Enjoying a night out at the theatre, or to see your favourite musicians live in concert, is one of life’s great joys.
But when the Covid lockdowns began and workplaces and venues across the world closed down, the creative sector was hit particularly hard. The Guardian reports that, in 2020, 10 million jobs worldwide were lost in the creative sector as a direct result of the pandemic. Even before this catastrophic event, government spending on the creative sector was declining.
To help the arts sector in Ireland to recover, the Irish government set up the Arts and Culture Recovery Taskforce to examine what had happened and how to protect jobs and diversity in the sector.
Their number one recommendation was to implement a universal basic income (UBI) to support arts sector workers, which is now being piloted with 2,000 individuals in Ireland for three years.
Read on to learn how the UBI will support artists in Ireland and how individuals can protect themselves further.
The exciting new scheme, named the Basic Income for the Arts (BIA) pilot scheme, began in September 2022 and will run for three years to assess the impact on the sector as a whole.
In total, 2,000 participants were selected from more than 9,000 applications. The cohort includes representatives from a variety of art forms, age groups, ethnicities, and countries.
They will receive a weekly income of €325 (the equivalent of £240) and must regularly contribute to data collection designed to assess the impact of the programme over three years.
UBI is the concept of a guaranteed wage each week or month, regardless of other forms of income, paid for by the state. In recent years the idea has gained more popularity. Forbes reports that top economists have begun to endorse UBI as a solution to global inequality.
The Musicians Union (MU) recently passed a motion backing UBI and presented this to the Trade Union Congress (TUC) at their conference in May. They say that without this kind of support for musicians, many had to get a second job to support themselves financially during the pandemic or walked away from freelance work altogether. The effects of this exodus on future generations of British musicians could last for a long time.
By contrast, if UBI were granted to arts sector workers, those who regularly need to take time out from paid work, for example to write new music in between recording new albums, might be better able to continue working in the creative sector for longer.
The UBI pilot scheme in Ireland is one way that the government is working to support individuals financially while the sector recovers from the effects of the pandemic.
However, there are some things you can do to protect yourself from the effects of a job loss or if you are unable to work for a short period of time.
1. Build up an emergency fund
By saving money when you are earning, you can build up an emergency fund that you could dip into if you ever needed some help.
Experts recommend building an emergency fund that is equivalent to at least three months’ worth of expenses. This means that if you ever found yourself without any income, you would be able to pay your essential bills while you looked for a new source of income.
It’s important that you keep your emergency fund in an easy access savings account so that it is always available, even at short notice.
2. Take out income protection insurance
Income protection is a type of insurance that will typically cover up to around 60% of your salary in the event that you are unable to work due to illness or injury.
You will likely have several options to choose from, including whether you want the potential future payout to last for the rest of your life or for a fixed amount of time.
3. Insure yourself against critical illness or disability
Another type of insurance that could be useful is critical illness cover. In the event that you are diagnosed with a serious condition this type of cover will provide a tax-free lump sum of money to help you cover any outgoings.
Receiving a lump sum on diagnosis of an illness such as serious cancer, a heart attack, or multiple sclerosis can enable you to focus on your recovery without having to worry about your finances.
4. Consider business interruption insurance
If you run a small business or agency, you can protect the company from periods without income with business interruption insurance.
Business interruption insurance covers you for a loss of earnings as a result of unexpected circumstances that are outside of your control.
For example, it can cover you if fire damage means you are unable to use your offices for a long time or if equipment has been stolen. These sorts of things can cost you days’ worth of work or even entire clients, so protecting yourself financially from these possible implications could be extremely important for the future of your business.
If you’d like to know more about how you can protect yourself from the effects of an unexpected loss of earnings, we can help. Our team is equipped to support businesses of all sizes, from freelancers to production houses to agencies.