The Arts and Culture Taskforce, established in September 2020, was tasked by Catherine Martin, T.D., Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media with producing a report to include a set of recommendations on how best the arts and culture sector could adapt and recover from the unprecedented damage arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The no. 1 recommendation from the taskforce was to pilot a Basic Income scheme for a three-year period in the in the arts, culture, audio-visual and live performance and events sectors.

As part of the National Economic Recovery Plan launched on June 1st 2021, the Minister for Tourism, Arts, Culture, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin TD, secured a commitment from Government for a Basic Income Pilot Scheme for artists. The Minister allocated €25m as part of Budget 2022 to provide for the launch of the pilot scheme. The delivery of the pilot is a key priority of the Minister to underpin the recovery in the arts and culture sector and provide much needed certainty to the artists and creatives who choose to avail of the pilot scheme. The three year pilot scheme will be open to eligible artists and creative arts sector workers.

It is important to note that that the Basic Income for the Arts is not a Universal Basic Income. This is a sectoral intervention to support practicing artists and creative arts workers to focus on their creative practice. This policy is separate to the Universal Basic income as outlined in the Programme for Government. The Programme for Government Our Shared Future commits to the introduction of a universal basic income pilot in the lifetime of the Government. The Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment has requested the Low Pay Commission to examine the commitment in the Programme for Government and the Commission has agreed that this request will form part of its work plan for 2021. While this pilot project may provide relevant findings to the Low Pay Commission to inform their project, these are two individual and separate projects.

Over the past months, the Department has been engaged in a policy development process which has involved discussions with the Arts and Culture Recovery Oversight Group, engaging with sectoral stakeholders, convening an inter-Departmental working group to assess challenges, and reviewing international research and best practice. The Department has used this work to inform its proposal for a pilot Basic Income for the Arts (BIA), and the Minister is interested in now bringing this proposal for consultation and feedback.

There are also a number of outstanding matters which have arisen over the course of the policy development process that the Department would like to seek views on before finalising a position paper on the scheme.

This online consultation sets out the current position in relation to:

  • The objectives of the scheme;
  • The eligibility criteria for the scheme;
  • The selection of scheme participants;
  • Responsibilities of scheme participants;
  • The collection of data.

The detail set out in this document is the Department’s current thinking on how the Basic Income for the Arts will work.

Following the conclusion of the online consultation, the Department will use the feedback received to help guide further policy development of the Pilot prior to its rollout.

ISACS Stakeholder Submission

The ISACS Network along with member representatives; Kim McCafferty (Fanzini Productions & Cavan Arts Festival), Jonah McGreevy  (Loosysmokes), and Johnny O’Reilly (Macnas) had the opportunity to attend the Stakeholder Forum discussion group with the Department of Culture on the pilot UBI artists scheme.

Following on from that forum, ISACS has put forward the following submission for the Departments consideration:

Basic Income for Arts. ISACS Submission Dec 2021