Finance Bill, 1945 (Certified Money Bill)—Second and Subsequent Stages.

Question proposed: "That the Bill be now read a Second Time."

Bille é seo chun éifeacht do thabhairt, in aghaidh na bliana airgeadais ar fad, do na Rúin lenar ghlac an Dáil tar éis na Cainfhaisnéise, mar ní bhíonn éifeacht reachtúil ach ar feadh tréimhse teoranta ag na Rúin sin. Toisc nár gearradh aon chánacha nua leis an gCáinfhaisnéis i mbliana, ní dhéanann an Bille ach na cánacha atá ann cheana do bhuanú arís. Maolaíonn sé ualach cánach áirithe i slite fé leith, ámh agus bhéarfaidh mé tuairisc orthu san ar ball.

Ghlac an Dáil leis an mBille seachtain ó shoin agus molaim é anois don tSeanad. Bille gearr é agus níl foráil ar bith ann nach bhfuil a brí ar eolas ag Seanadóirí cheana trí léamh na horáide Cáinfhaisnéise ar a bhfuil sé bunaithe. Dá bhrí sin níl an oiread chéanna cúise conspóide ann, tá súil agam, agus a bhíodh tamall de blianta ó shoin.

The main purpose of this Bill is to give continuing effect to the Financial Resolutions passed by Dáil Eireann following the Budget as these Resolutions have statutory effect for a limited period only under the Provisional Collection of Taxes Act, 1927. In conformity with the Budget the Bill, which has been passed by the Dáil, contains no new taxes but provides for certain reliefs and exemptions which I shall explain in the course of its passage through the House.

When addressing the Seanad on the Second Stage of the Finance Bill, 1944, I remarked that we regarded our revenue estimates for 1944-45 as somewhat optimistic, and emphasised that they were framed in anticipation of the economic fabric of the country remaining undisturbed. I am glad to be able to report that our anticipation was realised and that economic activity in 1944-45 continued to be fairly satisfactory. Revenue continues to expand and again last year exceeded our expectations.

The yield of tax and non-tax revenue at £46,175,000 was £395,000 in excess of the Budget estimate, and £2,395,000 in excess of the previous year. A few words may be said as to the yield of the various duties. Leading the field, property and income-tax, including surtax, at £12,517,000 increased by well over £1,000,000. Corporation profits tax yielded £4,042,000 as against £3,781,000 in the previous year, an increase of £261,000. As regards customs and excise, tobacco continues to dominate—yielding almost £9,500,000. The excise duty on beer advanced by £230,000 and on spirits by £199,000, whilst betting and entertainments yielded £100,000 more than estimated. Not all movements were favourable, however, for instance, there has been a virtual cessation of imports of beer since June, 1944, while clearances of imported spirits and sugar fell considerably. As total revenue exceeded expectations and expenditure, though high, was less than anticipated, the deficit for 1944-45 was approximately one-half of the anticipated figure.

Our estimate of tax revenue for 1945-46 on the basis of pre-Budget taxation is £41,295,000, an increase of £1,880,000 over the actual receipts for 1944-45. Customs revenue at £11,750,000 is expected to show an expansion of £457,000, excise revenue at £9,515,000, an expansion of £631,000, and inland revenue at £19,380,000—of that £12,240,000 being from income-tax—an improvement of £763,000 on the preceding year. As non-tax revenue is put at £6,700,000— a decrease of £60,000—the estimated receipts of tax and non-tax revenue total £47,995,000.

This assumption of a net increase of £1,820,000 over the yield of what was a good year may seem optimistic. I realise that the continuance of the war in the Far East will prevent anything like a complete change-over of industry in the belligerent countries to a peace footing and that the demands of the civil population will for some further time have to take a back seat. On the other hand, helped by the cessation of hostilities in Europe, the forces of recovery should assert themselves in many directions beneficial to the Exchequer and the general wellbeing before the end of this financial year.

On the expenditure side, Central Fund and Supply Services are estimated to cost £52,367,000, of which the latter account for the record figure of £47,166,000. As compared with the original net provision for Supply Services in 1944-45, the provision for the coming year is up by almost £2,250,000, due mainly to provision for further subsidies on food and fuel, provision for children's allowances for the first time for a whole year, and increased bonus to civil servants, Gárdaí and teachers. Included in the Supply Services figure are amounts of £4,503,000 for food and fuel subsidies, and £4,571,000 for the provision of employment. The aggregate of the special provisions included to offset the impact of increased living costs on the poorer sections of the community is no less than £8,000,000.

As in the past, certain capital and abnormal items amounting to £718,000 have been earmarked to be defrayed from borrowing, leaving a sum of £51,649,000 to be met from revenue. From the total estimated revenue figure of £47,995,000, to which I have already referred, must be deducted an amount of £53,000—the estimated cost in the current year of the reduction in the duty on matches provided for in Section 4 of the Bill now under consideration. This reduces our anticipated income to £47,942,000, leaving us with a deficit of £3,707,000 which as Senators are already aware, I am sure, I propose to meet by borrowing.

It will be realised that the amount of our estimated expenditure, which is unprecedented, provides for many services which we would not have to finance in normal times. I had hoped to be relieved of the need to provide again for defence expenditure on the large scale of the past five years, but the Estimate for the Army this year again exceeds the substantial figure of £8,000,000. The release of Army personnel which will be put in hand at an early date will, of course, result in savings under many heads of the Army Vote, but these will be more than offset by issues in respect of demobilisation gratuities, deferred pay, and provision for the unemployment insurance of demobilised personnel. Indeed, as I announced in the Dáil, it is likely that such issues will involve my having to find a substantial additional sum of money for the Army in the course of the year.

Our plans for the post-war period must involve the Exchequer in further increased expenditure. Plans for housing, afforestation, arterial drainage, tourist development, rural electrification, turf development, construction of airports, etc., have already been framed or are under consideration. I would like to emphasise that execution of such an extensive programme of post-war development can, of course, become a reality only if the cost of the Supply Services is greatly reduced and emergency services, such as food and fuel subsidies, disappear. As I pointed out here last year, the double burden of emergency services and post-war development could not be carried. The annual service of our existing debt now absorbs almost £4,000,000. Further additions to borrowing can only mean further additions to taxation, and unless our burdens are eased in other directions our post-war programme of development will be hampered.

Apropos of our tax burdens, different bodies of industrialists and individual trading concerns have represented to me that alterations should be made in income-tax law, so as to afford special reliefs to industry for the post-war years. In this connection I would remind Senators that there has not been in this country a 100 per cent. tax on excess profits. The standards provided have been generous. Excess profits made before the 1st January, 1941, have not been subjected to the excess tax. I mention these matters because reliefs have been asked for on the lines of those included in the Income Tax Bill introduced this year in the United Kingdom where a 100 per cent. charge on excess profits exists and where the standard rate of income-tax has been 10/- in the £. It should also be borne in mind that our industries have not had to suffer, for example, the dislocation entailed by switching over to war production, not to mention the process of changing back. I may add that I have withstood in the past four years considerable pressure to increase the levy on excess profits to 100 per cent. One of my reasons for not increasing it was my desire that provision should be made for the position of industry in the years immediately following the war. As a result, industrialists have been able to accumulate reserves against post-war dangers the total of which should by now be not inappreciable.

In the monetary sphere, with wartime conditions still prevailing the tendency towards inflation continues to be a major cause of anxiety. The past year has again witnessed a considerable increase in the volume of money of all kinds unattended by any increase in the volume of goods available for consumption. We have endeavoured to check inflation by high taxation, rationing, control of prices, dividends, wages and other remuneration, and the absorption of savings, but we have not been entirely successful. Without such measures, however, the situation would have got completely out of control with dire consequences for all, but particularly for wage-earners and the lower income groups. It is possible to get some limited satisfaction from the fact that the cost-of-living index has remained stable for the past 18 months, but on the other hand, this stability at more than 70 per cent. above pre-war is at an unduly high level for a country which is essentially a food producer.

In the interest of maintaining the internal and external purchasing power of our currency it is very desirable that an appreciable downward movement of this index be secured. The large advances in prices of all kinds leave us less free to travel further along the path of liberal expenditure than if the existing price increases had been more moderate. High budgetary expenditure and deficit financing are the most potent of all inflationary forces, and their effect is most harmful where, through heavy rates of taxation, enterprise is deterred from an extension of productivity.

As regards our external position, it is too soon as yet to say whether the proposals of the Bretton Woods Conference will come into operation and, in the meantime, their possible bearing on this country must remain indeterminate. No exaggerated hopes should, however, be entertained that the Bretton Woods scheme will provide us with any simple or magical solution of the grave difficulties to be anticipated in the financing of our future external trade; especially outside the sterling area. Indeed, it is clear, and has been emphatically stressed by many exponents of the scheme, that it does not and cannot do anything to relieve any member of the fundamental obligations to keep his own house in financial order and to procure imports by the maintenance of a sufficient volume of exports on an efficient and competitive basis.

A few words, perhaps, about the sections of the Bill may be of value. Section 1 of the Bill corresponds to Financial Resolution No. 1, which was passed on Budget Day and is the customary charging section for income-tax and surtax. Section 2, broadly speaking, is by way of amendment of the law. It provides that where there has been a loss on a transaction where if a profit had been made, it would have been assessable under case VI of Schedule D of the Income Tax Act, 1918, relief may be given for tax purposes.

Section 3 was foreshadowed in the Budget speech. It secures exemption from income-tax and surtax in respect of deferred pay and gratuities for members of the Defence Forces. Section 4 reduces the rates of excise duties on matches. This was explained at some length in the Budget speech. It is estimated that it would cost £53,000 this year, and in a full year £58,000. Section 5 provides for the exemption from estate duty and legacy duty of certain payments for service with the Defence Forces.

Section 6 of the Bill secures that a public utility company which carries on a tramway undertaking shall not be deprived of the exemption in corporation profits tax afforded to other public utility companies. The effect of the section will be that the new transport company, Córas Iompair Eireann, will be exempted from corporation profits tax in respect of the whole of its profits for two years. Section 7 is the customary care and management section, and Section 8 is the usual section relating to the short title, construction and commencement.

I have known the Minister for Finance for a long time, but when I hear him now making these statements I hardly recognise him at all. He has become calm and complacent and rather given to the style of some lecturers—not all, I hope— when they have to handle a difficult subject in a carefully prepared and rather boring manner. In the other House, he delivered quite a different speech, which was very interesting in so far as it was an objective statement relating to a great many of our problems. Here, assuming that interested persons would have read that speech, he does not go into these problems at all.

I am very far from being an expert in finance, and I am not proposing to deal with the exact provisions of this Bill. Last year's Finance Bill was a substantial one—this year's is a slender one. Last year, when the Minister was questioned in Committee he was, in his best defensive manner, full of assurances that he was taking these powers to see how they would work, entirely in the interests of the revenue, and in the firm purpose that no injustice would be done to anybody. He admitted that one section which he got, enabling him to amalgamate profits in an extraordinary manner was an experiment and would continue for 12 months.

