We shall wait and see. This Budget has been attacked by Deputy Rice, Deputy Morrissey, Deputy Mulcahy, Deputy O'Sullivan, and Deputy McGilligan—I shall deal with Deputy McGilligan towards the end of my speech, in the vain hope that he will arrive here before then—on the ground that it puts a taxation on necessities. What are necessities? I propose to deal with commodities which are in the less controversial category. Sugar is a necessity. Boots are a necessity, except for the infant in swaddling clothes. Clothes are a necessity. I suppose furniture would be regarded as a necessity. By import duties on sugar, sugar confectionery, cocoa preparations, boots and shoes, clothing and wearing apparel and furniture, and by a customs entry duty, the Cumann na nGaedheal Administration collected no less a sum than £2,500,000 for the year 1931-32. They went out at the end of that year. Two and a half million pounds were collected by our predecessors by way of taxes on necessities. Yet, this debate has been conducted for almost 24 hours on the basis that this is the first time any Budget introduced here imposed a tax upon necessities. This year—this is one of the reasons why we have had to increase taxation—the amount of revenue which we would have collected from those taxes, including the tax upon sugar at its original rate, would have been £1,200,000. There was a decline of more than 50 per cent. in the revenue from those import duties—a decline from £2,500,000 to £1,200,000. That decline was foreseen three years ago, because, three years ago, we were faced with exactly the same problem with which Deputy Cosgrave's Administration had been faced. We tried to solve that problem, but they ran away from it. I refer to the problem of unemployment, the problem of giving this country a balanced economy, the problem of developing our industrial resources so that they might absorb our surplus population.
Deputy Cosgrave had that problem before him in 1931-32, and he saw, as we saw, that if he was going to increase these import duties, so as to give real protection to our industries, and to afford employment to our people, he was going to be faced, as we have been faced, with the problem of a declining revenue, and to make good that revenue he was going to have to put an increased tax on tea and an increased tax on sugar. But, he thought he was a good politician. He had the belief, which is shared by many people, including, apparently, members of the present Opposition, that a tax upon tea and a tax upon tobacco are unpopular in this country and, therefore, rather than do the unpopular thing, he was prepared to allow our idle people to starve. There were not going to be for Deputy Cosgrave any new boot factories to diminish the import of 90 per cent. of the boots worn in this country because, if Deputy Cosgrave was to build new boot factories the revenue would have gone down by £300,000, which is much more than would be brought in by an increase of a ¼d. a lb. in the tax on sugar. Deputy Cosgrave was not prepared to encourage the manufacture of clothing and wearing apparel in this country because, once again, some part of the odd £600,000 revenue which he was deriving at that time from the import of foreign-manufactured clothing and wearing apparel, would have to be made good by an increased tax on tobacco, say, or possibly by the imposition of a duty upon tea. Therefore, the £2,500,000 revenue, in Deputy Cosgrave's eyes, was very much more important than the problem of finding employment for our people and building up native industries. He ran away from it.
When we came in we had exactly the same choice to make. We had either to allow the continued import of things which we could make, and to-day are making for ourselves, and to keep the revenue from import duties from these articles up to the former level, or we could go ahead, saying that we were going to have these things made in this country, and that we would have to make up what we are losing in Customs duties upon them, either by imposing alternative import duties or by increasing our Excise duties on certain commodities. It has been said here that so far the figures have not justified the choice we made. Deputy McGilligan in the course of his speech referred to the figures in 21 out of 28 industries. He said that the figures for 1933 showed that the total increase in wages paid in this country was £25,000. One need never expect a true or accurate presentation of the case from Deputy McGilligan. The figures which he relied upon were based mainly on two specialised industries, brewing and coach building. In 1930-31 peculiar factors were operating in this country, which made the output from the coach-building industry very much larger than it would normally have been. The coach building and motor car assembling at Ford's Tractor Factory was then working at high pressure, turning out tractors for Russia. Even at that period everyone knew that there was an ephemeral prosperity attending that industry because they knew that once the new Ford factory in England got working, and as the special Russian demand from the factory in this country ceased when the new Russian tractor factories got going the output here was going to fall off.
