consume. How can we redress the balance? I will agree, and I think the whole House will agree, that the balance must be redressed: that any money that is taken from those who are too poor to have their total income reduced for the purposes of the State, except in moments of absolute necessity, it is the business of the State to restore to those people from whom, due to the imperfections of the taxation system, that money has to be collected and more even than is taken from them. That is the whole line of the Budget.

There has been an increase of taxation on the poor. Where is it going? The money is going back to the poor. Far more is going back to the poor than is being taken from them by accidents and imperfections of a taxable system which compels taxation to be put on those things which they consume. I do not want to go through the list. Somebody else will probably go through it later. But the House does know that whether it is wise or unwise, whether, looked at from the ultimates, it is good or sound policy or bad policy; there is money going back to the people in the form of unemployment assistance, more schools and in other ways—more money than has been taken from them under any tax of this kind. I do not think that many people on the opposite side of the House are prepared to contest the basis of the propositions that have been put to them. But they can say: "You are taking more from the poor under specific taxes than your predecessors did; with the inefficiency of the taxation system common to the two Governments, you have gone further in the direction of collecting from the poor than the other people did." I do not think that that is true. If Deputies would examine the actual taxes which they are complaining about, they would find that it is not so. Under this Budget, we are getting about £800,000 on sugar and £450,000 on tea. That is a total of £1,250,000. In 1931, on sugar alone, £1,426,000 was collected by our predecessors. It does not seem to be obvious that we are the criminals who are squeezing the poor.

What was the price of sugar in each year?

The price this year will be, roughly speaking, ¼d. more than in February, 1932.

What is the actual price?

3¾d. now, and, if you deduct ¼d. from that, you will get the previous price. The only other argument which can be put up is one in whose favour I am very much prejudiced. That is, that an increase of total taxation means an increase of the proportion of the total production of a country which is taken out of more efficient hands and placed in less efficient hands for the purpose of expenditure. In other words, in increasing the total taxation of a country you put into Government expenditure, as distinct from personal and private expenditure, a larger proportion of the total. Every experience of my life has led me to believe, and every experience I have ever had has strengthened the belief, that governmental expenditure of money is not relatively an economic expenditure. To that extent, I am against the increase of the proportion of the total production of a country that is taken into the hands of a Government for expenditure instead of being left in the hands of individuals.

That is what you are supporting in your speech.

That is not the issue, so far as we are concerned, in this Budget. It is common ground that all money taken by taxation is spent by a Government and, to the extent to which that money is uneconomically expended by a Government, there is nothing as between the two Governments unless it is alleged that the specific efficiency of this Government in the expending of money is lower than that of its predecessors.

That is a good one.

That is the only other issue which, so far as I can see, is open. You can object to the Budget on the ground that you object to some of the expenditure, or you can object to it on the ground that the efficiency of that expenditure has been lower than under the previous Government.

Are those the only two possible objections?

If Deputy McGuire would hold his tongue and listen, it would do him a lot of good.

Are those the only two possible objections?

The Deputy will have an opportunity to give 50 more if he wishes.

You stated that those were the only two.

So far as I know.

Your knowledge is very limited.

I know of no other grounds upon which you can object to the increase in this Budget except those: that the money is being badly spent, that it is being spent for a purpose for which it should not be spent, or that it is being intrinsically badly spent, even though it is being spent for good purposes. I put, without any hesitation, the efficiency of this Government as an administrative body against that of its predecessors. I have not the faintest desire to rake up the inefficiencies of the previous Government but, until it is alleged on specific cases in relation to specific sums that our expenditure is inefficient, there can be no objection on the other side, outside an objection to the purpose to which the money is being put.

