Scheme for Self-Employed Artists widens support

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Culture Minister Josepha Madigan widens the scheme's reach to cushion those working in opera, film, theatre, architecture and more.

THE extension of the Social Welfare Scheme for Self-Employed Artists from September on has interested many. It will be introduced on a permanent basis to self-employed artists including people working in the performing arts, film, music, production design and architecture.

From the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht led by Josepha Madigan, we are told the underlying principals guiding the new catchment is that “the expanded scheme recognises the unique creative circumstances of artists in receipt of Jobseekers Allowance and gives them special assistance in their first year out of work, allowing them to focus on their creative output.”

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This means that from September, artists in receipt of Jobseekers Allowance for the first year that they are out of work will be able to focus on their art(s) and developing their portfolio, rather than having to participate in the normal labour market activation activities.

“Artists eligible to apply to the scheme include actors, theatre and film directors, dancers, opera singers, set, costume and lighting designers, musicians, composers, choreographers, architects and street performers.”

A review of the earlier pilot scheme revealed that to date, more than 100 artists and writers have availed of the scheme.

The study shows that this scheme is good for the tax-paying labour force as much as the creation of consistently professional art and developing a career and body of work. Analysis indicates that the vast majority of the artists on the pilot, more than 87 per cent, who subsequently exited from the Jobseekers Allowance scheme, do so within the first year.