A live entertainment support package and an increase in funding to the Arts Council were among the
measures announced for the arts and entertainment sector during Budget 2021, a sector that has been one of the hardest hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.
A package of 50 million in support for live entertainment was announced by Minister for Public Expenditure Michael Mcgrath.
The arts and music industry is not traditionally considered as an important aspect in the budget but with COVID-19 disallowing all festivals, live concerts, club nights and theatres, it is one of the most damaged industries over the last few months.
Minister Catherine Martin said this package is designed to help performers keep performing; the cost of running events such as concerts and live shows. There will also be compensation funds for schools and colleges, musical, theatre, and dance societies, while the Music Stimulus Fund for song-writing and recording will continue into next year. This will benefit sound engineers, producers, and studios.
The Arts Council of Ireland said this money will “support artists and art organizations” throughout the pandemic and ensure people can continue to engage with the arts next year.
The Pandemic Unemployment Payment has not been reinstated to €350. This will continue until April 2021, with the highest rate of €300 per week. This may come as bad news to those self- employed and who had relied on the ecosystem of live music and performances.
An extra fifty million has been allocated to support the live commercial entertainment sector under the banner ‘’ Live Performance Support Scheme’’.
The Music Stimulus package, which opened with a 1 million euro fund for professional musicians and their
teams to help fund songwriting camps, recording, and album releases is expanded. This will benefit
producers, studios, and sound engineers.
Freelancers and self-employed people find themselves standing on shaky grounds. They will be able to claim €300 a week and earn up to €480 a month on top of that. However, that only adds up to €1,680, which is far below what people are making pre-pandemic. Sole- traders also find themselves in a difficult place between claiming the payment and applying for grants.
The National Campaign for Arts (NCFA) welcomed these packages but did criticize the government for not fully including all members of the industry.
A spokesperson for the campaign said: ‘’While NCFA welcomes the PUP income disregard which will allow artists and arts workers to 120 per week without losing the payment, we are disappointed to see that the reduced tiered payment is still in place. We are hugely concerned about what will happen in April 2021 when the PUP is phased
Image Credit: Grace O’ Sullivan
(This article was originally published on 28 October 2020.)