Senators are aware from past experience that the Central Fund Bill is required to implement the Ways and Means Resolutions passed by Dáil Eireann. Generally the form of the Bill is stereotyped. It is designed to authorise the issue from the Central Fund of the amount of the Vote on Account this year of £13,445,000 for the financial year to end on the 31st March, 1943, and also to cover the total of the Supplementary and Additional Estimates for the present financial year which were passed subsequent to the enactment of the Appropriation Act, 1941, and which amounted to £1,551,938. The Bill also makes the usual provision for borrowing by the Minister for Finance and for the issue by him of such securities as he thinks proper.
I have already mentioned that the amount of the Vote on Account for the coming year is £13,445,000. That is something slightly over one-third of the total net provision for the Supply Services, which, as Senators will have observed from the Volume of Estimates, is £39,112,301. This figure represents an increase of £789,534 on the total net provision for 1941-42— that is including Supplementary and Additional Estimates; or an increase of £3,799,697 as compared with the original net provision for the current year. The increase is attributable solely to the inclusion in the Estimates Volume for 1942-43 of a number of costly emergency services which did not appear in the Estimates Volume for last year. I refer particularly to the Votes for Special Emergency Schemes, Food Allowances, Damage to Property (Neutrality) Compensation and Personal Injuries (Civilians) Compensation, which account for £1,935,000. In addition, the flour and bread subsidies, provided for under the Estimate for Supplies, are calculated to amount to £1,645,000. Furthermore, the cost of food allowances provided for under the Estimate for Local Government and Public Health amounts to £200,000, while an additional £628,714 is needed for the Army. All these extra items, which result directly from the emergency, amount to £4,408,714. It will be apparent, therefore, that were it not essential to provide these new services there would be a reduction of £609,017 over the whole Supply Services.
I do not wish to minimise, in any way, the formidable total of the Volume of Estimates for the coming year. When we consider, however, that in addition to the £3,780,000 which is required for the new emergency services, a sum of £8,942,052 is required for the Army representing an increase of £7,170,331 over the 1938-39 provision for the Army service, it will, I think, be obvious that we are exercising rigid economy in connection with what may be described as our normal peace-time services. If the increase of £7,170,331 in the provision for the Army over the 1938-39 provision and the cost of the new emergency services be subtracted from the total of the Estimates for the coming year, the result will be that only £28,161,970 will be needed for our normal services. This figure compares favourably with the actual expenditure of £28,248,822 during 1938-39, the last pre-emergency year. As compared, therefore, with the actual expenditure in 1938-39, the Estimates for 1942-43, apart from the huge increase in the Army Vote and the cost of the new emergency services, show a reduction of £86,852, despite the rising cost of materials reflected throughout many of the ordinary services and the expansion of Governmental activity necessitated by present conditions.
The Estimates for 1942/43 as compared with the current year's Estimates, including Supplementary Estimates, show increases on 37 Estimates and decreases on 35 Estimates. Four Estimates show no change. The total of the increases on the several Estimates is £2,376,726, while the total of the decreases is £1,587,192.
I propose to comment briefly on the principal increases and decreases, other than those to which I have already referred. Vote 7, Old Age Pensions, shows a decrease of £30,000. An anticipated increase in the number of pensioners in 1941-42 not having been realised the Estimate for 1942-43 has been formed on a more conservative basis.
Vote 10, Public Works and Buildings, is down by £84,013. There are decreases of £38,500 on sub-head B—New Works, Alterations and Additions, of £1,000 on sub-head D (1)—Furniture, Fittings and Utensils—and of £6,400 on sub-head J (2)—Arterial Drainage. A further decrease of £75,000 is due to the non-recurrence of the provision of that amount made by means of a Supplementary Estimate in 1941-42 for the purchase of Emergency Fuel Stores. These decreases are offset by increases of £22,000 under sub-head F—Fuel, Light, Water, etc.—of £2,997 under sub-head E—Rent, Rates, etc., and of £5,800 under sub-head J (5)—Arterial Drainage.
Vote 30, Agriculture, shows a reduction of £451,677. The principal decrease, £464,029, occurs under sub-head N (1)—Diseases of Animals (Ireland) Acts, and is due, of course, to the expectation that the heavy expenditure necessitated in the current year by the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease will not be repeated in 1942/43. The elimination of foot-and-mouth disease also accounts for a decrease of £14,780 on sub-head B (Travelling), while the suspension of the fertilisers scheme due to the non-availability of supplies provides a saving of £52,875 on sub-head G (3). There are offsetting increases notably under sub-heads H and O (6). Grants to county committees of agriculture under sub-head H are up by £42,250, due in part to an automatic increase in the normal grant following increased contributions by local authorities, and in part to an increase in the special grant for lime. Sub-head O (6) is up by £9,908 in respect of the provision of free seed, implements and instruction for allotment holders.
Vote 31, Fisheries, shows a decrease of £16,965 due mainly to the non-recurrence of the provisions for special insurance of steam trawlers and for ex-gratia compensation to the former owners of the Erne fisheries. The provisions for the Sea Fisheries Association are down by £5,500 mainly because fewer loans for boats and gear can be made available owing to the scarcity of materials.
