Basic Income Pilot for 2,000 Artists and Arts Workers to Begin in Spring 2022

Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media Catherine Martin

Basic Income Pilot for 2,000 Artists and Arts Workers to Begin in Spring 2022

Arts Council funding maintained at €130m for next year.

The Minister for Arts Catherine Martin has said that applications for the Basic Income pilot for artists and arts workers will open in January 2022 and that she expects the scheme to be up and running in spring. She was speaking at a press conference today (13 October) where she also detailed her Department’s spending on the arts following the Budget 2022 announcement yesterday.

The Basic Income Guarantee Scheme will be a three-year scheme and will accommodate approximately two thousand artists and arts workers in the first instance. The Minister wants to include a range of different streams, from emerging to established artists, and the government has allocated €25m to the initiative. The Minister also said she expects that the scheme will adhere closely to the recommendations of the Arts and Culture Recovery Taskforce, which specified an unconditional weekly income of €325 that artists and arts workers could then add to with other taxable income.

A Universal Basic Income was part of the Programme for Government in June 2020. With the effects of the pandemic, plus campaigning by the National Campaign for the Arts, the idea of a pilot focusing on artists and arts workers was recommended in November by the Taskforce. Minister Martin secured a Government commitment to the idea during the summer of 2021.

Arts Council funding
The Minister also confirmed that the Arts Council will maintain its historic high of €130m for 2022, that there will be €25m in supports for live entertainment, funding of €4.6m for Culture Ireland, an increase of €1.5m for Creative Ireland, and €4m to deliver initiatives proposed by the Night Time Economy Task Force.

Commenting on the announcements, Minister Martin said:

As Minister with responsibility for Arts and Culture, I am conscious of the contribution that this sector makes to people’s everyday lives both in Ireland and abroad; this was particularly evident during the pandemic…. The Government has recognised, with this strong and imaginative package of supports announced today, that bold steps are necessary for our much treasured arts, events and cultural community to come back stronger than ever before. …. 

She added:

I am particularly pleased to be announcing the pilot of the new Basic Income Guarantee Scheme for artists. Grounded in on-going dialogue with the sector, this scheme will bring new life and support to the arts and culture sector, and I hope it will provide an important legacy for our artists, after the very difficult circumstances they have endured over the last year and a half. 

In a statement, the Arts Council welcomed the announcement regarding its funding. Arts Council Chair, Professor Kevin Rafter, said, ‘Today’s announcement is a clear signal that artists and arts organisations are central to the Government’s national recovery plan.’

Maureen Kennelly, Director of the Arts Council, commented:

People working within the arts have shown remarkable resilience, imagination and compassion during the pandemic. The return to presentation of work for the public is happening steadily and carefully and it is vital that we protect the sector as it emerges. With this increased investment, high quality work can be made and can reach the public safely. It will also help us ensure that people from all backgrounds in every part of the country will have the opportunity to participate in and experience the arts.

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Published on 13 October 2021

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