I believed that too much money was being collected by the previous Government to be spent on the purposes on which it was spent and in the way in which it was spent. You had a perfect example of that here the other day when the Minister for Lands gave you the actual details of the sort of thing that went on, and was allowed to go on, in the expenditure of money belonging to the poorest of the people—the people in the Gaeltacht. Sometimes three and four times as much money was paid to instructresses as was paid in wages to those they were supposed to be instructing, and overhead expenses were outrageously outside the benefits derived. There was an expenditure of £1,000 in one particular industry, but only £125 went to the people supposed to be benefited. That was not in the first year of that experiment. That was the epitome of triumph of an experiment in commercial organisation by our opponents. In what branch of our activities is it alleged efficiency is lowered? I will take a particular case that I know of. There was handed over to me a sum of money to be spent in unemployment relief. I honestly assumed, having regard to the fact that the money had been spent in this way over a period of years, that there existed machinery and a method by which that could be done properly. There was no method, and no information of any sort or description, which enabled a new man, myself, to pick up the threads and organise the thing. It had to be done from the beginning. Of £500,000 that would be spent, if you take it from the point of view that the money should go at the right time in the right place to the people who need it most, the efficiency of expenditure under the previous régime was not 10 per cent.

Any money that was sent to the Gaeltacht under the previous Administration, judging by the revelation made by the Minister for Lands, was money wasted. Any money spent on a relief fund of that kind was more than wasted. Deputy Brennan alleged in this House the other day, in relation to a drainage scheme in which he was interested, that for five years the Board of Works, under the administration of our predecessors, had done nothing but allowed the interest to accumulate and to be paid by the people of Roscommon and Galway. That was his allegation. I will say this for the credit of those who were my predecessors that I know their difficulties in administering. I know my own. Is it alleged that they tried to get rid of them? Is it alleged that they tried to clean up the mess in land distribution? Is it alleged that they tried to clean up the mess in the administration of the Gaeltacht? Is it alleged that they tried to clean up the mess in the administration of other things?

That does not arise on the Bill.

I am going to get off that. It only arose from the point of view I am suggesting, that it is up to those who object to a larger taxation fund to show, either that we are spending it on the wrong purpose or that we are badly administering it for a good purpose for which they are prepared to vote. Deputy MacEoin tells us that the income tax is a failure, though the labourers of the Cork Harbour Board have to pay; even though it has to be collected from somebody. There are evil factors in all good things, and one of the evil factors in the present completely protected state of existing and growing industries in this country is that income tax can be collected by those who eventually hand it over to the State. A time will come when the State will require to see that the protections which are now given shall inure absolutely to the benefit of the community. It is necessary for a time, with these growing and delicate plants of new industries that they should be sheltered even from the mildest breeze of the Opposition.

The delicate plants are rising.

Yes, they are growing so fast that the Minister for Finance has had to alter his Budget, because the things that were imported are no longer being imported.

And because income tax is going down.

Because these things are being made here. For a certain time, even more protection than would permanently be required, must be given to them. But, it will be the business, and I say it deliberately, of those who look after the finances of the State, to see that all these growing industries, when they have strength and resources shall, in proportion to their strength and resources, contribute to the revenue of the country. They are not being built up for their own sake, or for any purpose except for the purpose of the State as a whole. They are being built up for the purpose of providing an alternative source of consumption of agricultural and other products, and they will be required to fulfil that obligation. To-day no man is being protected in building up industries for his own sake. No man is being protected for the purpose of enabling him to get better revenue. He is being protected in order that these industries may perform a service to the State, in providing livelihoods which are not now available for the people. They are being protected in order that there may be built up through them purchasing power which will enable the products of agriculture and other industries to be consumed. I should like to see a balanced industry in this country. I should like to see the primary producer, the man to whom everyone has given lip service in the last ten or 11 years, but has never tried to serve—the little farmer and farm labourer—considered, so that they should get as much return for their labour as the people in the cities get, relative to their expenditure. I do not know any natural law which decides that a joiner shall get 84/- a week and an agricultural labourer get only 20/- a week. I know of no natural law behind that. I know of no natural law that decides that the semi-skilled trades, the so-called skilled trades, the trades which any one of you could be taught in a month, should be paid so much more highly. I have not the slightest hesitation in saying that any intelligent man in this House could be taught in a month to lay bricks. Is anybody questioning that? I do not think there is any doubt about it, if they put their minds into it; but I do not think you could train an intelligent agricultural labourer in his work in a month. I have not the slightest hesitation in saying that the ordinary agricultural labourer is an infinitely more skilled man, a man of wider and more distributed and more balanced skill and culture in his trade, than three-fourths of the so-called skilled trades.

