To: TDs

UBI for the Arts

UBI for the Arts

Deliver the pilot UBI for the Arts as per the Arts and Culture Recovery Task Force report.

Why is this important?

A recent Ernrst and Young (EY) report for The Arts Council stated that at the end of August 2020, 58% of workers in the sector were wholly reliant on the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) or the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS). The EY report also stated that in 2020 the recession in the Arts sector was expected be around -55% compared with -11% in the Irish economy on a whole. In the live performance and events sector there are 35,000 full time employees. Of 343 firms surveyed in June 2020 by Event Industry Ireland, 57% of companies have laid-off staff on a temporary basis and a further 8% have let staff go permanently.

The Programme for Government – Our Shared Future contained a commitment for a Universal Basic Income (UBI), in the lifetime of the Government. This commitment was consolidated by recommendations from the Arts Recovery Task Force which stated “Pilot a universal basic income scheme for a three-year period in the arts, culture, audio-visual and live performance and events sectors”. Point 11 commits to the introduction of a Universal Basic Income pilot in the lifetime of the Government.

Universal Basic Income is defined as an unconditional State payment that each citizen receives. The payment is designed to provide enough to cover the basic cost of living and provide a modicum of financial security. All other income would then be earned separately and subject to taxation. The scheme should be ‘opt in’ and other workers from these sectors who do not opt in can be used as a control group against which to measure the pilot.

I am seeking your support in the delivery of these commitments by Government as a matter of urgency. I would be grateful if you would confirm your support and if you would advise of the steps you have taken to assist in the delivery of the promised pilot scheme for a UBI.

Ireland

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