I do not think he has said a word about this, and there are other things on which he has been silent, but they can be raised in Committee. The sum we are asked to pay now is an immense sum. It is one which the Minister in his younger days in Opposition would argue we could not pay without going bankrupt. This is a phenomenon which I do not understand—we seem not to be solving our problems, but our revenue seems to be buoyant. That is disquieting. There is an old tag about wealth accumulating and men decaying. The problems which we said in the old Sinn Féin days could be solved under our own Government, do not seem to have been solved.

We are increasing taxation, subsidies and social services, and are finding the money, but whether we can keep on finding the money, and for how long we can find it, to carry out that policy in full, I am at a loss to know. The Minister has told us that Army expenditure will not be continued at the same rate as that of the last five years. That is true. This year, of course, there may be an increase owing to demobilisation, but we are assured that a decrease can be looked for in the future. But, even if there is a decrease, one doubts whether the sum to be found can be decreased at all. There are other headings on which in post-war days there must be increased expenditure.

One of these headings is obviously education, a subject in which I am, naturally, interested. We are here next door to the British—nearer now in a physical sense than ever, owing to the development of all kinds of transport. We have always had problems of emigration. In the 18th century our people went to France, in the 19th century they went in millions to America and in thousands to England. In recent years, the bulk of the emigration has been to England, and I do not understand if a policy has been recognised that this State cannot get on without a certain amount of emigration. I know that very intelligent people hold that we must have emigration. I wonder if the Minister agrees with that, or holds that we can maintain our population, owing to our fertility rate with emigration, and if we are going to emigrate, what are we going to do to equip people for emigration? It used to be said on Sinn Féin platforms, and on some of the other platforms, too, that everyone who emigrated was a loss to the country. But, either we do send our people away properly equipped, or we send them ignorant and unskilled.

Undoubtedly, our neighbours are going to spend immense sums of money on primary, secondary and university education. In the case of university education they are going to spend millions on capital and they are going to double, or quadruple in some cases, their university grant. Similarly, in the case of primary and secondary education, they propose to look for more teachers and to pay all of them higher salaries. One of the results of this will be that we are going to lose teachers to the English, that is to say, that we are going to have primary, secondary and university teachers seeking jobs in England, just as doctors are seeking them at the moment. These people we will lose will not be the slow or the weak—they will be the competent, the stronger and the more adventurous, who will be seeking higher salaries over the Channel.

It seems to me, therefore, that we will have to have a greater expenditure here, and I doubt if the bill we must face can be substantially reduced. One would not mind the size of the bill, if one could realise that value was being received for it, or if one could see on what the money was being spent. Quite obviously, this sum is not the whole figure. Owing to the operation of Government policy, local expenditure has increased very substantially during the last ten years, and local expenditure is being more and more directed from the top—that is to say, the managers are more and more servants of the Dublin Government than of the local people.

Indeed to-day you have the slogan raised by certain people that we should have local authorities who are in agreement with Government policy, whatever it is. Therefore, this figure of £52,000,000 must be regarded as immense when it is viewed in conjunction with local expenditure. We are doing more and more every day through State agencies, and we have less and less individual effort. Every time the Government is asking for more power —and we see that in every Bill before the House.

Take the Tuberculosis Bill and the Mental Treatment Bill, both of which have no political significance, although they have this in common—that they provide more and more power for the State, and involve more and more expenditure by the State and the local authorities. Similarly, there is the case of subsidies. The Minister has put the figure at £8,000,000. That is an enormous figure, and it makes it very difficult to know what things are costing. At the same time agricultural employment, according to the experts, is on the decline. One wonders whether we are getting more competent in agriture. I have seen where agricultural experts stated that we are no more competent to-day than we were in 1905 —40 years ago. That is an extraordinary situation, considering all the education we have had, and the fact that we have had Irish Ministers for Agriculture operating for more than 20 years. Nevertheless, it appears that employment is declining, and declining under a tillage policy with all the impetus given to it by the war. It was once thought that if you grew crops you would have plenty of employment, but that does not seem to be the case.

Industrial employment has increased somewhat, but not at the same rate that it had been increasing before 1932, perhaps, and at any rate, at what cost nobody really knows. Nobody exactly knows what tariffs, subsidies and various other things cost. We find it difficult to know what exact figure we should put for the cost of a certain amount of employment. Even with a very large number of men getting special employment and with emigration, we still have unemployment of very considerable numbers. Even accepting that unemployment cannot be taken at a round figure of 60,000, because a certain amount of it is seasonal or casual for a brief period, we still have a considerable number unemployed, even with a big Army, big emigration, and a big number employed on turf production.

What I am very interested to ask is whether there is any policy with regard to these things, whether it has been decided that we are going to continue on an emigration basis and whether we have decided that we are going to educate people and send them out of the country better equipped than ever. There is something to be said for that policy but we are certainly spending a large amount of money on people who are going away. We have teachers emigrating, we have domestic servants emigrating wholesale and we have agricultural workers emigrating and, of course, building workers. One doubts whether they are going to come back. The attractions across the water may prevent us getting the best products of our schools and universities even for the Civil Service here. I doubt if the Minister is going to get any chance of making a substantial reduction in taxation when we take into consideration what must be done to put this country into the same position, relative to other countries, in the post-war period. If we are to do that an immense amount of money must be spent on education. The Minister says that the dire consequences of inflation would be felt by the low salaried and by the working classes. Very dire consequences are already felt by the low salaried and particularly by teachers of various kinds.

If you take the case of a man who in 1939 had a salary of £600 and three children and now has the same salary and five children he is in a deplorable position. Certain dire consequences of inflation may have been avoided, but I do not know any position very much worse than that of such a man. It is not very much use for him to have the consolation of a few financial apophthegms and maxims, particularly when he hears the justice of the case for increased salary for people with over £500 a year in the Civil Service recognised, but it has not been recognised in the case of secondary teachers and in the case of university teachers. We certainly will have to get more money for people of that kind. We will have to spend more money on education and see that we get value for it. The policy of education will perhaps have to be bound up with this, that we will have to make up our minds whether we can stop emigration, and whether we want to send away educated emigrants or not. The Government seems to have burked the thought of these questions. For example, it might be said that money is not the only attraction in the world. That is true but we have not succeeded in giving any tempo to life here which will attract people to live in the country, even in the absence of monetary profit.

What we call a separate civilisation here is, to put it in the mildest form, not very attractive. We are spending a very considerable amount of money on education and we cannot come to any conclusion as to what we ought to do about education unless we come to some conclusion as to what we ought to do about Irish. Irish, as the Minister will remember, used to have at one time a place in our lives as a pleasure, as something which opened to us vistas, and a gate through which we could enter into fields where we found interest and profit for our minds. That has become no longer a pleasure. I think it is correct to say that it is all cases and genders, cora cainnte, idioms, and there is no question of the background of the people who speak the language or who used to speak the language or what it meant for those who started to revive it.

Like Latin, it is left behind at the earliest moment by school children. I do not know of any note of spontaneity, so that it is all to be done by the Government, with Government services and Government expenditure. I think that is a position that is not going to lead to any desirable end. Irish is regarded as a ladder by which one mounts to a job and then having mounted to the job in 99 cases out of 100 the ladder is kicked away. I do not know whether anything can be done about this, but it has something to do with our expenditure and the kind of life we intend to lead, with the attractions we mean to make for our people here, particularly with regard to employment and emigration.

A Budget statement is an occasion on which we might invite the Minister to express some views on these things. At one time the Minister's Budget statements were full of propaganda that we were going to make the country more attractive than anywhere else, but now they seem to be soured, sad and full of the wisdom that comes from old age and conservatism. The name Beveridge vexes the Minister for Local Government even more than the names of certain members of the Episcopacy. He is full of information as to why we cannot do certain things. At one time we were full of the idea that certain things might be done in this country. The truth is that now after a number of experiments and a number of Ministers we have arrived at the stage in which we find the very best of our people emigrating. Perhaps it would be as well if we faced up to certain problems. I do not know whether production can be increased and particularly whether agricultural production can be increased, but we can get people to stand on their own legs and to be less dependent on various things. For example, if our industries have tariffs and subsidies, are they not able to pay wages that would enable a person with a normal family to live without housing subsidies by the Corporation on the one hand, or by the Minister on the other hand by way of children's allowances? It would be very interesting if we could hear the Minister's views on all these matters.

In his statement the Minister said that this Bill was intended to give continuing force to resolutions passed in the Dáil. That is what it is intended to do but that is a very minor and technical way to put the whole matter. I am not putting this exactly as a criticism but I think we ought to have some kind of examination of our own consciences both in a national and economic way. We have a certain number of problems that we have not solved. In spite of this immense expenditure, we have not solved the cultural problem, or the problem of becoming more Irish. I do not think we are becoming a bit more Irish. I think you can argue the very reverse in 1945 as contrasted with 1925 or even with 1915. Mere waving of the flag is not sufficient; it does not go down deep enough, and it does not last long enough to constitute the reviving of the national spirit. I do not think we have solved the problem in economic matters either by stopping emigration or providing employment. If we cannot do that the money we are spending is spent without value. With regard to buoyancy of the revenue and the expectation of more buoyancy that is something I cannot understand. It does not matter how much money there is if people are not satisfied to live here.

I take it that we will have a Committee Stage on this Bill, in which case I will defer a detailed statement. I feel that I should protest against the attitude in the Minister's statement of putting Irish industry in the dock. Irish industry resents that implication. We have it inferred that Irish industry needs tariffs, that it needs subsidies and that it needs this, that and the other. Where would this nation have been but for Irish industry during the past six years? Sinn Fein made Irish industry part of its economic programme. Do the Government and people who criticise it still want an Irish industrial arm? Irish industrialists are sick and tired of this continual pecking at them. Where would this country have been without Guinness and Jacobs and other firms that started with small capital and whose products are now household words throughout the world, not only reflecting credit on this country but bringing revenue and giving employment?

Without tariffs.

I will come to tariffs. Senator Hayes has an obsession about tariffs.

I have not an obsession about tariffs. I am not against Irish industrialists, not even against Senator Summerfield, strange as it may seem.

In this instance it will be appreciated that I am not making a personal case. I am not one of the fortunates who was able to carry on during the last six years. Irish industry was deliberately fostered as part of our Government policy. It would be idle to suggest that Irish industry in the first place would have been created or maintained if it had not been given that degree of protection that other countries with far greater resources, and far greater industrial tradition, had seen fit and proper to give to their industries in order to strengthen the national fabric. Is it generally known that this country would not have had light during the last six years had there been no bulb factory, because electric current without bulbs would have been no use; or that this country would have had no boots and no clothing— and I could go on—but for the people who risked their capital in these industries? I have got a detailed statement of comparative conditions here.

I do not know what to say of the Budget when a Budget of the staggering figure of £52,000,000 can be received by the community with hardly a ripple of excitement. I am one of the old Sinn Féin school, and I well remember when we were blackguarding John Bull because we alleged that £22,000,000 was too great a cost for the administration of the whole 32 Counties. I am not blaming the Government for this.


