Details of spending review cuts emerge

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills is to cut its resource budget by 25 per cent and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to cut its budget by 24 per cent over the next four years, following the Comprehensive Spending Review outlined by Chancellor George Osborne.

BIS says that moves including the abolition of regional development agencies and reforms to quangos – including a proposal to strip the Design Council of its non-departmental Government body status and turn it into a charity – will help it reduce its administration budget by 40 per cent between now and 2014.

The department will also cut its funding to higher education by 40 per cent over the next four years, although it promises to continue to fund teaching for Stem subjects (science, technology, engineering and maths).

Meanwhile, DCMS says it is cutting core departmental and Arts Council administration costs by 50 per cent, while English Heritage and Visit Britain will have their budgets cut by around 30 per cent. In addition, the BBC has agreed to reduce its online spend.

The budget for the delivery of the 2012 London Olympics remains the same, and funding for extensions to Tate Modern and the British Museum have been guaranteed.

Emily Campbell, director of design at the Royal Society for Arts, says, ‘The situation is brutal in terms of what we’ve become used to, but it’s going to be a real test of design’s usefulness in hard times.’

She adds, ‘Designers will need to see themselves as entrepreneurs as well as service providers to other people’s enterprises… We may lose a lot of relatively ambiguous consultancy work (in service design, for example) that public spending has permitted in recent years, and see more emphasis on product and practical action, inventiveness and ingenuity.’

Jane Bennett, head of campaigns at the Forum of Private Business, says, ‘There were positive developments on export, inward investment from overseas and also education… High-tech industries – and the people that work in them – are extremely important for a strong economy in the future and it is good that funding for science is being ring-fenced.

‘However, these measures alone will not be enough to allow small businesses to substantially create employment in order to replace the 490 000 jobs that will be lost in the public sector.’

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