A live entertainment support package and an increase in funding to the Arts Council were among the measures announced for the arts and entertainment sector during Budget 2021, a sector that has been one of the hardest hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.

€50 million worth of funding is to be made available for the commercial entertainment sector which employs around 35,000 people, many of whom have not been able to work since March.

Minister Catherine Martin said this package is designed to help performers keep performing and to "de-risk" the cost of running events such as concerts and live shows amid the stop-and-start nature of the pandemic.

There will also be seat compensation funds for schools and colleges, musical, theatre and dance societies, while the music stimulus fund for songwriting and recording will continue into next year.

Separately the Arts Council has had its budget increased to €130 million to provide support for individual artists, freelance workers, festivals and organisations.

In a statement, the Arts Council said the money would be used to support artists and arts organisations through the Covid-19 crisis, and to ensure that people right across the country could continue to engage with the arts in 2021.

Chair, Professor Kevin Rafter said, the funding represents a strong signal that artists and arts organisations will be central to the Government's national recovery plan.

Other announcements today include funding of €8m for the transfer of the National Symphony Orchestra from RTÉ to the National Concert Hall, which Minister Martin said would establish a new vision for Ireland's finest groups of professional musicians.

The National Campaign for the Arts has welcomed the investment for the arts sector announced today, however it said it was concerned about what will happen after PUP is phased out.

In a statement, the grassroots group said the €130 million investment in the Arts Council as well as the €50 million to the live events and entertainment sector demonstrated a clear commitment from Government to ensuring that both funded and commercial arts can survive, recover and thrive in 2021.

They also said that the CRSS will provide vital support to arts organisations closed as a result of pandemic restrictions, and the increase in funding to Screen Ireland and the extension of the Section 481 Regional Uplift Scheme will ensure that film and television production can continue to employ Irish artists and arts workers and contribute to the economy.

NCFA also welcomed the establishment of the Ministerial Group for Insurance Reform chaired by Tánaiste Leo Varadkar and await the outcome of their work in relation to the arts where urgent action is needed.

However, the group also said that while it welcomed the PUP income disregard which will allow artists and arts workers to earn €120 per week without losing the PUP, it was disappointed to see that the reduced tiered payment rates are still in place, and are hugely concerned about what will happen in April 2021 when the PUP is phased out.

Fís Éireann/Screen Ireland, the national development agency for the film, television and animation industry, welcomed a funding increase of €9 million which brings the agency's capital budget to €26.2 million for 2021, representing an increase of 52% on 2020's original budget allocation.

The agency also welcomed the extension of the Regional Uplift, which it said will help to increase production activity and create job opportunities within the sector across regional Ireland.

Fis Éireann/Screen Ireland Chair Dr Annie Doona said as a result of the Government's continued and consistent support, the industry has managed to get film and television production activity back up and running safely, with financial supports in place to introduce strict health and safety protocols on set.