Live Performance Sector Funds must meet the needs of artists and entertainers

09 March 2021

Following her calls for clarity on supports for the live performance sector last week, Labour spokesperson on Arts and Culture Marie Sherlock has welcomed the announcement today of a number of bespoke funds, but called for constant review of the measures and a commitment to more support if needed.

Senator Sherlock said:

“Last week I raised the lack of action on the €50m Live Entertainment Fund announced at the Budget five months ago, so I do welcome that the Minister has provided some clarity today on the individual elements of support she has put in place, but I am concerned that what we got today appears to be less than originally promised. It is also important now that there is broad representation on the Return to Live Entertainment working group that the Minister is establishing.

“The confirmation of details for the €25m Live Performance Sector Scheme is good news for those in the industry who have been waiting on a follow on scheme to the pilot last year, and it will bring some certainty for artists and entertainers who’ve been waiting five months for the detail of this. I raised this with the government last week that €50m have been committed in the budget but we had yet to see any detail of the proposal.

“Those working in the arts and culture sector need to be able to plan, especially when we still aren’t sure when their livelihoods will be able to return to a stable footing. Many were faced with the difficulty of being excluded from accessing existing business supports due a reliance on a rateable premises for eligibility. This is an issue I have consistently raised with the government, and it impacts on many other sectors too.

“The confirmation of up to €14m in funding for live entertainment businesses through the Music Entertainment Business Assistance Scheme addresses one of my concerns for those that had been excluded from existing schemes. I had sought action on the broad issue of non-rateable businesses being excluded from many of the main business supports, for instance the CRSS and the new CBAS. It’s remarkable to me that in 21st century Ireland we can’t find a better way to determine eligibility for these schemes than having a shop-front, when we know of the thousands of businesses out there that operate from the back rooms of homes.

“The two levels of flat payments announced today should be kept under review to ensure it is sufficient to meet the needs of those affected. As I and many others have suggested the use of the payment of VAT as a determining criterion is a fair way to support those that have been excluded to date. I would ask the Minister to keep her new supports under constant review to ensure the needs of the sector are being addressed.”

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