Whatever the amount it was less than £52,000,000. The Government has given way to successive clamour for this and for that. We have tried to put ourselves in the millennium without having the income to justify it. This Budget is based on the promise that we are going to have an extended amount of revenue in the coming year. I sincerely hope that the Minister is right in his prophecy. But we have in circulation in money £13,000,000 or £14,000,000 of remittances from Great Britain. Is it seriously suggested that we are not going to feel it when instead of the remittances we are going to have the rejects back? In to-day's Dublin newspapers we are told a complacent Minister in the Six Counties said that as soon as they get the soldiers back, these Éire—I detest the word—workers who would not join the British Army will be fired back to their own country.

The Six-County authorities were very glad to have them when they were needed to keep up the production that they had been boasting about right through the war. When these people come back, instead of giving us something to increase revenue, money in circulation and the profit made on it, we will have these people as a liability. We will have to measure up to the liability. That is why I am afraid we are living in a fool's paradise and the picture may not pan out as the Minister thinks.

Are we to accept willy-nilly the Minister's statement? I think the Minister has shown in a very strong fashion his fitness as a diplomat by the way he explained his Budget both here and in the Dáil. He has diplomatically anticipated much of the criticism which would otherwise arise by answering it beforehand. We are told that the Minister has sympathy with Irish industry, but I think frankly the nation has a right to expect something more. Are we to accept it that the present high cost of government is something that cannot be reduced? These are things on which we should have some further information. Provided I get an opportunity of dealing with the detailed statement in Committee I conclude at this stage.

If the Senator has not put down an amendment he will not get an opportunity. That is the procedure.

That is why I asked.

I did not want the Senator to be misled.

There are certain points dealt with by the Minister that I intend to ask permission to deal with.

In his Budget speech the Minister referred to a 100 per cent. excess profits tax in Great Britain, and compared it with the 75 per cent. tax in Ireland. He made no reference to the fact that manufacturers in Great Britain have a 20 per cent. post-war credit accumulating in their favour which reduces the excess tax to 80 per cent. So that, in fact, the Irish manufacturer here is not much better off than his colleague across the water.

The Minister also stated that industrialists had overlooked the fact that excess profits made before the 1st January, 1941, were not subject to excess tax. The period referred to is really the calendar year of 1940, in which there is no guarantee that industry in general made the profits implied by the Minister. Even for those companies which did make profit in that year it cannot be accepted that the harvest was so great that they could be indifferent to the taxation obtaining for the last four years. Furthermore, there are many industries in which profit making was not possible in the year 1940, and this fact disproves the Minister's use of the profit made by some companies in that year as a justification for the continued high tax.

The Minister stated that industry has been able to accumulate reserves on the strength of his not having imposed an excess profits tax in excess of 75 per cent., and out of the profits earned prior to January, 1941. He suggests that the total amount of these reserves could not be inappreciable, which is a modification of his statement in the Seanad on the 22nd March, in replying to Senator Douglas's motion, that millions had been retained in Irish industry even since the war, and despite the heavy tax. He stated then that he knew this to be true, but went on to say that the millions had been reserved over the whole industrial and commercial field; and I want to stress that industry does not, of necessity, embrace commerce—there is a big distinction there.

It is not possible to answer the Minister's statement in this matter other than in a general way, but those in industry, and those who are in a position to know the general trend of business, without enjoying the Minister's advantage of having at their disposal the accounts of companies, cannot see how the millions to which the Minister refers have been reserved. He has qualified his original statement by including commercial activities, as distinct from industrial, but even with this inclusion it is a mystery to an authoritative body like the Federation of Irish Manufacturers where these millions have come from. Of course, the Minister may be including in his statement the old established and world-wide organisations which carry on business in this country, in which event he is getting a distorted view of the true position. The huge number of industries established in this country since 1932 under Government policy, and with their blessing, were, the most of them, only reaching their maximum efficiency of output in September, 1939, and these cannot have created the substantial reserves in which the Minister believes.

Having shown that the rate of excess tax in Great Britain exceeds that obtaining here by only 5 per cent., that it is not correct to suggest that Irish industry as a whole made sufficient profits between September, 1939, and January, 1941, to cater for its needs of capital equipment after a six years emergency; that the Minister's "millions" cannot be claimed by the typically small industry of this country, which makes up the great majority of our 3,500 registered companies, it is well to draw attention again to the very considerable reliefs granted to British industry in the last Budget of that country.

I know that the Minister has received memoranda on the subject from the Federation of Irish Manufacturers, and the case made by this body should be taken as an authoritative statement on the serious effects on Irish industry of the burden of taxation which it has borne over the last five years. The Minister himself, speaking in this House last March, did not deny that taxation is very heavy, and deemed that many manufacturers would have to spend very large sums to put their industries in a position to develop and expand so that they will be able to meet competitors in world markets. He stated:

"I do not want to see that heavy taxation continue, and it cannot continue if we are to develop industry ... we cannot give encouragement to our industrialists to give that full employment we want to see if we do not allow them enough profit to make it worth their while to develop and expand their enterprise, their industry, and their ingenuity."

His attitude of mind had changed when he made his Budget speech in which the general tenor of his remarks intimated that he believed industrialists in this country to have had more than ample consideration in the incidence of taxation. The Minister cannot be unaware of the volume of opinion from those qualified to speak for industry, as expressed in representations made to him over the past 12 months by representative bodies, by leading accountants, and individually by many companies who are feeling the pinch.

The Minister has described as unreasonable the contention that because a thing has been done in another country, it should also be done here. Such a policy has never been contended, but it must be remembered that the Minister himself stated in this House in March that the laws of Britain relating to taxation were taken over here holus-bolus when the new State was set up. He was anxious to make it clear on that occasion that the British code of tax was not unsuited to us or out of harmony with our lives, as we had grown up with it, and it had grown up with us. It is surely not inconsistent that amendments and improvements to that code deemed necessary in Great Britain should be equally applicable here, when we have also had to carry virtually the same additions to taxation as the English industrialists.

In the British Budget of 1945 certain reliefs are granted. Recognising the cramping effect on the small industry of the combined burden of excess profits tax, an allowance has been made which has the effect of increasing the exemption limit of excess profits tax for companies from £2,000 to £3,000, and in the case of the single working proprietor from £2,500 to £3,450. This relief would have special significance for this country, where the industrial unit is smaller than that of England, and where so many of our industrial enterprises were established between 1932 and the outbreak of war. The standards of profits on earnings above which these companies are paying excess profits tax are not true standards, as many of them had not found their feet at the outbreak of the emergency. It will be appreciated that a company formed, say, in 1934, could not be expected to have started making profits for at least a couple of years. For at least a few more years after that its likely earnings would not permit it to have commenced the establishment of reserves so necessary to a sound building up of the company's position, and by this time the company would have found itself right up to the outbreak of the emergency. The British Act, 1945, introduced substantial allowances in the form of an initial writing off of the cost of new buildings, and plant and machinery, followed by depreciation allowances sufficient to amortise these assets over their useful lives. Similar initial allowances are now granted in the case of extractive industries, and practical recognition has been given to the great importance of scientific research by allowing in the accoúnts of companies all expenditure spent on such research in the form of payments to research associations, universities, etc., and, more important, capital expenditure on buildings, plant and machinery used for research. The British Chancellor has also recognised by the granting of an annual allowance the limited life of patent rights, and the fact that capital expenditure in acquiring these should properly be treated in the accounts of companies over a reasonable period as a liable expenditure.

The Federation of Irish Manufacturers, Ltd., in consultation with prominent industrialists of the country, with accountants well qualified to judge the true reaction on industry of the burden of taxation, and at the specific wish and anxiety of its members, has carefully and conscientiously examined the whole field of industrial taxation. The federation is satisfied that there is too wide a differentiation between profits as computed for tax purposes, and real profits as computed with prudent and normal accounting procedure. It maintains that the indefinite continuance of adding back to ascertained profits (that is, real profits), charges and expenses properly incurred in earning them, is imposing a drain on the resources of industry, and is stultifying the development of efficiency and production. It would not be unreasonable that a differential rate of taxation should be payable on undistributed profitsbona fide retained in a company for the purpose of replacement and development. In regard to the allowances and reliefs now enjoyed by the British industrialist, the principle is advocated that capital equipment, which includes plant and machinery, buildings, etc., should be written off in the accounts of companies over their useful lives, and that rates of depreciation appropriate to achieve this should be allowable charges. Industry in this country is very conscious of the part to be played by scientific research, and if encouragement is to be given to industrialists to contribute their quota to this factor of modern industrial development, they should not be penalised by having to pay tax on expenditure incurred, but should be allowed in their accounts all expenses in connection with research and development thereof, no matter how it be construed.

It is disappointing that the Minister has not seen fit to take action towards relief of the undoubted hardships imposed by the last Act, which have been the subject of repeated representations to him during the last year. To run over briefly ground which has been covered many times, I would refer to inequity of retrospective taxation as introduced by Sections 13 and 14 of that Act; the penalty imposed by Section 13 on directors of a company who, to assist the company in its natural growth and development, drew from it low fees, or in many cases nothing at all. It must be accepted as a principle that whole-time directors of a company should receive for their services not less in the way of remuneration than they would were they employees without the purely nominal title of director. The Minister's aim in the wording of this section is fully appreciated, but the cost to industry in general—for the purpose of drawing into the tax net those who were escaping their true liability by payment of fees to directors appointed solely for the purpose—is hardly worth the cost; Section 14 of that Act introduced the anomaly of making a company (for taxation purposes) a subsidiary of another company, with which it might have absolutely no connection, if one of its shareholders became the owner of 50 per cent. of the shares in the other company. Here again the Minister's aim is appreciated, but he should take into account that all subsidiary companies are not formed solely for the purpose of escaping tax liability by the acquiring of an increased number of exemption allowances; there has been vigorous protest against the principle of vesting in civil servants the arbitrary powers specified in Section 14 of the 1944 Act. With every respect to these admirable servants of the State, it should not be competent for them to put the closure on the case of any company in this country without that company having the right of appeal to a court of law, the decision of which, because of the high esteem in which our entire Judiciary is held, must be accepted by an aggrieved taxpayer as an unbiassed and inevitable decision.

I suppose that the purpose of any Minister for Finance, addressing a democratic assembly at the present time, should be to indicate that, if he had not won the war he was, at least, winning the peace. We were not at war but, if we were at peace, I cannot see any evidence in the Ministerial statement either in the other House or in his House that we won that peace. The whole idea of Ministerial policy in the raising of taxation should be to raise the general level of living, to improve the standard of life and the conditions of happiness and to increase the possibilities of development. The Minister addressed himself at very great length in the other House to the whole problem of taxation and finance. His was, indeed, a very lengthy and exhaustive exposition of the present-day situation. Quite frankly, certain factors set forth in this statement by the Minister are beyond me. The Minister set them down and he may have believed that members of the Oireachtas were sufficiently competent to draw their own conclusions and arrive at wise decisions as to the results of Government policy.. But the situation depicted in the Minister's statement requires further elucidation by the Minister. It certainly demands, as Senator Hayes said, an examination of conscience to which, apparently, the Minister and his colleagues in the Government and a great many people outside are not prepared to subject themselves.

