€50m budget allocation broadly welcomed by EPIC

EPIC has broadly welcomed that the non-funded commercial events and entertainment sector has been recognised as separate to the funded Arts Industry for the first time in yesterday's Budget.

A €50 million funding allocation, given the right circumstances, will have a very positive impact on the return of safe live events in 2021, they say.

Katryn Mason, founder, says EPIC sees the decreases in the VAT rate, clarification that PUP recipients can work occasional days without losing their payment, support for grass root areas such as musical societies, drama societies, stage schools and dance schools, as big steps in the right direction for reopening.

"It is very clear that the Government has listened and engaged with us and while we welcome the package announced EPIC do have concerns," Katryn Mason stated however.

"Questions arise as to why the CRSS scheme excludes many of EPICs members.

EPIC has always stated the importance of specialist SME businesses - audio and lighting suppliers, staging, specialist health and safety consultants, specialist security, providers of fencing, sanitation, site services, power, specialist public relations and marketing companies plus a myriad of other critical suppliers to this diverse industry.

"There is nothing in this budget for these key cornerstones of the live industry, some are now just days away from collapse and immediate funds are needed to save them.

"These businesses have had little or no income since March and it will be well into 2021 before they start to trade again.

"Without these suppliers, there are no concerts, no festivals, no events, no outdoor shows.

"The very welcome €50m to the department of Culture will go unused if there is no SMEs to work at these shows," Ms Mason continued.

"The CRSS is not open to them as they do not have public-facing businesses.

"Restricting applications to Level 3 and above prohibit many of them who cannot operate regardless of the level."

It has been 215 days since employers, workers and freelancers from viable operations in the Live Entertainment and Events Industry were mandated to close.

The Non-Funded Event industry supports over 35,000 jobs, contributes over €3.5 billion Euro to the economy and in excess of 3 million annual bed nights to the wider tourism sector.

Photo: Leo Farrell/Photocall Ireland.

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