By Our Dublin Correspondent No severe shocks accompanied the Free State budget announcement by Mr. Sean McEntee, Minister for Finance, in the Dail last week. In an extended speech the minister examined the country's financial position 'and detailed an estimated expenditure of £30,183,500 for the coming year, with estimated revenue of £30,536,000.
He then proceeded to allot tax concessions to various sections of the community.
Allowances for Children Increased
The most important concession was in income tax. After the British chancellor's decision to raise the rate by threepence in the pound, many taxpayers feared the Free State would follow suit. Not only did Mr. McEntee refuse the temptation, retaining last year's figure of 4/6 in the £1, but he increased the allowance for children from £50 to £60 for every child, thereby giving a measure of relief to parents.
Sugar duties were decreased by id. in the lb., the relief applying equally to excise duty on home-grown and manufactured sugar and to customs duty on imported sugar. The levies on cattle and sheep slaughtered in the country are to be abolished as from August 1 at a cost of nearly £100,000 a year. A 10 per cent. tax was imposed on certain forms of imported glass, as well as a minor tax on wool and wool waste, which constitute the raw materials of a native industry.
Unpleasant additions include a tax of 50 per cent. on typewriter ribbons, carbons, etc., and an almost prohibitive tariff on wooden and soft toys, certain household goods, tennis balls, cast-iron articles and other goods.
Increases in revenue last year were recorded from beer, spirits, table waters and imported wines. Motor vehicle duties accounted for a thirtieth of the entire revenue and betting duties went up to £169,708, the highest figure for four years. Tobacco duties gave nearly four and a quarter millions and petrol £1,200,000. Savings certificates and savings bank deposits have increased by 40 per cent. in four years. During the same period expenditure on social services has increased by nearly 50 per cent. to over eleven and a half millions. A large section of the community complains of this huge increase, particularly in those services which are generally condemned as indicative of a wrong approach to admitted problem's—unemployment benefit, free milk and free beef, and yet it seems impossible to reduce social service expenditure.
Revenue has been provided for a big drive to lessen unemployment during the coming year. Two years ago an interdepartmental committee was set up to devise a scheme of public works to reduce unemployment benefit to a minimum and organise the financing of such works.
Although the committee's report is not yet completed, the minister announced that a large number of useful and highly desirable works, such as public housing schemes, road works, housing site development, harbour works, airport construction, drainage, could be undertaken.
Were it not that the government felt itself obliged to start on this programme immediately and had decided to spend several millions on it during the current year, Mr. McEntee said, there would have been a very substantial reduction of to, tion announced.
In the North
The Six-County budget introduced day follows that of the Free State, cc taming concessions to teachers, a sm number of civil servants, members of t special constabulary and members Parliament. Primary, secondary a technical school teachers' salaries will increased by 31 per cent., at a cost £43,000. Improved pensions conditio will cost £3,000 this year, rising gradua to an annual cost of £42,000.
The teachers are far from satisfied w the 3f per cent. restoration of a per cent. cut on the 1920 scale. About 1( who paraded in front of Stormont w posters and sandwich boards during t budget speech, created a noisy scene, a the hall had to be cleared by the police.
This year's imperial contribution is h; a million, of which four-fifths goes Britain's defence programme—last yea Six-County contribution was only £10,0( The total cost of all concessions NA be £50,000 this year.
Total revenue for the coming year estimated at £13,280,000, and total expe diture at £12,824,000.
Mr. J. Milne Barbour, Minister f Commerce, who introduced the budget the absence through illness of Mr. H. 1 Pollock, Minister for Finance, said Sig were at hand of their participation, thou in a lesser degree, in the economic covery of Britain. Agriculture and sh building were improving steadily, a even linen, though still depressed, show prospects of recovery.
Mr. Gerald Sherlock, City Manager Dublin, who is just retiring, has be forty-two years in the municipal servi■ He has been city manager for the pi ten years, and as he is a man of wi culture, the rather remarkable views tlhe advanced to me on the city and peoj of Dublin, have both authority and terest. Here are some of his views up the city and people: "Dublin is becoming more Arne, canised every day. People have a re less urge and spend far too much mon on synthetic amusements. The Du liner, formerly a great lover of hot life, has become less hospitable un4 his own roof tree. If he can afford at all, he will entertain his guests at restaurant and then a theatre. You fellows of forty years ago were co tent with simple amusements. Th liked to display their social talen however slight, at the sociable eveni parties that were so much a feature the nineties. Those were the days the sentimental ballad and the Lance, now we have 'hot rhythm' and t 'rumba.'
Dublin's Slums Disappearing
Mr. Sherlock has seen big strides city administration and in the provisii of amenities.
"The citizens are constantly deman ing improved social conditions. Th■ general attitude is 'hang the expens get on with the work' So Dublin nc spends fifty per cent. of her rates i come on social services. Slums a rapidly disappearing; 16,000 how have already been built, though the are still 20,000 families awaiting pros accommodation. The 'City fathers' a severely censured sometimes, but th have tackled the housing problem stea fastly."
Weary of the toil and tumult of t City Hall, Mr. Sherlock will spend mc of his retirement in the South cf Franc