Everyone knows that the brewing and distilling industries have been declining, not because of any decline in the prosperity of the population as represented by the decline in the consumption of beer and spirits, but due to the changed habits of our people. What is true here is true, to some extent, of people elsewhere. In any event, whatever decline there was in the number of people employed in brewing and distilling took place very largely at the end of 1931 or 1932, and was due to the decreased demand in Great Britain for beer and spirits, beer particularly, and had nothing to do with our industrial domestic conditions whatever. Leaving these two industries aside there are a number of industries for which fairly full figures are now available. I had not much time to check them. I will deal with boots and shoes, clothing and apparel, sugar, confectionery and jam making. In the year 1931 the total output of these commodities from Irish factories was worth £2,950,000. In the year 1933 the value of the output jumped to £4,045,000. In the year 1931 the number of operatives engaged in these industries was 9,638, and in the year 1933 the figures jumped to 14,547. The revenue derived from import duties upon these articles in 1931-32 was £1,012,000, and it fell this year to £650,000. We have lost £350,000 there. Between the 31st March, 1932, and 31st December, 1933, almost 5,000 additional people were put into employment in these industries. The value of the output jumped by over £1,000,000. Not merely that, but while in 1931 the wages paid in these industries amounted to £607,000, in 1933 it had risen to £841,000, or an increase of £234,000, which more than made up for any loss which the Exchequer sustained in revenue between 1931-32 and 1933-34. If that was the position on 31st December, 1933, whatever was lost in revenue was more than made up in wages, and I am perfectly certain that when the figures for 1935 become available, it will be seen that what the State has lost has gone to the workers in these industries. And not merely what we have lost in revenue, but what we used to send out of the country year after year to pay other people to make goods that we could have made for ourselves.
We have been criticised for increasing the tax on sugar. Deputy Morrissey, who is not in the House now, devoted the greater part of his speech to a criticism of the tax on sugar. What were the facts in 1931-32? In the year 1931-32 Deputy Cosgrave's Government collected no less a sum than £1,426,000 out of a tax on sugar and sugar confectionery alone. This year, even allowing for the increase of a farthing per lb. that we are imposing on sugar, we will only get £800,000 out of a tax on sugar. In other words, the Exchequer has lost £626,000 of revenue from sugar. But where has it gone? It has all been distributed among the farmers who are growing the beet and the workers who are turning it into sugar. Not merely are they getting this £626,000, but they are also getting the amount which, if these factories were not working, we should be sending to Czecho-Slovakia or to the West Indies to pay other people either to grow the sugar cane or the sugar beet and to make the sugar for us. Every penny of that money that is being kept here at home is being distributed among the Irish people. Not alone that, but the distribution of that money among the farmers who are growing the beet, the labourers who are helping them to grow it, or the operatives who are making it into sugar, does not end with them. They are taking that money and, except for what they have to spend on tea and other such commodities that have to be imported, are spending every penny of it here in this country. That money is going to the shopkeepers, from the shopkeepers to the wholesalers, and from the wholesalers to the manufacturers who are making clothes, boots, shoes, furniture, and all the other commodities which are now being manufactured at home and which these farmers, farm labourers and operatives are now buying from these home manufacturers. In that way that money is being distributed over the whole population.
What is true of our loss of revenue in regard to sugar is also true in regard to our loss in boots, shoes, sugar confectionery, and all other commodities which used to provide Deputy Cosgrave's Government with revenue but which we have given back to the people and which is now being distributed through the whole population in general. When we come, however, to make good that loss in revenue as we have to do, unless we are going to adopt Deputy Cosgrave's and Deputy McGilligan's callous attitude towards the less fortunate portion of our community here and reduce the social services, the only way in which we can make good that loss, because of the peculiar limitations to which I have already referred, which are imposed on our Budgets, is to make it up out of the general revenue. Apart from everything else, I say that it is quite equitable to make it up in that way, because anything that the Exchequer has lost has been given to the people in general and, if there has to be taxation for distributive purposes, such as is taxation through death duties and imposts of that sort, then it is only right that we should get it from the people who are employed and who are in a position to pay taxes and give it back to the other people.