Design could lose its individual classification in Government plans

The Government is reviewing its categorisation of the creative industries, and is planning to drop Craft as a classification and merge Design and Designer Fashion into one group.

Houses of Parliament

Source: Berto Garcia

These new classifications would form the basis of Government research into the value of the creative industries.

The most recent research – published by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport in 2011 – showed that the creative industries contributed £36.3 billion to the UK economy, or 2.89 per cent of gross value added.

Of this, design – as measured by DCMS – contributed £1.6 billion, or 0.13 of GVA.

However, DCMS now says the classifications on which is bases this research is flawed, and is proposing to bring in a new methodology.

This would see Craft dropped as a Classification, as DCMS says ‘most crafts businesses are too small to identify in a business survey sector’, while Design and Designer Fashion are being merged to form a new classification.

DCMS says this merger is due to ‘a limitation in the underlying classifications in the source data that designer fashion can’t be separated out from other activity’.

John Mathers, chief executive of the Design Council, says, ‘It is too early to say whether the proposed classification of Design and Designer Fashion may be too narrow and we will work with DCMS and Nesta to ensure the range of industries included in this classification (graphic design, industrial design, etc.) are given accurate representation.

‘The UK’s world-leading design sector makes an important economic contribution within the creative industries and also provides the skills set underpinning all other UK creative industry sub-sectors, so this work is particularly important in demonstrating the value of UK design.’

DCMS is also proposing to broaden out the catchment area of the creative industries, to also factor in creative work being done in areas not traditionally seen as being ‘creative’.

It aims to do this through the idea of ‘creative intensity’ – measuring the proportion of people doing creative jobs in a particular industry. If this number is over a 30 per cent threshold, then the industry can itself be classified as ‘creative’.

The Crafts Council has already responded to DCMS, saying it is ‘disappointed’ with the proposal to drop Craft as a classification. It says that its own Craft in the Age of Change research shows that craft brought in an estimated £457 million to the UK economy in 2011 – larger than the spending on music downloads.

Consultation on the DCMS proposals is open until 14 June. You can contribute to the consultation here.

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  • mano manoharan November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    On first reading this is disappointing news – since the performance of our world leading design sector will become obscured – and thus going forward possibly undervalued.
    However there is a nugget of (potentially) good news in the broadening out of the creative ‘catchment area’ – to include all industries where over 30% of jobs is adjudged to be ‘creative’.
    This could serve to boost the so-called total creative sector GVA to well over over 3% of the UK economy (from 2.9% currently).
    A not insignificant statistic for our industry advocates to use to focus the minds (and wallets) of politicians, investors and other UK plc ‘stakeholders’.

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