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In Comment last week, Lynda Relph-Knight suggested the Labour Government might follow the Tory example and appoint a design minister. What would be the pros and cons of such a move?

‘The arguments for and against the appointment of a design minister are the same as for any other Government post. If the right candidate is chosen all will be well; if it’s the wrong candidate, it won’t. Surely the ideal scenario would be a Government in which all the ministers were so sympathetic to – and savvy about – design that they would champion it in their fields, but politics is anything but ideal.’

Alice Rawsthorn, Director, Design Museum

‘Pros: It would be refreshing for the buck to stop with someone who championed design as an innovator of public services and enterprise. Cons: Who would be the leader equipped for the challenge and credible with business, education and industry? Answers on a postcard to…’

Julian Grice, Managing director, The Team

‘Design issues would have a higher profile in Government if a minister was assigned specifically to this brief. The Department of Trade and Industry has made great progress in the promotion of design as export, but there is an opportunity to look laterally at the benefits that design thinking could deliver across all areas from transport to healthcare issues. It would also focus the efforts already being made by the DTI and the Department of Culture, Media and Sport for the creative industries, but from a less divided approach. Minister or not, the industry needs to keep lobbying Government to show the social and economic benefits of design thinking.’

Paul Priestman, Director, Priestman Goode and

Chairman, Design Business Association

‘Pros: It makes everyone feel good and shows that the Government cares about design. Cons: It makes everyone feel good, but doesn’t actually change anyone’s behaviour. Currently, the Minister for science and innovation in the DTI, Lord Sainsbury, has responsibility for design. This places design at the heart of Government business policy. There are also ministerial design champions in each major department. The important thing is that these people should champion design across all areas of Government activity.’

Clive Grinyer, Director of design and innovation,

Design Council

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