Published on: 04 March 2021 in Industry

Spring Budget 2021: a mixed bag for directors

Reading time: 4 minutes and 25 seconds

Chancellor Rishi Sunak unveiled his Spring Budget this week, at a crucial juncture for our industry and the wider economy.

Overall, the budget is a mixed bag for directors, presenting some encouraging measures alongside other – all too familiar – oversights. 

Read on for our assessment of the key issues affecting Directors UK members. 


Financial support for freelancers and the self-employed

We were pleased to see the Chancellor extend the SEISS for two further rounds. The fourth grant will be available from late April, covering February to April. It will now also permit applications from the newly self-employed. So those who submitted a tax return by 2 March 2021 for the tax year 2019-20 will now be eligible, but will have to wait two months to apply.

The fifth and final SEISS grant will cover May to September, with the value of the grant determined by a turnover test. There will be more details of this nearer the time. You can find out more about SEISS and how to apply here.

However, we know the SEISS remains inaccessible to many, and still provides no relief to millions of self-employed and freelance workers – including members of Directors UK. It is disappointing that a year into this pandemic, so many feel unheard and unsupported by the Government. This is not good enough.

We at Directors UK will continue to fight, alongside other organisations and campaigning bodies, for our members. This budget has not gone far enough to fix the gaps in support; we will keep working to find solutions and support for those who remain excluded.

If you are self-employed or operating as a small business, there are additional measures which you may be eligible to apply for, including Universal Credit (adjustments in eligibility have been extended), VAT deferrals and certain business loans and grants.

Extension of the Film and TV Production Restart Scheme

The Chancellor also used his budget to announce an additional £400m of funding for the arts and culture sectors, including the expansion of the Film and TV Production Restart scheme from April through to 31 December. This move allows productions to receive government backing to cover COVID-19 related insurance costs, and thankfully will encompass the peak summer production period.

We welcome this extension to the scheme, which will allow our members to keep working throughout the pandemic and through its longer-term repercussions. According to BFI CEO Ben Roberts, the scheme has helped over 200 productions so far, resulting in world-class work that has kept the country entertained through this tough period. Find out more about the scheme and how to apply here.

Apprenticeship Levy

The Spring Budget also saw the Chancellor answer our previous calls to make the Apprenticeship Levy more flexible so that it can reflect the fluid working patterns of the creative industries. The Levy will now allow apprentices to work for a number of different employers within the same sector, meaning that the creative industry can make meaningful use of this previously untapped levy and feed that money directly back into training new talent. This is something that Directors UK has long called for and we welcome this positive step. Find out more about the Apprenticeship Levy.

Corporation tax

Those members who operate as small Ltd companies and make profits of over £50,000 per year may also be affected by future changes to corporation tax rates. From April 2023, companies making a profit of over £250,000 will face a corporation tax rate of 25%. For those with a profit of less than £50,000, corporation tax will remain the same at 19%. For everyone with a profit somewhere between £50,000 and £250,000, the corporation tax rate will be tapered. More information about this can be found at gov.uk.

If members have any concerns about the information above or any other issue related to the Spring Budget, please contact us at communications@directors.uk.com.

Useful links

Read Rishi Sunak’s full budget speech

Read and share our response on social media

Visit the Directors UK COVID-19 advice page

For urgent financial support, visit the Directors Charitable Foundation

For holistic support, visit the Film and TV Charity

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