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Design Council CEO: Government’s Productivity Plan needs ‘design at the heart’

The government’s plan to boost the UK’s productivity risks failing if the country is not able to make use of its long-held talent for design, according to Design Council chief executive John Mathers.

The 15-point plan was revealed last Friday (10 July) and Mather’s lukewarm response is indicative of the mixed feelings the scheme has garnered from other industries.

In a statement, the Design Council chief said “design must be at the heart of this proposal” if the country is serious about “addressing productivity”.

Whether this means creating “workplaces to maximise outputs”, building more profitable supply chains, or designing buildings and infrastructure to ensure they empower people, “productivity means design,” he added.

The Chancellor has made innovation core to spurring growth in a market where two thirds of labour productivity gains in 2014 went to innovation roles, while 10.2 per cent was from design.

“To boost UK productivity, we must deliver the housing and infrastructure needed to create prosperous places across the country,” said Mathers. “However, the government’s proposed reforms to planning must ensure that quality is delivered through the system in collaboration with local communities.”

His comments are part of ongoing calls from business sectors for minsters to do more to address a perceived skills crisis that could see future businesses struggle to find new talent. More than half of employers feature they will not be able to hire enough high-skilled workers, according to a recent survey from the Confederation of British Industry.

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