In the other House, the Minister spoke of our productive effort. He told us that the gross volume of agricultural output declined by 11 per cent. in the period from 1938-39 to 1943-44. In industry, between 1938-39 and 1943-44, there was a decline of 24 per cent. in the volume of output. In the case of agriculture, the extraordinary position is revealed that although we had a decline of 11 per cent. on the gross output, the value, according to the Minister's statement, was up by 79 per cent. In the case of industry, although there was a decline of 24 per cent. in the volume, the value was up by 16 per cent.

Turn to the figures which are given in the same statement in relation to our national income. In 1938, our national income was written down at £153,000,000. In 1944, it was written down at £250,000,000. Would the House contemplate the situation in which those figures are presented? Apparently, the conclusion we must draw is that the lower our production the better off we are, because the higher is our national income. At least, that is what is taking place, according to the Ministerial statement. I presume that is taking place as a result of Ministerial policy of which the Minister is quite proud.

That is an alarming position to pass over with so little comment. I should have expected Senator Summerfield to address himself to that aspect of national policy at much greater length than he did because neither the agriculturist nor the industrialist can regard with equanimity a situation in which there is a continuous and positive decline in production and an ascending national income, based entirely on a decrease in production. The lesson would seem to be that we should decrease our production in order that our income should mount. No doubt, one might argue that £52,000,000 drawn off the total national income of £250,000,000 for the current financial year is a much smaller proportion of the total national income than the demand by the Minister in 1938 when the total national income was £150,000,000. That would be true. But, in fact, it is imposing very considerable hardships on all sections of the community from the arch priests in the industrial world down to the poorest in the slums in the cities and in the country.

There is evidence of a distinct failure in Government policy here, and no one is more responsible for the decrease in our productive efforts than the Minister and the Department of Finance. I am not going into a discussion on agricultural policy now. I have done that on a number of occasions here and the Minister, for one reason or another, perhaps rather deftly, replied by referring me to the Minister for Agriculture. I am not going to pursue arguments which are as valid and as full of importance for us to-day as they ever were. It is quite clear, however, to anyone who considers the future of the country that in our present line of Ministerial policy, there is nothing but decay facing us. There is the tendency, of course, all through the Minister's statements to argue that the farmer is much better off to-day than he ever was before. Looking at this tremendous income, which seems apparently to be floating about, it is little wonder that the Minister thinks that everyone should be better off but I do not know that the farmers are better off. Perhaps the Minister may. I am definitely satisfied that small farming in Ireland is not better off than it was three or four years ago, no matter to what level our national income may have ascended.

I want to make that point because generally through the Minister's statement the note is struck of a general level of agricultural prosperity. At one stage he makes reference to the arrears of our land annuities. He points out that the position is much better now than it was in 1940, but at the same time he thinks that farmers should reduce their arrears of rent at a much greater rate than they are doing, the general assumption being that agriculture is prospering. In that statement he alludes to the fact that the annuities have been halved and he gives us also the figures relating to the increase in the rates on agricultural land since 1938-39. They have gone up, he tells us, by £2,100,000. Therefore, the increase in rates since 1938-39 practically balances any reduction we have ever seen in the annuities. Cattle prices are definitely worse to-day than they were in 1940. In fact in the small counties I have not seen cattle prices worse since the end of the economic war than they are to-day. There is practically no movement in the cattle fairs in our small areas, practically no trade at all, and whatever the Minister may think with regard to this income floating about, it is not floating about amongst the small farmers of this country.

I draw the attention of the House to this fact. The Minister in his statement gave figures of the percentage increases in agricultural prices and, if one were to accept the Minister's figures, one would say that the farmers should be better off than ever they were, but I have taken the cost-of-living figures as given in theTrade Journal for the last quarter. This is what you get there and I should like the Minister's comment on it. I should like him to make a comparison between the prices farmers get for produce and the prices they pay for other commodities. These figures indicate that generally there has been an all-round increase of 122 points over 1939. But here is the way this increase is distributed. There has been an increase of 105 points or 66 per cent. in food. In clothing—and farmers do not make clothes; industrialists make clothing, I presume—there has been an increase of 213 points or 95 per cent. In fuel and light there has been an increase of 153 points or 85 per cent. I want to draw the attention of the House to the fact that farmers have to purchase clothing, fuel and light and when you balance the different increases, the increase of 105 points in food against 213 in clothing and 153 in fuel and light, you can very well appreciate the fact that the farmer's increase of 66 per cent. on his produce is very considerably reduced when he has finished with the clothier or the Electricity Supply Board or the people from whom he has to purchase fuel. I do not know whether the Minister looks at it from that angle or not, but it is the angle at which we are compelled to look in the country.

There are many inexplicable assertions in this statement. I quite confess they are beyond me. You get, for instance, a figure of £3,000,000 put on the value of our turf production prewar and it is said it is £10,000,000 to-day. Who is getting the £10,000,000, or how do we put that value on it? How is that £10,000,000 distributed? Has the Minister any figures in that regard? I know I saw turf in a lorry in Kerry value for about £4, but the amount which would have to be paid for it elsewhere in the country would be £12. The producer got £4, but somebody else paid £12.

This income of £10,000,000 for fuel, as far as I know, is credited to agriculture. If that be not so, perhaps the Minister will enlighten us. It is credited, I believe, as portion of the rural income. That shows the queer way in which we are approaching this problem and the queer results we get by this sort of approach to the problem. I am not at all satisfied that in this examination of our whole position in regard to national income and its distribution we are on sound lines at all. When you consider the fact that the more our production declines, the greater becomes our national income, I am completely lost. Perhaps the Minister will try to enlighten me to some extent but I do not know what conclusion to draw from a Ministerial policy of which these are the fruits. That is how I see the matter but I am prepared to hear the Minister further on the point. I felt somehow that the Minister's speech was a very platitudinous effort. The main effect of it was that taxation was to remain about the same, except for this easement in regard to the tax on matches, and that got much more place than anything that was being done for agriculture or anything else in his speech.

In the Minister's statement, we come to a paragraph dealing with afforestation, in which he says:

"Emergency conditions have operated against the more rapid development of afforestation. The shortage of fencing materials and too's still continues, while suitable seed in quantity is also hard to obtain. Pending easement of the supplies position steps continue to be taken to increase the home collection of seed and to raise larger stocks of seedlings, as well as to maintain the trained executive and labour staffs which have been built up. There is obviously much leeway to be made good, but it may be taken that everything is being done as opportunity offers to facilitate development."

Could anyone possibly make a more negative statement than that with regard to the policy of afforestation? Mind you, the Minister made that statement in a year when, relatively speaking, he has considerably increased the Forestry Vote. Why would not the Minister tell us that, in a definite and positive way, the Minister in charge of forestry was going about the acquisition of land, the drainage and preparation of land, in order to have it ready when the day comes? Why is that not being done? How much has been done? What real effort is being made to prepare for the day when we can go on with this constructional effort in the matter of afforestation, or have we put down an increase in the Vote for afforestation without doing anything positive about it? From the statement which the Minister made, I can draw no other conclusion, but there again I am prepared for enlightenment.

I frankly admit that I was terribly disappointed with Senator Summerfield on the statement he made here to the House. In view of the fact that our social services are costing the State a considerable sum, there must naturally be a lot of discussion about the whole question of social services, and social schemes for the betterment of the people. There is controversy in regard to the schemes. There is no harm in controversy. It is refreshing and invigorating to find that there are men with the independence of mind to advance schemes which in their judgment will tend towards the betterment of conditions for the people. That is perfectly right, and very admirable. If schemes are put forward which, in the judgment of men of experience, will raise the standard of living and improve the conditions and the general security of our people here, none of us should close his eyes or his mind to the value of those schemes. The Minister discusses those schemes in his Budget statement. He puts forward what, to me, are astonishing arguments against the introduction of measures like this. He talks about Britain. I am not going to read what he said about the Beveridge scheme, but perhaps in order to give the House a better picture I should read this:

"The 1936 census inquiry into unemployment showed clearly that even in the employee class protracted unemployment is experienced by relatively few: so that the employee class might well find social security payments to be a tax from which they personally would derive very little benefit. Inequality of incomes is less marked here and outlay is, therefore, a more stable quantity."

Later, he says:

"Further points of difference may be noted; our sickness experience is worse than the British."

May I deal with that? We are all told about life in the cities, in industrial cities especially; we are told what its effects are on the health of the population and the future of the race. We are never tired of extolling the advantages of living in the countryside. Yet, the Minister for Finance in this island blandly informs the Oireachtas that one of the arguments against the introduction here of social security schemes on anything like the same lines as those which may be discussed in Britain is that our sickness experience is worse than the British. Is the race more delicate? Are we less well fed? What is the significance of that phrase? Then the Minister goes on to say:

"The age composition of our population is also less favourable to employment and to a high standard of living. We have a higher proportion of old people (65 and over), and a smaller proportion of people of working age (15-65) than Great Britain. Old age pensions place a severe strain on the public purse."

We have more old people. We are a less healthy race than the British. A lower percentage of our population is between the ages of 15 and 65. That comes from a Minister for Finance in a Government that has permitted hundreds of thousands of people between the ages of 15 and 65 to go out of this country over a number of years to contribute to Britain's war effort. We are told that we cannot have social security schemes in this country because the number of workers is so low, but the Minister is actually encouraging that situation.

Let me go back to Senator Summerfield. I do not want to hold him too fast to it, but he addressed himself to the fact that we have been receiving, I think, £13,000,000—I have the figure myself somewhere—in remittances from our people outside the country, against £3,000,000 pre-war. Apparently, that is something which we ought to applaud. The country was better off when it had only £3,000,000 coming in. Senator Summerfield suggests that those people will be back as a liability, from across the water and from the Six Counties. But will they be a liability? Nothing of the kind; at least they will help to dispose of one argument which the Minister makes against our capacity to introduce social security schemes in this country. They will add to the number of people between the ages of 15 and 65. They will be workers, producers, if they get the chance. That is just what they did not get in this country. If they had got it, they would not have left here, and the volume of our agricultural production would not have declined to the extent to which it has declined. Even if they did not raise the national income to the same high level to which the remittances from England have contributed to raise it, the quantity of goods within our own community would have considerably increased, and the position with regard to consumption goods would have been better for all.

If the Minister deplores the inflationary tendencies that there are here, let him remember that he has made a major contribution by exporting the people who could have helped our production. Because the production was not there, inflation was brought about, because you had the money to buy but you could not get the goods, and the competition was so keen that there was bound to be inflation.

I do not think that any of us can look on such a situation with equanimity. There is nothing to be proud of or to boast about and there is nothing in the speech—if it is an indication of the Minister's policy in the future—to show that what we, Sinn Féiners, looked forward to will be realised. We thought that we could see a day when people who were born here could live and die in their own country, and live according to decent standards without having to leave the country.

Senator Summerfield has referred to declarations reported to have been made across the Border. Perhaps, we ought not to take these declarations too seriously, but, perhaps, also, we ought not to close our eyes to the facts. If there is one obvious development as a result of Ministerial policy through the years, it is with regard to the Border. The Border is more tightly copperfastened than ever before, and apparently our policy is to ensure that there will be no opportunity to open that situation. What matter, if on this side of the Border we were discharging our obligations to our own people? We are doing nothing of the kind. Senator Summerfield talks about these declarations in the Six Counties.

