Basic income for artists and art-workers – Irish trial

The Irish Times [£] is reporting on a three-year pilot scheme on ‘basic income’ for artists and arts-sector workers.

With an initial budget of €25 million it is targeted on people who were fell badly between the cracks during the CoViD lockdown (Bectu members say Hi!).

There’s very little detail at the moment, (the Irish Times seem to be running a tip as a story) but I’ll keep you posted.

There is a personal observation that I’d make here – an opinion that I hold with very little conviction, and I’m writing this observation in a personal capacity – SO THIS IS ABSOLUTELY NOT BECTU/PROSPECT POLICY):

My current thinking on this is that the best answer is to promote something a bit like the dreaded ‘umbrella company‘ (see previous posts here) that supply teachers and other agency workers are pressured into using, but to run it as a worker co-op with a credit union built in to cushion unexpected periods of unemployment.

This would be a benevolent employer that provides standard parental rights and a single high (employer) contribution pension scheme (thereby softening problem of very low freelance participation in enrolled pension schemes).

The only blot on this landscape is employer NICs which would probably be payable and therefore make it unattractive to engages and freelancers alike in comparison to direct employment as a self-employed sole trader.

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