More design questions for the Chancellor

Last Thursday I received word that Chancellor George Osborne was set to announce a VAT rebate for the Design Museum, which would allow them to open their collection for free when they move to their new Kensington home in 2016.

George Osborne and Ed Vaizey's shoes (the Chancellor's are on the left…)
George Osborne and Ed Vaizey’s shoes (the Chancellor’s are on the left…)

To make this announcement, Osborne would be visiting the Design Museum build site on Friday morning. I was invited to come and see the tour, and was told that I would be allowed to ask the Chancellor “one question”.

In the event, a series of timing mixups meant that I somehow found myself “backstage” with the Chancellor and Culture Minister Ed Vaizey as they changed out of their high-viz and site boots, and got the opportunity to ask not one but two questions, before a diary secretary quickly hustled the ministers away.

You can read a transcript of my discussion with Osborne and Vaizey here, but had I been given the opportunity, these are the questions I would have put to the ministers:

• This Government is keen to stress design’s economic as well as social importance, but how can this be adequately measured when design doesn’t have its own industrial classification?

• What is the Government doing to promote British design overseas, particularly against competition from countries such as China, Taiwan and India?

• Given that design came close to losing its place in the National Curriculum last year, how will the Government ensure that young people are being adequately trained and educated about the value of design?

• What is your favourite piece of British design from the past 15 years, and what is it about the British design scene that allowed this to be created?

So Chancellor, if you fancy expanding our chat into a broader conversation about the design industry, I’d love to talk to you again.

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