I am in favour of bringing about a redistribution which will recognise that fact. It is on that basis that the whole Budget and the whole policy of this Government is founded. We recognise as a fact that, as long as we had only one possible customer for one perishable commodity sold in a single market, these conditions of the little farmer and his labourer were stereotyped for all time.

How many customers have we now?

I do not know whether the Deputy has any.

You did not get any in spite of all your promises.

It is because we recognise that the evil conditions of the agricultural labourer and the small farmer were going to be permanent unless they were changed, that the change is being made. The proof of the pudding is in the eating.

Hear! hear!

And the Deputy knows it. It is not for nothing that, twice at general elections and once at a county council election under the specialised franchise, the farmers——

On a point of order, Sir. They swallowed the dope of the Party opposite once, but they will not swallow it twice.

Is that a point of order, Sir?

They will not swallow your dope again.

Deputy Keating must sit down.

It is for that reason that, twice at general elections——

They will not swallow your dope the next time. They will tell you to go. I will tell you to go anyway.

Deputy Keating is grossly disorderly and disrespectful to the Chair. If he continues in that strain he will have to apologise to the Chair.

I will apologise to the Chair, but not to the Parliamentary Secretary.

The Deputy will apologise in a much better way by keeping order and allowing the Parliamentary Secretary to make his speech in his own way. Deputy Keating can make his own speech afterwards, if he likes, and he can then contravene anything he wishes in connection with Deputy Flinn's statement, but he must not interrupt.

Very well, Sir. Come on again now. I would like to hear that again.

Among the 3,000,000 of a population of this country, among the 1,800,000 electors for the general election, among the 700,000 or 800,000 electors for the county council election, were all the farmers of this country. They were all the people who were supposed to have had the last penny squeezed out of them. They were all the people who knew what had been happening, and yet we went to those people on three separate and successive times, and on three separate and successive times they sent us back to go on doing what we were doing.

And to discuss this Bill.

And to discuss this Bill. They sent us back here to produce the Budget we have produced and to produce the many Budgets which we shall produce for the purpose of the increased prosperity and benefit of this country.

The country is bankrupt. You have bankrupted it.

I notice that the Parliamentary Secretary has left the House. Of course, I knew that we would have a state of transition as soon as the Parliamentary Secretary finished. He would not stay to listen to replies to the nonsense he has been talking for the last three-quarters of an hour. On the introduction of the Budget by the Minister, I said that this approximated to the only Budget that was possible in the circumstances, and the more I have heard of the case made for it by supporters of the Budget the more I am convinced that that is the fact. The speaker who has just sat down——

He has gone out.

——well, run out then— worked himself into the position of expounding various principles. Just when he was coming to the point of driving them home, he saw that the very principle he was enunciating was going to be a boomerang on himself and, accordingly, he ran away to something else. When he had handled something else for some time he found that that would not do either, and he went on to something else. He has been jumping in that way from pillar to post during the whole three-quarters of an hour.

The Deputy showed him a very bad example in the matter of jumping about.

I never jumped as much as the Deputy.

Deputy Belton has experience of jumping from Party to Party.

I would not be in the Minister's Party anyway.

The Deputy was kicked out of the Party and also out of County Dublin.

These interruptions will have to cease. They are absolutely irrelevant, and Deputy Belton must be allowed to make his speech.

I fought the Minister in County Dublin twice and dragged him in on my surplus. I would like to meet him on a platform in County Dublin.

I should like to hear something about the Bill.

