The Irish government launched the National Economic Recovery Plan today which includes cuts to the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) and income and business support schemes to be reduced over time, along with €1 billion from EU’s recovery fund and climate action and education funding.
Among the details is the much-asked for is the commitment for a Basic Income Guarantee pilot scheme amounting to tens of millions of euro in support for artists by July, and a series of measures to address the live events sector.
Basic Income Guarantee pilot scheme
“This was the number one recommendation from artists and the sector through the Arts and Culture Recovery Taskforce Report-Life Worth Living. It is an unprecedented move and the pilot scheme will involve a significant number of artists.”
“We recognise that bold steps are necessary for our invaluable and much treasured arts community to come back stronger than ever before. I will therefore develop a proposal for the Basic Income guarantee pilot scheme by July, working with my Cabinet colleague Minister Heather Humphreys in the Department of Social Protection”.Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin TD
“After five years of lobbying, by NCFA members past and present, myself and the steering committee are thrilled to see a Basic Income pilot for artists and arts workers included in the Economic Recovery Plan 2021. We look forward to seeing the details of the pilot as they emerge and continuing to input and advocate for our community.”Angela Dorgan, Chair National Campaign For The Arts
Other supports confirmed
· Extending the COVID Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS). Revisions will see payments for businesses reopening of up to €30,000.
· A commitment to extend Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme to 31 December.
Arts and the Events Industry
· For the live performance industry, the new MEBAS (Music and Entertainment Business Assistance Scheme) opens for applications on June 9th. This payment is targeted at helping not only bands and musicians, but suppliers and music businesses. Payment levels include:
- €2,500 for businesses with a VAT-exclusive turnover of €20,000 – €50,000 with minimum business costs of €3,000;
- €4,000 for businesses with a VAT-exclusive turnover of €50,000 – €100,000 with minimum business costs of €6,000;
- €5,000 for businesses with VAT-exclusive turnover in excess of €100,000 with minimum business costs of €7,500;
Furthermore, Minister Martin will announce the first allocations under the €25m LPSS (Live Performance Support Scheme) shortly.
Today, she has also confirmed the release of funding for local authorities with €5m to support live music in villages and towns across the country. Amounts of €285,000 are now available to the Dublin local authorities, and €143,000 to other local authorities to facilitate programming of outdoor live performances over the summer months, animating town centres for local communities as public health considerations permit.
And a separate €11.5m new fund for the entertainment industry, including festivals, conferencing and large events, was agreed at Cabinet today, between Minister Martin and Tánaiste Leo Varadkar.
The Events Sector Covid Support Scheme (ESCSS) will support SMEs which are not eligible for the CRSS.
Pilot events have already been announced for June and July, with an Iveagh Gardens gig with James Vincent McMorrow and Sorcha Richardson on sale on Thursday.
What about self-employed people?
Self-employed sole traders who are coming off PUP and returning to work will be able to avail of a €1,000 Enterprise Support Grant to cover some re-start costs, which is something but not enough when things are still re-opening and not back at pre-COVID levels.