NCFA 2020 Pre-Budget Submission

NCFA Statement, 31 August 2020
31st August 2020

September 13, 2020

The full text of the Pre-Budget Submission 2021 can be found here.

September 2020 finds us standing on the edge of a precipice, the most critical juncture ever faced by Ireland’s creative community. The future of Irish arts and culture now sits in the hands of Government – the livelihoods of more than 55,000 citizens and their families; the survival of an entire industry that benefits society, communities, individuals, businesses and the exchequer; a sector that supports, trains and grows the careers of Irish artists who go on to fill venues, theatres, festivals, galleries and creative spaces throughout Ireland and across the world, and the sector that provides open access to artistic and cultural experiences for all the nation.

89% of NCFA members are living with financial uncertainty. More than 2.4m audience members were impacted by COVID-19 in Ireland, with 91% of arts organisations reporting €2.9 million loss per month since March 2020. These cancelled and postponed events were the livelihoods of our artists and arts workers. It is these artists and arts workers who make Ireland a vibrant and exciting place to live. They represent our country with world-class performance and creativity across the globe while living in uncertainty and, in some cases, in poverty at home. They are talented and highly skilled workers who pursue poorly paid careers that contribute much to society, often with very little in return. Furthermore, in 2020, the impact of the evolving economic crisis on the Arts sector will be between -34.6% and -42% compared with -11% in the Irish economy as a whole. This is projected to cost between €250m and €300m to Irish GDP.

Government support has helped artists, arts workers and arts organisations survive the immediate impact of COVID-19, but it is essential that this support is maintained and increased in 2021 to ensure the sector can make a full recovery.

“Lockdown proved that the arts are our safety net, already overused and under-secured, and now stretched to breaking point.

It would be judicious of Government to carefully repair and strengthen the artistic and cultural binds that broke our fall during lockdown,

and ensure it will hold firm in serving all our people throughout the uncharted journey ahead of us.”

NCFA Steering Committee

Many great challenges lie ahead, every part of society has been impacted by the pandemic, all sectors are suffering. The arts community recognises and understands that we will all be called upon to make sacrifices as we navigate an uncertain future, but in doing so Government must ensure that Ireland’s artists, arts workers and arts organisations are acknowledged as an intrinsic component in the process of national recovery.

The full text of the Pre-Budget Submission 2021 can be found here.

In short, NCFA’s Pre-Budget 2021 Submission calls on Government to instigate the following nine measures to ensure the survival and recovery of Ireland’s arts community in 2021:

  1. Ensure artists and arts workers are supported through the PUP and EWSS until mass gatherings are permitted again and cultural events can take place at full capacity. Ensure that the PUP remains at €350 for the Arts and Events sector. Ensure measures are brought in to allow for the blended income streams, yearly fluctuations, and short-term employment opportunities as well as reassessing the age restrictions to allow older artists who have continued in employment beyond the age of 66.
  2. Increase funding to the Arts Council to €135 million in 2021 with a view to at least doubling investment in the Arts Council by 2025.
  3. Increase Funding to Culture Ireland to €10 million to continue strong connections with the UK and Europe in the context of Brexit, and globally to meet the demands, expectations and successes of Global Ireland 2025.
  4. Prioritise and expedite the trial for Universal Basic Income outlined in the Programme for Government to develop a model for UBI for all citizens over the lifetime of this government.
  5. Classify local authority arts spending as a mandatory requirement.
  6. We support the call to commission a review of taxation practice as it relates to the arts in Ireland and internationally to make recommendations around the tax regime including an examination of VAT, gifting to the arts, and possible measures on artists’ incomes.
  7. Total insurance reform in the following key areas: recalibrate the Book of Quantum to reflect international norms and norms already established by the Court of Appeal; redefine and rebalance the ‘Common Duty of Care’ to require the occupier to take a duty of care that is reasonable, practical and proportionate; re-establish a Garda Insurance Fraud Unit; produce a schedule of forecast reductions for reforms. Encourage insurance companies to refund all public liability and employers liability insurances where there is no risk due to work being cancelled. Introduction of a state insurance scheme via IPB for the arts and cultural sector in receipt of state funding, which offers cover for those organisations who find that insurance product is unavailable and inaccessible to their needs.
  8. Transpose the European Union’s Directive on Copyright for the Digital Single Market into national law by June 2021 in line with all other European Union member states to ensure fair remuneration for online creative content.
  9. Honour the Programme for Government commitment to establish a cross departmental task force, led by the Arts Council, to protect and sustain the arts and culture sector through the COVID-19 recovery and beyond.

The full text of the Pre-Budget Submission 2021 can be found here.

For further information, images, interviews please contact info@ncfa.ie

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