Vote 33, Gárda Síochána, shows an increase of £15,898, due mainly to an increase of £36,002 under sub-head O to cover the cost of a general issue of uniforms to the L.S.F. Sub-head M is up by £8,462 owing to increased provision having been made for compensation awarded under the Gárda Síochána (Compensation) Act, 1941, in respect of death or injury sustained by members of the Gárda. There are, however, offsetting decreases under other sub-heads, sub-head A being down by £13,015, as it will not be necessary to provide for a 53rd payday during 1942-43, while sub-head E shows a decrease of £22,003 due to an extension of the period of wear for Gárda clothing. Sub-head N is down by £6,451 due to non-recurring expenditure in the present year on wireless equipment and safes for official documents, while the absence of foot-and-mouth disease which, in 1941-42, occasioned abnormal police duty makes possible a decrease of £3,000 under sub-head C. Appropriations-in-Aid are down by £4,293 owing to a fall in percentage payments from the Road Fund.
Vote 41, Local Government and Public Health, is up by £100,889. The bulk of the increase is accounted for by the provision of an additional £100,000 under sub-head J (4) to cover the cost during a full year of the special food allowances to recipients of home assistance. The increases of £9,000 under sub-head J (2), of £6,000 under sub-head L (1), and £5,500 under sub-head N, are due mainly to rising prices, while the increase of £5,900 under sub-head T reflects the greater activity under the allotments scheme. There is also an increase of £27,530 under sub-head S (1), in respect of contributions towards loan charges of housing schemes undertaken by local authorities. These follow more or less automatically on the additional housing schemes of local authorities. There is an offsetting decrease of £40,500 under sub-head S (2), due to a fall in applications for grants for private houses, etc., in urban areas.
Vote 44, National Health Insurance, shows a decrease of £9,210, due mainly to reductions under sub-heads G (1) and G (2), in respect of statutory contributions to the National Health Insurance Fund. The amounts provided under these sub-heads represent the estimated Exchequer liability in 1942-43 under the National Health Insurance Acts, 1911 to 1936.
Vote 46, Primary Education, shows an increase of £11,162 which is due mainly to an increase of £9,400 under sub-head D to cover an increase in the number of pensioners.
Vote 52, Lands, is down by £130,014. The main decrease of £128,600 occurs under sub-head I, Improvement of Estates, etc., and is due in part to less activity in land division and also to shortage of materials. The decrease of £2,033 on sub-head A, Salaries, etc., is due to the non-filling of vacancies, while the reduction of £6,000 on sub-head B, Travelling Expenses, is due to the resulting smaller activities and the secondment of staff to other Departments.
Vote 54, Gaeltacht Services, shows a decrease of £28,510 due almost entirely to an anticipated increase in the receipts under Appropriations-in-Aid from sales of rural and marine industries' products. Sub-head D (6), Materials, is up by £16,500 due in general to increased activity and to the rising cost of raw materials, while sub-heads E (3) and E (4) show increases of £4,542 and £2,550 respectively due to the greater amount of kelp and carrageen being collected and purchased. There are offsetting decreases of £17,000 under sub-head H (3) due to the slowing down of housing activity, and of £5,100 under sub-head D (9) due to the non-availability of certain items of plant for the proposed new spinning mill.
Vote 55, Industry and Commerce, shows an increase of £32,996. Sub-head A, Salaries, is up by £4,561 by reason of the employment of additional staff in connection with the Food Allowances Scheme. Increased provision for minerals development accounts for increases of £12,000 and £15,000 under sub-heads L (1) and L (3) respectively. Provision for the Turf Development Board is now made in the Vote for Special Emergency Schemes. In 1941/42 the Industry and Commerce Estimate included sums totalling £19,000 for Grants-in-Aid to that board to cover portion of the year up to 12th June, 1941.
Vote 58, Marine Service, shows an increase of £24,159. Sub-head J, which provides for grants in respect of the equipment of ships for protection against magnetic mines, accounts for £22,200 of the increase. There is also an increase of £3,000 under sub-head I (3) for pensions and allowances to crews (and their dependents) of ships registered in Éire who are killed or disabled as a result of the war.
Vote 59, Unemployment Insurance and Unemployment Assistance, shows a decrease of £224,828. The main decrease occurs under sub-head J, Unemployment Assistance, which is down by £215,000. The figure for 1942-43 is based on the assumption that the conditions obtaining in 1941-42 will again obtain in the coming financial year.
Vote 64, Army Pensions, shows a decrease of £57,540. The decrease of £6,248 under sub-head E is due to the fact that the Referee and Advisory Committee are expected to complete their work at an early date and provision has been made under this sub-head for part of the year only. The decreases of £6,866 and £43,830 under sub-heads G and K respectively are due to the fact that fewer claims are now being received and fewer pensions being granted under the Army Pensions Acts. The main offsetting increase of £3,009 under sub-head L is occasioned by the larger number of pensions now being granted to members of the regular Army.
Vote 66, League of Nations, shows a decrease of £8,328. Only a token provision was provided in 1941-42, but full provision is being made for the coming year.
Vote 67, Employment Schemes, shows a decrease of £250,000. This reduction is due to the fact that the cost of certain schemes (e.g., farm improvement schemes) has been transferred to the Vote for Special Emergency Schemes.
Vote 72, Emergency Scientific Research Bureau, shows an increase of £7,000, due to provision being made for an increased Grant-in-Aid of investigations and research.