The Minister should not be interrupting. He should set a good example, but he cannot. Deputy Flinn said, in the position in which we are, with a country vis-á-vis this country that can impose tariffs on our goods and make us pay those tariffs, our economy should be altered. Is not that the fact? Is not that what has been explained by a speaker over here; that the coal tax is paid by the consumer here and that the cattle tax in Britain is paid by the producer here? What have Ministers and the Government to do about it? As I said, in my opening remarks, this Budget is the only possible one. Why? It is the only possible Budget because we are heading to ruin. Will any Deputy over there get up and tell us what product is paying on its own in this country at the present time? Last week and the week before, the President told us here, in explanation to Labour for not increasing the income tax and for putting a tax on sugar, that we had reached saturation point with income tax and that an increase in the rate of income tax would not mean an increase in the produce of income tax. Is not that a very simple and practical, if not a scientific, test, to apply to all we hear about the increase in industry? The Parliamentary Secretary, who has just run out, used the argument that, because of the protection afforded to industries that were giving a considerable revenue every year formerly on the goods coming in, these goods are now being made here and consequently we are losing that slice of revenue represented by the goods we are making here. I put it to the Minister and to the House that the returns from customs—I have not got the figures before me but this is my recollection— were higher last year than the year before. How have they been higher if industry here is closing up the gap, and, if it is not closing up the gap, where is the loss in revenue on that account?

Before I leave that point with regard to Britain being able to impose tariffs at her docks and make us pay them, that is admitted. I tried deliberately to inveigle the Parliamentary Secretary into saying whether that was or was not the position, but he would not. He did not perhaps quite see what sort of answer I was looking for so he gave no answer, but I accept the statement made by the Parliamentary Secretary as being true that we have to pay the tariff here and the tariff on the other side. In face of those circumstances, an economic war was precipitated in this country. Where were we going to win? How could we win it? If we impose a tariff here, we have to pay it; if a man on the other side puts on a tariff against our goods, we have to pay it also. The Parliamentary Secretary, in his big deep voice, after a big gulp of spring water, told us that is a position that must be changed. Why was the position not changed before we started the row? Is it any excuse for a Government when they find themselves involved in a war and heavy artillery being trained upon their forces to say: "We have no artillery and the position must be changed?" Only fools or lunatics would go to war until they were prepared for the war.

Another test to put to our productive industry is the number of people that are employed. I challenge the Minister or any supporter of the Government to substantiate their claim with any of the arguments or signs accepted in every country in the world. Is the currency in circulation here greater than it was three years ago? What is currency to-day? It represents the small change, the money used for paying wages. It represented that three or four years ago. This Budget represents it, or, rather, the fact that there has been no increase in the note issue of this country, shows there has been no increase in the wages of this country, because if there was, it would create a demand for more notes. Because it had not created that demand, there can be no increase in the wage-earning capacity of the people. If there is in respect of one class, some other class must be losing.

We are told by the Parliamentary Secretary that this Budget features the policy and principle of the Government who want to lift all classes, and he went so far as to shed crocodile tears for the agricultural workers and the small farmers, or the little farmers, as he called them. He spoke of the so-called skilled man—he mentioned a bricklayer and I suppose he had a bricklayer in mind—having an alleged skilled trade which any man could learn in a month. I hope he will get up in the Mardyke in Cork and say that. At that time, anyway, the bricks will not be used for building. I quite agree with his general principle that there is no law that should compel a skilled farm labourer to work for £1 per week and give another skilled man £3 or £4 a week and I agree that we will have to revolutionise thought on that in this country. I should be glad to know if the Parliamentary Secretary was speaking with any authority for his Party and for his Government when he gave expression to that principle. It is a sound principle and a principle which I, personally, support, and I am glad to hear it being enunciated in this House.