I have spoken to Nationalists from the Six Counties and they tell me that when they lift their daily or their weekly newspapers or when they go into the courts, all they read or hear are prosecutions against young men and women from Southern Ireland, as they call us, for being in the Six Counties without a travel permit or permission to stay there, and when these young people are challenged in the courts as to why they come, they bewail the fact that they have to go there because they cannot find work at home. I can assure the Minister that the Nationalists in the Six Counties are not the least bit proud of our preparedness to make a way for our people down here. It would be much better for us to address ourselves to that aspect of national life than to declaim against other people. If we were doing our job as we ought to do it, other people would not have the chance to declaim against us.

I believe that we have not made the national progress during past years which it was possible for us to make. I have lost no opportunity on any visit the Minister has paid to this House to stress my point of view. I have no doubt that there are immense possibilities for this country for a great productive effort, if the people can be harnessed to what we have in the land. No one more than the Minister for Finance has played a part in denying to the people of this country the possibilities of employment here which were available if money were used as it ought to be used—as money is used in the Six Counties and in Britain. If the Minister had addressed himself to that aspect of the problem at the beginning of the war, there would at least be 250,000 more people here between the ages of 15 and 65 than there are to-day.

As Senator Hayes remarked, the Minister made an entirely different case on the Bill in this House from the one he made in the Dáil. One feature of his speech in the Dáil was that he made a lot of play about the Beveridge Plan. The Beveridge Plan dealing with public health and social services is entirely a matter for England, and it is a plan devised to deal with social conditions obtaining there. Why the Minister, and apparently the Government, concentrate on the Beveridge Plan is beyond me, when we have in this country the plan put up by a very eminent churchman which has the backing of most of the working class. The Minister ignores, or ignored in the Dáil, that plan altogether, and set about teasing and tearing up the Beveridge Plan. He may have had in his mind the Dignan Plan, but at least he ought to have said that it was the Dignan Plan he was criticising. The Minister went on to talk about the burden that would be imposed if the Beveridge Plan were put into operation here, but the Beveridge Plan has no relation to the conditions prevailing here. The Dignan Plan has relation to them, and the Minister and the Government should set up some authority, with the confidence of the country, to investigate that plan, because I know of no more important matter in post-war planning than public health and social services.

Our social services are chaotic. They have grown up piecemeal. They are not one part of a planned scheme, and certainly the time has come when they should be co-ordinated. It is felt by a large number of people in this country that there is considerable waste. Some of our health services are out of date, and it is felt that proper planning would give us better services at a lower cost. Already we have the nucleus of a properly co-ordinated and organised system of public health and social services.

Surely, the fact that this plan has been proposed by an eminent cleric is no reason why it should be treated in the manner in which it has been treated—with a considerable amount of discourtesy to himself personally— by ignoring the plan and describing it as impracticable. We in the Labour movement want to know why it is impracticable. If the moneys we are spending on public health and social services at present are put into a central scheme, together with those of the national health insurance service which we have and which is doing great work, I believe we could then make progress.

The only part of Senator Baxter's speech with which I agree is that in which he made a comparison between the condition of our social services and social services in the Six Counties. That comparison is so unfavourable to the Twenty-Six Counties that it holds out very little inducement to anyone to be anxious to partake of our social services. I could enumerate the iniquities of the present dispensary system. It is not my intention to take up the time of the House in doing so. But for those who use them the dispensaries are certainly of very little value, with the result that the public hospitals, apart from the municipal or local authority dispensaries, are overcrowded. The others are hardly used at all. I hope the Minister will give some reasonable explanation as to why no serious consideration has been given to the Dignan plan. There is no more urgent problem facing the country for the post-war period than public health and social services. If we are going to appeal to the organised workers of the Twenty-Six Counties we should be able to offer them social services at least equal to, if not better than, those given in the Six Counties. At present we fare very badly by comparison. So far as we know the Government is not making any effort to plan the public health or social services. I suggest seriously that the Minister if he is going to make any contribution to this debate should give a reasoned statement as to why the Dignan plan has not got more serious consideration than it has got up to now. The Minister enumerated several million pounds spent on social services. That is all to the good. Certainly they have been costly, but some are very beneficial. It would be more effective and more useful if there was some organised plan and some central authority behind the whole scheme. I suggest to the Minister that this is an opportunity to explain why the Dignan plan is ignored and the Beveridge plan always talked about. We had a plan by one of our own people. Why then must we deal with the Beveridge plan on every occasion when we are talking about social services and public health? Calls have come from all parts and from every section of the community to have this plan considered, but so far as I know it has not been considered, and there is no indication that it will be considered.

Is dócha gur fearr dom admháil, ar an bpointe, nach Bille é seo ar féidir do dhuine bheith anchíocrach á mholadh. Is trom ar fad é an fiacha atá á ghearradh orainn agus ní abróidh aoinne go dtugann sé sásamh dó an sciar mór dá ioncam agus bainfear dhe faoi a íoc. Ach ar nós chuile scéil, tá dhá inseacht ar an scéal seo. Ar mhachnamh a dhéanamh do dhuine ar chuile shórt, ní féidir gan bheith an-sásta nach ngearrann an Bille seo fiacha is troime orainn. Nuair a chuimhníos duine ar a bhfuil dár, de scrios agus de mhilteanas déanta ins na tíorta eile ní fhéadfadh sé gan admháil go bhfuil muid ag teacht slán ar imeachta na gcúig mblian seo caite ar luach an-saor ar fad. Ar nós na Seanadóirí eile, tá an tsúil agam nach ró-fhada go laghadofar an muirear atá orainn. Tá súil agam nach ró-fhada go mbeidh ar chumas an Aire na cánta a laghdú.

Maidir le laghdú cánta, is féidir, ar ndóigh, é seo a thabhairt chun críche ar dhá shlí, go díreach nó go neamh-dhíreach. Ba mhaith liom a rá, áfach, nach mbeinn i bhfábhar na gcánach a laghdú dá mba é a thoradh sin go laghdófaí na seirbhísí sóisealta atá ar fáil cheana sa tír. Níl aon duine againn anseo, ná sa Dáil ach an oiread, a déarfas go bhfuil aon cheann de na seirbhísí sin nach bhfuil géar-ghá leis. Cosnaíonn siad a lán ach is maith ann iad. Is ar éigin atá aon náisiun ann atá ionchurtha i gcomórtas le hEirinn maidir le méid, maidir leis an acmhuinn agus maidir leis an líon daoine, a bhfuil an oiread déanta aige ar son a dhaoine bocht, agus a saoránach i gcoitean, agus atá déanta againn. Sin mar is cóir é agus má táimid chun tosaigh ar thíortha eile tá súil agam nach gcaillfimid an tosach sin.

D'féadfaí, mar duairt mé, na cánta a laghdú. D'fhéadfaí iad a laghdú go díreach, sé sin le rá an ráta cánach ioncaim agus rátaí cántaí eile a laghdú. Ach is féidir iad a laghdú ar shlí eile, an tslí neamh-dhíreach, tríd an ioncam náisiúnta fhéin a mhéadú ionas nach móthófaí ualach na geánach comh trom. Sin í an tslí a bhfearr liom.

Is féidir sin a dhéanamh ar an gcuntas gur féidir an tairgeacht a mhéadú sna tionscail agus ins na gnóthaí éagsúla. Creidim féin go bhfuil an méadú sin ar an táirgeacht indéanta. Labhraíodh anseo tráthnóna go héadóchasach i dtaobh tionscal na tíre agus lochtaíodh na daoine atá i gceannas na dtionscal sin. Ní mheasaim go bhfuil aon cháll le héadóchas agus rud eile, ní mheasaim go dtuilleann lucht ceannais gnóthaí na tíre an cáineadh a déantar orthu. Tá obair mhaith déanta acu ar son na tíre—marach iad is bocht an bhail a bheadh orainn le blianta gairide anuas. Nuair chuimhníos duine ar an laghad ama a bhí acu na tionscail a bhunú, a eagrú agus a chur fá lán tseóil; nuair a chuimhníos duine ar na deacrachtai a bhí le scothadh acu ó thosaigh sin go dtí tosú an chogaidh, ní fhéadfaí gan iad a mholadh ar a fheabhas agus a cruthaigh siad. Chuid de na gnóthaí sin, bhain siad breabach iomarcach amach, níor thugadar cothrom na féinne don tír, ach ba rí-bheag a líon siúd agus ní cheart na tionnscalaithe uilig a lochtú da mbarr. Níor thosaigh obair aithbheóchainte na dtionscal go dtí timpeall 1933. Chuir an cogadh isteach go mór orthu—stop sé a lán acu —i 1939. Ní raibh acu ach timpeall cúig bliana, ó cheart, le caoí a chur ar na gnóthaí: iad a phleanáil, iad a bhunú, agus an saothar feiliúnach a thréanáil agus a chur ar fáil. Is rí-mhaith mar cruthaigh siad, dar hom.

Ar an gcaoi chéanna, is cúis dóchais dom chomh maith agus tá éirithe leis na hoibrithe leis an linn chéanna. Ba mhór an ní é oibrithe a thoghadh agus iad a thréanáil sa teicniciúlacht taobh istigh d'achar gearr. Ach chruthaigh siad go maith. Ar ball, beidh urdhamhna, agus beidh sáslach agus cóir eile soláthair le fáil agus beidh an deis ag na tionscail tosaigh ar an bpointe sin ar ar stopadh iad de bharr an chogaidh mhóir atá díreach thart. Tá mé cinnte nach ró-fhada ar bun arís dóibh go mbeidh an táirgeacht ar bun chomh sásúil sin go gcuirfear tortha ar fáil againn chomh maith agus chomh saor agus b'fhéidir le tír ar bith eile a leithéid a dhéanamh.

Leis an táirgeacht a mhéadú agus a shaoirsiú mar ba chóir, ní foláir do na táirgeoirí an gléasra is fearr agus is nua d'fháil agus ní foláir áird mhór a thabhairt ar an oideachas, go háirithe ar an gcéárd-oideachais agus ar obair thaighde no "research". Ar an abhar sin, tá mé ar aon intinn leis na Seanadóirí a mholas gur ceart don Aire an oiread laghduithe nó faoisimh ó chánta a thabhairt d'aon ghnóthaí a chuireas airgead ar fáil le haghaidh crícheanna mar iad seo atá mé thar éis a luaite. Ar an talamh, freisin, is follas gur féidir an táirgeacht a mhéadú. Tá treóir tugtha ag an Aire Talmhaiochta dhúinn ar an scéal sin agus níl cáll é a phlé anois díreach. Tá go leor leide fáite againn ó am go ham ar an ullmhúcháin atá á dhéanamh leis an tír a neartú i geúrsaí táirgeachta de gach brainse. Sa tSeanad féin, nár phléamar roinnt Billí a ceapadh chuige sin d'aon tuaras, an bille a bhain le aibhléisiú na tuaithe agus an bille iompair is somplaí iad air sin.

