By the EARL OF WICKLOW By the EARL OF WICKLOW
The Minister for Finance, Mr. McGilligan, has now published the estimates for the coming year ; the reduction from last year is E6,000,000, which is in keeping with the undertaking made by the Government to reduce expenditure.
It is natural that there will be differences of opinion as to the wisdom of various cuts, and those who lose by them will tend to
The principal increases are Old Age Pensions, by L1,84,000, while health services and unemployment insurance are also up by over half-a-million.
The principal decreases are industry and Commerce, in which department more than 6+ millions is being saved, and defence, aviation and agriculture have also come under the axe.
The reduction in defence may appear strange in the present state of the world, but this is explained by the fact that the whole army reserve of 40,000 men does not attend annual training, naval vessels are being operated on a restricted basis, and there has been a reduction in the purchase of stores.
The very large reduction in the grant for Industry and Commerce is explained for the most part in the redaction for food subsidies..
The fuel subsidy (mainly on turf) which was il.000,000 this year, is expected to be £5 for the coining year ! The reason is that our stocks are far too large, and the Government's chief concern is to clear them before they deteriorate.
THE AGRICULTURAL QUESTION
The agricultural cut is presumably only a temporary measure, in view of the huge ten-year scheme which has within the last few weeks been outlined by Mr. Dillon.
An agricultural expert who is at present visiting this country, and who is on the whole in agreement with the Holmes Report, told me that he was far from regarding our agriculture as generally backward, but considered that there was one thing seriously lacking in this country, that of agricultural research, both scientific and economic.
This is not a thing likely to appeal to most governments, because of its slow returns, but he had calculated that if we applied 1 per cent. of our national income, that is about £700,000, each year to this much needed work, in a few years the country would be repaid at a much higher percentage.
ft is to be regretted that when this matter was recently raised in the Senate by Professor George O'Brien, who is one of our few authorities on agricultural economics, Mr. Dillon brought his well known powers of derision to bear on Professor O'Brien's reasonable and thoroughly constructive suggestions.
RECALL TO IRELAND RECALL TO IRELAND
Mr. Murphy, the Minister for local government, speaking at the opening of a housing scheme in Cork, has issued an appeal to skilled Irish workers in England to return and offer their services to the national housing drive.
He has promised " wages as good as, if not better than they now enjoy," and, he went on to say " we can offer them something more, continuous employment in their own country for a number of years to come."