For converting to SVG inkscape is rather nice, especially for black and white illustrations, I had good results with it. You have to play a bit with the settings but not that much.
Not sure what you mean by page layout but if you mean playing with text placement and flow I think it has tools for that (I never used them so not 100% sure)
@emptyfortress All my SVG need to be in black & white, so it's perfect.
Yeah I'm not sure how to translate it... Basically, I print four A4 transparent layers that I tape together to get a A3+ design. What was very easy with Illustrator is that I just open 4 workspace, align them to form a bigger sheet, open my SVG file on it and adjust the placement.
Btw, I'm strongly interest in text placement and modification, since few of my design need it :)