Lochtaíodh na tionscail Eireannacha de bhrí nach bhfuil an pháigh íoctar fonta chomh hárd sin is go geothódh sé an t-oibrí agus muirín. Duairt mé go minic cheana go mbeadh sé deacair mise a shásamh go bhfuil a dhóthain páighe á fháil ag na hoibrithe. Ach ní fianaise shásúil í go bhfuil tionscal mífheiliúnach ná ní fiadhnaise é go bhfuil éagóir á dhéanamh ag na máistri mura bhfuil gach oibrí ag fáil an oiread páighe agus a chuirfeadh ar a chumas clann a chothú. Tá a lán gnóthaí ann a bhfeileann daoine óga dóibh. Cuireadh gnóthaí ar bun d'fheilfeadh do dhaoine óga dul ag obair ionta ionnas go bhféadfaidís cur le ioncam an teaghlaigh. Tá na Ceárd-Chumainn agus na "Minimum Wages Boards" againn le aire a thabhairt do na hoibrithe. Ní mór bheith an-chúramach agus an cheist seo fá leibhéil na páighe a bheith a phlé againn. An fear a mbeadh bean agus clann óg aige is cinnte go luíonn an bhróg go trom air i geomórtás leis an duine a bhfuil an chlann cirithe suas. Ach nach fíor go bhfuil iarracht mhaith déanta cuidiú lena leithéid seo de dhuine. Nach chuige sin a ritheadh an tAcht Liúntaisí Leanbhaí.

Bhí cuid de na Seanadóirí in aimhreas ar an maitheas a rinne na tionscail nua maidir le deis fostaíochta a chur ar fáil sa tír. Ní shílim gur gá dhúinn bheith in aimhreas. Ó 1932 go dtí 1938, d'éirigh le timpeall 70,000 duine nua obair lán-aimsearach, ionarachuithe d'fháil sna tionscail nua. Fuair beagnach an oiread duine agus d'fhág an talamh leis an linn chéanna obair sna tionscail nua sin. Níl fhios agam an mbeidh muid i ndon coinneáil ar aghaidh ar an mbealach céanna nuair a tosófar ar na tionscail arís. Ach creidim féin go bhfuil scóip mhór ann le tuilleadh gnóthaí a bhunú, agus creidim go mbeidh deis oibre ag cuid mhór oibrithe nua ionta ar ball.

Bhí an Seanadóir O hAodha róéadóchasach, sílim, i dtaobh scéal na Gaeilge. Níor gá dhó. Dá gcuireadh sé gach ní san áireamh, gheobhadh sé go leor abhair sástachta sa scéal. Cloistear daoine á rá go bhfuil ole ar na páistí don Ghaeilge agus go bhfuil an Ghaeilge ag milleadh an oideachais.

Ní duairt mé sin agus ní duart aon rud i dtaobh múineadh trí Ghaeilge.

Níor dhuairt agus níl mé ag iarraidh an chaint sin a chur i mbéal an tSeanadóra. Tá fhios agam scoil náisiúnta a ndéantar gach teagasc tré Ghaeilge ann. Bhfuil olc ag na páistí ansin don teangaidh? Feicim iad go minic, páistí gealgháireacha soineanta sásta iad, agus togha Gaeilgeóirí iad bíodh nach bhfuil aon Ghaeilge sa teach sa mbaile ag a lán acu.

Tá liosta mór feithimh ag an scoil, liosta mór fada de pháistí atá ag iarraidh dul isteach sa scoil. Tá mé féin a casaoid le tamall fada leis an Roinn Oideachais mar gheall ar nach bhfuil slí sa scoil don méid scoláirí atá ag iarraidh dul isteach intí. Tá an scoil ró-bheag, níl dóthain múinteóirí don mhéid atá ann gan trácht ar an méid ba mhaith leo bheith ann.

Tá meán-scoil eile, Coláiste Iognáid, ar an mbaile sin. Déantar an obair ansin i nGaeilge. Bhfuil na scoláirí ansin mí-shásta leis an teangaidh? Bliain a ndiaidh bliana tá líon na scoláirí ansin ag dul i méid. Is maith an scoil í agus déantar sár-obair inti. Chonnaic mé tabhairt amach a bhí acu timpeall seachtain o shoin agus is truagh nach raibh cuid de na daoine a bhíos a lochtú na Gaeilge i láthair ann agus d'fheicfidís agus chloisfidís rudaí a chuirfeadh ar mhalairt tuairime iad.

Tá éirithe le scoláirí ar an scoil sin na duaiseanna móra san Ollscoil—i nGailimh agus i mBaile Átha Cliath— a bhaint amach. I láthair na huaire, tá fear óg d'iarscoláirí Coláiste Iognáid, ar an bhfarraige mór ar a bhealach siar go dtí Ollscoil John Hopkins sna Stataí Aontaite—fear a ghnóthaigh duais mhór an leighis. Níor chuir an Ghaeilge isteach ar a chuid oideachais seisean. I mbliana tháinig fear óg go dtí Ollscoil na Gailimhe ar an gcoláiste céanna—fear óg a rinne a chuid staidéir i nGaeilge sa mbun-scoil agus sa meán-scoil. Chuaidh sé isteach ar dhuais mhór an Bhéarla—An Peel Prize—agus rug sé an chraobh leis, bíodh go raibh an comórtas oscailte do gach aon tsórt. Ní dhéarna muineadh trí Ghaeilge aon dochar dó! Níl ansin ach cúpla sompla ar chomh mhaith agus éiríonn le scoláirí a dhéanann a gcuid oibre i nGaeilge. Ach d'fhéadfainn a lán eile a luadh. Ar an geaoi chéanna, na scoláirí a théigheann isteach ar ghnó nó a théigheann isteach sa stát-seirbhís, moltar go hárd iad.

Deirtear go bhfuil múineadh trí Ghaeilge ag milleadh an oideachais. Tá breis agus 6,000 scoil náisiúnta sa tír. Cé mhéid acu sin a chuireas a gcuid cúrsaí ar fad ar fáil trí Ghaeilge? Go bhfios dom níl ach timpeall 500 agus Gaeltacht agus Galltacht a bheith san áireamh le chéile. In áit bheith ag cáineadh na Gaeilge agus múineadh tré Ghaeilge sílim go bhfuil sé in am féacaint chuige go ndéanfar roinnt chothrom den obair i nGaeilge. B'fhearrde an t-oideachas é. Ní gá don Seanadóir O hAodha bheith éadóchasach agus ní ceart dó a rá nach bhfuil suim ag na daoine sa teangaidh. Ba chóir a fhios a bheith aige gur b'iad na ceachtanna Gaeilge an mhír is mó a gcuirtear spéis ann ar an Radio. Tá fhios aige gur díoladh 27,000 cóip den leabhar Ghaeilge "Eist agus Foghlaim" agus go ndíolfaí a thuilleadh dá mbéidís ar fáil. Tá fhios aige go bhfuil imeacht chomh mór sin ar chuid de na leabhraí Gaeilge a d'fhoillsigh an Gúm go bhfuil siad imithe as cló. I nGaillimh tá na hoibrithe agus na fostuitheoirí ar aon intinn gur cóir cuidiú le aithbheodhadh na teangadh.

Níl fúm dul ag carraíocht leis an Seanadóir Baxter. Ní aontaím leis gurb é an Tánaiste is údar le gach mí-ádh— mar thugann sé féin air—dár bhain leis an talmhaíocht ná le rud ar bith eile le blianta anuas. Níl fhios agam an gcreideann sé fhéin é sin. Coicís ó shoin nar dhuairt sé leis an Taoiseach, bail o Dhia air, gurb é ba ciontach lenár gcuid mí-ádhanna uilig! Duairt an Seanadóir Baxter rud amháin a bhain leis an ioncam náisiúnta. Níl fúm argóint a dhéanamh leis faoi; ní fhéadaim. Nílim sásta leis na figiúracha atá ar fáil ina thaobh sin. Foillsíodh roinnt acu ó am go ham agus rinneadh roinnt meastachán air agus ar an gcaighdeán maireachtála sa tír. Nílim sásta leis na meastacháin. Is é an rud ba mhaith liom a mholadh anois don Aire go n-iarrfadh sé ar na huimhir-theaglaimithe atá ag obair faoin Roinn Tionnscail agus Trachtála an scéal sin ar fad a scrúdú agus tuarascáil a thabhairt dúinn air. Tá againn anseo cuid de na huimhirtheaglaimithe, na statisticians, is fearr ar an domhan.

Is fíor sin.

Agus is truagh gan feidhm cheart a bhaint asta san obair seo.

Tá an obair sin ar siúl-acu anois.

Tá an obair sin ar siúl cheanna acu. Is rí-mhaith liom an scéal sin a chloisteáil. Nuair a gheobhas muid toradh a gcuid oibre uathu, beidh muid i ndon an cheist seo a scrúdú agus a thuigsint i bhfad níos fearr. D'fhuagair an Seanadóir Baxter go bhfuil an saol go rí-dhona ag na daoine. Sílim go bhfuil sé ag dul amú d'ainneoin na bhfigiúracha a luann sé. An té a bhfuil radhare na súl aige agus éisteacht na gcluas ní thig leis gan a thabhairt fá ndeara nach bhfuil an scéal mar adeir an Seanadóir.

Ní bheadh iongna orm dá mba rud é gur fíor go bhfuil torthúlacht na talúna imithe i laghad roinnt. Tugadh a lán talún nua isteach le saorthú; bhí leasú gann, ní raibh meaisíní agus cóir oibre ann oiread agus a theastaigh. Agus gach ní a chur san áireamh níorbh iongna ar bith é dá mbeadh an meán-torthúlacht laghdhaithe ach ní abhar an-mhór imni e.

Cháin an Seanadóir chéanna an Rialtas fá gur imigh a lán daoine thar sáile le linn an chogaidh. An raibh neart air? An gcuirfeadh seisean cosc leo? Cén moladh a bhí aige le na chose? Ar chur imeacht na ndaoine sin isteach nó amach ar tháirgeacht sa tír le linn an chogaidh? Ar chuir sé isteach ar na feilméaraí a lán? Bhí scéimeanna ar bun le trí bliana le oibrithe a chur ar fáil do na féilméaraí ar ócáideacha áirithe? Cé mhéid feilméaraí a chuir iarratas isteach ar an geúnamh sin? Tá fhios ag an Seanadóir nach raibh brí ar bith lena chuid chainte ach tá sé chomh tugtha sin don chlamhsán gan údar gur doiligh dó éirí as anois.

Mar duairt mé, ní bhrisimid ar gcroí ag moladh an Bhille seo. Beimid ar fad ag guidhe, ó thárlaigh go bhfuil an chontúirt mhór thart, nach fada go mbeidh cúrsaí na tíre ar a suaimhneas agus nach ngoilfidh ualach na cánach an oiread orainn as seo amach.