With regard to our financial policy, we hear a lot of talk about borrowing and credit, the development of our industries and all this kind of thing and comparisons between this country and other countries. I put it to the Minister that there is not a Minister for Finance in any country in the world in the despicable position in which the Minister for Finance in this country is. I do not blame the Minister for Finance for that. There is not a country in this world but has, at the elbow of the Minister for Finance, machinery to control the finances of that country, the credit of that country, the note issue of that country and the borrowing and lending of that country. There is no such institution in this country controlling the credit of this country. During the last year, a weak attempt has been made, and is now being made, to investigate that position. The Government, elected as a Republican Government, and claiming to be a Republican Government, has so lowered the flag of independence in this country—never mind the Republic ——as to set up a Banking Commission —I think there are some Englishmen on it and some European bankers—and put to that Banking Commission the question: "Are we going to control our own finances or not?"

How does this arise on this Bill?

I will hear the Minister on a point of order, if he says it does not arise.

I challenge the Minister for Finance to rise on a point of order to that.

There is nothing in this Bill relating to the Currency Commission or to the Commission of Inquiry. It is a Bill to impose taxation, and nothing else.

I take it that the general policy of the Government arises on this Bill.

I suggest not. The general policy of the Government arises on the Appropriation Bill or on the Vote on Account.

It is very interesting to find the Minister for Finance so completely ignorant of the very principles of finance——

The Minister for Finance is sick of listening to a windbag like you.

——and of the fundamentals of finance as to interrupt me on a point of order. I should like to hear in clearer tones what the Minister said so that we could let the country know that this Government, which shouts for a republic, is running the country financially as a Crown colony. I challenge contradiction on that by any member of the Government or by any Deputy of the Government. The sole control for banking, currency and credit in this country, lending and borrowing, internal and external, is the Bank of England. The submission to this Commission of Inquiry which is sitting in College Street is—"Are we going to remain under the control of the Bank of England or are we not?"; and, presumably, on the report of that Commission of Inquiry this country is going to be a nation or a Crown colony. We are, I take it, entitled to discuss financial policy and its bearings on economic policy. I submit, Sir, that there is nothing more relevant to financial and economic policy, and nothing so important to the State, as the control of banking, currency and credit within that State. Even the little city of Danzig—a little city cut away from Germany or any other nation—has got its central bank. We have not. We are asking a commission, on which, I think, a number of the bankers are foreigners, whether we are going to have our central bank here or not.

Could we not discuss the financial policy of the Government without such intimate references to a commission which is investigating a particular matter?

As an Irishman——

——who believes in the independence of this country, I object to submitting to a foreigner the question as to whether we are going to be independent or not. When the Government is shouting about Irish independence they should say: "We will have it, independent of foreign political or economic control."

I do not think that the personnel of that commission falls for discussion under this Bill. The policy of the Government on financial matters does arise, but I do not think the personnel of that commission falls for discussion here.

If any remarks of mine could be interpreted as in any way reflecting on any member of that commission, I would apologise for it and withdraw it. I did not mean any remark of mine in that way. I only mentioned the fact that they were not all citizens of this country—that the banking experts on it were not citizens of the country. That they are distinguished and honourable men I have no doubt. I have read about them in other capacities.

Bragging again.

What is the trouble with the Minister? The Minister is caught now—the Minister for taxation, not the Minister for Finance. I would certainly apologise if any remarks of mine could be interpreted as disparaging to any member of that commission. I only mentioned it to bring out the fact that we are submitting to that commission the question of whether we are going to have Irish banking control or not. There are British bankers on that commission. Of course, we would fight the economic war before we would submit the questions involved to a Britisher, but we are submitting what is a far more important question.

