I propose to take Questions Nos. 333, 334 and 343 together.
I was pleased yesterday to announce a new €50 million suite of measures to support those in the Live Entertainment Sector.
As part of this suite, an allocation of €25 million is being made available under the Live Performance Support Scheme 2021. This scheme builds on the successful outcomes of the pilot Live Performance Support Scheme (LPSS) in 2020, which provided thousands of days of employment to hundreds of musicians, actors, crew and technicians and the valuable insights gained. This new scheme is aimed at commercial venues, producers and promoters in the culture sector and will support employment and wellbeing opportunities across all genres and continued high quality artistic output for the general public. Grant recipients of the pilot LPSS may apply under this new scheme. The scheme has been developed following consultation with the sector and will be managed directly by my Department. The Live Performance Support Scheme 2021 will be open for applications on 19th March 2021 and further information can be found on my Department's website.
An allocation of €5 million will also be made available to local authorities for outdoor live performances in summer 2021 to animate town centres, should public health considerations permit. This will allow for the procurement by local authorities of performances by local performers. Performances can be recorded or streamed if health restrictions prevent live events. Local authorities will be encouraged to engage events companies to develop and deliver a programme of performances.
As a further support measure for those in the live entertainment industry, an allocation of €14m will be made available for a new scheme to make a contribution to the overheads of businesses that have been significantly negatively affected by COVID-19 and that do not qualify for other business supports. The main features of this new Music Entertainment Business Assistance Scheme (MEBAS) will see support offered by way of two levels of flat payments:
- €2,500 for businesses with a VAT-exclusive turnover of €20,000 - €100,000;
- €5,000 for businesses with a VAT-exclusive turnover in excess of €100,000.
Self-employed businesses whether sole traders, partnerships and incorporated entities operating exclusively within the commercial live entertainment sector are eligible to apply. The scheme will open when the necessary administrative and IT systems are in place.
€5 million will also be made available for a scheme of capital supports for the commercial live entertainment sector. This will be applied to supporting the installation of high quality recording and streaming facilities in venues through a competitive grant application process.
Up to €1 million has been allocated to the St Patrick's Festival 2021 for programming to support the employment of performers, producers, artists, technicians, creatives and support staff. With gatherings still restricted, SPF 2021 has curated a rich and dynamic programme of events involving hundreds of artists, musicians, performers, creators, and community organisations that will be broadcast on the St. Patrick’s Festival TV online channel over six days and nights, marking the national day.