Basic income is not like other welfare programmes as it has no strings attached

Basic Income for Artists in Ireland – a once in a generation policy

Basic Income for Artists in Ireland – a once in a generation policy

After public consultations are over, the government is getting ready to launch the scheme

Ireland is getting ready to launch a landmark policy that could push the country to become one of the top destining for artists. The Basic Income for Artists pilot scheme just ended its second stage of development and the government published the results of public consultations today.

This move could have a profound effect on the arts scene in Ireland and Minister for Tourism, Culture and Arts, Catherine Martin, leading the development of the scheme, has recognized that fact. She explained that this was a once in a generation policy and the government needs to grasp the great opportunity in elevating the arts sector.

Imagine having a stable income as an artist

Very few people working in the arts sector across the world can say that they have a stable income. In fact, artistic and creative employment is characterised by low, precarious and often seasonal income. The same is true for Ireland, especially in the past two years mired in Covid-measures, that hit the sector particularly hard.

But the situation was not particularly great before the pandemic, as, according to a Theatre Forum report from 2019, average weekly earnings in arts and entertainment were two thirds lower than the other sectors of the economy.

Now, in the Basic Income for Artists pilot scheme, the government wants to offer around 2000 people about 250 euros every week, for three years. And, as basic income is different to other government welfare programmes, this money comes with no strings attached, meaning recipients can spend it on whatever they like.

At what stage is the scheme now?

Though the idea for a basic income for artists in Ireland has seen some traction in the past, the pandemic helped the idea garner the support it needed. In December 2021, Minister Catherine Martin held a forum with representatives of the industry in the country to discuss the pilot scheme.

Back then, she announced that it could launch in the first quarter of 2022 and that she had secured a cool 25 million euros to finance the initiative. Then, in January, the government held a public consultation, where individuals had the opportunity to raise their concerns and contribute ideas to the scheme.

According to a document the government published today, people were concerned about which artistic professions would be eligible for the programme. They also suggested that it should include producers and technical staff, like sound engineers.

Currently, the government has stated is getting ready to launch the guidelines and details of the scheme, after they take the results of the public consultation into account.



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