Announcing the Budget the Chancellor included many warm words on the importance of building a new economy for the 21st century, yet it felt like a missed opportunity to provide a fuller statement of intent. Like any Budget, the Chancellor has to cover the bread and butter issues, such as potholes and public lavatories, but there is a need for something that is bigger and bolder. If the Chancellor is to “meet the needs of a new age” investing in design, across the economy, is a key part of the solution.
Design solves problems. It is a job creator, it is highly productive and UK designed products, systems and services are in huge demand across the world. Our Design Economy research, published in July 2018, showed that design is worth £85.2 billion in GVA. This is 73% of the financial services and insurance sector, one of our key success stories. The importance of design to business has also very recently been recognised by McKinsey. They also found in research published last week, that companies which excel at design see increased revenues and shareholder returns at twice the rate of industry peers.
This backs up our own research. Examples such as the Industrial Strategy and recent sector deals including aerospace and construction all have design at their heart. This shows that government clearly understands both the importance and value of design. Yet when Budgets come around design is too often side-lined. There is little doubt that the coming months and years will involve major change and, as was realised in 1944 when Design Council was created, for this to truly be a success we need to have design at the heart of the economy, not just in parts of it.
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