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Basic Income Pilot for Musicians, Artists and Creative Arts Workers Launches in Ireland

Two thousand artists and creative arts workers started to receive a basic income this September as part of a pilot scheme in Ireland.

Published: 26 September 2022 | 10:00 AM
A rock artist with an electric guitar and long hair sings into a microphone on stage. The grunge singer performs at a concert in the spotlight.
Universal basic income is the idea of giving a fixed amount of money to every citizen, unconditionally. Image credit: Dima Sikorski, Stocksy.

The three-year Basic Income for the Arts pilot scheme is providing 2000 artists and creative arts workers, including 584 musicians, with €325 a week. That’s about £280.

It follows a recommendation from the Irish Government’s Arts and Culture Recovery Taskforce, which was set up in 2020 to explore how Ireland’s arts and culture sector could recover from the Covid-19 pandemic. Universal basic income (UBI) is also a key part of the Green Party’s political platform in Ireland, where they are part of a coalition government.

Changing how musicians work and live

Universal basic income is the idea of giving a fixed amount of money to every citizen, unconditionally.

It became union policy at the MU’s 39th Biennial Delegate Conference in summer 2021. Members discussed how a UBI could support the creation process, help musicians through periods of illness, and work with other key welfare support to create a level playing field for every musician.

The motion identified a basic income for arts workers, similar to the scheme for intermittent workers in the performing arts in France and now the basic income pilot in Ireland, as a step towards that goal.

Read more in our basic income for musicians deep dive.

How can MU members help make the case for UBI?

That’s a question you can answer at Members’ Conference in October.

Register for your free Members’ Conference place, and sign up for a dedicated breakout session which will explore how young members can lead the union’s campaigning work for a basic income.

The session will be led by MU member Dr Sam Murray, who introduced the motion to make UBI union policy last year, and supported by representatives from the UBI Lab Network.


MU Members’ Conference 17-18 October, Leeds

Connect with MU members from across the UK and discuss the issues that matter to you at this year's MU Members' Conference. Sign up for one or both days and help build a more inclusive trade union and music industry. Register now to secure your free place at the event.

Book your place 


Can a UBI keep music live?

The idea of a universal basic income has been around for centuries. Now, the MU and many others believe its time has come.

Can a UBI keep music live?

Continue reading

Two young female street musicians, one playing acoustic guitar and the other an accordian.

Deadline Approaching for Funding From Alan Surtees Trust 

The Alan Surtees Trust makes up to four awards of £2,000 annually to support performers aged 16 to 30 with projects rooted in, or influenced by, folk or traditional music of all cultures. The deadline for applications is April 30.

Published: 15 April 2024

Read more about Deadline Approaching for Funding From Alan Surtees Trust