Labour pledges to back design

A Labour government would put design, creativity and culture back on the political agenda and make design fundamental to all government policy, says shadow heritage secretary Jack Cunningham.

As campaigning for the 1 May General Election began, Cunningham this week launched Labour’s strategy for cultural policy, arts and the creative economy with shadow arts minister Mark Fisher. Cunningham says: “Cultural policies and the arts will be at the heart of the new approach.”

A strategy document, entitled Create The Future, pledges to make design “a fundamental consideration in all government policy”, and to protect intellectual property more rigorously. “A strategic approach to procurement will yield considerable benefits,” the document adds.

“This is a new start and a new attitude. These are policies which have been off the political agenda for too long,” Fisher adds.

In the light of the Dearing Committee report on higher education and funding, due out in July, the document states that Labour will review “the scale and quality of all courses which serve our cultural industries”.

Sir Terence Conran welcomes the new approach: “I am convinced that New Labour will put the arts and design higher up the agenda because I am convinced that the party recognises their value – not just in terms of economic competitiveness but also in terms of improving quality of life.”

A Labour government would also change the name of the Department of National Heritage as part of the shift of focus to prioritise creativity, culture and design.

The new name will be announced in the party’s election manifesto, says Cunningham.

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