July stimulus fails to adequately deal with concerns for livelihoods of those in the Arts sector
The July stimulus fails to adequately deal with the major concerns of those working in the arts sector according to Labour Spokesperson on Media, Tourism, Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht, Senator Marie Sherlock.
Senator Sherlock added that while the additional funding for performance, production, drama and culture are all to be welcomed along with the extension of the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme, the harsh cuts to the Pandemic Unemployment Payment will adversely affect the large number of freelance workers in the sector.
Senator Sherlock said:
“The Arts sector has been devastated by the pandemic and unfortunately will not be able to fully re- open until all Covid restrictions and social distancing recommendations are lifted. The wait for a vaccine or treatment could be many months away and with that, the wait to re- open many venues and commence performances. Despite these conditions, freelance workers will be unfairly penalised by the reduction in the PUP.
Already many workers in the sector were on low wages and many now face the twin fear of a cut to PUP and the lifting of the eviction ban and rent freeze in the coming months.
“The unpredictable nature of income in the Arts sector has meant that a disproportionate high share live in rental accommodation.
“The raft of additional re-skilling opportunities and training places announced yesterday are important for the economy overall but are of little use to many in the Arts sector, they do not want to retrain, they want to go back to work but they simply cannot.
“The measures announced in the July stimulus represent a failure to fully understand and address the needs of those working in the Arts. We have heard enough platitudes about the importance of the Arts and at the bare minimum we should not be cutting the unemployment support to anyone in this and any other sector.