I do not propose to deal with this matter in a very general way, nor do I propose to follow Senator Ó Buachalla in giving thanks that we are not being treated any worse than we are, because it appears to me that that is the negative attitude which is enshrined in the whole of this Finance Bill. This Finance Bill could, without any exaggeration, be described as a most barren document, offering no hope, no new ideas, no new schemes. It represents the culmination of no plans, now that the end of the war has come, for opening up in the post-war period. I do, however, want to refer to one or two things with which we dealt here in this House last year, and in connection with which, at that time, we got a most specific undertaking from the Minister that if the sections which we were then discussing were going to impose any hardships on individuals, he would ensure that new sections would be brought in, or that the hardships would be relieved in one way or another. It was particularly in respect of Sections 13 and 14 of last year's Finance Act that those discussions took place in this House, and the Minister was most specific—as specific as he could be on the subject. Perhaps I had better give the reference— column 1533—since there was a case formerly where the reference was not given, and it led to some confusion.

Go ahead. I shall not contradict the Senator.

Well, there was a case where a reference was given in this House which had other endings. However, since that time, I am informed, by those who are in the habit of dealing with the matter every day, that many cases of hardship have been brought to the notice of the Revenue Commissioners.

How many cases?

As the Minister well knows, I am not at liberty to disclose in this House individual facts which may mean——

I am not asking the Senator to disclose individual facts, but he says that the Revenue Commissioners have had brought to their notice many cases where hardship had been disclosed and I am asking him to tell us how many cases.

If the Minister will only have a little patience——

——I shall produce for him instances of the type of case I have in mind.

Produce them, then. That is all I am asking the Senator to do.

I shall take, first of all, a case where the Revenue Commissioners are dealing with an assessment for corporation profits tax or excess corporation profits tax, as the case may be. If a company is paying one of its directors—let us say, the managing director—a salary of £2,000, the Revenue Commissioners have the power, under Section 13 of last year's Act, to disallow portion of that salary: that is a proper charge against the profits of the company for corporation profits tax and, probably, for excess corporation profits tax. Notwithstanding that fact, and notwithstanding the fact that the Revenue Commissioners are taking their full pound of flesh by means of those two taxes on that particular sum of £2,000 or on a portion of it, they come along and take surtax again on it in the hands of the individual; and though, for one purpose, the Revenue Commissioners say that it is not a fair charge for the deduction of excess profits tax, yet, when it is received by a man for the other purpose the Revenue people say that it is perfectly fair that he should be again taxed on the same sum. If the Minister says that that is not a case of hardship—and cases of that kind have been brought before the Revenue Commissioners—then I make him a present of it. There are also cases, however, where the Revenue Commissioners have disallowed sums charged against profits for corporation profits tax, and when they were asked to quote their authority for doing so, they have refused. Perhaps I should not say that they refused to do so, and that masterly inactivity would be the best way of describing the attitude they adopted, but they certainly have not quoted the authority on which they were making the deductions, and in consequence of that, at any rate, the ordinary private individual is not in a position of being able to assess accurately where he stands.

Again, if the Minister considers that it is right for a Department of State, with all the power and weight of the State behind it, to refuse to give the authority on which assessments are based, and if the Minister considers that that is not a hardship, I am quite prepared to make him a present of that also. Last year, also, we dealt with subsidiary companies, in Section 14 of the Finance Act. I am told that in one case an existing company in Dublin was approached by the Government and asked to make a commodity of which we were in short supply at the time. The company agreed to do so and formed a subsidiary company for that purpose. In consequence, they are going to be subject to extra corporation profits tax on the profits that that subsidiary company is making at the present time, notwithstanding the fact that it is admitted by everyone that once the emergency ends and the shortness of supply of that particular commodity terminates, the company are going to lose the capital they have invested in that subsidiary company, and which they invested in it merely to assist the country in the period of emergency. If the Minister considers that it is not unfair that a company should be asked to invest in a subsidiary like that, merely for the purpose of providing something of which we were short during the emergency, and knowing that the capital sunk in that subsidiary will be lost after the emergency, although they were prepared to do so in the national interest—if the Minister considers that it is not a hardship that that state of affairs should continue, I am afraid I shall find it very difficult, indeed, to give any instances of cases of hardship that will satisfy the Minister.

I am not for a moment going to follow Senator Summerfield over the whole field of industrial protection and industrial tax liability because we had a discussion on that subject here a short time ago. Of course, apparently judging by the Finance Bill or by anything we have heard, no consideration has been given to the suggestions that were put forward on that occasion. Instead of that we have got a purely negative Finance Bill, which does not deal with the specific instances of hardship which I gave the Minister a few moments ago. In spite of the undertaking we got last year, we have got a Finance Bill which is not going to make any contribution whatever to increasing production or increasing our national income.

The Minister in his speech in the other House dealt at length with a statistical survey of the position as he saw it. The Minister and I last year, on the same subject, had a little "brush," but apparently the figures this year are produced, so far as potential purchasing power is concerned, on the same basis as they were produced on that occasion—I think it was on the Central Fund Bill last year. There is no use in discussing this matter at very great length, but to suggest, as the Minister did suggest in one place, as far as I could understand—it may be due to a misunderstanding—that Post Office Savings Bank deposits are a potential purchasing power, appears to me to put forward something which is wholly untenable. As a matter of fact, in the words of one of the economists whom the Minister himself mentioned at one stage, to describe them as purchasing power would be the purest of pure nonsense. It does appear to me that the statistical record we have there, while extremely valuable, has been pushed to the limit desirable. After all, statistics and statistical records are not worth much unless they are going to be a lesson to us for the future. If we are not going to take any lessons from the past, there is no use in going into the past. If we are going to take no lessons from the records we have there, there does not appear to be much use in consulting these records. I suggest that we should get from the Government some indication other than we have got so far as to what the plans are going to be in the immediate period before us, so that industry will be able to expand and take advantage of any post-war improvement in trade that possibly may come to us if conditions are created in which full advantage can be taken of it.

I also am rather disappointed that the Finance Bill of this year does not contain some modification of Section 14 of the Finance Act last year. The Minister certainly did say, as reported in the column in the Seanad Debates, next to the column referred to by my friend—that is, 1534—that they would have to see how it worked, and amend it, if necessary, in the then forthcoming Finance Bill—that is the Bill now before us. I have also heard a number of complaints from accountants—I cannot give the exact number—as to the difficulties which they have met in working the section, and of the hardships which it has called forth. I merely say that there has been a distinct air of disappointment and grievance that some attempt was not made to meet the difficulties which were foreshadowed in this House, and which I understand have been met with.

I pass from that to a section which comes, in a very quiet and unostentatious way, into the present Bill—Section 6. If it means what the Minister says it means and what I think it means it could have been drafted perfectly simply by saying: "Coras Iompair Eireann shall be exempt from corporation profits tax and excess profits tax for a certain period," and everybody would understand what it meant. But it is not so drafted. It is a particularly bad example of legislation by reference, because the section to which this section refers could not be understood without going back through a number of Acts. As I understand it, the position is as follows, and I should like the Minister to tell me whether I have been successful in making my way through this whole nest of Chinese puzzle boxes. If we go back to the English Finance Act of 1920, we find in Section 52, sub-section (2) (b), proviso (1), that certain types of companies whose profits or dividends were limited already by existing statutes, were to be free from the corporation profits tax which was imposed for the first time by Part V of the English 1920 Act. The list of companies is set out there as being companies carrying on gas, water, electricity, tramway, hydraulic power, dock, canal or railway undertakings. All those were to be exempt from corporation profits tax. They were already limited as to profits or dividends by existing Acts.

Passing over intervening Acts, the next Act which seems of importance is the Finance Act of 1929 which, by Section 33, reproduces with certain amplifications and modifications, the exemptions which were granted in the English Act of 1920. It used the phrase "public utility companies" which, it said, was to mean the same thing as the long list which had been enumerated in the section of the 1920 Act to which I referred; that is to say, by that fact, all the works in that long list—gas, water, electricity, tramway, hydraulic power, dock, canal or railway undertakings—were exempt from corporation profits tax. The Finance Act of 1932, by Section 47 (1) (b) removed from the excepted list gas, water, electricity, tramway, or hydraulic power undertakings, and left in the excepted list dock, canal and railway undertakings—and from that time on only dock, canal, and railway undertakings—and only such dock, canal and railway undertakings as were already limited by statute as to their dividends or profits—were exempted from corporation profits tax.

Coming at last to Section 6 of the present Bill, we find that in respect of every accounting period or part of an accounting period beginning on or after the 1st day of January, 1945, and ending on or before the 31st day of December, 1946, paragraph (b) of subsection (1) of Section 47 of the Finance Act, 1932, shall be construed and have effect and be deemed always to have had effect as if the word "tramway" were deleted therefrom, and Section 17 of the Finance Act, 1944, shall be construed and have effect accordingly. If I have been correct in the sections which I have quoted up to date, what that means is that from this time on every tramway which is limited as to its profits or as to its dividends by an existing Statute is free from corporation profits tax and excess corporation profits tax; that is to say it applies, in so far as the section goes, not merely to Córas Iompair but to any tramway undertaking which is already limited by statute as to profits or dividends. If there are other tramway undertakings which are so limited, and which are going to get this exemption, I should like to know the reason why it has been thought fit to give them such exemption. I am not speaking either for or against it. I only want to know the reasons. If there are no such other undertakings, and this is meant to apply only to Córas Iompair, I want to know why the section does not say so. Why does it purport to apply to a number of tramway undertakings when in fact it is meant to deal with only one specific undertaking? I ask these questions because I want to know what will be the ambit of the section, and what is the object of the section. If the Minister or the Minister's officials would be able to give me that information, I should be very glad to have it.

I did not expect to be called on so soon, although I do not in the least object to the debate being a short one. As is customary in this House, a number of interesting subjects have been raised in the course of the debate, some relating to finance and others not so closely identified with the Finance Bill, but then on the Finance Bill it is usually found possible to bring in a great variety of subjects for discussion.

There is one matter which a number of Senators mentioned, so perhaps it may be as well for me to deal with it right away, and that is the promise which I made here, to which Senator Sweetman referred, and Senator Hayes earlier, that if certain amendments of the existing law which were adopted last year were put into operation and found to be hurtful, harmful, or unjust, to bring hardship in their trail to companies or individuals, I would certainly ask the House again to alter the law. Quite recently, I have had interviews with people representing important organisations in this country, speaking for both industry and commerce. One of those important deputations that I heard at considerable length made somewhat the same kind of claim and statement as was made by Senator Hayes and Senator Sweetman with regard to the amendments which the Oireachtas adopted last year. I pressed them, as I pressed other individuals and organisations which had spoken to me on this matter since the law was changed last year, to give me cases. I said: "If I am satisfied, and I will not be difficult to satisfy, that hardship or injustice—I will not stand by the word ‘injustice'; I will say ‘hardship', which is an easier word—has been imposed on individuals or companies, which in my opinion should not have been imposed in the circumstances, I certainly will ask the Oireachtas to change the law." I did make that promise. I repeated it to deputations, and I repeat it now. I asked for cases. After Ireland had been searched for cases—after the organisations concerned had written to accountants and auditors all over the country asking for evidence—I got six cases submitted with figures. I have gone into every case, closely, intimately, scrupulously, and I tell the House frankly and without hesitation that there is not one case in which not alone I but any honest man in this House would agree that there was hardship proved. If there were one case, considering my promise, perhaps I should in conscience come to the House and say that there was one case where I was satisfied that hardship had been inflicted. There was not one. I give you my word on that. If there had been a case, I would have come to the House and asked the House to give me power to relieve such a case. I am as interested in the welfare of people who are making the profits and contributing the taxes to keep the machinery of government going as any citizen in this country. I do not want to hurt industry or trade or commerce. On the contrary, it is my job to help it, to encourage it, to promote it. I want to do that, and I am willing to ask the House here to help me to do it, within the condition that, as Minister for Finance, I have to get certain moneys to run the machinery of State.

