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Government commitment for Basic Income Guarantee pilot scheme for artists       printable version
01 Jun 2021 filed by editor - Arts, Entertainment

Plans for a Basic Income Guarantee pilot scheme for artists have been confirmed as part of the government's recovery plan, in tandem with the Government's launch of its National Economic Recovery Plan. The package includes tens of millions of euro in ongoing support. 

Speaking following a Cabinet meeting yesterday, Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin TD,Martin said that she was delighted to confirm that in the National Economic Recovery Plan announced today, she has secured a commitment for Government to prioritise a Basic Income guarantee pilot scheme for artists.

Minister Martin said: "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".

The Economic Recovery Plan (ERP) sets out a framework for recovery as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic. The ERP pays particular attention to sectors most impacted, such as tourism and hospitality, live events and the arts, and will help kick start the recovery. 

Minister Martin said: "This plan presented today goes a long way to meeting the commitments we made in the Programme for Government and in charting a path to recovery from the challenge of COVID-19.  Crucially, the Plan specifically recognises the unique challenges that have been faced by sectors such as Tourism, the Events sector, Gaeltacht, Sports, Arts and Culture and Media, and sets out a package of supports that are being put into place to safeguard and stimulate these sectors."

She added, "I am glad that my colleagues in Government have listened to my concerns regarding the impact that a cliff-edge ending of these supports would have on sectors and that we as a Government can now say that the phasing out of supports will only be progressed in sync with our stepwise approach to the reopening of these sectors".

Horizontal Supports which will continue to aid sectors include:

  • 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 9 June. 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.

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.

A separate €11.5m new fund for the entertainment industry, including festivals, conferencing and large events, was also 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. 

The Minister is also developing pilot live events for the summer, to inform a wider reopening plan for culture, entertainment and sport. More details on these will be released shortly.


  • Extension of the 9% VAT rate to September 2022.  This will continue to act as a stimulus for the sector as it moves towards recovery.
  • Additionally, the Fáilte Ireland Business Continuity Scheme continues to support businesses not covered by the CRSS.   
  • Tourism businesses will also benefit from the extension of the commercial rates waiver to September 2021.
  • Bullet CRSS payments to help reopenings, with up to €30,000 each.

Sport andGaeltacht
Horizontal supports will also continue to give essential help to Sports organisations and to businesses based in Gaeltacht regions. Engagement by Minister Martin and Minister of State Jack Chambers, on sector specific supports for sport and the Gaeltacht, is also ongoing, with a view to ensuring that our sporting communities and our Irish language communities continue to thrive.

Government Chief Whip and Minister of State for the Gaeltacht and Sport, Jack Chambers T.D., said: "In addition to the support package currently being drawn up for the Gaeltacht summer colleges sector, it is important to note that this sector will continue to be supported by the horizontal supports announced by Government today.  These horizontal supports will also augment the work already being undertaken by Údarás na Gaeltachta in supporting Gaeltacht companies operating in the hard-hit tourism sector to withstand the full impact of the pandemic and position them for growth in the coming years."

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