Arts minister insists basic income plan for artists still on the cards

Concerns had been raised that the basic income plan had been scrapped in favour of a 'working age payment', but Catherine Martin insists that is not the case
Arts minister insists basic income plan for artists still on the cards

Arts minister Catherine Martin. File Picture: Gareth Chaney/Collins

The arts and culture minister has rejected accusations that her plan for basic income supports for artists has been scrapped.

Catherine Martin has long planned a pilot scheme that would see artists receive a basic income. The commitment was included in the Arts and Culture Recovery Taskforce report, Life Worth Living, which was published in November last year.

However, Sinn Féin spokesperson on Gaeilge, the Gaeltacht, arts, and culture, Aengus Ó Snodaigh, claimed that the plan had been replaced by a “working-age payment” in the Government's Pathways to Work plan.

He said that this would alter the basic income "beyond recognition".

With only half a year before it is set to be rolled out, the proposal now seems very much at odds with what was sought by the National Campaign for the Arts and the taskforce, and we remain none the wiser as to who will qualify as an artist for the scheme, how many will benefit, or how much it will cost," he said.

Sinn Féin TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh. Picture: Andy Gibson
Sinn Féin TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh. Picture: Andy Gibson

A spokesperson for Ms Martin, however, said that she was still committed to the plan.

"The Pathways to Work strategy and the issue of a working-age payment is a matter for the Minister for Social Protection," the spokesperson said. 

"However, it is not intended that the basic income for artists will be the same as a Working Age Payment. In the National Economic Plan, the Government committed to bring forward a proposal for a basic income guarantee pilot scheme for artists, and the minister is committed to delivering the pilot scheme for artists."

An oversight group is review models for implementing such a scheme, the spokesperson said, and it is expected the minister will have a report on this in the coming weeks.

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