As part of the National Economic Recovery Plan, I secured a commitment from Government to prioritise the development of a Basic Income Guarantee pilot scheme for the arts and cultural sector. Funding for the Basic Income Guarantee Pilot Scheme was a key priority of mine for Budget 2022 and I secured €25m to realise the pilot scheme next year.
As Minister with responsibility for Arts and Culture, I am conscious of the value that this sector brings to all Irish citizens. The importance of Irish culture, Irish art and Irish productions as a whole cannot be overstated - it contributes to individual and societal well-being, as well as contributing to Ireland's reputation as a country with a rich cultural history and output.
My Department is holding a stakeholder consultation forum on December 15th on the basic income guarantee pilot scheme, to provide stakeholders with the opportunity to engage with the policy development and share their views. Stakeholder engagement has been central to my Department's response to the pandemic and this forum will ensure that the arts sector, those working in it and the resource bodies and representative organisations are given the opportunity to feed into the policy development for the scheme. The selection process for recipients of the Basic Income Guarantee pilot scheme will be finalised following this forum, however, I can confirm the following:
- Participation in the scheme will not be based on a means test
- It will be a non-competitive process, therefore once a person satisfies the eligibility criteria they will be included in a randomised selection process
Proposals for the parameters of the scheme will be finalised in light of the stakeholder engagement.
In relation to the Deputy's specific concern, the receipt of social welfare payments will not be a disqualifying criteria.
I believe the Basic Income Guarantee pilot scheme will bring new life and support to the Arts and Cultural Sector and I hope it will provide an important legacy for our artists and creatives. In addition to this measure, I also secured continued investment of €130m for the Arts Council in 2022. Combined, these measures will significantly contribute to the development of the arts in Ireland.