Talking design with Chancellor George Osborne

Chancellor George Osborne is announcing a VAT cut for the Design Museum, which will mean that when the Museum moves to its new home in South Kensington, it will be able to throw open its doors for free.

Chancellor George Osborne

Source: altogetherfool

Chancellor George Osborne

The Design Museum is set to move from its current Bermondsey home to the former Commonwealth Institute in Holland Park in 2016 and aims to more than double its visitor numbers to 650 000 in the first year.

Following the announcement, we spoke to the Chancellor and Culture Minister Ed Vaizey about the Design Museum and wider Government support for the design sector.

The Design Museum's new home under construction

Source: Miles Willis © 2014 Getty Images

The Design Museum’s new home under construction

Design Week: Why do you think it is so important to allow the public free access to the Design Museum?

George Osborne: It all comes back to what Terence Conran was trying to do when he originally set up the Design Museum – to create a home for British design in London. That has been a success and with this move we hope to make it an even bigger success.

I wanted to back the Design Museum by giving it a Treasury VAT cut, to allow people the opportunity to visit for free. It will have half a million visitors in the first year. It’s a great opportunity for a whole range of people to see British design, and also to recognise the importance of design to our country both culturally and economically – celebrating figures such as Conran, James Dyson and Jony Ive.

The hyperbolic paraboloid roof at the Design Museum's new home

Source: Miles Willis © 2014 Getty Images

The hyperbolic paraboloid roof at the Design Museum’s new home

DW: You mention design’s economic importance – what is Government doing to ensure that design can continue to contribute to the British economy?

GO: It’s a very diverse sector with diverse issues – there isn’t a single instrument you can use to tackle them. We’ve been able to support design and the creative industries through various mechanisms such as tax credits and initiatives such as this one with the Design Museum. We also want to make sure that design is a part of the learning environment – we want to recognise that Britain has a particular talent for design.

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey

Source: bisgovuk

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey

Ed Vaizey: Obviously you’ve got the Design Council under John Mathers doing great work and we’ve also established the Creative Industries Council to work in this sector – this is looking at areas such as skills and access to funding. We want to raise the profile of the creative industries and the Design Museum itself is an excellent showcase.

I go into a lot of schools and I stress the importance of studying design – you can hold up an iPhone and say – this was done by a British designer, so if you study design you could be doing this!

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  • Patrick Gottelier November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    So the follow on questions might be;
    Mr Osborne do you really think that offering free entrance to one design museum in London will make a significant impact on the UK both ‘culturally and economically’?
    What precisely is your government doing to make sure that design is a part of the learning environment in the UK?
    Mr Vaizey; when you go into ‘lots of schools and stress the importance of studying design’ do you also explain why your government has flagged its clear intention to degrade the value of design teaching in UK schools? Oh and by the way, Mr Dyson manufactures the bulk of his product overseas and Mr Ive works for an American corporation.
    And to both of them:
    Are you remotely aware that in 2011 the former Premier of China Wen Jiabao declared that China would move from a ‘made in China’ economy to a ‘created and made in China’ economy?
    Are you aware of the impact that simple but utterly clear statement of intent is having on the social, educational and cultural landscape of the biggest manufacturing nation on earth.
    Shame on you DW for such toothless questions and shame on GO, EV and the rest of the administration for leading the UK’s sleepwalk into further decline.

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