The purpose of this Bill is to continue for another period the Supplies and Services (Temporary Provisions) Act, which was passed last year. It will be remembered that last year the emergency powers Act under which the Government worked during the war years ceased to have effect, and was replaced by the Supplies and Services (Temporary Provisions) Act, which continued the power of the Government to maintain certain controls that were still necessary, such as price control, rationing regulations and so forth. When we continued these limited powers under the Supplies and Services (Temporary Provisions) Act it was hoped that another year would see the end of the arrangement and that these powers would no longer be required. We have not got out of the emergency. In some respects the difficulties that existed this time 12 months have been accentuated. It is quite clear that the powers the Government possess to maintain these restrictions on trade and prices must be continued for a further period. This amending Bill proposes to do so for another year.
In accordance with the general policy of the Government, and the undertaking given to the Oireachtas when the Supplies and Services (Temporary Provisions) Act was passed, a number of Bills has been produced during the year to transfer into permanent legislation the provisions of Orders which it was desired to have continued on a permanent basis. On the other hand, a number of Orders which gave powers that are no longer essential in present circumstances have been repealed. The general desire of the Government is to keep on a temporary basis only such minimum powers as are required to cope with the circumstances that exist, and to dispense entirely with other powers, or have them framed in permanent measures enacted by the Oireachtas. A number of Bills which are now proceeding through the Oireachtas, such as the Bill the House has recently been discussing, have for their primary purpose the establishment as permanent law of powers taken under temporary Orders. I am sure the House will have little difficulty in agreeing that we cannot well dispense with rationing, price control and other restrictions necessitated by scarcity, and that the Supplies and Services (Temporary Provisions) Act must be continued for another period.