Words: Ellen Kenny
Artists are in the dark for a second time on when they will receive the planned Basic Income scheme from the Government.
The Government has delayed the rollout of the Basic Income for the Arts (BIA) scheme for a second time this month.
BIA aims to support the arts by paying 325 euros a week to artists and creative arts workers. The Programme for Government also has a commitment to introduce a pilot universal basic income scheme in the lifetime of the Government.
BIA is currently in its pilot stage. 2,000 applicants were chosen at random to receive the basic income for three years. Applications closed in May 2022.
Successful applicants were to be chosen and informed in June, according to previous reports. Minister for Culture Catherine Martin previously stated she expected the scheme to be running fully by spring 2022.
However, selection of candidates was delayed to July. It has now been delayed again. The BIA is now meant to be rolled out in September, but many are pessimistic.
According to Matt McGranaghan, spokesman for the Music and Entertainment Association of Ireland, there has been “an unacceptable delay… for people who have been promised the scheme for almost two years now.”
“Since it was first announced, it has been rolled out by the Government time and time again as a solution to the problems faced by artists during the pandemic.”
McGranaghan explains that September is only the expected month of notification of success. The Government may not begin the actual rollout for much longer.
9,000 artists and creatives applied for the Basic Income scheme. Applications are to be selected at random and are not means-tested.
Artists employed in organisations funded through the Arts Council and members of Aosdána in receipt of Cnuas are not eligible.
Members of Aosdána can receive the Cnuas stipend, approximately 20,000 euros a year. Aosdána will select new members at the end of 2022. If the Government has not informed all BIA applicants of their success or failure by then, many Irish artists may not apply for Aosdán for fear they will be selected for the BIA scheme. Or an artist may successfully apply for Aosdána, only to be told they have qualified for BIA. This will lead to more logistical problems in what has already been a problematic process.
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