But, accepting that fact, I am as willing as, I will not say any Minister for Finance—because Ministers for Finance are not usually willing—to see the other side where the shoe pinches. I imagine there have been Ministers for Finance who have not seen that other side that I would like to see, and which I would like to be shown. I am not too difficult to satisfy in matters of that kind. I have no closed mind on any subject of that description—I will hear anybody individually, or as a deputation representing an individual company, or an organisation that has any case to put before me. If a real objective hardship is proved—as I say again I will not use the word "injustice", because it might be more difficult to prove injustice than hardship— I will ask the House to meet it.

I assure Senator Summerfield who spoke here—I think he was formerly president, if he is not now, of the Federation of Irish Industries—that I am interested in industry not only as Minister for Finance, but as one of the founders of the Dublin Industrial Development Association long years ago. I happened to be a member of the Industrial Committee of the Gaelic League which was responsible for bringing that organisation into existence. That is how I came into it, and I have an interest in everything concerning the welfare and development of industry. As a young fellow in long-gone-by days, I was interested in various phases of the Irish Ireland movement, the language and the industrial movement. I was always interested in helping to promote Irish industry, and I have never lost that interest. I have not become as cynical as Senator Hayes is. I have not become as unhappy and as unhopeful as he has.

I am not a bit unhappy.

Well, your speech indicated in every sentence that an awful calamity was awaiting this country.

Sir, I have not used the word "calamity."

I am not saying that the Senator used that word, but he could not have been more doleful. The Senator does not use strong language when painting such a picture. He can use it on other occasions as well as anyone else. But, that was the tone of his remarks, and I ask anyone who was listening to them to say if that was not so. I am not so doleful about the future, and I think that the Oireachtas, the Seanad and the Dáil, would be quite prepared to go to the help of industry, even to the extent of imposing taxation to promote industrial development in this country. I think they would. I would be prepared to come to the House with any proposition of that kind if I thought such were necessary, for tariffs, quotas, or any of the other forms, the modern forms, of giving protection to industrial development in a particular country. I stand for all these forms of protection because I have never departed from the gospel of Arthur Griffith, that our industrial arm should be developed as well as our agricultural arm.

It is popular with some to run away from that gospel now, popular with some people who formerly espoused it. I am not referring to Senator Hayes, or others who were great exponents of it in days gone by, in Griffith's lifetime and afterwards. I stand for that gospel still, and have always stood for it, no matter whatever party or organisation I belonged to. I have no reason to be ashamed of that—I stand for it all the time, and as Minister for Finance and being able to help, I am not likely to do anything, consciously, at any rate, that will hurt these young industries into which so many people in this country have put good money, not only as sound businessmen but as patriotic Irishmen.

I will repeat the promise I made before, that if hardship is shown and proved to me, I will examine it in the most sympathetic manner, and if it is proved I will ask the Dáil to alter the law to get rid of the hardship. But, the hardship must be proved in black and white. I know that is not so easy always but I will not make it difficult. So much for the extra powers we took last year. I was asked one or two questions in the Dáil on the subject, and I said I saw no reason to ask the Dáil to insert any amendments. I know that there are gentlemen who are looking for cases, honestly looking, and if they can find the cases, I can promise that the Oireachtas will have due notice of the fact.

There is one other matter of importance which has been referred to by Senator Baxter and Senator O Buachalla. It is the matter of the statistical survey of our national income. I said in the Dáil, where I gave a few figures out of a report that had been quite recently submitted to me from our own Statistical Department, where there are men who are as good statisticians as can be found anywhere——

Hear, hear.

For some time we have been encouraging them to investigate this question of national income and they have been hesitant about it. They did present some figures but they were hesitant about committing themselves to any form of report but eventually, more than a year ago, I got them to take their courage in their hands and to bring themselves to an opinion. They have done it, and it has meant a very considerable amount of work for them as well as for my officials and officials in the different Government Departments.

They have all collaborated and have collected a great mass of material which has now been examined, and we have got the report. But, before publishing the report, even in the smallest form, I thought it would be wise to have it submitted to the economists and statisticians outside the Government service whom we have in this country, and these gentlemen have been asked, and have very willingly given their time and abilities to the examination and criticism of these figures to make it as perfect as any human document can be, before it is presented to the public, so that it can stand up to the test of criticism and to any attacks that may be launched upon it.

I am sorry that I cannot give a date for the publication of this report. It might be a month or more before it is submitted to the public and the House. Every precaution is being taken to see that the figures will be unquestioned and unquestionable. As I say, I am not casting any reflection on our statisticians, but the best of men may err. Homer, we are told, nodded in his time and even good statisticians might slip up. That is why I want to take every precaution to ensure that the figures we present are accurate. I hope that before long that report will be published for the benefit of the Oireachtas and the country. When published I am sure everybody will agree that it is intelligently composed and one for which the country will be grateful to the men who made it.

Senator Summerfield seemed to be under the impression that I had attacked Irish industrialists in my speech in the Dáil. I do not think I did, and I do not think that if any search of that speech is made any such attack can be found. I did say that I was disappointed that the industrialists were not grateful to me, rather than otherwise, for having resisted successfully the pressure that certainly was brought upon me to make excess profits tax a 100 per cent. tax instead of a 75 per cent. tax. With regard to the figures the Senator has given as to what the British law is in regard to excess corporation profits tax, he said that the British law at present enables the Minister to give a reduction of 20 per cent. to industrialists to help them to rebuild and re-equip for the future. That, I suggest, is a promise, one that I am sure will be brought into operation, but it will be subject, of course, to a reduction of 10 shillings in the £ income-tax, so that the 20 per cent. will be reduced by one half, and it will be a 10 per cent. refund, that is, if the income-tax law remains unaltered in Britain. I would like to remind industrialists that now for five years they have had the benefit here, not of a promise, but of getting in fact 25 per cent. profit into their pockets that might have been taken out of their pockets if the Minister had followed, not the English lead, but the wish of many people in this country who thought we should have taken 100 per cent. in excess profits tax, with the emphasis on the word "excess".

We did not do it, because I thought that with all the changes and chopping there would be, and all the difficulties that would naturally arise in keeping industry afloat during the war, as well as the greater difficulties that are in store in renewing plant and buildings to bring them up to date, and in procuring materials after the war, it was fair that 75 per cent. and not 100 per cent. excess profits tax should be put on them. I succeeded in getting my colleagues in the Government to do that, some of them very much against their will, but the fact is that the industrialists have benefited to that extent, and the cash is in their pockets. I am not withdrawing anything I said about what amount is in their pockets. I am asked: "Who should know better than industrialists what is in their pockets?" But who should know better than the Minister for Finance? I do know, and I do know where these profits are, so do not draw me too much on that subject. I know that we have got millions out of them. If I were an industrialist I would say I had better butter my criticism a little, at any rate when talking to the present Minister for Finance.

Sit tight and say nothing.

If they were wise. I do not want to enter into a discussion on the details of agriculture with anybody, and certainly not with Senator Baxter—who knows more about agriculture than I will ever learn. That I believe to be the truth. I am not an agriculturist. I was born within sight of the streets of Dublin, and I would be ashamed to admit how ignorant I was, and will almost say am, of agricultural subjects. Therefore, Senator Baxtor should not be disappointed when I say that I am not going to enter into a discussion in a field in which I am not competent. Why should I do that? I did not say a word against agriculturists. It would be very wrong of me to do so. We would have been in very bad shape here during the war without them. We might have starved were it not that they provided us with the bread of life. But they were pretty well paid for it.

I say that, as Minister for Finance, having examined all the figures. I would not object to anyone saying that they were entitled to get a little more, but balancing one thing with another in the various items that make up the agricultural production of this country, they did not do badly. They are better off than in 1939. They have millions in the bank. I said that I knew what the industrialists have, and I know what the agriculturists have. I do.

You have too much information.

I have a lot of information and anybody in my position can get that information. I am not going to tell all I know. Admittedly, farmers' costs have gone up. Senator Baxter gave us some figures as to how the cost of living for farmers has gone up—the cost of clothes, boots and shoes and other materials. All these things have gone up. They have gone up for the urban dweller as well as for the rural worker, and the urban dweller has not got as much of a rise for his products as the rural dweller. Many of them have not got much of a rise. The rise for the urban worker is limited and he gets his 11/- a week. Even the poor farm labourer, poorly as he is paid, has now got a great deal more than that. Senator Baxter referred to the price of cattle in 1939. I have got the figures. In 1939 store cattle three years old and over were 34/9 a cwt., and in 1942, 55/-.

Would the Minister quote the figure for the one-year-old and the two-year-old?

I have not got them here, but Senator Baxter did not quote the figures for the one-year-old or the two-year-old.

Yes, I spoke of the small farmer.

Do you tell the House that the small farmers in County Cavan have no cattle of three years old?

Yes, I do.

For God's sake go and tell that to the horse marines. One of the most prosperous counties is Cavan. I have that from the bankers, too. They tell me that there are fewer overdrafts, in proportion to numbers, in County Cavan, amongst the agriculturists, than there are in any other county in Ireland.

You will not get much of an overdraft on ten acres.

I could make a very good case for myself, but I am not interested in doing that. I am interested in making a good case for the country, in showing that this is not a country we need run out of. There is hope for us. We have people here willing and able to work, and we shall provide them with employment when materials become available, which, I hope, will be soon. We have had many post-war schemes prepared. Some of them have been discussed in the Dáil. The cost runs into hundreds of millions of pounds, and the only thing that is keeping us from entering upon the operation of those schemes is want of materials.

Had you not those in 1932?

We put those schemes before the Dáil in black and white. When materials are available, with God's help, work will be provided. I cannot truthfully say to Senator Hayes, or anybody else, that emigration will stop. I wonder if it will ever stop. There will always be people to go out of the country, I presume. But who is going to place the blame on the Government for emigration such as we had during the war? Senator Baxter said that, if we had provided the money, we could have provided 250,000 additional persons with employment. That is not true, and the Senator knows it is not true.

I believe it is true.

It is not true.

It is a matter of opinion.

Many thousands of men and women had to leave the country because industries of various kinds had to shut down. Think of our building industry—one of our largest industries. What has become of our building industry, which gave employment, at splendid wages as a rule, to skilled men? It went out of existence.

Look at all the cement you sent out of the country which you could have used at home.

You cannot build a house of cement alone. Is Senator Baxter so stupid as to think you can?

You can.

Senator Baxter is ag cnáimhseáil year after year. He is nearly as bad as Senator Hayes, and that is bad enough—sometimes.

Question put and agreed to.
Committee Stage to be taken this evening.
Business suspended at 6.5 p.m. and resumed at 7.30 p.m.
The Seanad went into Committee.