Spring Budget cautiously welcomed

The UK’s Spring Budget has been announced today, Wednesday 3 March 2021.

The AOI welcomes the news in the announcement that the SEISS scheme will be extended to the end of September in line with the Job Retention (Furlough) scheme.

The announcement that previously ineligible freelancers (namely those who started trading in 2019/20) will be eligible is also welcomed.

The AOI has campaigned for the SEISS scheme to be extended and re-modelled to address its failure to accommodate the breadth of illustrators who’ve been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. While we are pleased that this has been heard and acted on in some way, there is still far further to go.

Our surveys indicate that only around half of members have been able to get support from the SEISS scheme, a number which is in line with Society of Authors and other trade unions and organisations representing creators. This is a far cry from the intended coverage of the SEISS scheme, and must be addressed.

Ren Renwick, AOI CEO says:

“We are concerned that the date for the fourth SEISS round cannot be claimed until late April. This will cause unnecessary financial challenge for those reliant on the grant.

We are also cautious of the ‘turnover test’ for the fifth and final round, which may not appreciate the nuances of freelance work.


In the coming days we will be looking at the detail of the budget announcement and raising concerns with Government ensuring illustrators’ challenges and needs are heard.”

If you want to find out more about the Budget and the SEISS scheme in particular you can read it in full here, or look at immediate guidance on Martin Lewis’s Money Saving Expert site.

If you require financial support, The Authors Contingency Fund (open to some illustrators) is now accepting second applications from previously successful applicants as well as first time applicants. The fund is open to authors and illustrators whose author related activities make up a substantial part of their income and who are resident in the UK or British subjects. Find out more here.

Find out more about our Campaigning here.


3rd March 2021
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