Arts Minister Seeks Cross-Party Support for Universal Basic Income for Artists
Minister for the Arts Catherine Martin has called for cross-party support for the Universal Basic Income (UBI) pilot scheme for artists. She was responding to a question from Fianna Fáil Senator Malcolm Byrne in the Seanad yesterday.
A Universal Basic Income pilot scheme was included in the Programme for Government last June, and was one of the key recommendations in the report of the Arts and Culture Recovery Taskforce in November.
The Taskforce proposed a UBI pilot for an initial three years that would give those in the arts, culture, audiovisual and live performance and events sectors a basic, unconditional weekly income of €325 that they could then add to with other taxable income.
While the Minister has been advocating for the pilot scheme, she said yesterday that responsibility for developing it is outside of her department and will be developed ‘in the context of the national economic plan being developed by the Department of the Taoiseach, and it will ultimately be a matter for consideration by the Low Pay Commission.’
The Minister said that the rationale behind the pilot is ‘to create a more stable social protection mechanism to allow artists and events workers to sustain themselves during the pandemic and to take up work when it arises without losing existing social protection supports.’
The pilot UBI could act to keep the sector intact, minimising the loss of skills and contributing to its gradual regrowth, with ongoing benefits, social, economic, local and national. UBI encourages entrepreneurship as people who are in receipt of it can take on work and earn additional taxable income on top of it.
She called for cross-party support for the pilot:
UBI has been a core policy of the Green Party since the party’s foundation. The Government obviously involves three political parties. Needless to say, … Senator [Malcolm Byrne] is very much pushing an open door with me when it comes to the introduction of UBI in Ireland. Perhaps he could assist to ensure his focused enthusiasm for the UBI is replicated across the other parties in government, and delivery of this programme for Government commitment is not only realised but strengthened.
Minister Martin said that she will shortly establish an oversight group for the implementation of the recommendations of the Arts and Culture Recovery Taskforce and that it too will have a role to play.
For the full debate, visit https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates/debate/seanad/2021-02-01/3/#s8
I’m working to introduce a Universal Basic Income pilot for artists -as recommended by our Arts Recovery Taskforce. @greenparty_ie also secured a UBI pilot in the PfG.
Next step is to get cross-department buy-in for rollout. Today I spoke in the #Seanad on this. pic.twitter.com/SGmHpYpJYM
— Catherine Martin TD (@cathmartingreen) February 1, 2021