I am acutely aware of the decades-long difficulties faced by those who wish to engage in artistic pursuits, be it on a global stage or domestically. The Government is committed to increasing funding for the arts. In the past two years, I have secured a significant increase in funding for artists, primarily through the Arts Council, which the Deputy will be aware has experienced an increase of 15% in its annual funding since 2017 to €75 million in 2019. In addition, the Government has allocated €1.2 billion in capital funding for culture, heritage and the Gaeltacht over the ten years to 2027 as part of the national development plan. That includes €200 million for the Audiovisual Action Plan, which sets out the Government's commitment to investing in the screen industry.
In tandem with securing additional funding, my Department has also worked to address conditions and employment rights in the performing arts and screen industry in conjunction with the relevant agencies under its remit. For example, the Arts Council, as part of its assessment of applications for funding now requires details of an organisation's policy on the remuneration of artists in an effort to ensure that organisations in receipt of Arts Council funding offer fair and equitable remuneration to artists.
Regarding the screen industry, which we recently discussed, the film regulations require all applicants for section 481 tax credit to include with their applications a signed undertaking in respect of quality employment, which requires both the producer company and the qualifying company to comply with all obligations in the field of environmental, social and employment law. The producer company and the qualifying company must be responsible for compliance with all statutory requirements of an employer and have in place written policies and procedures on grievances, discipline and dignity at work. The companies are also required to provide details of any Workplace Relations Commission, WRC, decisions aligned with confirmation that any findings against the companies have been followed or an explanation where the finding has not been followed. That is now a key requirement in the application process. Screen Ireland also has similar requirements for companies in receipt of its funding.