The question of the income from agriculture has been discussed on this Bill. It has been mentioned by Deputy O'Sullivan that £6,000,000 were lost in the price of our cattle. The Deputy must have been only guessing, because he erred very much on the small side. During this economic war the cattle trade has been run at a loss of at least £12,000,000. The price-level in any country is protected by the banking institutions of that country, particularly the central banking institutions. When the internal price-level or the price offered to that country for trade abroad is impaired in any way by the actions either of the country to which goods are being exported, or by the money policy of any other country from which goods are exported to that market in competition with ours, it should be at once the business of our Minister for Finance to get in touch with the central banking institution here, so as to give equal trade opportunities and equal price opportunities to our exporters here. Let us take the position as it has been since 1931, and as it is at the present moment. In addition to the tariffs imposed as a direct result of the economic war, there are, perhaps, greater losses on our trade with Great Britain, which the Minister for Finance, if he were doing his job, would look after; would take immediate power to look after. He would come to this House and immediately have a Bill passed into law to give him powers to safeguard our trade in the British market.

I wonder how many in this House trouble about looking up the exchange rates, the exchange advantage to our competitors in the British market, and the exchange disadvantage to us? Let us take for example a consignment of goods from, we will say, Denmark to Britain. Let us take a cwt. of butter. I think the price in these days would be 100/- per cwt. for Danish butter and about 82/- for Irish butter. This is neglecting all tariffs. We get back our 82/- here; it is only 82/-. But the Dane gets back his 100/-, and because the Dane is working on a depreciated currency that 100/- is worth 125/- to the Dane. Why cannot we do that? We have the power under the Treaty—this terrible, compromising surrender of the national position. The power is there in the Treaty establishing the national position, but the Government that continues to fight to get a national position is not using the national position it has attained and is allowing the farmer to sell his butter against the Dane in the British market at an exchange disadvantage of 25/- per cwt. I am sure the Minister for Finance is rolling over in his mind now that there would not be such a necessity to tax tea and sugar if we had 25 per cent. more of an income from the British market, if we were, in the matter of currency, on a par with the Dane.

Let us go to another country that competes with us in the British market, competes with us in butter and eggs. I refer to Australia which, of course, those who go back to Cuchulain look upon only as a mushroom colony; but, nevertheless, that mushroom colony is functioning as a nation and we are not. That mushroom colony has its Commonwealth Bank of Australia and the farmer, when he sends butter to the British market, is able to get as good a price as we get, but he is working on a 25 per cent. depreciated currency as compared with sterling, and when he gets his £1 back to Australia it is worth 25/-, and therefore he has that much of an advantage over us. The Minister could increase the income of agriculture by 25 per cent., and how much easier would it be for him to balance the Budget. But he has no control over that. The power is in the Treaty, but neither he nor the President has set up the machinery to exercise that control and they are allowing the agricultural industry here to be robbed in the unequal competition in the British market, quite apart from the economic war, and it is a bigger robbery than the economic war is inflicting on our agriculture.

The Minister for Finance rose to a point of order and said this had nothing to do with the Bill and it should be raised on some other occasion. The fact is, this affects the very fundamentals of national economic policy. What legacy has the neglect of this left on the country? It has hamstrung the agricultural industry. The present Government are aware, and the previous Government were aware, that there are probably millions of frozen debts due to the Banks hanging like a dreadful nightmare over the agricultural industry in this country, and the settlement of those debts is a very urgent matter in order to release agriculture for production. These debts accumulate. There is not anywhere under Irish control a central institution that could influence banking and credit policy here, and we are allowed to muddle on. We have set up a make-believe, a makeshift of a Commission. I wonder what business man would think of starting business until he had first arranged with his bankers for his credits, his bank balances, his petty cash, etc., sufficient to run the business under his control? I wonder would he think for a moment of starting business, leaving the power to lend and borrow petty cash and ready cash under the control of his competitor? That is precisely what we as a nation have been and are doing. Hence we have got the more enterprising and ambitious section of the farmers tied up, their lands mortgaged three times beyond what they are worth, and creating a national problem, which, I happen to know from documents I was entitled to see, must be giving the Minister for Finance some worry, as it gave his predecessor worry.

