Thursday, 1 July 2021
Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht
Covid-19 Pandemic Supports
214. To ask the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht if she will consider introducing a second live performance support scheme in 2021 given that some businesses were not aware that they were eligible to apply for the scheme; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [35454/21]
Government allocated €50 million in 2021 to a suite of measures to assist the arts and culture sector. As part of that funding, on Tuesday 15 June I announced the allocations for the €25 million live performance support scheme (LPSS 2021). I was delighted to be in a position to fund 237 successful applications under this scheme, the details of which are available on my Department’s website. The scheme opened for applications on 19 March 2021.
There was a very high level of interest in this scheme, with over 400 applications received by the closing date 14 April requesting funding in excess of €80 million. The scheme was operated by my Department and all applications were assessed and scored. Given the available funding of €25 million, difficult decisions had to be made and it was not possible to award grants to everyone who applied. The funding available under this scheme has now been fully allocated. LPSS 2021 builds on the successful pilot Live Performance Support Scheme in 2020, which provided thousands of days of employment to hundreds of musicians, actors, crew and technicians in tandem with a pipeline of high quality on-line much needed entertainment for Irish audiences. The 237 grants awarded will help to support employment and wellbeing opportunities across all genres and the continued production of high quality artistic output for the public.
While there are no plans at present for a further round of the scheme, the Economic Recovery Plan published on 1 June stated that Government also recognises that as long as physical distancing remains a public health requirement, further supports may be needed for these sectors. In that context, supports are kept under review in light of developments in public health guidance.
I have also made an allocation of €14 million available for the Music and Entertainment Business Assistance Scheme (MEBAS) to make a contribution to the overheads of businesses, specifically musicians and related crew, that have been significantly negatively affected by COVID-19 and that do not qualify for other business supports. The main features of this new scheme will see support offered by way of three levels of flat payments:
- €2,500 for businesses with a VAT-exclusive turnover of €20,000 - €50,000 with minimum business costs of €3,000 incurred from 1 April 2020 to 31 May 2021.
- €4,000 for businesses with a VAT-exclusive turnover of €50,001- €100,000 with minimum business costs of €6,000 from 1 April 2020 to 31 May 2021.
- €5,000 for businesses with VAT-exclusive turnover in excess of €100,000 with minimum business costs of €7,500 from 1 April 2020 to 31 May 2021.
Under the scheme, self employed businesses including musicians, singers, lighting and sound crew and audio equipment suppliers operating exclusively within the commercial live entertainment sector are eligible to apply. Applications may be made via the MEBAS application portal on my Department’s website.
I have also made an allocation of €5 million available to local authorities for live performances in summer 2021 to animate town centres, should public health considerations permit. This will allow for the procurement by local authorities of performances by local performers. This funding will be allocated shortly.
In addition, I have announced an additional €11.5m for a new Events Sector Covid Support Scheme which I hope to launch soon. This scheme will target SMEs in the events sector which aren’t eligible for the CRSS and for whom MEBAS and the Small Business Assistance Scheme for COVID-19 will not make a significant contribution to fixed costs relative to the level of support that that would be available under CRSS, had such SMEs been eligible for that support.