- 01 Oct 21
"...right now, what those working in the Live Entertainment & Events Sector miss most, is the opportunity to return to work, earn a living, to look after their family, to pay their bills and, to survive," the EIA state. "For many, this has simply not been possible for 19 months due to the impact and devastating consequences caused by the COVID-19 Pandemic."
The Event Industry Alliance (EIA) have launched a Pre-Budget Submission on behalf of the 35,000+ workers across the non-funded Live Entertainment and Events Sector – calling for vital supports in 2022, as well as urgent cross-departmental engagement.
The Event Industry Alliance are a cross-industry body, established in June 2020, representing several affiliated groups – including EPIC (the Event Production Industry Covid-19 Working Group), AOIFE (the Association of Irish Festivals and Events), AIST (Association of Irish Stage Technicians), EIAI (Event Industry Association of Ireland), EII (Event Industry Ireland), IEOA (Irish Exhibition Organisers Association), ISG (Irish Showman’s Guild [Funfairs & Circuses]), WBA (Wedding Band Association) and VOPF (Venue Operators and Promoters Forum).
In the statement, the EIA noted that the live entertainment and events industry "remains the only sector in Ireland still, effectively, mandated closed (until 22 October 2021) by the Government of Ireland who have indeed acknowledged that the current working 60% capacity permitted is financially unviable for the non-funded sector, who instead require 100% capacity to operate."
"It has been widely accepted by Government and all other stakeholders, that NO other sector has been as negatively impacted by COVID-19 as the Non-Funded Live Entertainment and Events Industry," they added.
Due to the impacts of the pandemic the EIA call on the Government to provide "immediate and concrete supports, to both help protect and scaffold, this viable industry until it can return to full pre-Covid trading in all its glory. It is estimated by experts that this will take approximately 24 months, after the sector is permitted to reopen at 100% capacity, from the Government of Ireland proposed schedule date of 22nd October 2021."
They go on to note that the live entertainment and events sector receives no taxpayers' money, and is "restricted from accessing financial support from the Arts Council of Ireland."
"Ireland has missed concerts, theatres, dances, choirs, orchestras, festivals, food festivals – the country craves for our commemorations, our parades, our favourite artists and entertainers," they resume. "However, right now, what those working in the Live Entertainment & Events Sector miss most, is the opportunity to return to work, earn a living, to look after their family, to pay their bills and, to survive. For many, this has simply not been possible for 19 months due to the impact and devastating consequences caused by the COVID-19 Pandemic."
Read what the EIA are calling on the Government to provide, as part of their Pre-Budget Submission, below:
1. An extension of the COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme and of vital workers supports until the sector fully recovers. The sector is unique in that it was entirely closed under government mandate with no opportunity to trade. Many workers will not be able to return to full-time employment until Q2, 2022."
2. Implementation of a “scaffolding support fund” of €130 million equivalent to the level allocated to the state funded sector, to help protect and hold the sector upright and together, allowing it to survive. A percentage of funding could be used to help implement the following outstanding recommendations submitted within ‘A life worth living’ – Arts & Culture Recovery Taskforce, 2020.
– Establishment of a capacity building and upskilling scheme for event workers aimed at recovery and renewal through professional development (Recommendation 7).
– Establishment of a Creative Green Programme (Recommendation 8).
– Government to commit to continue its provision of financial support to local authorities to offset any loss of income they experience in 2022 so as to enable them to maintain their investment in arts, culture and events at 2021 levels – (Recommendation 5).
3. An extension of business rates waiver for a period of thirty-six months from the date of full capacity return to allow SMEs, venues and other businesses within the sector to recover, and to assist with COVID-19 infrastructural compliance.
4. Removal of VAT on Live Entertainment and Event ticket sales to assist the long-term recovery of the sector, thereby applying a fair and level playing field with other entertainment events, such as sporting, who benefit from Zero VAT on their ticket sales.
5. A credit against 2021/22 VAT returns of 50% of VAT returns filed in 2019, to improve cashflow and inspire confidence in the sectors SMEs and sole traders as they return to work.
6. Insurance cancellation protection for events and the establishment of a support scheme, similar to that in the UK and other European countries. For example, a production will incur six weeks costs for an event or theatre production which could face immediate closure on opening night due to a further wave of COVID-19 outbreak.
7. A Corporation Tax credit of 50% of the amount paid in 2019 pre-COVID for the next three years 2022, 2023 and 2024. This would help recoup lost earnings for businesses involved within sector.
8. Establishment of a state development agency for the non-funded Live Entertainment and Events Sector, to be a longstanding body, comprising of representatives from the sector and relevant statutory stakeholders similar to the Arts Council of Ireland and Screen Ireland.
9. Implementation of a pilot universal basic income scheme for a three-year period in the “arts, culture, audio-visual and live performance and events sectors”, as recommended, and outlined, in Recommendation 1, ‘A life worth living’ – Arts & Culture Recovery Taskforce, 2020’.
10. Development of a National Strategic Event Recovery Plan 2022-2026 that spans Culture, Arts, Events, Tourism, and Hospitality. Building on the success of the Arts & Culture Recovery Taskforce, the development of this recovery plan should be supported by a dedicated National Recovery Taskforce which should include representatives from all relevant sectors - both public and private.
11. Produce an SME tax roadmap: Good practice in recent years has seen the Department of Finance provide roadmaps and feedback statements of great value on the direction of Corporate Taxation both broadly and specifically. Consideration should be given for SME taxation outlining a series of changes over a three-year time period to include changes in Capital Gains Tax (CGT), Employment Investment Incentive Scheme (EIIS) and other tax measures.