Deputy Mulcahy mentioned that on the eve of the Budget a tax of 5/- a ton was put on cement. Those who have to deal with cement know that all the cement was imported and the consumption was increasing. I suppose at 5/- a ton the £50,000 or £60,000 which Deputy Mulcahy mentioned would come into the revenue. Is it not an extraordinary thing that that was not mentioned in the Budget? I do not think it is even mentioned in this Bill. I wonder how the Minister proposes to balance his Budget in the coming year when he is taxing to the extent of one-sixth, anywhere from 15 to 20 per cent., such an essential article as cement. All we did to produce cement in this country was to pass an Act a year or two ago and hang it up. There is no cement being produced here. Then there is the raw material of industry—coal—and it is also used extensively in the household here, and both those commodities are taxed and there is no sign of their production here. I asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister, when he was deprecating the action of the previous Government in taxing for revenue, to explain his position in the matter. I do not suppose that the Parliamentary Secretary agrees with the principle, but I agree that there should not be taxation under the guise of protection but in reality to produce revenue.

I cannot say on what grounds the cement tax is justifiable. It is adding to the housing costs in a falling market. The operation of these two forces is going to diminish the income from the building trade. The method adopted in this Bill is to tax an income that a man has not got. That is done in one of the earlier sections where the Minister proposes to capitalise private ground rents and tax them. He is going to tax these ground rents which were portion of the deferred price of the house and which made it easier for the buyer to purchase his house. What is going to happen in the future? The builder is going to sell his house at the full cost plus a margin of profit. If the builder does not get his margin of profit he is going to stop building. The fact is that the private builders have proved that they are able to produce houses more economically than the local authorities can by direct labour. Now the profits that were shown in the ground rents are going to be capitalised. This would make the speculative builder put up all his costs into the price of the house and sell it. Those costs will be increased by the cement tax; they will be increased by the pipe tax in this Bill; they will be increased by the copper tubing tax and by the glazed earthenware tax. There will be a tax on all these materials used in the construction of houses. Still we want more and more houses but the money resources are drying up. A person who was able to pay £1,000 for a house a few years ago and persons who could even compete at higher prices than £1,000 are not to be found now. Seven or eight years ago people were waiting for houses to be built and were paying the full price for them in cash. There is nobody able to pay cash prices for houses now and neither is there money available through the Small Dwellings Acquisition Act for people who wish to buy their houses. Anybody in touch with business knows that in the building trade generally it is on the ground rents that the builder hopes——

On a point of procedure, Sir, is it usual for a debate to be continued without some member of the Front Government Bench being in a position to hear the debate and reply to the points made? There is no member of the Government in the Front Bench now or in the House.

Would I be in order, Sir, in moving the adjournment of the debate?

The matter is one for the Minister. It certainly is a most unusual procedure for the Minister to depart without leaving a colleague in charge.

Under the circumstances, would I be in order, Sir, in moving the adjournment now?

It is hardly worth the Deputy's while, seeing that it is now 10.26 p.m.

I think the Minister has treated the House with great discourtesy.

The Chair has some sympathy with the Deputy.

May I move the adjournment?

The House will rise within four minutes.

Great disrespect has been shown towards the House by the Government.

There are Deputies left on the Government Benches—a lot of us are left to listen.

I would rather address the Front Bench. I was just saying, Sir, that this Budget has in various respects very materially increased the cost of house building. It also takes away the profits made on house building. This will interfere with the building trade by increasing the cost of building material. This is being done at a time when money is getting scarce. A certain class of people— people who have been waiting to buy a £450 to a £750 house—have been rapping in vain at the door of the Corporation looking for houses. People of that class form the overwhelming bulk of applicants for houses. Deputy Kelly will say that the basement dwellers must be first. That is right. But the drawingroom dwellers are pushing the poorer people down into the basement. That is because of the great competition for houses, the stringency of money, the increased cost of building materials, and lastly, because of the confiscation of profits. For all these reasons fewer houses will be built. I hope the Government will succeed where the local authorities have failed; but all these factors I have mentioned conspire to restrict building operations.

Debate adjourned.
The Dáil adjourned at 10.30 p.m. until 3 p.m. on Thursday, the 13th June.