Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Thursday, 3 Nov 1960

Vol. 184 No. 4

Committee on Finance. - Irish Steel Holdings Limited Bill, 1960—Committee and Final Stages.

Sections 1 to 8, inclusive, agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 9 stand part of the Bill".

Would the Minister be good enough to tell me is there any precedent for the general powers of guarantee in Section 9 or is this a new departure?

I understand that the section follows the same lines as the State Guarantees Act, 1954.

"The State Guarantees Act, 1954, is hereby amended by the deletion from the Schedule thereto of all matter contained at reference number 4."

The Deputy is referring to Section 8 and I thought we were dealing with Section 9.

Is this not the section which deals with Section 8 to the extent that Section 8 amends the State Guarantees Act and introduces a new provision in respect of Irish Steel Holdings which is made in Section 9 ? Is there some additional power under Section 9 which would not be available if the Minister had to rely on the general powers of the State Guarantees Act, 1954?

Mr. Lynch

Section 8 provides that the financing of the company, whether by borrowing or by share capital, shall be guaranteed. Will the Deputy repeat the last part of his question?

The Minister said that the terms of Section 9 followed generally the general power provided under the State Guarantees Act. I then asked him why did we repeal Section 8, Ref. No. 4 of the Schedule, of the State Guarantees Act and then re-enact in Section 9 of this Bill what the Minister tells me is substantially the general power he had in the State Guarantees Act. Are we adding anything to the general power in respect of this special company or why have we taken the precaution of providing ad hoc powers under Section 9 for Irish Steel Holdings Limited, instead of using the general power the Minister had under the State Guarantees Act of 1954?

I believe there is no fundamental change at all. The change effected by the deletion in Section 8 and the re-enactment in Section 9 of the same powers as contained in the State Guarantees Act is a draftsman's point which, I must admit, I do not fully comprehend.

But there are no additional powers?

I guarantee to the Deputy that there are no additional powers.

Question put and agreed to.
Section 10 agreed to.
Question proposed: "That Section 11 stand part of the Bill."

Could the Minister say why exemption is granted to the company here? Normally, when capital is increased, a company has to pay increased stamp duty. Is that not the case?

Yes, but this company is exempted because it is wholly financed out of State funds.

I wonder is that a desirable thing to do? If every private enterprise company is required to pay stamp duty, and all these ordinary charges which normally attach to business activity, is it fair to continue to levy these on firms operated by private enterprise and exempt State companies? It seems to me seriously to distort the relative advantage as between private enterprise and State enterprise. I readily concede that the abolition of stamp duty where this company is concerned, inasmuch as it is wholly owned by the Treasury and the Government, is really a bookkeeping transaction; but, for the purpose of maintaining a fair comparison between private and public enterprise, it does not seem just that the publicly-owned company should be exempt from these taxes while the privately-owned company continues to pay them.

I see the force of the Deputy's point, but I think he has already made the argument for me. It is the old argument of taking out of one pocket to pay into the other. It is, so to speak, really a tidying-up operation. For the purpose of tidying up, I think it is better that the stamp duty obligation should be relieved, as far as this company is concerned.

Question put and agreed to.
Sections 12 to 14, inclusive, agreed to.
Question proposed: "That the Schedule be the Schedule to the Bill."

There is an obligation on the company to furnish the Minister with balance sheets, profit and loss account and a copy of the report of the directors to the shareholders. Is there any obligation on the Minister to communicate these to the Oireachtas?

It is at the bottom of page 5:—

A copy of every balance sheet, profit and loss account and report furnished to the Minister pursuant to subparagraph (1) of this paragraph shall be laid by him before each House of the Oireachtas as soon as may be after such balance sheet, profit and loss account and report are so furnished to him.

That is correct. It is paragraph 4, sub-paragraph (3) of the Schedule.

I may take it then the Minister's answer is "Yes".

Question put and agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment, received for final consideration and passed.